Location, location, location. You’ve probably heard it a million times.
That must mean it’s important, right? You bet. Location can make or break a restaurant, so it’s important to pick a good one. (tweet this)
According to Forbes, if you’re thinking about opening a coffee shop or bistro, location is everything.
Restaurant expert, Lorri Mealy, explains that one reason restaurants fail is a poor choice in location. She says a bad location is one of the biggest, if not THE biggest, reason restaurants fail.
Before we can talk about what makes a great restaurant location, let’s talk about what makes a bad restaurant location.
Several items make for a bad restaurant location and one you want to steer clear of. These include:
So, what makes a great restaurant location? Let’s find out.
Unless your restaurant is located in a big city where people are accustomed to walking, it’s safe to say that most people are lazy.
How many times have you seen people drive around a parking lot for five minutes before they found that front-row parking spot they were looking for?
Ideally, your new restaurant should have its own parking lot. Take into consideration how many people you can seat at a time and make sure you have enough parking spaces to accommodate them. If you don’t, take a look around and see if there is a convenient overflow parking lot.
We bet you’ve noticed that major chains are often located right off the highway. There is a reason.
It makes it easy for in-town and out-of-town diners to access. Being located off a major roadway often means customers don’t have to fight traffic.
When scouting locations, see if your restaurant is easily seen from the street. If the location isn’t directly accessible through Google Maps, it’s likely not a good choice.
Consider the downtown location, or the location in the busy night-time district. These are examples of great restaurant locations because they are visible and accessible.
Think about traffic patterns. High-traffic areas are usually good spots for restaurants.
Assuming you’ve spent time planning your target market, you want to talk a look around your proposed location and decide if there is enough of a population base to sustain your restaurant.
Take a look at how far away you are from your market. Try to stay no more than 20-30 minutes away from your target.
It’s a good rule of thumb to place your restaurant where your target market lives, works and/or plays. Look at some of these things regarding the population base when deciding your restaurant location:
Check out saturation levels. If there are already four pizzerias on the block where you want to place your restaurant, take some time deciding if the area can handle another pizza shop.
Do some sleuthing. It isn’t always a bad thing to be grouped with similar restaurant concepts, but you’ll need to analyze the market before deciding.
Let’s look at the restaurant franchise Huddle House. They have spent time working out a formula for a great location for their franchisees.
Here is an overview of their recipe for success and how they determine good locations for future restaurants:
Does this mean their formula is perfect for your restaurant? Not necessarily. If your restaurant is similar to their model, it’s a good place to start.
If you are, for example, a high-end restaurant, you can view their “formula,” and re-purpose it to fit your unique concept. Perhaps you’d want to place your restaurant in a professional area with income in a higher range.
If your concept is a bakery or coffee shop catering to college students, you might also want to adjust some of their parameters. You might not care about parking, but you’d want to be within walking distance of campus, dorms and apartments.
To try and overcome a bad location, you’ll need some very creative marketing to succeed. Underdog Coffee in Oregon is one such restaurant who overcame a terrible location.
How’d they do it? They made a play on the poor location with their name – Underdog Coffee, used better coffee beans than the previous shop, and created eye-catching, backlit signs.
Other ways you might overcome a bad location are by being ultra unique and one-of-a-kind.
If you want to draw the young business crowd, situating your restaurant in a shopping mall probably isn’t the best idea. Your best bet is in the downtown area or a trendy spot with a good night life.
Restaurants in shopping malls tend to attract families, teenagers and the elderly.
Looking to draw an adult crowd with business people? Look for a location near office buildings.
It’s important to your success to first define your target customer. Who are you marketing to? Who might be interested in your food? What is your price point? Will they be able to afford it?
Once you’ve answered these questions, you can scout out the perfect location for your restaurant. Once your great location is secured, you are well on your way to restaurant success.
The first step to attracting more customers to your superb restaurant location is to have a great restaurant website.
Restaurant Engine can design a mobile-friendly, responsive website for your restaurant. Mobile-friendly means your customers can easily view your location, phone number and menu on their mobile phone or tablet as well as their desktop.
Request your free consultation today and let us help you market your great restaurant location.