Locations, Leases, and Surveys


New member
Mar 29, 2005
DFW, Texas
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My three questions are sort of unrelated, but I didn't want to bog everything down by making seperate posts. Any answers to any of the following will be helpful.

1. How do you determine if a potential location is good? This is what I have been struggling most with. A local shop recently shut down after just over a year in operation, and the other businesses that have been in that location haven't lasted too long, either. I know the coffee shop closed because of poor management, but I have no idea why the other businesses closed. It's very close to a large college campus, it's on a main street, it's easy to get to, it's downtown, has plenty of indoor and outdoor space, lots of parking, and it cute and comfortable inside. I also know that the coffee shop that was just there, was paying a pretty reasonable amount for the lease and had decent business.

2. What facts are important while negotiating leases? I am planning on doing some intensive research online and buying some books that cover this, but I would also like to know the most essential points to keep in mind, in case I decide to call the property manager of the aforementioned location in the next copule of days.

3. What is the best way to conduct local surveys in order to find out what food or specialty items I should sell, and what type of atmosphere my potential customers would be looking for? While it is close to a college campus and I'd like to have a place where they could come study or just come relax after a long day, I'd like my primary customer base to be an older crowd, who tends to spend more money. What are some examples of questions you would ask when conducting a survey like this?

Thanks for any answers, links, sources, etc. you can give me. I'm getting a little tired of the office world, and whether it's "safe" or not, I'm getting antsy to make the jump to having my own cafe.

John P

Active member
Jan 5, 2007
Salt Lake City
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1) Find out WHY they failed first, and that will be your first insight. Was is due to poor business skills, was it bad location for that particular business, or was it because of poor coffee? Understanding those FIRST will give you a better indication.
1A) Also, is it a walking area? When is the foot traffic and WHO is the foot traffic? Is it easy to see, is their great potential for signage? Is it easy for those driving to stop, and is the traffic, whether foot or car, coffee drinkers?

2) www.theleasecoach.com I personally worked with Dale, highly recommended, he saved me (literally) over $70K.

3) Don't.
Surveys are not relevant for two reasons:
1] people will say a lot of things, it doesn't mean they'll do them
-- "Sure, I'd love a coffeeshop here, and I'd come all the time" "If you have fresh muffins, I'll eat one every morning!"
2] The customer cannot dictate your business. Understand what will work, but know that people telling you what you should or shouldn't have is a quick way to the poorhouse.


New member
Oct 12, 2007
New York
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The Lease Coach

John P,

I’d very much like to know more about your experience with the Lease Coach. Would you mind telling us more, or please send me a PM.

We plan to open a coffee bar sometime next year in a major metropolitan area, and this will be our first venture into commercial leasing. We definitely feel like we’re going into a David and Goliath scenario.

Thanks much.