9 Questions To Ask Before Leasing a Restaurant Space


What Every Restaurateur Should Know Before Leasing a Restaurant Space

January 18, 2023

Here are 9 questions and answers regarding leasing a restaurant space that will make your life easier when embarking on this business adventure.

Leasing a restaurant space is certainly a challenging endeavor, especially if you are unfamiliar with the industry. There are many factors to consider, and it is crucial to conduct extensive research to guarantee that you are getting a good deal and setting up your restaurant for success.

It is also just as imperative to ensure that the space will work well for your business before you rent it, so ask many questions before you sign the contract. In this piece of content, we will discuss some critical questions you should ask before leasing space for a restaurant to aid you in making an educated choice.

If you have any questions after reviewing these essential inquiries, feel free to reach out to our retail real estate experts who can help with any further clarifications.

1) Who owns the restaurant space? Who are the landlords?

Finding out who owns the restaurant and who the landlords are at the establishment is highly significant. This may offer you information about their reputation, how they manage their commercial property, and whether they have a history of effectively dealing with renters.

For instance, if the landlords have a history of conflicts with previous tenants or have a reputation for being difficult to work with, this may indicate that you should proceed with caution. On the other hand, this might be a positive sign if the landlords have a solid reputation in the community and have maintained positive relationships with previous tenants.

2) What is the history of the restaurant space? When was it built?

Knowing the restaurant’s history will give you a better idea of its age and overall condition. For instance, the space in an older building can call for further maintenance, upgrades or renovations. If the area in question is located in a relatively new building, it will likely be in excellent condition and require fewer alterations and upgrades. It is also essential to evaluate the space’s location and determine whether or not it has a history of being a successful eating establishment.

3) What is the leasing history of the space?

Inquiring about the space’s previous tenants is another smart thing to do before signing a lease. There may be cause for concern if there is a significant turnover rate in the area. This can mean that the space is inappropriate for restaurants or that the landlords have been difficult to deal with. On the other hand, if the building has a lengthy history of consistent occupants, this is a positive sign.

4) Is the property for sale?

If the property is currently for sale, consider if the next owner will use the space differently than you would. For instance, if the new owner plans to run a different business out of the building, this may affect your restaurant. Consider whether or not the new owner can alter the lease terms, including whether or not the rent may be increased.

5) What are the conditions of the lease?

It is very important to have a thorough understanding of the lease conditions, which include the duration of the lease, the amount of rent, and any additional fees or penalties. For instance, if the lease is a Triple Net Lease, this may provide your organization with an added degree of stability. Nevertheless, it is of the utmost importance to check that the rent is affordable and that no unacceptable conditions are negotiated and agreed upon.

A little pro tip: Working with a broker with retail-tenant representation can save you time and stress when searching for the right commercial space, and can help you get a better deal on your lease.

6) What are my responsibilities: taxes, utilities, repairs, etc.?

You must have a good understanding of your responsibilities as a tenant. This involves paying taxes and utility bills and attending to any necessary repairs. For instance, if you are the one who is responsible for paying for repairs to the area, you need to be aware of what kinds of repairs are covered and how much money you will have available for those repairs.  All of this should be defined in a Lease contract.

7) How much foot traffic is in the area?

How many people walk through the area may affect your restaurant’s performance. To get a sense of the potential customer base, you should inquire about the foot traffic in the area. If the property is located in a high-traffic region and has great exposure, it can be an excellent site for your restaurant. On the other hand, if the location is in an area with minimal foot traffic and inadequate visibility, it is likely not as suited.

8) How much parking belongs to the space?

It is essential to the success of your business that you provide sufficient parking for both your employees and your clients. Be careful to inquire about the total number of parking spots available. For instance, if the property in question features a sizable parking lot with an adequate number of parking spots, then it may be an excellent site for your restaurant. On the other hand, the site could not be suitable if there were limited parking spots.

9) What can I put up for signage?

Signage is one strategy that may prove successful in luring customers to a particular business. Inquire about any restrictions or limitations regarding signage that may be included in the lease agreement. For instance, the landlord may limit the kinds of signs used, their sizes, or their placement. To market your restaurant successfully, you must have a solid understanding of these standards.

Conclusion for Leasing a Restaurant Space

Leasing a location for a restaurant can be a complex process. It’s important to do your due diligence to ensure that you are making the best decision for your business. You want to look for locations that are accessible, have good foot traffic and amenities, and have the ability to satisfy all of your needs.

Many people are starting their own restaurants, but they don’t always have the knowledge or experience to know what to do. Asking the right questions and gathering all the necessary information before signing a lease can help you make an informed decision and set your restaurant up for success.


Supplemental information: If you want to find out more about commercial real estate and leases, here’s our article about what you should know before leasing commercial space.

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