Are you considering expanding your restaurant footprint? Your next restaurant location will probably depend, to a large part, on where you are in the expansion cycle. Is this your second location or one of many units? Do you have supply chain and labor support in place? All of these are vital considerations as you extend your reach.
Let’s explore a few of the most important factors when adding to your restaurant empire and the steps you can take to find the prime location. Some may surprise you.
Go To the Experts
You probably expected us to start this conversation with target markets and competition. While those are important factors, developing an expansion strategy with the help of those who have established the tried-and-true methods for successful growth is one of the best suggestions we can offer.
It’s like working with a mentor, sailing the seas with an experienced navigator, or climbing Mount Aconcagua with a guide. They know the landscape and the terrain—where the gullies are and the river crossings. They know because they’ve been there before and have developed strategies that ensure success.
Working with a company that has successfully expanded multiple enterprises, and has the track record to prove it, is a much better approach than canvassing through the numerous requirements on your own. These include picking out a location, negotiating a lease, staffing your establishment, setting up your supply chain, and attracting your first customers. They know the steps because they’ve already done it 100 times or more.
Is your brand firmly entrenched? The elements that make up a restaurant brand include its voice, look, mission, and consistently great food and customer service. While some restaurants strike out on a new and different brand and concept altogether, much stick to what they know. Leveraging your already established concept and name eases the process, enabling you to possibly use the same vendors and keep the same menu and recipes that have proven successful.
Make Sure Your Ready
How do you know when your brand is ready for multiple locations? This can be one of the most challenging questions for a restaurant owner. If the first restaurant has found success and the chatter on social media is positive and upbeat, then it must be time to throw in the gold ring and begin again. Or not.
While you may feel the timing is spot on, does the economy agree? How are restaurants doing in your area of interest? Do you have the staff to support your first establishment while you get your new unit on its feet?
Research the Locals and Perform a Market Analysis
As you know, the restaurant business is highly competitive, and what works in one location does not always work in another. For example, you may choose an area because of its beauty and little competition that aligns with your concept. What you may not know is that you’ll be walking into a very tight-knit community that supports locals. While you may reach the “local” pinnacle someday, you may not have the funds or the desire to hold on until you get there.
Performing all the possible market research significantly lowers the risk of failure and enhances the possibility of success. This includes choosing a location far enough away so that you don’t cannibalize your current guests, taking from one to give to the other. Take a deep dive into target demographics that look beyond age, gender, and income level.
Successful Hiring Is the Secret Sauce
You can’t be in two, three, or four places simultaneously. Proper hiring, starting with the right staff and management, ensures your brand retains its good reputation across all units. Often, owners spend much more time at the new location during the early growth stages. So make sure your establishment is in good hands with a GM you can trust before you set out on your expansion quest.
Fortunately, there are tools to help you, including Target Workforce, a proprietary technology that enables you to find the highest quality staff at the lowest cost.
At EMERGING, we evaluate real estate opportunities using the latest data science, predictive analytics, and careful examination of our clients’ target market and the complete picture of their customers. We select spaces that maximize returns and minimize risks, negotiating with developers and landlords in the process. Additionally, our services include setting up a supply chain, hiring strategy, funding, and menu pricing. To learn more about expanding your enterprise or to schedule a complimentary consultation, contact EMERGING today.
Does the location matter for a restaurant?
The answer to that is a resounding yes. In fact, it’s one of the most important decisions you make. Your location plays a substantial role in your image and brand. When you consider that most of your guests are within a small radius of your restaurant, selecting the right neighborhood proves vital for your success.
How do I bring my restaurant to the next level?
Several measures can help you take your restaurant to the next level. These include scrutinizing your restaurant menu, knowing the most popular dishes, and aligning your offerings with your customers’ tastes and preferences while retaining a firm grip on food costs and menu pricing.
Additionally, give back to your customers, establishing yourself as the “locals” favorite. If you support your community, it will support you. Finally, get to know your customers and develop a solid social media presence.