By Rachel Argyle
Before you create a business plan and strategy, dream up a restaurant theme or get your hands on a business loan, you need to think thoroughly about where to situate your restaurant. Researching the location is absolutely crucial in the early stages of your restaurant plans. The more prepared you are, the less likely you will be to fail. Among the things you should consider:
1.) Population Density: The best place to locate a restaurant is in an area with a high population (or that is easily accessible). One way to establish the population base of an area is to check the US Census.
2.) Accessibility: A number of restaurants are located on busy roads which are convenient for motorists or perhaps on a street close to a high density of shops and businesses, with a lot of foot traffic during lunch time or after work. An often overlooked issue, is the road traffic system and whether the restaurant is on a two-way accessible road or a one-way street. Accessibility issues can also include whether the location is safe and easily adaptable to suit customers with a disability.
3.) Visibility: Whens setting up a new restaurant business, the best way to gain customers is to make the venue visible. Visibility is essentially free advertising and reminds people that you are open for business. A good sign should be easily legible from at least a third of a mile while driving 35 mph.
4.) Parking: Local code may vary but you should plan on one place for every three seats in the restaurant. Ideally, a restaurant will have its own parking spaces for customers. If this is not possible, consider a location close to a good parking area or within walking distance and access to public transport. Also, if you are going to be open at night, take into consideration lighting costs.
5.) Size: When viewing a possible restaurant location, try to imagine it full of kitchen equipment, dining tables and chairs, staff and customers. Empty properties can look appealing but might look tight when it is up and running.
6.) Competition: It is important that you get a good feel for the neighbourhood and the other restaurants located nearby. How have other restaurants done in the area? Are you offering something new?
7.) Previous businesses: Again research will help you learn whether any previous restaurants have existed in the same location… and their fate. You can learn a lot from the mistakes and successes of your predecessors and these can often be tell-tale signs of whether you are picking the right restaurant location.