You decided to make the jump, prepared a business plan, and scraped together, one way or the other, enough money to bring your project to life. Now you need premises.
Finding a Property
You may want to write a list of what you need, based on your idea: the size, location, storage space etc. Once you write these guidelines down, make sure you do not deviate too much from them, In fact, try to be very strict. Many times people think they can make a restaurant work, even though it lacks some essential requisites. Things like:
- Parking space
- Easy to reach by car or public transport
- Foot fall
- Good area (as opposed to run down)
If you deviate from your list there must be a good reason.
For example, you are opening in London and will use a third party like Uber Eats or Deliveroo for deliveries and as marketing tool. In this case you can open pretty much anywhere. If you plan on opening to the public, foot fall, visibility, and easiness to reach are a must!
Very few restaurants can open in a remote location and draw people in. Even if their product is outstanding or very unique, it has taken them a lot of time and a lot of marketing to make it work. Definitely not something you want to try and do on a small budget.
The easiest way to find a location is going for a drive around the desired area and checking the shop windows for a “To Let” sign.
Danny Meyer, the famous American restaurateur, and author of “Setting the Table”, famously walked around New York, found a location, walked into a restaurant, and asked the owner if he would sell. This approach may or may not work. You are more likely to succeed if the restaurant is not doing well. A more conventional method is to check online (you can start on Zoopla and Rightmove in the commercial section) and then register with a few commercial estate agencies or possibly some websites that sell businesses.
This brings us on to the next point which is, do you want a premises that already has the relevant licence? (in England A3 and A5 for hot food takeaways and eat in) or, are you willing to spend money and time on obtaining the relevant licenses and converting the place?
The latter can prove quite expensive, especially if you need to set up a professional kitchen from scratch and install an extractor hood. On the other hand, if you go for a restaurant that is operating, the present occupiers may ask for a premium to pass/sell the lease on to you (the so called “goodwill”).
Check out the next blog post of this series: