7 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Restaurant Property

A Guide to Finding the Right Building for Your Restaurant

Not all spaces are made for a successful restaurant, in fact finding a good restaurant spot can be quite difficult. While the food and service are fundamental to the businesses’ success, location is just as vital, especially at the beginning.

We can help you find the perfect restaurant for sale in Columbus, from our current inventory, with the help of these 8 tips to keep in mind as you scout your location.

“Cursed Properties”

Research the Restaurant's Past

We all know that one building that houses one failed restaurant after another. Eventually people begin to associate the space with a bad dining experience regardless of the current tenant’s food and service. Don’t discount a potentially “cursed” property and be mindful of investing in one.

Make Visibility a Priority

Foot traffic and signage are key

The ideal scenario is to find a location with plenty of foot or car traffic. When your restaurant is easily visible to the public it’s like free advertising. WIth the proper signage you can remind them regularly of your presence and that they should stop by for a meal soon.  

Convenient Parking

Nearby Parking is a Must

People can be inherently lazy and when they find it a hassle or near impossible to park near your restaurant, it will discourage them from visiting you and instead opt for a more convenient eatery. Spots in busy urban areas with plenty of public transportation and foot traffic have less of a concern here, but if guests need to drive a distance to get to you, they will expect a large lot adjacent to your restaurant.

Restaurant surrounded by empty parking lot
Inaccessible parking can discourage diners from choosing your restaurant.

Size Matters

Make Sure There’s Space for Everything You Need

Even the smallest coffee shop or bistro needs enough space for a kitchen or line, refrigeration, restrooms, dry storage, and an office. You’ll also need space in the dining room for enough tables to be cost effective and a wait station and possible bar. An empty space make look roomy but consider how quickly it will fill in when all the needs are in place.

Know the Neighborhood

Research the market and neighboring businesses

Scout the neighborhood and note if there are other restaurants with the same concept as yours. If the area is saturated you may want to choose elsewhere. Also gauge the general success of any businesses nearby. Is the area busy or full of empty storefronts? Know that successful businesses will make the area a more desirable place to visit and dine, and you can benefit from other’s success.

Up to Code

Safety Comes First

One of the first things you’ll want to check about a potential property is if it’s up to code. Elements like proper electrical wiring, fire alarms, sprinklers, and handicap accessibility are all required for an occupancy permit. Do a walk through with a local code office to determine what is up to date and what will need invested in to get to code.

Entrance to "Local" restaurant
Don’t jump on the first property you see. Exercise due diligence to be sure you’ve found exactly the right spot.

Avoid Impulsivity

Patience is Key

You may think you’ve found the perfect spot right away but slow down. Be sure to still check out some other options and to visit the potential locations at different times of day. An area that may be busy during lunch may slow down in the evening and weekends, or an area that picks up in the evening may have no traffic earlier in the day. If you’re serving breakfast for example, you’ll want early day traffic, not evening. Your patience will pay off in choosing the best restaurant space.

There’s plenty of variables to consider when finding the ideal location for a restaurant. Do your research, be patient, and consider these tips to increase your odds of succeeding in this risky industry.

Lani Redinger

Lani Redinger is a professional writer, editor, and bibliophile from Pittsburgh, PA