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How to Pick a Location for Your Restaurant

Learn how to pick a location for your restaurant from restaurateur Paul Bolles-Beaven in this Howcast video.


One of the most important things you'll do as a restaurateur is choosing a location for your restaurant. Obviously, you need to make sure that the location fits what your idea is for your restaurant or its concept. How big will your restaurant be? How much rent can your restaurant pay? How will people come to your restaurant? Is there parking nearby if people are going to drive there? Is there foot traffic if you expect people to walk in? Is there public transportation nearby for people to get to your location? You need to make sure that all of that makes sense.

The best way to choose a location is to spend time in it at all times of day. Visit the businesses that are in an area or a neighborhood. See what businesses are thriving. See what businesses are not doing too well. Get a feeling for the different addresses and blocks so you know the areas that you're looking for for your restaurant.

Now when you're choosing a location it's very important to remember that that location is something that will need to fit your idea financially. The rent of your restaurant, the lease that you have for your restaurant space, can make the difference between a successful restaurant financially and one that doesn't work financially. It is something that you're going to have to come up with every month to pay that landlord. And you want to make sure that your restaurant will generate enough revenue to pay for that.

Another consideration is the operational requirements of the space. Can you get the deliveries that you need? Is there a way to get the raw product into the restaurant? How much space will you need for kitchen or backspace? How much dining room space will be possible? All of these are determined by the space and the location.

Once you've chosen your general area for your restaurant, you need to start looking at spaces. Is this space big enough? Does it fit the aesthetic idea that you have for your restaurant? Does it fit the operational needs of your restaurant? How much is it going to cost to build out the restaurant in this location? If it's a raw space or a space that's never been a restaurant, it's going to cost you significantly more to turn it into your restaurant. If you're taking over an existing restaurant, you want to consider how much does that space need renovation or redecorating to fit your idea?

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