In the real estate industry there is a saying there are three criteria being the pillars of any successfull investment decision:
And since any retail business needs a place people to go to – except for online retailers – I believe these same pillars apply.
Still, a good location for a fast food pizza slice dealer and a good location for health conscious slow foodies could be different places, right?
So, after turning around my head and looking at many many food & coffee shop concepts all over the main European capital cities I decided on the following criteria for My Place To Be – criteria that would be important to reach my targeted group of clients:
– “attractive B-location” – close to a high frequency shopping street but not directly on it in order to avoid loud and stressfull surrounding
– ideally next to a park, market, church or other similar venue
– possibility to sit outside
– fin de siecle architecture
– size of 100 to 200 m²
– accessible with public transport
– vicinity to offices, kindergardens, schools
– possibility to entertain a gastronomic concept
Ok, so setting criteria is one thing, but what to do to find the place that will match them?
I started by
– registering on the main real estate websites applying all relevant filters
– talking to real estate agents
– talking to everybody…
Eventually it was a friend and ex-banking colleague – thank you Martin P.! – who gave me the best piece of advice: look out for places you like and then see whether there are empty locations around.
Sounds kind of crazy because you might assume that places you like were already all rented out and not available? But he was absolutely right and it was the right way to go!
I probably saw 500 places online and 50 “physically”. I negotiated with 5 locations in detail – three of them were the result of just “walking around”. And finally one of them has now become “my place“!
My place meets all criteria I set myself – however in order to become usable for a gastronomic concept it requires a separate permission (called “Betriebsanlagegenehmigung”), for which a number of investments are required in order to fulfill amongst other all labour law requirements and environmental requirements. More about this process on my next blogpost – stay tuned!
You may say that this is a hassle – I personally today see it as a development cost I was happy to take, because I do believe it IS the right place and because I actually liked learning how to go about it.
Also – at least in Vienna – but I assume the same applies for may other places – when you want to take over a successfull existing location usually you will have to pay for it – for the investments made, for the fact that permits are in place, for existing customers.
So one needs to weigh whether it is more interesting to take over or to build from scratch. The advantage of building from scratch is that you can really make it “yours” however it is likely to take more of your time to develop.
In any case – do not let yourself get urged by real estate agents. Keep calm – if this is supposed to be your place, it will come to you!