Find out how to navigate the world of real estate selection to make your new location a success.
It’s no coincidence that your favorite franchises are where they’re presently located. That’s because a lot of planning and consideration goes into where your favorite restaurant, gym or salon sets up shop in each and every market.
When it comes to real estate selection, Connie Alires, director of franchise development for Which Wich Superior Sandwiches, recommends working closely with brokers to find the best location for the franchisee and the brand.
“We’re their partner, and they should rely on the experts,” said Alires. “Being a real estate broker is someone’s full-time job. You should rely on them to know what’s best for the brand on positioning.”
Which Wich puts a lot of emphasis on their brokers to find the best real estate locations.
“Our brokers already have their pulse on what’s coming up next, what’s being built, what’s a new market and what’s getting turned around,” said Alires. “We rely a lot on the brokers. If we can get our brand positions front and center, we can out position the next wave of sandwich concepts in an up and coming area.”
In order to be successful in any particular market, you have to be where the people are.
To know where the people are, Which Wich enlists the help of real estate experts in the target market, as well as the franchisee, to find the perfect locations. Since franchisees are often long-term residence, Which Wich makes sure to include their insight as well as the local real estate experts.
“They know what’s in their own backyard,” said Alires. “You can look at your computer until your blue in the face, but nothing compares to kicking the dirt and knowing what’s going on in the area.”
Once you know where you want to be, and where your target market is, it’s about locking in the perfect location. In the game of real estate selection, you get what you pay for.
Often times, it’s worth spending a little more on rent to be in the place where your consumers are.
“It’s about positioning yourself in the center or the trade area,” said Alires. “The rent in another location may be less, but if you’re doing half the business by saving a few dollars a square foot, wouldn’t it be better to maximize your return by spending a little more on rent?”
For many brands, the answer is yes. It takes a lot to change consumers’ behavior, so if your brand is located in a convenient area that’s accessible for its core fan base, it’s often worth paying a little extra to get more traffic through the door.
It’s not only about being in the right location, it’s about being in the right spot. You don’t want a sign blocked or to be in a vacant part of a center because it makes brand awareness more difficult.
Part of getting a great location for a brand is based on building relationships with brokers and real estate experts. Which Wich takes it back to the fundamentals.
“If you’re going to tell someone you’re going to do something—do it,” said Alires.
It’s a pretty basic concept, but when it comes to building a relationship in real estate, it could be what’s separating you from the competition looking to move in on a great opportunity.
Many times the relationships between real estate brokers and the brand are what make them the first call when a new location opens up. When the call comes in, a brand needs to be on top of their game and be able to move on it quickly. If you can’t get rolling right away, it’s likely someone else will and your brand may miss out on a great opportunity.
Even if you have everything in place, there is no magic formula for making a location work.
“At the end of the day, there is no crystal ball,” said Alires. “We have to swing and you can hit it out of the park 99 times, and there will be instances when it’s one time where it doesn’t work.”In the meantime, make sure to work with the right people to be where your consumers are for the best chances at winning in the real estate game.