Opening a restaurant is an exciting endeavor, but it's also a risky business. Statistics show that a significant number of restaurants fail within the first few years of operation. While there are several factors that contribute to the failure of a restaurant, one of the most critical aspects is the location. In this article, we will explore the reasons why restaurants fail and delve into why location matters so much in the restaurant industry.

1. Insufficient Foot Traffic:

One of the primary reasons restaurants fail is the lack of sufficient foot traffic. A location that doesn't attract enough people passing by or doesn't have a steady flow of potential customers can make it challenging for a restaurant to thrive. Without a consistent customer base, it becomes difficult to generate enough revenue to cover expenses and sustain the business in the long run.

2. Inadequate Target Market:

The target market plays a crucial role in a restaurant's success. If the location doesn't align with the target market's preferences, demographics, or spending power, it can lead to low customer demand and a struggle to attract the right audience. Understanding the local demographics and ensuring there is a sufficient customer base within the area are vital considerations when selecting a restaurant location.

3. Intense Competition:

Competition in the restaurant industry is fierce, and choosing a location that is saturated with similar establishments can make success elusive. When there are already numerous restaurants offering similar cuisine or concepts in the same area, it becomes challenging to differentiate and stand out from the competition. It's important to evaluate the level of competition in the chosen location and determine if there is enough room for a new restaurant to thrive.

4. High Rent and Operating Costs:

The cost of operating a restaurant can be a significant burden, especially if the chosen location has high rent or operating costs. If the expenses outweigh the revenue generated, it can quickly lead to financial distress and ultimately the failure of the business. It's essential to carefully assess the financial feasibility of a location and ensure that the potential revenue can cover the expenses associated with running a restaurant.

5. Lack of Visibility and Accessibility:

A restaurant that is tucked away in a hidden corner or lacks visibility from main roads may struggle to attract customers. Similarly, if the location is challenging to access, with limited parking or inconvenient public transportation options, it can deter potential diners from visiting the restaurant. Restaurants thrive when they are easily visible and accessible to customers, ensuring convenience and attracting footfall.


While there are many reasons why restaurants fail, the importance of location cannot be understated. Insufficient foot traffic, inadequate target market, intense competition, high operating costs, and lack of visibility and accessibility are just some of the factors that can contribute to a restaurant's downfall. Restaurant owners must carefully evaluate potential locations, considering factors such as demographics, competition, and accessibility, to increase their chances of success. By choosing the right location, restaurants can tap into a thriving customer base, stand out from the competition, and pave the way for long-term profitability and sustainability.

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Marc Smookler

I have started 5 companies–3 of which are current market leaders in their respective spaces: a commercial real estate data-as-a-service platform, a category-leading online retailer, and a leading unified communications provider. My largest success to date is Fonality—a cloud & open-source-based PBX competitor to Avaya and Cisco (acquired by NetFortis Feb 2017). Prior to creating products/brands/companies, I was an investment banker for U.S. Bancorp in Mpls, MN, and JPMorgan in NYC after graduating from the Carlson School of Management at the University of MN. You can find me on