As the mobile food industry continues to grow, it is also starting to see some major structural changes. The biggest trend we’ve seen grow over the last couple of years has been food truck businesses expanding into brick and mortar restaurants. One of the most important factors in the success of a food truck restaurant is its location. Unlike your food truck, once you’ve moved into a restaurant location, you are locked in place.
Although, you have the advantage over other start up restaurants in that you’ve had time to build your brand, if your food truck restaurant is in a poor location, it’s chances of success are slim. Because of this, today we’ll be discussing how to properly find a great spot, and develop a restaurant location strategy for your growing food truck business.
How To Find The Best Restaurant Location
Conduct Market Research
Just like you did when you started up your food truck, you had to do your homework. What locations will be best to open a new restaurant? Understanding where your existing customers are will give you a great head start. Find a restaurant location where where your truck has seen enthusiastic support. You need to know if the prospective restaurant location has enough people, with enough expendable income, to spend money at your new food truck restaurant. Ultimately, if the answer is no, then find another location.
Check The History Of Landlord/Location
Once you’ve found a location for your restaurant, find out as much as you can about your potential new landlord. If there are other businesses in the same location, ask other business owners if the landlord is easy to work with and how they handle building issues. Also, check the history of the location. Have multiple restaurants opened and rapidly closed in in this location? You may have a great concept, but if you find a location that has parking or visibility issues, you need to find this out before signing a lease.
Know Your Budget
You may find the perfect place to open your food truck restaurant, but if the rent is too high, don’t get too attached. Just like you never entered a food truck event you couldn’t afford, the same is true of renting a restaurant space. Just like your food truck, the early years of a new restaurant are pretty tight financially.
Read Your Lease/Rental Agreement
Is heat, water, electricity included in rent or lease payment? What about trash removal, building repairs and general maintenance. Your food truck restaurant lease must detail exactly what expenses your landlord will cover. The lease will define who is responsible for required renovations, and what expenses you will pay for.
Have an Exit Plan
Although many landlords will offer lower lease payments for longer termed leases, don’t get too far ahead of yourself. A lease for two years is great. Five years, is starting to get carried away. But if a landlord approaches you with a ten year lease, RUN! No one likes to think about their food truck restaurant closing, especially before opening, but the reality is, a majority of new restaurants close within the first couple of years. If after the first term of the lease expires and everything looks good financially, sign a longer lease.
The Bottom Line
Before you start shopping for a restaurant location for your growing food truck business, you need to have a clear picture of what you must have, what you’d like to have, what you absolutely won’t tolerate and how much you’re able to pay. Developing a restaurant location strategy can be a time-consuming process, but it’s essential you give it the attention it deserves.