Location, Location, Location!

As I began to write the June blog, I started to think back when I grew up in Charleston back in the 1950’s & 1960’s. While Charleston had a few top end restaurants back in those days – Henry’s, Colony House, and Perdita’s Colony House. Wow how times have changed since I left and came back home in the mid 1990’s!

I would make the case that it is all about location, location, location as in any other real estate transaction and price determination.

Over the next several months I will explore seven factors which influence a restaurant’s success or lack of business :

1) location
2) management
3) service
4) ambiance
5) food options, presentation, & taste
6) table comfort and menu options
7) consistency .

I really believe that how these items interact and fit together determine how the dining place does in the overall marketplace.

Looking back at the first paragraph on how Charleston has grown into a mecca for food is one piece of the perfect storm on how the location of other restaurants grew in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Another factor was the trend in society across America to eat out more often – it was more acceptable to go out to eat as a family dining experience. The core downtown business district began to be a neat city to visit and a very historic preserved architectural location for people to visit.

The phenomenon of restaurants locating near each other and creating an assortment of dining options has really grown in the past 25 to 30 years. Fast food places started putting a competing restaurant near a competitor in order to draw away customers and many diners broadened their menu to appeal to more customers. The same has occurred with nicer sit down establishments.

Location means so much for successful business – will they have enough customers? Will there be repeat customers? How many people live close or will be visiting to stay in a nearby hotel/motel to the restaurants? Market people make a lot of money scouting for the best areas and growing housing to build a new place – this demographic can make or break a new business!

As I think about how Charleston has grown and the dining market has changed the location (on the water, think Shem Creek, Olde Village, King Street, etc.) it is a main reason businesses are successful.

Hope you have an enjoyable summer and until next month,

~ Gary

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