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April 6, 2016

It’s all about location, location, location. For restaurants, excellent concept, food and service may be the most obvious determinants of success, but without ample visibility and ease of access, even the best restaurant risks becoming unattractive or worse, undiscovered. Choosing the right location for a restaurant is no easy task, and here are some of the major factors to consider before making a decision.

1. Target Market

If you have reached the location-scouting stage, most likely you have already identified your restaurant’s target market. Knowing who your customers will be helps streamline the location search process. If your restaurant caters to 9 to 5ers, then the financial district and commercial areas would be an ideal location. If your restaurant caters to late-night patrons, then the entertainment district would be the prime option.

2. Area demographics

When choosing the right location for a restaurant, take into account the area’s demographics. Do your due diligence and find out how much traffic an area gets, and what kind. Does it suit your target market form the age and income perspective? If your restaurant is an upscale fine dining, a classy downtown area would be more suitable than the outskirts of the city. Another factor to consider is the safety of the area. Is it infamous for its high crime rate? Has there been a lot of incidents lately? Safety is paramount.

3. Accessibility

How accessible is the location for both your customers and employees? Consider the various ways people reach a venue that include walking, driving and commuting via public transportation. Is the area pedestrian-friendly? Is there sufficient and affordable parking? How far is the closest subway or bus stop? Additionally, the visibility of your restaurant is also important. If it’s visible from multiple roads, with multiple access point, the location is considerably strategic.

4. Competitors

Find out where your biggest competitors are located. While some might argue that being as far away from your competitors is the way to go, consider the opposite. Chances are your competitors had done their research prior to deciding on a specific location, and your business might benefit from their finding. After all, you’re targeting the same target market. Those who enjoy dining at your competitors would be inclined to check out similar options.

5. Building condition

After studying the surrounding area, it’s time to evaluate the building itself. Does the rent comply with your budget? Are the lease terms reasonable? Or if you’re purchasing the premises, is the location reasonably priced considering the forecasted real estate value? Remember to include any renovation or repair costs in your budget if the building’s condition is sub par.