Deciding On The Best Premises For Your Restaurant Investment
It’s hard to imagine any business type as open for interpretation as the restaurant. While it may seem like a simple concept – you seat people, feed them, and wish them well as they leave – restaurants can take any number of forms depending on their brand vision and goals.
For example, we’ve seen restaurants set up as fast food locations, enjoying premises in most cities around the world. We’ve seen fine dining restaurants that fight for the mythical Michelin stars, often the ultimate accolade given to chefs and restaurant owners, who wait with bated breath to learn of the new restaurant rankings decided each year by a tire company.
There’s also the oft-repeated notion that two-thirds of restaurants will fail in their first two years, and unfortunately, this is often close to the truth, as the market is highly competitive, and we’ve certainly seen no uncertain amount of challenges present themselves, from the rise of food delivery apps to that little international pandemic that tore through the commercial market worldwide.
One thing is for certain; if you’re to open a restaurant, you need to start the ball rolling in the best possible way. Investing in the correct commercial premises to build up your restaurant location is the essential step for that, no matter if you’re purchasing a previous restaurant space, or designing one from scratch.
Let’s discuss all of the considerations that may go into a decision like this:
Before deciding on location, or how much car parking space your property may offer, it’s essential to make sure the building itself is conducive to running a restaurant. There are many elements of infrastructure that must be either there already, or enjoy room for installation.
For example, large ventilation hoods in the kitchen will work as extraction fans to ensure all smoke and steam rise and is removed while cooking. This will also prevent heat from building up thanks to good ventilation, securing healthy working conditions even in an intense environment with many chefs working at one time over stoves.
It’s also important to consider how food will be collected and delivered, a dumbwaiter can help meals move between levels in a convenient and hygienic manner. Of course, the regular staples apply – will you have enough room in the kitchen for your staff? Do you have enough storage area for refrigerators, and can the building and its wiring handle the extensive and constant power draw of a restaurant?
What are the public facilities like, in most places there are distinct laws about providing restroom access if you’re operating a front-facing business. Ensure you have the checklist ready so that the building can apply compliance measures (such as fire safety, an absolute priority). This will make certain that no matter what, the core competencies are there.
Location Is Everything
Of course, all front-facing premises will need to be defined by their location. But a restaurant location can matter most of all. While it’s true that your market will not only be limited to your local area (people will drive hours if your restaurant is proven to be worth a trip), it will be defined by it.
For example, a restaurant located near the seafront will have the chance to enjoy the best of local catches and make use of a wonderful fish market nearby. Your location will also be influenced by local culture: this might involve a vibrant food scene nearby that you can get involved with and contribute to, like a cheese festival each year.
Moreover, competition is important to consider. Italian eateries are considered some of the most delicious in the world, but if there are five on a high street already, well, it might be best to seek a location further afield. Also, consider the current needs and wants of the market through market research. A restaurant might seem like a lifestyle comfort, but it’s a real business with a market to sell to, and if people can’t understand your concept or aren’t interested in it, they’re unlikely to bite.
For example, a fine dining restaurant might seem like a nice idea for a rural village, but if most wouldn’t want to spend money there, your concept is flawed and may struggle to gather traction.
What Restrictions Will Your Business Contend With?
Restaurants can, in effect, operate anywhere for the most part. You may even have one on a residential street provided the building has been designed for commercial purposes. Yet it’s also important to consider how this might limit your operational capabilities.
For example, there may be very real noise restrictions in that area by a certain time of night. If you’re licensed to sell alcohol, then guests that have enjoyed a merry meal and tipple might cause noise as they leave. Also consider the coming and going of goods, deliveries, bottle collections and other maintenance measures during the evening. Remember that restaurants often smell thanks to their ventilation infrastructure where they need to constantly keep good airflow into the building. Even if these fragrances are a lovely side effect of your cuisine, some residents might not be happy with it.
Consider how the premises will affect your operational capabilities. It might be that a famous bar run nearby may mean you have to turn away prospective guests at the weekend unless they come as a couple or small group. As you can see, the location can offer very many small adjustments to your strategy, and it’s essential to plan those in advance.
What Facilities Can You Offer?
We’ve already covered the essential needs, such as good seating areas enough to attract satisfactory volume throughout the week, restrooms, and ample space for logistics, deliveries, and other services to arrive at your place of business.
But it’s also important to note that depending on the kind of restaurant you’re trying to be, other facilities are worth investing in. If you have room enough outside of your restaurant, you may have space to set up a few tables and chairs for a nice exterior seating space.
Parking spaces also count and will inspire people to visit you from further away. Depending on how you brand your restaurant, you might also sell hampers of charcuterie cheeses and meats, work with the local food delivery services for easy pickups (and ensure a separate window is opened to prevent bike riders working for delivery services coming in and out all day long).
Make sure all facilities are in tune with your brand vision, and always check the planning permission possibilities before assuming you can alter a location to your needs.
Will Legacy Influence You?
It’s important to invest in community goodwill, and depending on the premises you’re taking over, this can be easier or harder to accomplish. For example, if you’re taking over the building that was previously used for a beloved local restaurant or bar, well, you may have big shoes to fill without even realizing it.
In some cases, people may visit you without even knowing about the change, and they need to be welcomed as they might have before, even if your concept changes. Think about how you can properly telegraph the change, by marketing in the local community papers, allowing open tours before you launch, or running promotional weeks with free food and fun events to launch with confidence.
Depending on the premises you select, it’s always important to consider how the past influences you, because even if you’re not connected to it, your audience may see a relevant link.
With this advice, you’re sure to decide on the best premises for your restaurant investment, in the healthiest possible way.
Categories: Outside Contributors