Finding the Right Location for a Restaurant

You have your restaurant concept solidly fixed in your mind – you know what type of establishment you want to open, and what cuisine you will serve. Now you need a great place for your restaurant – you can have superb food, impeccable service, and still not succeed if your business is in a poor location. Finding the right location for a restaurant consists of balancing the external and internal qualities you need in a building for the best fit. Few factors are more important to a restaurant’s success than location.

There are several crucial external factors to consider when searching for the ideal location:

  • Demographics Are there enough customers in the area to support your restaurant? You need to consider population density, age groups, economic status, education level, job types, and crime rate. Are there traffic generators such as other retailers, schools, colleges, housing complexes, parks, or office complexes nearby? You can purchase this information from a market research or credit card company, but be aware that an in-depth analysis can cost up to $25,000. If you have a tight budget, talk to local realtors as they will have some of this information on hand. Frequent all the local restaurants, markets, parks, etc. and do your own research. Spend enough time to get an idea of the amount of foot and car traffic in the area.
  • Visibility and Accessibility Diners need to know your restaurant is there, and be able to reach it! If your restaurant is hidden away, or if customers need to fight traffic and make a U-turn to reach it, you will have a hard time attracting business
  • Parking Ideally, your restaurant should have its own parking lot large enough to accommodate a full house plus employees. If not, is there ample public parking nearby?
  • Competition A certain amount of local competition is a good thing. A successful restaurant that serves similar cuisine to yours is already bringing potential customers to the area; if the experience at your restaurant tops theirs, you can reap the benefits of their advertising efforts. There is such a thing as overkill, though – five Italian restaurants in one area can be too many.

Internal The right location will have the space and features that you need, in all areas:

  • Front of the House Do you need room for a front counter, hostess stand, wait stations, or a bar? How many tables will you have? Add one to two feet to each side of a table for guests to get up, ample space for customers to walk between tables, and four or five feet between tables and walls. If you have over twenty seats, you should have at least two restrooms.
  • Kitchen The kitchen is the soul of your restaurant; all surfaces should be smooth, durable, and easily cleanable:
    •  Walls made of wood or brick are no good unless they have several layers of gloss or semi-gloss paint; stainless steel is the best.
    • Floors must be well-sealed: if concrete, the floor must be free of cracks; tile floors should have a generous amount of grout, clean and free of crumbles and cracks, with unbroken tiles and no missing pieces. To test suitability, throw some water on the floors – if concrete turns dark grey, or if water disappears between tiles, the floor is needs to be re-sealed and/or re-grouted.
    • Ceilings should not be made of acoustic tile, or have exposed pipes or ducts that can collect dust and grease.
    • Sinks should be placed so employees have to walk no more than 20 paces to get to a hand sink. You will also need a mop sink, a food prep sink, and either a dishwashing machine or a dish sink.
    • Grease traps filter grease from wastewater before it enters the sewer; you need one either in the floor near the dish sink or in the back of your building.

Once you are successful at finding the right location for a restaurant, you need to ensure every part of your restaurant is the best it can be. Pinnacle Hospitality Systems’ POSitouch POS makes managing all aspects of your restaurant easier, from menu set-up to personnel management. Credit authorization is integrated into Pinnacle’s restaurant POS, along with security and loss prevention to make Pinnacle the best software for restaurants. Contact Pinnacle today at 800-771-7100 to for more reasons Pinnacle’s POS systems are the best choice for your restaurant!


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