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Location – First rule to open a restaurant in London

How important is the location when opening a new activity?

The restaurant industry in London is growing exponentially, every street is filled with every variety of restaurant, fast food place and pub; every type of food is available from classic European cuisines, primarily Italian, Spanish and French, to more exotic foods originating from Asia or South America. Demand, in the culinary industry, has become extremely high and as a result so has extent of competition to open a restaurant or cafeteria in a supposedly ‘cool’ area of the city.

In fact, offering quality dishes and products no longer guarantees success on British soil; there are multitudes of other factors that are important to take in to account to obtain a satisfactory result in this bloated market.
The process of marketing is fundamental for various reasons: to ensure the restaurant is known by the maximum number of people possible, to help define its soul and to build its reputation. At the core of this process lies, of course, the use of social media and the organization of ad hoc events in order to integrate the business with the clientele that form part of a preselected target.
Even before beginning promotional activities, there is an important decision that must be taken with caution, upon which a large part of the success of the restaurant: the choice of location.

We all know that rents in London are very expensive, however attempting to save a few thousand pound and in return obtaining a building that is in an idle zone means operating in an imprudent manner. The positioning of a restaurant, in a city that is the size of the English capital, can be a powerful tool that can be taken advantage of intelligently to communicate with clients
Well-known areas such as Piccadilly, Mayfair, Soho and Covent Garden are obviously coveted by all those who dream of starting their restaurant, bar or café in London but they are obviously not the only areas of the city that should be taken into consideration.
Some very important variables must be considered when one sets about the business of evaluating a location. Obviously, the first thing to take in to account is the composition of the building’s surrounding area as the clientele can vary depending on whether the business is in a popular tourist destination, in a residential area or surrounded by offices.
If the concept foresees a large number of clients on a day-to-day basis it is important to be positioned in an area of high traffic, mainly pedestrian traffic, in order to be visible by the largest number of people possible and try to intercept them during the urgent search for lunch. Having a large number of potential clients passing by the restaurant on daily basis will also unburden part of the cost of marketing.
The nature of the locality is also important. There are, of course, many different types of locations but clearly an area that is full of offices, such as the City, there are likely to be many fast food outlets to satisfy the needs of those that have little time for lunch whilst areas that are more touristy will contain more traditional restaurants. Therefore, it is necessary to have a clear idea about what the business will be before it must be opened and the type of concept that is to be chosen to offer the sophisticated London public.
The type of permit that the building possesses is also important as well as the possibility for the business to change the permit themselves whenever necessary.
When searching for a location, it is always good to rely on professionals and avoid doing it yourself or worse backing someone who claims they are an expert overnight and uses their low prices to sell their services. It is always best to test your project by running it buy a consultant or agent who has been successful, it’s even better if they specialize in the restaurant sector. The normal commission required by and an agent or consultant is around 10% of the rent and 5% of the premium.

In brief the motto is location ,location, location. Especially now more than ever before.

Picure: Carnaby Street London – Blended – Photo Credits Simon & His Camera on Flickr – Licenza Creative Common al momento dell’utilizzo