How to Choose the Right Restaurant Location in London

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Running a successful restaurant can be a commitment. Choosing the right location can help make things slightly easier for owners, and also attract more business. Here are some ways to choose the right spot for your upcoming restaurant.

Opening a restaurant comes with numerous challenges. In addition to choosing what style of cuisine you wish to serve, finding the right staff, and purchasing equipment, restaurant owners will need to choose a suitable location for their outlet. However, this is easier said than done.
Your restaurant’s location will have a huge impact on the number of customers that frequent it, as well as your operation costs. Let’s look at a few things to keep in mind when choosing a restaurant location.

1. Rent

Rent is a major factor that will determine where you can or can’t open a restaurant. If you wish to open your outlet in an affluent area, you should expect to pay high rent. This can create problems for restaurant owners, as profit margins in this industry tend to be incredibly slim. Adding high rent costs to the equation can make it difficult to sustain your business model.

Conversely, you could choose a restaurant in a less expensive area where the rent is much lower. However, you should keep in mind that these areas may have low rent because of the low demand for property. This could also imply the area isn’t frequented by many people, or that the residents there belong to low-income households and are unlikely to visit your establishment. 

2. Parking

Parking is an often overlooked factor when choosing a restaurant location. If you intend to open a restaurant that caters primarily to groups or families, you should choose a location with ample parking. This may not necessarily need to be a full parking lot, but choosing an area with a sufficient amount of street-side parking can help boost business significantly.

Parking is less of a concern for restaurants that are located in major shopping centers, as the vast majority of visitors use public transportation to reach such areas.

3. Visibility

Visibility is another factor that can significantly impact your restaurant business. If your outlet is situated or positioned somewhere where it is obscured from view, passersby will be less likely to discover it. This can reduce the amount of new customers you draw in.

There are many factors that could contribute to poor visibility. This includes:

  • Having a narrow storefront
  • Being situated between two unrelated businesses
  • Being located in a narrow street away from main roads
  • Visible barriers such as bus stops or trees blocking the view to your restaurant

You should look out for each of these before choosing your restaurant location. After all, the best way to attract new customers is to choose a location where they will notice your restaurant exterior.

4. Size

Restaurant owners should have a good understanding of how big they would like their upcoming outlet to be. This size will depend on the number of customers they expect to receive everyday as well as the amount of rent they are willing to pay.

If you plan to open a restaurant that caters mainly to families or groups, you will need an outlet with a large square footage. However, if you intend to run a high end establishment that caters mainly to couples and small groups, you can get away with choosing a smaller location that can accommodate a kitchen and a handful of tables.

Owners should also consider if the kitchen area will be large enough for the amount of staff they intend to hire. Placing too many staff members in a small kitchen will slow down your operations and increase the likelihood of accidents or mishaps occurring.

5. Adjacent Businesses

Restaurant owners should also consider whether the businesses adjacent to their upcoming restaurant will impact their own business. You generally want to avoid setting up a restaurant right next to a potential competitor. However, in some cases, it may help to set up your restaurant close to other food establishments.

For example, if you intend to open an Italian restaurant, you may receive more customers if it is located in a region with other Italian restaurants and bakeries.

In other cases, you can benefit from setting up your restaurant next to a non-restaurant business. For example, it’s not uncommon for restaurants that sell “healthy” food options to set up shop next to gyms. This helps them attract gym goers when they are seeking a healthy post-workout meal.

6. Business History

Restaurant owners should also consider the history of the location they are considering. If you learn that many of the previous establishments located at the location shut down after operating for only a short amount of time, it could indicate the location is a poor choice.

This could be due to a combination of factors, such as being located in an awkward spot or being obscured by barriers. These “cursed” locations are found all over London, so it is important to look up the location history before making your choice.


7. Demographics

Location demographics are also important when you are choosing a restaurant location. Most owners try to attract a certain crowd to their establishment. For example, if you intend to run a high end concept restaurant, you should set up shop in a region frequented by young people with high income.

Choosing a restaurant location based on demographics can be tricky. You will need to perform plenty of research to determine who your target customers are and select your location accordingly. This target market can be based on categories such as age, ethnicity, income level, household size, etc.

As you can see, there are many considerations to keep in mind when choosing a location for your upcoming restaurant. Some of these factors may have a greater impact than others, so it is important to study them carefully before making your choice.

For more restaurant setup and management tips, please visit our blog. We also offer consultancy services for restaurant owners who wish to expand their business in the near future.

New eBook Reveals How To Successfully Open A Restaurant… Free E-Book!


About the Author

Massimo’s career has grown up through the restaurant world, starting as a waiter through to high-end restaurant openings within an operational management capacity. This depth of experience has allowed him to understand the business from both a guest’s needs to what a team needs, giving him the benefit of an all-rounded view and approach to problem solving.