Any restaurant owner will tell you that moving their eatery to new premises is arguably one of the most stressful tasks they could ever imagine. Most wouldn’t contemplate it unless there were no other possible solution. The drivers for moving to a new location are most often the result of one of two issues: space and price.
As it stands, many restaurants are being forced to downsize as the economy sits on the precipice of a recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Restaurants have faced closure during the lockdown, and some owners know their businesses won’t survive unless they make some significant changes.
However, what might be a challenging situation doesn’t need to become an insurmountable obstacle. There are ways to make sure that moving a restaurant doesn’t turn into an epic nightmare.
Why do restaurants move?
Very often, restaurants move to different premises because their current location is stifling growth. For example, a small kitchen limits your daily output. Therefore, when demand for your menu items rises, you are unable to supply it. This could lead to the downfall of the business.
Another space issue that could prompt a move is relocating to a more visible area to stimulate business. What might have been a suitable spot ten years ago will no longer be viable due to environmental and economic changes. A restaurant needs to be where the people are, and so a move will become a necessity for the eatery’s survival.
When it comes to costs, a restaurant owner might find themselves renting premises that they can no longer afford. The increase in rental costs can have a dangerous impact on the eatery’s bottom line.
When this happens, it’s time to look for alternative location opportunities. A restaurant owner will also consider a move if they find premises they can buy as an investment instead of paying rent.
Tips for a successful restaurant move
According to Kenneth Coffey, owner of Coffey Bros Chicago Movers, relocating your establishment with minimum fuss and stress is down to the planning. Here is some of his advice:
It’s all in the timing
To minimize the interruption, a move might cause to the restaurant’s operations, the best time to move is after hours. This might mean paying some overtime to the staff and movers but is the best option to avoid unnecessary downtime.
It is fundamentally necessary for a restaurant owner to have a plan in place for how the move will work. This means ensuring that the new premises are 100% ready to move into and that packing at the old location is systematically done. Boxes should be clearly labeled so that everyone knows where they are meant to go.
Make zones at the new premises and label them using numbers or letters. Make sure the alpha-numeric reference on the boxes correlates with these zones. Go beyond labeling the boxes to include tags for any furniture or equipment being moved as well.
Talk about the move
Restaurant owners and managers need to market the move to customers for as long as possible beforehand. A database of email addresses or cellphone numbers for clients is ideal for this strategy. Put posters in the window of the current establishment and hand out pamphlets in the neighborhood to keep your customers informed.
Use the opportunity to make some changes beyond the location
It is the ideal opportunity to change the menu the restaurant offers to coincide with the change in location. Don’t get rid of old favorites but spice up the menu with some unique Offer opening specials to keep existing customers interested and generate new foot traffic into the restaurant.