Want to Be Amazing at Leasing a Restaurant?  Here's How.

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Sep 6, 2018 11:30:00 AM

Everyone wants to believe they are the best any anything they try.  When leasing a restaurant, however, the landlord will often have the upper hand.  Here are the tips from We Sell Restaurants so you can be amazing at leasing a restaurant, giving you the best chance at getting the space you want at a price that's right for your concept. 

Begin with the Concept

The landlord's first question when leasing a restaurant to a new candidate is to understand the concept you have in mind. Is it new to the market?  Do you have existing locations?  Is it a fad trending out or trending up?  Do the demographics of his center seem conducive to the style of restaurant?  Will it draw unattractive noise, create parking issues or conflicts with other tenants?  All of these items are on his mind so before you inquire about leasing a restaurant, make sure your ducks are in a row.Here's how to be amazing at leasing a restaurant

It seems simple but too many people looking to lease a restaurant approach the brokers at We Sell Restaurants or landlord without a firm concept in mind.  You must have your menu and your business plan.  You must have a clear idea of how it fits into the center, its demographics and how it will compliment, not complicate the other tenant's lives.  Only with a firm grasp of these principles can you determine the best location for your concept. 

If you don't have all this information in a written format as part of your business plan, you're not going to be amazing at leasing a. restaurant and you're going to get a turndown.  Move from a dream to reality by putting your ideas on paper, together with a menu and pricing.  Easily pull demographic information from online resources like government databases at this link and you'll increase your odds of beating out competitors and leasing a restaurant in the most desirable part of town. 


Set a Budget - Based on your Business Plan

How many seats to you need?  How many times will you turn over the tables in a night generating how much revenue?  Does your idea cry out for patio seating or space for live music to set up?  Starting down the path to leasing a restaurant space means you have to put all the details together. The size, number of seats, times you turn over the seats per night and outdoor seating bring you to an estimate of revenue.  That tells you how much rent you can afford.

Leasing a restaurant space because it's in the "hot" part of town without making sure you can cover occupancy costs is a recipe for disaster. You won't be amazing; you'll be astonished at how quickly you go out of business.  Don’t start shopping and leasing a restaurant space without a full understanding of the revenue and expense line.  If you need help with a business plan, try local resources like SCORE found at this link or a local college or university who may have an entrepreneurship community outreach or business incubator program.  They may just have an MBA program willing to take your plan on as a team project. 


Test your Concept – Consider Doing a Pop-Up

Everyone's excited and ready to go to market but if you want to be amazing in your approach, why not try it on for size first?  Consider doing a pop-up restaurant.  

A pop-up restaurant is an idea that gained steam in the last few years.  Instead of a fixed space, an unused restaurant space may be used by a number of concepts for a short run of their concept.  Invest the time and money in building a following through a pop up concept before you commit to the recurring cost of a monthly lease.  Take that valuable customer input and further develop the menu, build a social media following and then be ready to share that with any potential landlord.  It’s also a great way to build investor support for your new business before leasing a restaurant.


Begin Shopping for Restaurant Lease Space

Once these steps are complete, you're well on your way to being amazing at this process.  You can now begin shopping for a location.  Begin your search for leasing a restaurant on line and on the roads.  Contact restaurant brokers in the market and start looking at options online.  One resource for lease space is loopnet.com.  Check them out but before inquiring, make sure you have someone working on your behalf.  The person posting the ad is usually (though not always), working for the landlord.  Because you have done the work listed above, you now have an understanding of the size, budget and location.  Look at you!  You're already amazing at this and ready to get the best possible location


Don't Forget Second Generation Space

In particular, ask brokers if they have second generation lease restaurant space.  This is a great way to get more for your money.  A second generation space means it was previously rented for restaurant use.  That means the location will have existing infrastructure, typically walk in freezers or refrigeration, hood and grease traps. That’s money you will save over going into a new center that has never been built out for restaurant use.


That's it.  Follow this plan and you're going to land an amazing restaurant for lease space for your new restaurants.  Let us know when you're open for business.  We want to check it out.  For restaurant space for lease listings, click the link below. 

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Topics: Leasing a Restaurant