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Blog at Chefify

The Do’s and Don’ts of opening a restaurant in an area with high footfall

Feb 8 2019 - 4:28pm
Location is a crucial part of success for any restaurant. The choice is often between an area where there are already plenty of other restaurants – so, high footfall but lots of competition – and somewhere you’re going to be one of fewer dining establishments. If you opt for a high footfall area then the biggest risk is that you’re simply overshadowed by the competition.

How do you make the most of opening a restaurant in a busy location with high footfall – and avoid the pitfalls?


Do get as much information as you can about the local market before you open.

This may be a case of just sitting outside the location you’re considering and counting heads. Arming yourself with information on peak times and traffic numbers should help inform decision making about staffing and strategy. 

Do look at the restaurant that was there before you.

If you’re following in the footsteps of another restaurant try to find out what worked, what didn’t and why they shut down - learn from the mistakes of others.

Do take advantage of overflow.

One of the major advantages of being in an area with many restaurants is that, as a new establishment, you can pick up customers who came to eat in this area but couldn’t get a table elsewhere. Make sure the outside of your restaurant clearly communicates what you offer so that those looking to make a snap dining decision can easily choose you. 


Don’t ignore your competitors.

You may not want to acknowledge that they’re there - but they pose a serious threat to you in terms of survival. Analyse their menus, count their footfall and try to work out what it is that makes their concepts distinctive - use this information to plan how to make yourself a better option for potential diners . 

Don’t impose your concept (without research).

You might be in an area of high footfall but is this traffic your kind of traffic? You need to understand who your potential customers are, what they’re looking for in a restaurant, what their budgets are and the aesthetics that appeal. Sometimes the only way to do this is to sit and watch.

Don’t fail to market.

Even if you’re in a high footfall area you still need to invest in marketing. Location targeted social media campaigns and advertising can bring you to the online attention of nearby diners – if, the next day, they walk past your restaurant they already know what you do and what you’re offering. This could be the final motivation they need to come in through your door.

For more information on footfall, take a look at our blog on improving restaurant footfall.

What you should be looking for when selecting the location for your restaurant?
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