Individual restaurants have different site criteria. A fast food restaurant, (such as KFC, McDonald’s or Burger King), a family coffee shop (such as Denny’s, IHOP, or Baker’s Square) and coffee house (such as Starbuck’s or Peet’s) have similar site criteria. They are all looking for high visibility, easy access, high vehicular counts and/or heavy foot traffic. Other types of restaurants such as a dinner houses or other upgraded operations are looking for a strong stable demographic base of customers which may include a combination of a strong neighborhood population, a dense business district, a heavy concentration of office buildings and/or a neighborhood or regional shopping center.
Many independent restaurant operators are competing against major chain operators for the best sites. Chain operators can normally beat out independents in acquiring these sites, as they can afford to pay higher rents because they generate higher sales volumes as a result of their large advertising and marketing budgets and their high physical presence in the marketplace.
Here are some of the ways independent operators can obtain good restaurant sites:
a) Look for a situation where an inexperienced operator has a good site and is not doing well and will most likely being going out of business in the near future.
b) Look at particular locations where local communities do not want chain operators and want only local independent operators in areas.
c) Talk to restaurant vendors and suppliers who know which restaurant operators are late pays and are having financial problems.
d) Check out restaurant sites where former operators are out of business and it appears that the equipment is still in tact.
e) Read the local newspaper restaurants for sale or business opportunity section and call various restaurants for sale. In more cases than not most restaurants for sale are in trouble financially and good deals can be made.
f) Call a restaurant broker specialist and there will more than likely to be a broker that will be happy to follow-up anonymously on your behalf on situations where it appears that the current operator is having trouble financially or there is a business that is closed, etc.