You’ve got the dream spot picked out in your mind for the franchise you’ve just invested in — far off the highway, miles from the hustle and bustle of modern civilization, where your customers will have the perfect view of a lovely pastoral setting. Wrong! One of the crucial keys to success in any restaurant or retail business is finding a home in a highly visible, well-trafficked area.
Make sure the franchisor has an effective support system in place to assist you with settling on the right spot for your franchise. The good news is that most franchisors will already have specific locations in mind for your franchise, and they will help you with such things as negotiating the lease, understanding the demographics of the area you’ll be opening in, and working around and minimizing potential site drawbacks (for example, insufficient customer parking). Review the franchise agreement carefully and make sure there’s something in writing about help with site selection.
While you won’t have to go it alone, you will be expected to do a lot of the footwork involved in searching out the best location (normally, the franchise company will give you a specified geographic area to examine and then set you loose to do the grunt work). However, do know that many franchises will send out specialists to help you find the ideal location, as well as help you with approaching landlords. When talking to potential landlords on your own, mention right off the bat that you’re part of a franchise. This will give you a greater chance of getting your foot in the door, since most landlords would rather give space to an established chain over a mom and pop operation that hasn’t had the chance to prove itself.
Inspect all potential locations for proper visibility from the closest main road. Check that the interior space is roomy enough to set up shop in, as well as allow for potential growth. Make sure parking will be easy for customers, and check out which traffic laws will affect the flow of business into your franchise (for example, whether or not left turns are allowed from the main road into your parking lot).
If you’ve found a location you think will work, your next step is to contact the franchisor’s lease review department. A lawyer will help you comb over the lease carefully. Be sure to have a firm grasp on the economics of the location, including the rent. Inquire as to whether or not your rent will rise by a certain percentage each year, how much area maintenance will cost, and if you’ll be expected to pay landlord insurance.
For more helpful information on setting up the right location for your franchise, be sure to read Choose the Best Real Estate for Your Franchise.