I recently returned last week from 14 days of traveling throughout Europe. by Colby Swartz
After eating and drinking my way thru London, Paris, Reims and a few other small towns in Europe, it solidified the notion of what I always preach to my international clients, the pace of business here in NYC is fast and nimble.
As a hospitality/franchise advisor and commercial real estate broker, 50% of my business is assisting well known foreign food and beverage brands expand to the United States, that of which NYC tends to be the first stop for their new flagship location. Almost every foreign establishment that has huge goals and dreams of expanding their brand wants to have a storefront in NYC, but it comes at a cost, no pun intended. Throughout my trip to Europe meeting clients and after meeting several restaurant groups in town from Asia, it has solidified what I have already known. I have continued to preach to clients of mine over my career, get use to the pace of business in NYC, not just from a hospitality standpoint, but a real estate stand point, which I was reassured what I am preaching is correct.
Whether you’re sitting at a cafe in the Latin Quarter of Paris or finalizing the terms of your new storefront lease here in NYC, the pace of business and how things get done here in NYC is much more fast paced. If there is a real estate “deal” to be had, which is far and few in Manhattan, you better believe you are not the only business interested in the space. Now, obviously the devil is in the details, however if you as a operator do have interest, it is best to get the conversation started instead of waiting around. Whether you are a new operator from NYC or a new one expanding from a foreign county to NYC, playing the waiting game is not the best move. This tends to be the scenario with the majority of food and beverage operators new to the “game” or new to NYC.
The market dictates you, it is not the other way around. Once you know the major details of the space, you have seen it and can operate a fully functional and successful business in the space, let the interest be known and make an offer. That gets the conversation started and no matter what, a letter of intent is exactly that, and it is non binding. This is why it is extremely important to have all of your “ducks in a row” and when it is time to find a retail space, you can pull the trigger when the time is right.
New York City in my humble opinion is the best city in the world and moves at its own speed and pace. Hospitality and commercial real estate can be tricky here, so be prepared from day one to know your business, your concept and your customer because once you have that established, the pace picks up and you will be left in the dust.