How Opening a Second Restaurant Location is Different Than the First

01.30.23 | Restaurant Planning

After the long process of planning, saving for, and launching your restaurant, there’s nothing more rewarding than creating loyal customers and finally watching your dreams come to life. After a few years of success, you may decide to expand your vision and open a second location.

Opening your first restaurant is no small feat, and the same can be said for expanding it. Although you will be familiar with certain aspects of the start up process, opening a second location means navigating a host of new variables and differences. 

If you’re looking to expand your restaurant, here are a few pointers to help you avoid biting off more than you can chew. 

New Leverage With Investors 

Whether you’re opening the first, second, or tenth location for your restaurant, managing financial resources will be a major facet of your business planning. One of the best ways to land capital for the expansion of your restaurant is through angel investors.

When you first built your restaurant all those years ago, you may have pitched your business case to various investors. This time around, you’ll have significantly more leverage when it comes to winning them over. The success of your current restaurant combined with your burgeoning industry experience shows investors that you have what it takes to be profitable. As they say – the proof is in the pudding. 

Shifting Economic Factors

In Canada, broad-scale economic conditions are constantly shifting and evolving. Factors such as inflation, interest rate fluctuations, minimum wage, and employment rates will directly impact your start up and operational costs. 

Even if your second location is similar to your first restaurant in size and shape, your required budget could be vastly different.

Planning on expanding your business? We’ve got you covered. Check out a few of our market-specialized blogs below. 

You Have an Established Brand

It’s no secret that the restaurant industry is super competitive. Standing out from the crowd is all about building a name for yourself. When you first opened your restaurant, you put a lot into building your brand – from choosing a name and menu to organically building your reputation through high-quality dishes and service. 

When you open a second location, you will already have most of your brand ironed out. This can make things easier when it comes time to design the space, add furnishings, and get the word out. 

In addition to attracting customers, having an established business can also make it easier to source and train employees. With an existing restaurant, you will already have systems and processes in place that you can take with you.

Different Communities 

Like your first restaurant, where you choose to open your next location will be a critical element of its success. It wouldn’t make much sense to open your second location right next door to your existing place. Instead, the goal is to find a similar community where your business is equally likely to thrive. If the vast majority of your current customers come from local foot traffic, you’ll want to find a brick-and-mortar location that can offer something similar. 

Regardless of how alike two neighbourhoods may be, building rapport with customers at your new location is going to require a slightly different approach than the first time. As you get your new location off the ground, take time to get to know the community. Visiting neighbouring businesses is a great way to get a feel for the local landscape. 

Interested in opening a restaurant outside of Toronto? Explore these posts from our blog. 

You Have Built-In Knowledge 

Hands down one of the biggest differences in opening your second restaurant is you. In some ways, opening your first restaurant was a leap of faith. While you may have had some experience working in the food and beverage industry, starting your own place is an entirely different world altogether. This time around you have invaluable knowledge and insights to help you reach your goals. 

With tangible industry experience as an owner and operator under your belt, you’re ready for whatever the process throws your way. You’ve proven to yourself, your investors, and the community that you have what it takes to not only bring your dream to life but also grow while doing it. This confidence, along with guidance from an experienced restaurant broker can empower your next venture – helping you build upon your investment and legacy. 

Ready to realize your full potential and expand your business? As commercial real estate experts, we’ve got the tools and know-how to help you be successful. Click here to send us an email.