You did your research, right? The merchandise/menu was painstakingly selected, the interior of the space was painted, fixtures/furniture pieces were put in place and you are open for business. Good work. Now cross your fingers and hope you succeed.
I know of a white cloth Italian restaurant with a relatively high priced menu. Elegantly set tables with fresh flowers in the front windows, beautiful décor and food to die for. Now imagine that you are dining at one of those window view tables, perhaps to celebrate a special occasion. As you dine, you cannot help but to check out the view out the window. There is a sidewalk covered by a concrete overhang with passersby and people who have ducked out of the restaurant next door to have a smoke. Look past that and you see a liquor store, again with people hanging out smoking. The rest of your view is a rather large treeless parking lot.
Guess what? The fancy Italian place is now closed.
The forgotten piece of the puzzle?
The visual appeal of the space from EVERY angle. To put it simply, someone needed to park it for a spell in one of those chairs at the window table and take a good look around. To literally put themselves in the customers seat. Location is important for more than just demographics and available parking.
The owners forgot to consider EVERY PERSPECTIVE of their customers’ experience. A more casual, funky, pub style type restaurant might have done very well in this spot but it was not well suited for a high end, special occasion type of dining experience. The advice I offer most frequently when consulting with any type of business is to be cohesive in all that you do, particularly the things that are visible to your customers and potential customers.
EVERY piece needs to be pulled together in a way that makes sense.
Location, décor, price point, advertising, website, social media presence, employees, merchandising of your product etc. all need to fit and make sense. Similar to the old school music systems with separate components (fess up, you remember those) the lowest quality component will determine the quality of your sound.
Don’t miss a piece of the puzzle and drag down everything else that you put effort into.