Location means so many things. Not just what your realtor tells you. In an earlier post, I talked about the ten reasons why restaurants fail. Let’s talk about the first one on that list: Location.
People often hear that word without really knowing what it means. Especially restaurateurs. Yes, location is very important, but not necessarily for the reasons you may think.
The first thing you should consider is who your customers are going to be at any given location. Most people are only willing to travel 10-15 minutes from their home or work to go to a restaurant. There are exceptions to this rule, we call them destination restaurants. Most places, however, are not destination restaurants, they are neighborhood restaurants. It is most likely that your place is a neighborhood restaurant, not a destination restaurant.
Do some research
So it is important to do a little marketing research to see who the customers are in any given area. There are other factors, too. Are there nearby attractors? Movie theatres, hotels, shops, other restaurants? That’s right, other restaurants. Other restaurants should not necessarily be considered competition. Having other restaurants around can actually work in your favor. Anything that draws a potential customer in your direction is helpful. What if the other restaurant that brought that customer to your area is full? They might decide to eat at your place instead. What if on the way home they discover your place and decide to try it next time?
Good or bad location?
Other things to consider when deciding on a location: Are your customers going to have to go on a highway to get to you? Are you across a river, do they have to cross a bridge? They won’t. Is there a median in the middle of the street requiring them to turn around to get to you? Is it easy to get in and out of your place? Do you have parking? Is your restaurant clearly visible from the street? Do you have a sign? I have a friend who recently opened up a place, and although I ride my bike by it often, and know where it is, I still couldn’t find it because he didn’t have an obvious sign!
The point of a good location is that you must make it easy and convenient for your customers to find you and access your establishment. If you don’t, they will keep on driving to the next more convenient-to-reach restaurant.