Foot Traffic Research

mies

New member
Nov 8, 2008
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Hi all -

I am in the process of looking for spaces for a coffee shop, approximately 1500-2000 SF. I am located in a Top 10 MSA market and targeting the downtown area for this coffee shop (standalone property, no shopping mall or strip mall). I''ve sat in my car and counted foot traffic in front of two potential locations and am encouraged just in terms of the foot traffic count.

My question is does a high foot traffic count equate to some reasonable expectation that those folks will stop in the coffee shop, all things being equal. The two areas are very dense, high residential count, HH income and one is blocks from a major business district.

My concern is that while car traffic and foot traffic may be very high, this may not necessarily translate into people stopping for coffee. Is there some figure out there that shows that, for example, 1 out of 20 are likely to stop for coffee?

Thanks in advance for your input and advice.

Mies
 

John P

New member
Jan 5, 2007
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Salt Lake City
Mies,

a very astute observation. A negotiator once told me a story about leasing a property in the West Edmonton Mall, the largest shopping mall in Canada.
The property manager said, "You will have over a quarter million people will pass by this space every month."...
"Ah," the negotiator replied, "but how many of them are carrying bags."

Exactly as you thought, foot traffic does not necessarily equate to sales, or more specifically coffee sales. The key factors in the spot should be visibility, accessibility, and 'Do people want coffee here?'... Or 'Will they come HERE for coffee?' One is a little more convenient, one is a destination. If you can have a place that 's both, it's a winner. And in a downtown location, shoot for the smaller space if you have the option.

A Billion people in India, but I wouldn't open a McDonald's downtown.
 
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mies

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Nov 8, 2008
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John -

All good points you mention. An area of 5 x 5 city blocks is being served by a 800 sq Starbucks, which happens to be constantly busy during all hours. The area has over 15,000 people all with plenty of disposable cash, but with one coffee option. Seems like a no-brainer.

I wish I had a better estimation on what to expect for customer counts. On the low customer count, I would be breaking even, on the high end, it's the completely opposite.
 

coffeepresstv

New member
Nov 11, 2008
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Maybe you could do an impromptu survey of people walking by. Albeit it would seem very strange but it could be worth it.
 

coffeepresstv

New member
Nov 11, 2008
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I would take an impromptu survey of people walking by and see how many of them would stop for coffee nearby. Might be a little weird, but could very well give you some good insight.
 

BigDave

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Nov 12, 2008
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Berkley, Michigan
I agree with coffeepresstv. Do a short survey standing near or in front of you location. Ask folks if they drink coffee-shop quality coffee (make sure you're specific and not getting just the folks who make folgers in the morning), if they would visit a coffee shop in that area, and how often.

You don't need to get a lot of responses to get a feel for it (10-20, but more is always better). You may find that folks are really wishing another shop would open!

The one other thing to consider is traffic patterns for non-foot traffic. I'm not sure where you are, but here in Detroit, everybody drives everywhere. Watch your selected properties during morning/evening rush hours and lunch hours, do cars have to cross heavy lanes of traffic to visit in the morning or the evening?

Good luck!
 
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mies

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Nov 8, 2008
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Thanks all for the responses. I am feeling more confident of the location. I have done a quick survey with the residents around the area and the professionals that work in the area. Here are the findings.

- Most expressed interest in a local coffee shop alternative. Those that bought to-go coffee did so at the Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, the only viable choices in the area.

- Residents were interested a place to relax during the weekends or nights.

- Professionals wanted another lunch option in the area besides McDonalds, sushi, pizza and Chinese.

- About 86% interviewed drinked coffee or tea. Most of them bought or made their coffee/tea by their place of work. However, they would consider stopping and buying a drink while on their way to work rather than getting something near their destination.

I would say that the bulk of the business would come from foot traffic. The location is located in a busy two lane one way downtown street so car parking would be nearly impossible. There is a two car fire lane/loading zone in front of the building but street parking is tough. I'm well aware of Detroit streets having gone to school there, but this location is nothing like that.
 

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