Customers have to be able to get to your restaurant. How easy do you make it for them? Do they have to take a train or a bus or a boat or walk down the alley? What are the surrounding streets like? Is there a parking lot nearby?
Usually, when a restaurant operator talks about accessibility, he or she is talking about ingress and egress. Ingress and egress should be analyzed for both present and future sales opportunities, as well as customer flow. The reality is that even if access to the community and trade areas is excellent, traffic to your specific restaurant may be limited.
In fact, I often get called by a restaurant owner who says to me, “We have a great location, right in the heart of a wonderful trade area, but we have no sales coming in. Can you help us?” I gladly make the trip to see what I can find out and a mere two minutes into my analysis I can clearly see the restaurant has poor ingress, egress, or both.
One sandwich operation in Georgia didn’t do any research regarding accessibility. Then, the city planning commission decided to change a major intersection right in front of their restaurant—literally six months after they opened. By the time they called me for assistance the road crew was already at work.
Customers couldn’t even get to them any longer during the construction phase and after the work was completed the consumer was not willing to fight traffic to get in and out of the restaurant at all. I advised them to cut their losses quickly—which they did.
Sadly, this project had been planned by the city for two years prior to this restaurant’s opening. If the owners had done some research they would have known about the intersection change prior to taking the site.
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