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Location, Location, Location: 3 Things to Look For When Deciding Where to Open A Restaurant

November 04, 2013

Three things that every restaurant owner should consider before signing the lease.

  • As is the case with many customer-facing businesses, it's crucial that restaurant startups consider the area in which they want to operate before they take any further steps. Sometimes a location may seem ideal in a few aspects, but others are so suboptimal that they negate the benefits of opening in that area.

Below are three things that every restaurant owner should consider before signing the lease to buy a location.

1. Nearby population

Different restaurants will have varying operating costs. Some may be able to survive serving small towns. Others may need proximity to bustling freeways or commercial centers. This is why it's so important to look at the needs of the restaurant in the context of the customer base – entrepreneurs can only afford to open up shop in areas with enough people to sustain their businesses.

Digging deeper, population size isn’t the only metric restaurateurs should be looking at. Demographic factors such as cultural upbringing, race, affluency and age tend to influence what customers eat. For instance, New England is famous for its seafood and attracts people who like this type of cuisine, making it a hotspot for seafood restaurants.

2. Parking

There is nothing more frustrating than going to a restaurant and being unable to find a spot. Entrepreneurs should try to offer as many parking spots as needed to accommodate all of the seats in the restaurant, preferably via a nearby lot. However, this may change based on the location as well – some areas, such as Boston, are easily accessible with public transportation, so parking isn't as important.

3. Exposure

Where is the restaurant located in relation to where people are coming from? Visibility is important for both marketing purposes and simply trying to find the place. Ideally, entrepreneurs want to be easily accessible to customers, and the closer they are to major traffic centers, the better their visibility will be.

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