It’s a good question and an interesting answer – it doesn’t matter as long as the two match. Perhaps an aspiring restaurateur has a location in mind; hopefully it’s a good location. To be successful, defined as being able to produce positive cash flow, the right restaurant concept must match the location. So, if an aspiring restaurateur has a particular concept they want to try, it’s imperative that they find the right location to implement that concept. If, for example, the concept is “health oriented”, meaning low fat, organic, gluten-free, etc., you wouldn’t want a location in an area with a high population of middle-aged men or blue collar workers. That’s not to say that there aren’t plenty of middle-aged men looking for healthy food; just not enough of them to support the investment.
On the other hand, we at W&W Restaurant Consulting Group work with many clients who own their own commercial buildings and want to put in a restaurant as an amenity and fun challenge. Our job is to assess the demographics in the one mile, three mile and five mile radii and make recommendations as to what concepts best cater to those demographic profiles within the budgetary constraints of the client.
Either way, there are rules that apply to concept development and location identification. The concept must offer something unique or special. In other words, if it doesn’t represent some kind of “brand”, its chances of success are diminished. The location is a critical key to success; can people see it? Can people get to it with relative ease? Is there anywhere to park? Those are only a few of the questions that should be asked.
Novices need the support of a good franchise or restaurant consultant to sort through these questions. Even experienced restaurateurs are well-served to hire a consultant as an objective third party to assess their current operation and/or help in their effort to expand their business.