Are The Demographics Right?February 20, 2013 | By: Angela Bell
I have spent the last three years looking for just the right location to start my next venture. At every property showing, I was asked by the realtor, “What kind of a restaurant are you planning to open?” To which my response was always, “one that meets the expectations of the consumer demographics”. That was usually the end of the questioning by the realtor and the conversation as well.
According to the Rosen Hospitality Management survey of why restaurants fail, wrong demographics was right up there along with undercapitalization and the Taj Majal syndrome. Demographics is a classification of consumers such as age, sex, income, education and other characteristics they have in common. As a restaurant owner if you do not match your location, concept, price points, venue, type and hours of service to the demographics, you are greatly increasing the risk for failure.
First, decide if the location is destination or drive by or pedestrian. In other words, will you have to advertise to get your customers or will they be walking or driving by and swing in? An ice cream parlor, for example, is generally not something one would seek out, so it would be best located for easy access by pedestrian foot traffic. Match income to price points, concept to palates, age, sex and education to type of service and hours of service to area businesses or residential neighborhoods. Last, your venue should be what is expected. A cafeteria style service may not be successful in a Manhattan high rise, but may be just the thing in a southern mill town.
Unless you already have your heart set on a particular concept, the next time you are asked by a realtor or potential landlord what kind of restaurant you are going to open, the correct answer should be, “whatever meets the expectations of the consumer demographics”. You may not win any awards for being a great conversationalist, but if they are business savvy, they will recognize your potential for success.
Buon Appetito e Buona Salute, Chef Angela Bell
Beyond the Bull (an “eat smart” kitchen)
233 W. Main St., Central, SC 29630
This story is part of our Small Business Corner, a peek into the life and trials of small business owners.