CHOOSING A NEW LOCATION IN ANOTHER CITY OR ANOTHER STATE TAKES MUCH MORE THAN THE OLD ADAGE ‘LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION.’
by Amanda Baltazar
The importance of site visits
Buffalo Wings & Rings also relies on science, but takes a very hybrid approach when selecting new locations, says Philip Schram, chief development officer of the Cincinnati, Ohio–based company, which has 56 locations across the country.
The brand turns to data-mining companies such as eSite Analytics. “They can tell you who lives nearby, who works nearby, and who are the customers,” Schram says. “Therefore, we can understand if our restaurants would fit.”
If a site’s approved, a team visits it to look at a number of factors, but primary among them are traffic, visibility, and a vibrant trade area. It also looks at the demographics. As a sports bar, the company wants to be in an upper-blue-collar or middle-white-collar area.
Schram has learned his lesson about site visits and knows they’re non-negotiable. He once skipped a Texas site visit and didn’t realize the location was only accessible from one side of the freeway. “So, theoretically, while we have access to a huge population, we actually only have access to half of it.” The site was also halfway between two vibrant trade areas and three miles from most houses, which is too far. This location, he says, has struggled since it first opened.