Restaurant Sky Isn't Falling
During last week's Bisnow Atlanta Restaurant Summit, pioneering local restaurateur Fifth Group's Steve Simon said our story here about his concerns on a restaurant bubble were overstated. In fact, every restaurateur has a different skill set and many will succeed. But one factor to success is the landlord: “I want to know that the landlord values me versus the guy who just writes him a check for 20 grand a month,” Steve says.
Vantage Realty Partners' Chris Carter echoed a more bullish sentiment on Atlanta's crowding restaurant scene: “Some say that we're overbuilding. I don't necessarily agree with that. You're always going to have fallout... You've got to find that guy or that team who can pull it all together."
Choate Construction's Brian Bollins says landlords and developers can do a lot for restaurateurs, guiding them on a project's surrounding demographics and what themes and foods might work. But most important is a developer create an “experience” for the patron from the moment she parks til she leaves the dinner table. Gone could be the days where you park in front of a restaurant at a strip center—instead park in a mixed-use project and walk to your destination.
Our first panel included Chris, North American Properties' Ron Pfohl, Brian, Legacy Restaurant Partners' Jeff Sime, Seyfarth Shaw's Gale Evans (who moderated), and Steve. Just like apartments and offices, restaurants should court Millennials. While many don't necessarily have deep pockets, they do use those pockets for what matters when it comes to restaurateurs, Steve says: “They prioritize food much more than any of us did in our 20s.”