When you're opening a new restaurant, marketing is extremely important—you have to make sure that your customers know that you exist. However, the location of your restaurant may be even more important. Diners get hungry and eat at the first place that looks good to them. If you have numerous potential diners driving by, some of them will select your restaurant, leading to a filled dining room and business profitability.
However, what should you look for in a restaurant location? Read on to learn the three most important characteristics to consider and why they're so vital.
1. Matching Neighborhood Demographics
Your restaurant's desired demographic is the most important factor in choosing your location. If you're a fine dining restaurant, you don't want to be located in the middle of a bunch of college apartments, even if the land is inexpensive.
The easiest way to do this is to narrow down what the expected age and income levels of your customers are. Then use census data to determine which neighborhood fits you best.
Another important thing to keep in mind, however, is that your restaurant will need staff members that live close by. Typically, there are numerous openings available in the restaurant industry. If you're in the middle of a very upscale commercial district, you may run into difficulty staffing your restaurant. Make sure there's some affordable housing available within your neighborhood.
2. Ease of Entry
Since many people select restaurants based on impulse, it's important that your restaurant's parking lot is easy to get into. Determining whether or not a location is easy to enter requires watching the traffic flow on the street for the entire day. You want most of the traffic to be able to enter your parking lot by easily making a right-hand turn. Making a left-hand turn or a U-turn across a busy street is a difficulty that some drivers may not want to deal with, which means you'll lose out on their business.
While you're there, you should also make sure that the parking lot is well lit at night and the area seems reasonably safe, especially if you're opening a family-friendly restaurant or a fine dining one. This is less of a concern if you're opening a fast-food restaurant or a pub, however.
3. Nearby Stores
Retail support is a great asset to restaurants. People go out shopping, get hungry, and then decide to go eat somewhere rather than going home and cooking dinner. Retail stores close by will naturally attract guests to your restaurant, as people will always be shopping in the area. Locating your restaurant in a busy retail plaza or near to one is almost always a great choice.
One drawback to locating your restaurant in a retail plaza, however, is that the signs in a retail plaza are notoriously difficult to see from the street. You'll have to spend extra on well-lit signs in order to notify customers that your restaurant is even there. Placing your restaurant next to busy anchor stores where most of the shoppers in the plaza go will help as well.
Since location often determines whether or not a restaurant will be successful, it's important to get it right. If you're having trouble determining the perfect location for your new restaurant, it's best to use the services of a business location consulting company in order to find the best neighborhood for you to locate your restaurant in. They make use of extensive demographic data and historical business success trends in the area in order to determine its viability for new businesses, which allows them to find a location in which your new restaurant will thrive.