Finding the perfect site for your food business

Today we will talk you through the 4 common short-falls we often see with clients who are choosing their first hospitality site.

Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash

  1. Engaging a designer once your site is locked in

Clients often get in touch with us once they have secured their site, and not having the experience from owning or running a food business before, clients often run into problems when things get underway.

At Blank Creatives we are always happy to get involved during the concept stages, when you’re still nutting out the idea. Sometimes it pays to have a concepts semi-formed before you find a site, as it gives you clear guidelines and parameters for what you are looking for physically in a space. For examples, you may decide that a site with a large shopfront is key to your business, or a laneway hid-away might be just right.

2. A site that doesn’t have the right services

When looking for the perfect site, you have to ask yourself - what food will I be serving? What equipment do I need to make these meals? and hence what services do I need to make this a smooth ride?

Often these questions aren’t asked till after a lease is signed. This can mean that clients pick sites that don’t have the correct services - like an existing exhaust system or a grease trap.

How do I know if I need a grease-trap?

Grease traps capture all the runoff oils from your cooking. It is a requirement by law to have a grease-trap if you will be undertaking any frying or cooking that uses a lot of oils and other such grease during cooking.

A grease-trap can be recessed into the floor, with an easy to access point to empty or fixed above ground.

In NSW clients who feel that they will be using minimal grease, can apply for an exemption from Sydney Water. They will provide you with a written exemption that you can present to council when your final inspection is required.

But if you do need a grease-trap, often finding a site with a pre-existing grease trap or a clear easy to access area above ground that it can be installed in, will save you a lot of money.

Learn more here:

Do I need an exhaust system?

If you are using items such as grills, fryers and hot plates, you will most likely need some sort of exhaust system - Dishwashers and combi-ovens over 5000 Watts (energy usage) also require a an exhaust hood by law.

Installing an exhaust system from scratch can be costly and time-consuming, as if there is not an existing exhaust run in the building, then a development application (DA) will be need to be submitted to council.

So we always recommend that clients try to find sites that have an existing exhaust system or check to see if any other tenancies in the building have one, that you may be able to tap into or share.

3. A tenancy that wasn’t a class 6 use previously

Class 6 refers to the class of use of the tenancy, as per the BCA (building code of Australia).

Food business’ fall into a class 6 category. So if the previous use was a food business or a retail business - you can usually get away with not having to submit a development application (DA) to council. This means a quicker turnaround for your approvals and more money in your pocket, as DA’s can add extra cost to your project that you weren’t anticipating.

4. A site that doesn't have easy disables access

We often encounter sites that have issues with disabled access. Sure the tenancy may have been a restaurant before and seems to be okay but new laws dictate that if you are making changes to a site for a new restaurant or cafe, you need to comply to the current disabled access laws. So what could that mean?

If there is a step into the tenancy, you will be required to create a ramp. This can add unforeseen costs to the build so just be aware and factory that Into your budget.

You may also want to consider toilet facilities. If your space will have more than 19 seats you will need toilets and they must be disabled friendly.

We hope that this information has helped to get you one step closer to a successful food business.

Still want to know more?

Why not get in touch with us today and talk to us about our one-off consulting service. Where we can review your top 3 sites, give you a list of pros and cons and get you one step closer to picking the perfect site.

Stay tuned! Our new online store will be launching on Thursday 18th January, where you can purchase custom checklists that will make deciding on the right tenancy even easier. Sign up to our newsletter so you never miss a beat!

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