How to Overcome a Bad Restaurant Location

A lot has been said about the selecting the right location of your restaurant. A restaurant’s location plays a crucial role in its success or failure. Great establishments have been known to shut down because of poor location. While it is true that it takes considerable efforts to find the right mix of a triad- Location, Food and Service for the success of a restaurant, it is essential to realize that location is just one of the factors crucial to the success of your restaurant.

There are certain legendary food outlets that boast of a prolific food business, flourishing out of a small nook and cranny of some crowded street. Such examples spell hope for a lot of aspiring and existing restaurateurs; making them  believe that they do have a chance to succeed at running a restaurant that is, or would be established at a relatively ‘poor location’.

Let us first discuss: what is a poor restaurant location?

A location can be considered as poor if it satisfies one or more of the following conditions-

  1. Low visibility- The interior of a market or the rear of a building can make it difficult to find your restaurant. 
  2. Poor accessibility- No parking available, or the lack of an elevator if the restaurant is situated at a higher level of the building can be a major turnoff for customers and drive them away.
  3. Isolated areas- Areas with low footfall, such as residential areas.
  4. Wrong customer targeting- Even if you have chosen an area which satisfies all the criteria of a good location if you open the wrong format of the restaurant at the wrong area, it is bound to fail. For example, a posh, fine dining restaurant at a student-centric area is most likely to incur huge losses and shut down.

If you are succumbing to a bleak fate of your restaurant, sit back and find out how you can overcome a said poor location of your restaurant by employing other factors in its absence!

1. Have a USP

If you want your customers to go out of the way to come to your restaurant, you need to entice them with a USP. The USP of your restaurant can be anything- a signature dish or a quirky theme; anything that sets you apart from other restaurants, and actually compels people to try you out.

You can have a signature item, a particular food or drink that is your own invention- an item that your restaurant becomes known for. Customized food items, fusion dishes, ‘Chef Special’ items and sample celebrity dishes are the new fad that is pulling people in.
Your signature item can be anything from a drink which is mixed with 2-3 other drinks or croquettes, sandwiches, burgers with options of 7-10 stuffings. Just make sure that it is lip-smackingly delicious!

2. Serve Outstanding Food

There is no denying that even though the brand status and ostentatious interiors of a restaurant attract a majority of customers, the actual reason why people consider a restaurant is for food.
You should invest the extra money that you saved from being spared of the higher rentals at high-end markets of your city in hiring some great cooks. It is believed that restaurants in poor locations serve bad quality food. Considering this as a challenge, you should ensure that the quality and taste of all items in your restaurant are of optimum level.

3. Employ Effective Marketing

If you decide to go for a relatively poor location, you would be saving a substantial amount of money, that would otherwise go in paying an obscene amount of rent for a prime location. You can use this money to aggressively market your restaurant that is certain to give a high return. Spending on the marketing of your restaurant can actually turn out to be a better investment, since once you get the word out, and customers start pouring in, you can cut down on the marketing cost. The rent of a pricey location, however, would only increase over time.

  • For a restaurant situated in a poor location, grass-root level marketing works wonders. Send out fliers/pamphlets in the local newspaper or to houses/offices located within 1-2 KM radius of your neighborhood.
  • Use effective signage. If you have a restaurant which is not in a front location or not easily visible, you should make sure that your restaurant’s hoardings and billboards are actively displayed where they are easily visible. Give attention to check that the hoardings shout of your special dishes, discounts, happy hours and offers that lure customers into visiting your restaurant.
  • Portable signage can be a great idea too! You can deliver food in catchy and colorful paper bags with your restaurant’s name and details, or invest in some more money and give out mugs/spoons with your restaurant’s name to your customers.
  • Give out exclusive discount/offers to your customers, like a 10% off on their next visit to your restaurant.
  • Incorporate an online marketing strategy with social media pages, review sites, listing your restaurant with restaurant search and discovery services like Zomato and Yelp. Having a social media presence drives customer loyalty which is an invariable factor for the success of your restaurant.

Nevertheless, effective marketing can only bring customers to your restaurant. Retaining them is an entirely different thing that can only be achieved with outstanding food and great customer service.

4. Explore Delivery Options

If your customers can’t come to you, why not you go to them? Often restaurants located at poor locations are known to have a thriving food delivery business model.  Food delivery options- online and via call can be a game changer and increase your revenues manifold.
With an incredible growth in online food ordering in the past few years, more and more customers continue to give preference to the ease of ordering in food, which is highly beneficial for small and take-out restaurants. You can leverage this for the profit and growth of your restaurant business. Check out POSist's Online Ordering for managing your online deliveries.

5. Conduct a Market Research

Lastly, before you daringly decide to start a restaurant in a lesser or poorly known location, channel your inner detective and do your own little search of the market you are about to enter in.
Engage with the locals and understand their needs and requirements. You can also ask about the failed businesses earlier founded. It could be that you alone aren’t the daring one, and someone else in the past did try to open a 
foodlet there but could not make it to last. The failed businesses can be great teachers for you! You can drive conclusions and relevant information on how you should be running your business. Looking at the mistakes the failed restaurants did, you can equip suitable techniques for your business and identify all the possible mistakes you should not be making in your restaurant.

It can be construed that the location of a restaurant is more of a moderating variable and it is not a causal one. So, even if you fail to find that perfect location, do not lose hope because you can still give a competition to other restaurants that are situated in the finest location of your city.

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