Restaurant Franchise Real Estate – Two Hidden Opportunities

By Mark Treptow:  Fransmart has established a reputation in the industry for identifying emerging fast casual food franchise concepts and building them into high volume, high growth national and global brands.  To get a concept from A to Z, of course the food has to be great and you have to be an exceptional operator.  But it’s not enough to be an exceptional operator – you’ve got to have great real estate too.  Learn how to create additional markets by taking advantage of these two hidden opportunities:

  1. Out position your competition. I’m reminded of the phrase “look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite”.  When I think about restaurant real estate, the “opposite” is the non-traditional site.   By definition, these sites are not for everyone.  The more moving parts, the more complicated the kitchen setup and cooking process is, the harder it is for a concept to take advantage of these opportunities.  By contrast a non-traditional site is perfect for concepts with flexible foot prints and no heavy cooking. Non-traditional sites include airports, travel plazas, college campuses, food courts, office complexes, corporate call centers, downtown office towers and so on.  A hidden plus: These sites are also usually a lot less expensive to build out than traditional sites.
  2. Capitalize on Conversions. Think about all the coffee, bagel, donut, ice cream & smoothie shops dotting the landscape. Let me emphasize that a potential site has to be great real estate first. For reasons not related to location, someone else built out the kitchen, furniture and fixtures to code and ADA requirements with their money, not yours, and at some point called it quits. Left behind is a great 2nd generation site that in the best case scenario, may require some elbow grease, fresh paint, menu boards & signage. Voila! Now you’ve opened a site for a fraction of the cost of a brand new build out. Don’t forget that the conversion process also takes considerably less time than new construction and as the saying goes, time is money. Utilize conversions to open faster, generate revenue sooner and create a very attractive sales to investment ratio.

Mark Treptow is a restaurant franchise developer and founding shareholder in a privately held QSR concept. Connect with the author, Mark Treptow.