Buying a restaurant franchise is a big investment, not only in the amount of money that you’ll spend to build and operate your restaurant, but also in the investment of time you’ll put in to making it successful. That’s why at Smokin’ Oak Wood-Fired Pizza, we’re extremely focused on providing the highest level of real estate support as you look for the perfect space for your pizza restaurant.
The site selection conversation is one of the first things we discuss with a prospective Franchisee, and the type of space you need depends largely on which model you are going to open. A core restaurant model needs about 2,000 square feet, whereas a taproom needs about 3,000 square feet. Once we agree which model you are going to open and the franchise agreement is in place, we go to work right away with the company that handles all of our real estate advisory needs to find you a perfect location.
We believe in the “work, live and play” model when selecting a site for our pizza restaurants. Let’s put a restaurant where people work (office parks, etc. where they want a quick bite for lunch), where the live (for the dinner crowd) and where they play or shop (near big box retailers, shopping centers and other eating establishments). This ensures a steady stream of traffic throughout the day. Good and ample parking is important!
Our real estate advisory company works closely with our Franchisees, analyzing their local markets using the latest technology, and creates heat maps to determine the best trade areas for a Smokin’ Oak Pizza restaurant. They will then pair the Franchisee with a real estate broker in the Franchisee’s market who will do the day to day legwork to look for sites. Once sites are identified, the advisory company, the Franchisee and the Franchisor review each location in detail. Things like traffic count, daytime and nighttime population, household income and other helpful demographic data are provided for each location, and a short list is compiled for the broker and Franchisee to visit in person.
The real estate advisory company has also put together a comprehensive marketing guide for local brokers to provide to prospective landlords so they learn all about the Smokin’ Oak Pizza brand and the requirements we have of each space.
Once a Franchisee finds a location, the broker and advisory company will compile a Letter of Intent (LOI). The LOI sets out the key terms for the property, including the lease rate and the price for Common Area Maintenance (CAM) and taxes, if applicable. It also sets out the lease term, lease renewals and any work that the Franchisee would like to have done prior to the Franchisee taking possession of the space. Typically the LOI goes back and forth a couple of times before terms are negotiated and agreed.
Once the LOI is agreed, the landlord will send a lease. We have a recommendation for a great attorney who has years of experience negotiating real estate leases for retail and restaurants. However, the Franchisee is able to hire another attorney. It is important that the attorney is well versed in retail and restaurant leases. The Franchisee’s attorney will redline the lease, review it with the Franchisee, send it back to the landlord, and after a round or two of discussions and further negotiations, a lease is signed and the keys to the Franchisee’s new restaurant are handed over!