Local Restaurant Development Ideas


Looking for a way to put your local restaurant on the map? You don’t have to have a big budget to build in hot spot areas, but you may need to think outside of the usual trendy areas.

In a March 2012 QSR article about local restaurant development, San Francisco International Airport was highlighted as a model of success for bringing local businesses to unexpected hubs. In 2005, the airport did away with exclusively contracting through a large concessionaire company and began courting local vendors to open food service counters and restaurants in its terminals. The result – sales shot up 55 percent and the airport holds the second-place national ranking in average customer spending.

What happened in San Francisco is no fluke. And it’s a strategy that can be applied beyond big cities and tourist towns. Seasonal and logical points of interest can generate a lot of traffic from a captive audience. Let’s take a look at some of the places to consider when brainstorming your own local restaurant development ideas.


Bring your local menu to the layover crowd. It’s a safe bet that this captive audience is seeking an option beyond the usual chain options. Municipal and international airports all have a need for quality food vendors in their terminal areas, however setting up shop may involve a competitive proposal process. Business opportunities are typically outlined by the airport’s management company. This information can often be found on the airport’s website. One example is found in Denver International Airport’s Business Center webpage, which has a concessions section with a comprehensive list of how to get started and when open houses are available for new opportunities.

Summer Fairs

Farmers’ markets, art fairs, and local festivals are all fantastic locations for local restaurants to set up shop. You can get started with very little overhead with a food tent or food cart, or you can upgrade to a food truck. Although this is a temporary business model, it will bring attention to your brand and can attract new customers to your main restaurant.

Related Learning: 3 Steps to Starting a Food Truck

Local Hot Spots

Is there a local beach, campground, recreational area, business center or office park that swarms with potential customers in your area? Consider starting a mobile catering business or food truck that can set up near picnic or recreational areas. Many birthdays, family reunions and a variety of other gatherings occur in municipal hot spots throughout the warmer months of the year. Be sure to check with your local restaurant licensing and permits before embarking on this venture.

Related Learning: Marketing a Catering Business: How Caterers Get Clients

When seeking out new locations for your next restaurant, get creative with your location ideas! The best opportunity may be in an unconventional, but profitable place.


About Author

Maggie Henderson

Maggie once gained five pounds in pursuit of the perfect Indian dal recipe. When she isn't cooking, she spends her days as a marketer and her nights and weekends blogging, taking pictures and chasing after her son and dog.

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