5 things you should know about choosing a restaurant location

11th January 2023 | Jack Oliver

Selecting the right location is one the most important decisions to make when opening a business, and when it comes to restaurants it can be incredibly tricky to pick the perfect spot. If you’re stuck scratching your head over where to start up, here are our top five things to consider when selecting your restaurant location:

1. Know your demographics

Always consider your target market. Who are you trying to draw into your restaurant?

Say you’re opening a children’s restaurant – a good choice would be somewhere in the suburbs where plenty of families live. Or if you’re planning to open a coffee shop, a busy city with plenty of commuters would be an ideal first stop off the train for those caught up in the busy rush hours.

Nearby businesses are also another important factor to consider when choosing a location as this ties in directly with your target customers. Try and think what other businesses your clientele frequent and consider opening up nearby. If your focus is on health foods, a restaurant near a gym or leisure centre would be an ideal spot. Similarly, a fast-food joint near a city’s clubs and bars will draw in customers after a night out, looking for a bite to eat to soak up the evening’s drinks.

Completely Retail’s guides to renting will give detail about what demographics you can expect from certain cities

2. Your local competition

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While some businesses can help your business grow by drawing customers in, others can stifle it by pulling them away. Make sure that your restaurant isn’t going to be directly competing with its neighbours. Customers are excited by something new and different, so avoid opening up a restaurant in an area where they are already spoiled for choice.

If your business is unique you can always grab the attention of customers who are planning on dining elsewhere. Plenty of people go out to eat as a hobby or a way to socialise, and it’s these types of customers who may see your restaurant while dining or heading somewhere else and whose attention you can grab.

Do you notice any restaurants which are always fully booked? Why not open up nearby and pinch some starving patrons who may get turned away at the door?

However, if you notice that somewhere has a lot of businesses turning over in a short amount of time, this may mean that for various reasons, it might not be the most profitable place to open up your restaurant.

Many listings on Completely Retail will give details on nearby businesses, which is always worth looking at when choosing a spot.

3. The importance of visibility and accessibility

It’s vital to any successful business that your establishment is both going to be seen by potential customers, and that they can easily and conveniently access it.

Always consider people’s line of sight to your business and strategise accordingly. A restaurant in an open area can be easily spotted, but if your establishment is tucked away in a quieter street or part of a food court or shopping centre then careful consideration needs to be made when advertising your business.

Accessibility is another key factor to consider when choosing a location. If your restaurant is based in a town or city then ideally you would want to place it somewhere walkable, but this is not always a luxury many business owners can afford. For this reason, good parking nearby is always going to benefit your restaurant.

4. What’s the local footfall like?

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How many customers are going to be near your business at any given time must be considered when choosing a location. Your restaurant’s best chance at grabbing a new customer’s attention is by being in an area with plenty of on-foot or road traffic.

This ties-in with your restaurant’s demographics and which type of customers you’re trying to bring in. If your business is catering to higher-end dining and is therefore more likely to be considered a destination for customers, you can afford to go a little off the beaten path and set up shop in a quieter area. On the flip side however, if you’re catering to a customer who wants to grab a quick bite to eat, then it’s vital that your business is based in an area with plenty of traffic.

5. Affordability

Keeping your finances under control can be one of the biggest headaches for any business owner, but choosing the right location for your restaurant can help solve a lot of issues that may come up later down the road.

The first decision to make is whether to buy or to rent space for your restaurant. Buying is more expensive, but if you have the capital to spare it may benefit you in the long term if rent prices go up or if you decide you may want to sell the space a few years down the line. For those with less money to spend, renting is a more viable option, but ensuring that the money spent on upkeep and rent is mitigated by your profit can be difficult, but is crucial for success.

You will also have to pay business rates to the local council, and these will vary depending on the size and location of your restaurant. These have recently been reevaluated, with the changes coming into effect from April.

Choosing the right location can make or break your restaurant business, but knowing where to set up can give you a head-start over your competitors.

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Grants available from the Government or private enterprises can help kickstart your business. UK based companies can make use of the Government’s Enterprise Zones, areas which have been granted special benefits to encourage new business growth, and you may be eligible for reduced business rates, tax relief, and more relaxed rules regarding planning permission.

While picking the right spot for your restaurant is highly important for bringing in customers, there’s no substitute for great food and friendly service, which will ensure that they keep coming back hungry for more.

Ready to find your dream location for your restaurant business? Check out available properties with Completely Retail.


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