Choosing a Location for Your Restaurant

Four Factors to Help You Find a New Restaurant Location

••• The right location is important for a successful restaurant. Giancarlo Gallo

Before you create a business plan, write a menu, or dash off to the bank to apply for a loan, you must first decide where exactly your restaurant is going to be located. A restaurant's location is as crucial to its success as great food and service. It will influence many parts of your restaurant, including the menu. If you already have a certain restaurant location in mind, don’t get too attached until you know if it has all the right requirements for a successful restaurant.

There are four crucial elements to consider when looking at a potential restaurant location:

Population Base 

Are there enough people in the area to support your business? For example, is the restaurant location in the heart of a thriving downtown shopping district, or along a busy freeway? There need to be enough people who live in the area or pass through the area on a regular basis to keep you busy. To determine the population base of a particular area, you can do a site study. However, these can cost up to $25,000. Most people looking at their first restaurant don’t have enough money in their budget for a professional survey. A less expensive method to determine the population base of a certain area is to use a circle graph, as well as asking the local chamber of commerce and town office for more information.


Will there be enough parking to accommodate all the seats in your new restaurant? Ideally, a new restaurant location should have its own parking lot. If that isn’t an option, is there public parking near the restaurant location?


There’s a reason that major restaurant chains are often located near highway and freeway exits: It makes them accessible for customers. Motorists can reach the restaurant without fighting traffic or driving out of their way. Most successful restaurant locations (but not all) are easy to find.


This goes along with accessibility and is very important for new restaurant locations. People have to know the restaurant is there. This is why property prices in downtown districts and developed strips are higher than other areas. They offer a level of visibility that can bring in a great deal of walk-in business.

It’s important to address all these elements when you sit down to draft your business plan for a new restaurant, which you will need before applying for a loan. In addition, by understanding each of these elements, you can better choose the right location for your new restaurant.