Although I do not have my own restaurant yet, I have several influences/mentors who guide me throughout my culinary career who I've grown to trust and value their opinion when it comes to business. A good colleague of mine recently opened an establishment and had to push his soft opening back a few weeks, due to his location choice. He chose an area that was slightly dilapidated, but the growth/development of the area could potentially become a huge success for him. I visited his place and went though his layout and discovered many "flaws" within his establishment. This chef, being in the industry for 12+ years, took heed to my honest opinion and made a few of the changes in which I suggested, but others he gave me very valid reasons why he didn't listen. I first noticed that the neighborhood's lack of police patrol. As I stated earlier, it is being developed and he has hired a private company for security purposes, so, that does help. When choosing a location, I will make sure that the surroundings make my guests feel welcomed, inviting, and safe, but most importantly, I want my guests to be able to see/find my location. My friend's establishment is not that hard to find, but it does sit off the main road. Hopefully, with all of his marketing and his excellent culinary skills, he'll be able to generate enough clientele it won't matter where his establishment is.
Location, location, location is the key that can make or break a new restaurant, besides over-spending your budget and not regenerating the incoming profit margin, your location sets the "scene" for your guests to experience what your establishment has to offer. Once you have chosen the "perfect" place for your establishment, then, it would make the marketing so much easier because traffic around your area, word of mouth, and an excellent menu will have people tearing the doors down. Not every establishment has to have that "five-star" rating as far as location is concerned, as long as the product you give is of quality and the customers are enjoying what they're eating, you could have a truck parked outside and have lines down the sidewalk. When I see my colleague again and explain to him that I want to build my restaurant from the ground up, (I don't think the layout for my restaurant has been created in the 'States yet) I think he'll understand why I've been so meticulous in my decision. Until then, I will continue to deliver and create wonderful food out of the comfort of my small establishment. I hope your location search leads you to your restaurant paradise and enjoy all of your "Tasty Bites".
-Chef Tara Browning
Here's some additional information in searching for commercial real estate/properties that could maybe become your new location!!!