Comment: is location the only success factor?

Duncan Fraser-Smith asks what is crucial to ensuring longevity

Opinion, Columnists

There are three key rules to success that every aspiring restaurateur and hospitality professional seeking a life in this industry should follow: clearly defined concept; location; and, execution. This time I want to deal with the second key rule to success and turn it on its head… slightly.

Real estate is crucial to investor success. It is the greatest opportunity to realise potential through maximising revenue generating square metreage in any floor space. I am here to say that to all investors out there looking at how best to maximise this return, look no further than your dedicated F&B professional!

In my line of work, there is a constant balance occurring between people who are looking for concepts, and people who have concepts that are looking for space. Most recently, the scales have tipped slightly in favour of the latter, and as such, it is time to look at where else can F&B create demand drivers and contribute to the realisation of revenue maximisation in existing real estate footprints.

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The rule of thumb adopted by most stands true to the heading of this article… it’s all about location, and yet I am here today to question that theory.

I believe that it is not just about location but the other two key rules to success as well. Why is it that we will turn over the ends of the earth in capital cities like New York and London to find the latest PDT (Please Don’t Tell)? These outlets choose obscurity over passing traffic and what does this inevitably create? Demand!

If the concept is right and the execution is flawless, people will inevitably go out of their way to find you. No longer must you be on the water or with cascading views of the harbour or city; you need to be true to your beliefs in your product and deliver on those beliefs every single time.

Not every outlet space has natural footfall or sweeping scenery, but guess what, not every guest is going out for that reason. In fact, most guests are going out to experience some sort of dining and/or beverage experience either for social or business purposes.

So, here is my pitch to all those property owners out there: Give us whatever you have! It can be 70m2 in a corner underneath a staircase, or double height internal space with vaulted ceilings. The right concept will make it work.

Space for F&B is at a premium with rents in the region heading north of ballistic; as such there are extremely motivated operators and concept brand owners looking for an opportunity to establish their outlet here. What I am asking our dedicated readership today, is if you have spare square metres that are not currently generating revenue for your establishment, please consider improving your F&B footprint.

We are constantly being overwhelmed with new and exciting products in the market that just need space to grow, and, until today, that space may have been right in front of you. You just didn’t know it.

Duncan Fraser-Smith is the founder of The Cutting Edge Agency which specialises in developing and creation of benchmark F&B concepts through conceptualisation and training, as well as sourcing and partnering with international brands and high profile chefs to successfully establish their presence in the Middle East. Visit

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