In a recent Coloradoan article,
Stacy Miller, Windsor's economic development director, expresses concerns over their polarized restaurant market. While the town boasts restaurants that draw crowds from Denver and beyond--hotspots like nationally-recognized Chimney Park and The Hearth, by the same owner--this destination dining is limite for Windsor's full-time residents.
Miller states that the issue is attracting casual, family-friendly sit-down restaurants that are go-to spots for Windsor locals, whether for an easy business lunch or a worry-free family dinner.
In the article, Miller descibes the issue like this:
"It's a conundrum why we can't get more" sit-down restaurants, Miller said.
According to a consultant's economic study, Windsor loses an estimated $19 million a year in sales tax revenue from people who dine out of town. Much of that revenue goes north to Fort Collins or south to Loveland, cities with robust food cultures.
"We have a lot of fantastic restaurants that are creative and have wonderful chefs; people come from all over to go there," Miller said. "But every week somebody ... talks to me about getting a restaurant in Windsor." Despite longstanding efforts, Miller has been unable to nab the perfect fit.
And The Hearth chef, Jason Schaeffer agrees. "Our research told us there was plenty of disposable income ... and retail leakage was in the millions (of dollars)," he said. "So people are driving out of town to go to dinner elsewhere. That's why we decided to open Hearth."
So what does it look like when a town wants to expand its existing food and hospitatlity market?
"Understanding what a market potential can handle in terms of number of restaurants, particularly in a smaller community can pose many questions and often limited answers," says National Restaurant Consultants CEO Richard Weil. "These answers truly lie in the demographics of the community and the propensity of attracting the nearby markets to frequent new and enticing restaurants. There are no right or wrong answers, but certainly caution for new restaurant owners to be sure that the restaurant in the smaller community can differentiate itself from the norm and other popular restaurants."
Regardless of the concept, the quality of food, or the perfected restaurant environment, restauranteurs should, first and foremost, understand the market they're movig into and how to make it a good fit. Our restaurant consultants are experts in this field and can conduct market studies for restaurant startups. Contact a restaurant consultant today.
Photo by Benjamin Zanatta