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2. 7. 2024

How to find a suitable space for a restaurant, café or bar?

Choosing the right space for your business is the key to success in any industry, gastronomy included. The right location for a restaurant, café or bar will not only boost visitor volume and popularity of a business, but also significantly impact operating costs and potential profitability. When searching for the ideal location, it is important to consider a number of factors such as the demographics of the target clientele, the competition in the area, or the accessibility and overall atmosphere of the location.

"The key to success is choosing a concept and understanding who the target client is. For example, while a fast-food establishment needs a location with good visibility and footfall, a bistro or bar can easily be located on a side street. A fine-dining restaurant also doesn't need a busy location, but it must have sufficient parking capacity," explains Marjan Gigov, a commercial real estate expert at Colliers, adding that at the same time you need to keep a close eye on other businesses in the area and emphasise your own competitive advantage. When evaluating a site, it is also advisable to take into account transport accessibility and the area’s potential future development.

A thorough site survey should include an analysis of demand and price levels in the area. It is important to identify what customers in the area prefer, what their habits are and how much they are willing to spend. It is definitely worth conducting a SWOT analysis to help identify the strengths and weaknesses of the business plan, as well as the opportunities and threats to the project’s success. The analysis should include not only internal factors such as the quality of services offered or the efficiency of operations, but also external factors such as competition or the economic climate.

Concept, design, budget

When inspecting the actual space under consideration, attention should be paid to the technical condition of the building, plus the accessibility of venue access routes and parking options. The size and zoning of the space are important aspects. The premises should be large enough for the expected number of guests, but at the same time have a cosy feel. The kitchen, storage and other operational areas must be efficiently designed for smoothly running the business. One needs to ensure that the space meets all health and safety standards and that it has the potential for business development.

Design and concept are essential elements that should reflect the business’ theme and style while appealing to the target audience. For example, young professionals are likely to be attracted to a modern industrial design with technological elements, while families with children will welcome a more comfortable and safer space. Furnishings and interior design have a major impact on the overall customer experience.

When designing the interior, it is important to think about functionality - the layout of tables, the movement of staff and customers, and the placement of the kitchen and bar so it’s intuitive and efficient. Aesthetics are equally important as they create a first impression and can attract customers, but they can also put visitors off. Choose colours, materials and lighting that support the ambience of your concept, and don't forget about acoustics, which can greatly affect the customer experience.

Budget is also an important factor. Colliers' experts recommend setting a realistic budget that includes rent, renovation or alterations to the space, operating costs and a reserve for unexpected expenses. The legal aspects of leasing commercial space should not be forgotten either. It is important to understand the terms of the lease, including the length of the lease, renewal options and restrictions from the landlord. "It is quite common to ask a landlord for a renovation or fit-out allowance or to ask for a rent-free period during the renovation and fit-out of the space. It is also possible to negotiate a reduced introductory rent in the early days of operations. There are many options and we recommend consulting a real estate expert who knows market practices and can advise on how best to optimise costs," adds Marjan Gigov.

Space is the most important thing

Ultimately, then, the success of a restaurant, café or bar is the result not only of great food and service, but also of the entrepreneur's ability to anticipate and respond to demand. However, the first and most important step on the road to success is choosing the right premises that meet all required criteria. Our retail commercial real estate experts will be happy to help you identify your ideal space, negotiate the best possible lease terms, and participate in the fit-out and furnishing of the space as well. Feel free to contact us at / +420 724 324 260.