Why your Property location is critical for Retail Success: The tale of 2 cafes


Why Property Location is critical for retail success

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….”

Two cafes opened in my suburb.  One is busy and the other isn’t.

One is located in the primary shopping locality, is close to traffic generators, is in the midst of its competitors, probably pays twice as much rent, is twice as far to get too, and is busy.

The other is located in a secondary shopping locality, has no immediate competitors, pays lower rent, is close by, and is closing.

One has benefited from selecting a great property location to operate from.  The other, has struggled to be successful.

I have shopped in both cafes probably on a 5 : 1 ratio. I am a sucker for soughdough baguettes and like to satisfy my craving now and again (my wife’s gluten free).

In the world of retail, hospitality and location based businesses why do two different businesses encounter the best of times or the worst of times, in the same catchment and trading period?

Is it the Location, the Facilities, the Operations or the Brand?

How can operators enjoy the best of times and avoid the worst of times?

Choosing the right property location is a major decision for many businesses. The right property location can be critical for attracting customers and staff.  The premises / facilities themselves can significantly influence your business productivity and efficiency.

How to get your Property Location right

In my opinion it is critical to develop an objective basis rather than subjective (gut feel) basis for selecting your property location.

I have developed a Catchment | Location | Site Attributes Framework which works as a funnel to filter business location decisions through a series of questions to refine business thinking on your ideal property requirements.


      • What region / territory do I want to service?
      • Who are my customers?
      • Where are my customers based?
      • How many customers do I need in my catchment area?


      • Where within the catchment area do my customers prefer to shop?
      • Do I want to be close to or separated from my competitors?



      • What do I need to effectively serve my customers?
      • What do I need to be able to operate from a site?
      • What can my business afford to pay?

Working through the Catchment | Location | Site Attributes Framework is the starting point for successfully define your property requirements.  These property location requirements are the inputs into your property brief.

Your property brief can then be used to source potential properties and to screen and qualify properties into a shortlist.

For instance, which side of the street you locate your café on can play a factor, as people like to sit in the sun, especially on those chilly winter mornings.  Once you have customers coming into your sunny café, having sufficient space for customers to sit and eat will draw in more customers, as we always tend to favour the busy places.

So, stopping and taking the time to define your property brief and then evaluating qualified properties against an objective Catchment | Location | Site Attributes Framework will tick the Property Location and Facilities boxes for retail location success.  

The rest is then up to your Operations and Brand.


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