Behind every good restaurant is a great real estate deal.
Carter Wilson knows all about that. He founded commercial real estate firm Blue Plate Network to not just help restaurateurs secure prime locations for their eateries, but also assist in making the business decisions that take place after the restaurant finds a space. Blue Plate Network’s clientele includes restaurants like Cork & Pig Tavern in the West 7th development, Piattello’s Italian Kitchen in the Waterside development, and the soon-to-open Bread Winners Café at University Park Village.
“There are a handful of operators that can do well anywhere they go, but for the vast majority of operators, it’s absolutely critical that they know the market, they know how the population works, they know the psychographics, they understand the traffic patterns, and they understand how that all works and affects their business,” Wilson said.
The key to finding a good location, Wilson says, is understanding how an area’s population operates during the daytime. Some restaurateurs tend to look at a location and envision the area on a busy Saturday night. Instead, Wilson said restaurant owners should focus on the crowd it can attract on a weekday.
“At the end of the day, where you really make your money, where you really make the difference, is how well you do on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, for lunch,” he said. “That’s the difference between the sophisticated and the unsophisticated restaurateur.”
One of Fort Worth’s upcoming restaurants, Bread Winners Café, used Blue Plate Network to help secure its University Park Village location, set to open April 2017, where Blue Mesa used to be. This will be Bread Winners’ sixth location, joining the restaurant’s other venues in Trophy Club, Plano and Dallas.
Bread Winners owner Jim Hughes said Blue Plate Network’s resources have helped him expand his business.
“They’re not just looking at the lease spaces, but they’re in it for the long haul,” he said. “They’re definitely like family.”
Wilson said he’s enjoyed working in Fort Worth and helping bring restaurants to new developments.
After all, there’s a lot more that goes into owning a restaurant than most people think, he said.
“You have to be a visionary, a chef and a business person all in one,” he said. “There’s very few people who have all of those components. The successful people in this business either have all three of those attributes, or they hire partners to somewhat balance them out or complete them.”