Site Selection Secrets

Site Selection Secrets


The best laid plans of franchisors and restaurateurs can go awry when a unit ends up in a no-win location. To make sure each new restaurant in your system is built in an ideal location, the best time to plan for new restaurant sites is when initial preparations are made to expand. Not only will funding from investors and franchisees be more readily available when site location pre-planning is completed but the chances of poor location selection and its disastrous financial results can be avoided. Make sure these 4 time-tested site selection tips are followed during initial chain expansion planning:

  1. Give Yourself a Shout Out… On Paper

You wouldn’t be planning to expand unless your concept worked. Whether you laid out an intentional plan for your flagship restaurant that was followed to a tee or success came from experience, it’s important to write down the success you are seeing. A Restaurant Growth Consultant will be able to identity the key characteristics of your patrons, current location, neighborhood and many other factors that you have harnessed to grow a successful foodservice concept.  Assessing and codifying your accomplishments at the site you are at will benefit from an outside and unbiased perspective.

  1. Plan From the Inside Out. 

No matter how great your current location is, your amazing food is the lighting that needs to be put into the bottle. Of course, this means you need to capture and test the replicability of your recipes but it also means capturing your current restaurant layout as well as translating your flagship unit’s operation into other potential layouts.

A skilled foodservice chain designer can balance the need to adhere to all state and municipal code requirements while applying functional and inviting guest experience protocols and work-flow considerations into one or multiple layouts. When successful, this food-centric, in-depth, planning exercise produces a schedule of must-have items as well as prototypical architectural and engineering documents. In turn, these documents dictate the size, shape and possible configurations that you, your Restaurant Growth Consultant, franchisees and other team members can use when looking for great new locations. 

  1. Plan For the Outside Too

Along with making selections for the inside of the building, your foodservice designer needs to capture the real estate class, type, property management agreement nuance, facade, traffic patterns and much more that exists right outside of your front door. It’s important to work closely with your designer to identify what look, feel, surrounding business types and other distinctive communities of your property and near community that need to be present at each location in order to ensure success. 

Not all aspects of your location’s exterior and community need to be replicated but it is important to be able to identify the elements that are “must-haves” so that they can be incorporated into your planning documents.

  1. Process Makes Perfect

In addition to having really great food in the right place, you're going to win over new customers with the right experience. Some spaces will enhance your patron dining experience and others might just send them to the competition. It’s important to answer the following questions in your planning documents so they don’t come up during construction or after a new restaurant is in operation:

  • Will foodservice workers be able to procure, prepare and deliver food for customers that way I want them to?
  • Have I planned for accessibility via walk-ins, delivery services, drive thru, etc.?
  • How will I ensure the sounds, sights, temperature and olfactory needs and desires of guests are met?
  • Have I designed prototype(s) that I will be able to staff?

A strong Restaurant Growth Consultant and Food Service Design Team will be able to help you illuminate the answers to these questions and produce ideal foodservice planning documents needed to secure investment and be ready to pick the right locations each and every time.

Contact Horizon to learn more.