The first question we ask ourselves, or someone else who has done it is, "How hard is it to open a second location?" Let´s establish one thing. It is natural to want to expand-especially if everything is running smoothly in the first location. But, many owners look to the second address even when thins aren´t running as well as planned.
In many instances, the second location is looked upon as a way to save the company, or make the company profitable. Don´t view the second space as a financial addition. It will, no matter how successful your first location is, and how great your reputation is, cost you money to open, and operate. And, if you do see any profit the first 12 to 18 months run to the nearest place of worship and thank the God of restaurants because he has just performed a miracle in your name
However, the initial profitability of the new space is not imperative, unless of course you are financially up against a wall and are using your expansion as the HAIL MARY CORPORATE PASS. If that be the case you are going to lose the game. What is important is the plan you initiate to make the expansion not only successful over time, but smooth enough from its inception that it doesn´t bleed your current operation or disrupt your staff emotionally or financially.
Many planned expansions look great on paper and appear to be the saving space of the future financial needs of the company. And, the plan itself, while still on paper, may be as good as the completed operation ever gets. The elements that have to be considered before signing a lease or developing a second location are essential to its success. And yours.
Here are a few questions that need to be asked and answered before you even go hunting for added aggravation.
Are you going to open in close proximity to a current location?
Are you going to open the same style restaurant or a totally different concept?
Are you qualified to venture into deeper creative culinary waters?
Are you comfortable dealing with a different food style and concept if you decide to develop a second restaurant, or are you ready to develop a system and procedure operation where you are more cookie cutter than creative?
Is your intention to develop a small chain, attract investors and roll out the concept from city to city and state to state?
Is your financial footing on sound round or are you bleeding like a recently beheaded chicken and hoping this will bring some bucks to the bottom line?
Are you serious about the business as a career and look to develop a company or are you just thinking about how great another location would be for your ego?
Is the location that you are considering jinxed?
Has it failed before and if so how many times?
Have you spoken to previous owners of the space?
Is the landlord willing to offer substantial financial contributions to a space remodel?
Has the thought ever entered your mind that the second location would make life easier?
Many of these questions seem elementary but are really the data you need to move ahead with your dreams and project.
A second location is a wonderful idea and if you have the energy, drive, passion, desire and financial where with all you should strongly consider adding an address to your business card. And don´t forget that you should also have a bit of gamblers blood in your veins and a sash of luck in your back pocket.