The tale of two cafes….successful site selection

Why site selection is important for retail success.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”

Two cafes opened in my suburb.  One is busy and the other isn’t

One is located in the primary shopping locality, is close to traffic generators, is in the midst of its competitors, probably pays twice as much rent, is twice as far to get too, and is busy.

The other is located in a secondary shopping locality, has no immediate competitors, pays lower rent, is close by, and is closing.

One has benefited from selecting a great site to operate from.  The other, has struggled to be successful.

I have shopped in both cafes probably on a 5 : 1 ratio. I am a sucker for soughdough baguettes and like to satisfy my craving now and again (my wife’s gluten free).

In the world of retail, hospitality and location based businesses why do two different businesses encounter the best of times or the worst of times, in the same catchment and trading period?

Is it the Location, the Facilities, the Operations or the Brand?

How can operators enjoy the best of times and avoid the worst of times?

From a site selection perspective, I believe that the Location and the Facilities play a critical role in retail (or hospitality / location based business) success.

Understanding your customers, how and where they shop, and whether you want to be close to or separated from my competitors, feed into your site brief. This is the starting point for successful site selection and determining your catchment and location requirements.

Understanding what you need to be able to operate from a site, what infrastructure and services you need to be able to operate, and what your business can afford to pay, feed into your site brief.  This determines your property requirements.

For instance, which side of the street you locate your café on can play a factor, as people like to sit in the sun, especially on those chilly winter mornings.  Once you have customers coming into your sunny café, having sufficient space for customers to sit and eat will draw in more customers, as we always tend to favour the busy places.

So, stopping and taking the time to define your site brief and then evaluating qualified sites against an objective Catchment | Location | Site Attributes Framework will tick the Location and Facilities boxes for retail site selection success.  The rest is then up to your Operations and Brand.