Starting your own restaurant business can be as intimidating as it’s exciting. But, before you concentrate on creating the perfect menu for your potential customers or finding wholesalers for providing the right raw materials, do you have a location in mind to open your restaurant?
While you need a winning array of foods, you should also think about how people will be walking through your door. Is your restaurant located in a place where people are willing to come in, just to have the specials you have perfected over months?
So, in this blog, we will look into the top criteria you should consider when looking into a restaurant location.
Locality and visibility
You may have found a nice and quiet corner near a beach where you can open your restaurant, but without the right visibility, it’s just not going to work. When you are choosing a location for your restaurant, rather than focusing on a place that is “Insta-worthy” it is wise to focus on a location that has good footfall. You may feel like that your restaurant idea may work better in a quaint little corner, but unless people are walking around, understand that no-one may even see or take a second look at your place.
Look for people around. Are there office goers who may pop in for getting a quick bite in the morning? Or is there a park nearby where young mothers, nannies, and children often gather? Unless there are people around who may spot your restaurant and possibly find it interesting, there is no point in working from the said location.
Check for the possible demands you may face during different times of the day and week as well. Is your potential location in a place where there is a lot of fall during weekdays but none during weekends? Is there going to be a lot of demand for breakfast but none for dinner? Which time among these would you have a lot of potential orders come in?
Having an elaborate, full-service restaurant may be a dream come true for you. But if you end up having the restaurant set up on the outskirts of the city, there is less chance that people are going to drive out all the way every day to eat from your place. So think twice about the visibility of the location you want to take up.
Accessibility and parking facilities
Parking facilities are a given for any restaurant that is looking to grow into a popular food hub.
Let’s face it. People are not that keen on a lot of walking especially when they are out to grab some good food. Most of the time, they might even be too hungry that they just want to get into the first place that they see. So if there is a fair distance to walk to get to your restaurant, chances are that they will look for more convenient options with adjacent parking facilities.
If your restaurant location doesn’t come with parking facilities, you should look into other factors that could help your place stay accessible. Is it near a public transport system like the metro? Or is there a common parking lot for your potential patrons to use while they dine at your place?
When choosing a restaurant location, ensure that it is going to be in a spot that is easily accessible either by a private vehicle or by public transport.
Demography and affordability
When choosing your location, you should not only check if it’s a busy area but also if it’s a locality where your cuisine can build a fan base.
Analyze the location to see if people in the area are the right target audience for your business. Are these people interested in what you are selling? For instance, if you open your Korean hotpot restaurant in the middle of an Indian community whose tastes are widely different from what you offer, you may not find a lot of traffic to your place.
Affordability is also a key factor in the success of your business. Even if you open your restaurant in a great location with good traffic, but with high monthly rent, it may not be a feasible option as you are barely picking up your business.
Understand that cost is the bottom-line consideration for any business. Unless you are 100 percent sure that you can start profiting from such a location from day one, it is better to stay clear of the place.
Surrounding businesses and competitors
When doing your research about the location, check into the surrounding businesses as well. Understand what they are and how well they are doing. Understand whether it is an affluent business area or a silent residential locality. These factors are highly determinant in how your restaurant business will perform in the chosen locationYou can also check how your restaurant can complement the other businesses in the locality. For instance, if there is a nightclub next door, chances are that there will be a lot of footfall to your restaurant during the after-hours. Will your restaurant be able to cater to their needs? If so, you are on the right track.
When looking into your neighboring businesses see what all restaurants are already operating in the area. If you are looking to open an Italian pasta place in a locality that already has two others, it is best to rethink your decision. Every locality can only support so many of the same types of restaurants. Unless your business has something unique and excels in your service, it won’t cut.
When considering a building to open your restaurant, take a peek into its history as well. Was it used as a restaurant before? If so, why did they move out? If you are looking at a place where restaurant businesses have often run out of business, it could be an indication that the place is not ideal for such a business.
On the other hand, if the space in question was previously used for something else, think of how much money you may have to invest to redesign it to suit your restaurant business? Without the right facilities or at the least the potential to incorporate them, redesigning a space to fit in a restaurant can cause your expenses to shoot through the roof.
Size and rent commitments
Quite often you may come across potential restaurant spaces that may look big enough during your first inspection. However, it may not be the same once your restaurant is set up. Even the smallest coffee shop requires enough space to function without unwanted hitches.
Dry storage, walk-in refrigerator, and office space are some of the basic requirements apart from the kitchen and dining area. If you are opening your restaurant in an area with high demand for your food, you may even want to consider a wait-station with a few chairs and sofas. Even if your space looks big enough at first, make sure to measure it and check with your interior designer to see if all your things fit in the space.
Another important consideration any new restaurant owner must think is the lease period. If you are just starting and are still unsure how well your restaurant will perform, never sign a multi-year lease. Even if your restaurant fails, your landlord can still demand the rent. Always start with a one year or two-year rent to give your business enough breathing space. Once you have successfully established your business, you can sign a longer lease.
For a restaurant business, its location is as important as it’s menu and services. Ultimately, the success of your business will depend on the footfall you can bring into your business and provide them with consistently great food and quality service.
If you are interested in setting up a restaurant in Dubai, it is a good idea to get some professional advice. Talk to our hospitality experts today to get started on your dream business idea.