From the Desk of Chris Harle, White-Spunner Realty

So, You Want to Open a Restaurant? Understand First, Why Location Can Be More Important than the Food Served

I suggest the following four key points to consider before selecting a restaurant location:

1. Know Your Target Customers & Where They Are Located

Who does your food appeal to? Are they mainly young, old, business people, families? Find out where there is a density of the group you are trying to reach. Also, know the difference between household population and daytime population. An area can have a great population and high-income levels; however that doesn’t mean the residents are home during the day. This can have a significant impact on your sales if most of your business takes place during the lunch hour.

2. Traffic & Visibility Counts

Convenience is very important. You want to be on a busy road where people are driving by your restaurant on a regular basis. No one likes going out of their way or searching back roads to find your location. Being visible from that busy road also is vital. Think of it this way, visibility is free advertising for your business and the easiest way to gain new customers.

3. The Surrounding Competition

Check out other restaurants in the area. Are they direct competition? Do they offer a similar product? Could they complement your business? How are those restaurants doing and how long have they been there? Are you offering something new or different? All these factors can provide great insight into how your restaurant might perform.

4. Know How Much Space You Need & What You Can Afford

That new building is nice, but can you afford it? Size and price can vary across a market. Do you need a large space to accommodate indoor seating or something smaller because you expect to do a lot of takeout? A dependable way to figure out what you might be able to afford is to estimate your expected gross sales and keep it below ten percent of that number. Bottom line: Rent should be eight percent or less of your average sales volume.


Chris Harle of White-Spunner Realty is both an experienced real estate agent and restaurateur. He has opened and operated two popular and high-performing restaurants in Mobile, AL. You can count on Chris’s experience to help you determine the best location for your new eatery! He may be reached at 251.234.7232 or

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