How to Choose the Best Location for Your New Restaurant / Starting a Business / Last Modified: March 20, 2017

Location is one of the most important factors in the failure or success of a new restaurant.

Location is one of the most important factors in the failure or success of a new restaurant. If you are not sure how to choose the best location for your new restaurant, follow this advice:

Make Sure Everything Checks Out

Before you fall in love with a location, make sure that it is up to code for your city and that it meets basic safety requirements. It should have proper sprinkler systems, fire alarms and working facilities. If it doesn’t, it could be costly to bring the building up to safety standards.

You also want to ensure that the space is big enough for the type of restaurant you want to run and that it works with the vibe you envision. Though it might be hard to say no to a space that you like, it is better to find a space that already fits your needs, rather than renovating a space to match your requirements. 

Match Your Demographics

The type of audience you want to target should determine where you put your restaurant. For example, if you want an upscale dining establishment, then a location near a school is not going to be the best choice. However, if you want to open a deli or coffee shop, close to a school is the perfect location to encourage foot traffic.

Consider Accessibility

The importance of accessibility cannot be stressed enough. If your target customers have to drive a long way to get to your restaurant, you may be underestimating the draw of your establishment. Not only will you miss out on foot traffic, but your customers will be less likely to go out of their way if there are closer options.

In addition to location, consider parking. If your customers drive to your establishment but have to leave because they cannot find a parking, there is little chance they will ever return. Look for a location with a large parking lot so you can offer complimentary parking to diners.

Look for Competitors

If there is a Mexican restaurant only one block away from the building that you are interested in, and you are planning on opening a Mexican restaurant, you have two options: find another location or change your menu.

Do not set yourself up for a struggle by taking on an already established business. Though you may think you can draw its audience away, do not underestimate a restaurant's existing loyal following.

Finding a new location is a fun but important step of opening your new restaurant. Resist the urge to be impulsive and say "yes" to the first location that catches your eye. Make sure to do your homework about the space and the local competition.

Image from Mangostar/Shutterstock

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