InsightsRestaurantRetailSite Selection

Buying a Franchise? Why You Need to Worry About Location.

By January 21, 2015 November 8th, 2017 3 Comments

Danny Bone, who co-owns the two Austin Elevation Burger franchises with younger brother Dennis and nephew Ronnie, aims to sell tasty burgers with a health conscious bend. About two years ago they opened a new drive-thru location at 10611 Research Blvd. in Austin. In September 2012 Dennis told the Community Impact Newspaper that “We’re excited about opening the other one because it’ll be more exposure.”

Excited about growth

Elevation Burger is a truly unique hamburger chain/franchise. Hans Hess and his wife April opened the first Elevation Burger in 2005. Driven by a passion for good food that’s organic, sustainable and fresh. Their hamburgers use organic, grass-fed beef. They even serve a vegetarian and vegan burger. You can add all kinds of toppings on your burgers, serve it on a bun or a crisp lettuce wrap, get the only french fries that are fried in olive oil (through their patented process) as well as some incredible milk shakes. It is no surprise they have seen the success that they have in a marketplace that is starting to crave a healthier food selection. Everything about Elevation Burger seems to make it a great fit for a city like Austin, TX.

Yet despite Dennis’ enthusiasm their newest location closed pretty shortly after it opened.

We’re sad for the Bone family and wish them huge success in the future.

Failure – and now for the rest of the story….

This is the the drive-through location that met an untimely death.

10611 Research Blvd. is located on the service road of a major highway. Right next door to this location is a Costco with a gas station. The area is fairly densely populated in a solid middle class neighborhood. Not too far away, on the other side of the highway they have what appears to be a successful sit down restaurant. There is a McDonalds, a Chick-Fil-A and several other fast food restaurants less than a minute away.

You couldn’t ask for a better place with the volume of drive by traffic this location had. Locating in a retail area with a high density of retail traffic that is comprised of its so-called target demographic would seem to be a no brainer.

Why did they fail?

Our research indicates that there are two factors that contributed to the location’s demise:

1. This location was a drive-through location and perhaps the slower Elevation Burger experience is not as well suited to the dynamics of a drive-through location.
2. Our algorithm evaluated over 15,000 data points concluding that rather than being a “no-brainer” this location was “High-Risk.” Despite the surface similarities to other successful locations the franchisee didn’t understand all the factors that make a location low risk.

Traffic is not all you should be looking for in picking the ideal retail location.

So why do you think they closed so quickly?

If you were in their situation would you have opened that location?

We’d love your feedback, please chime in.

P.S. This is one reason why the Franchise King, Joel Libava was so excited that there is finally a way to predict if a franchise location will be successful.

Marc Smookler

About Marc Smookler

Marc Smookler has founded 6 companies—2 of which have been acquired and 3 of which are market leaders in their respective spaces—the leading brick-and-mortar retail analytics company (IdealSpot.com), a leading online retailer (SakeSocial.com), and a cutting-edge marketing services platform (Written.com). Marc’s companies have generated over $300M in lifetime revenues and sold over 150,000 products worldwide.

3 Comments

  • […] overflowing with old data and preconceived notions – and seem to still have a very limited view of the factors that might affect the success or failure of a particular brick-and-mortar location – how visible is it to traffic? How accessible? What […]

  • Praveen says:

    The size of the lot was the issue. The two times I went there it was hard to pull into the lot, and you know you have to park because service is slow. It would have done much better in a strip mall where there is a lot of parking spots.

  • Matilde Villarreal says:

    I saw this location open up and would have loved to be able to stop. I would get off of 183 to get on Braker for my job. Traffic was always too heavy and it was an impossibility to pick up burgers without knowing i was going to loose alot of time. Worst location ever…well…that and the price i paid for a double burger fries and drink….if i remember right, i paid almost $10. I rember thinking that if i went over menu more slowly and took my time i could probably ordered differently and it wouldnt be so much. But you guys are loosing out to P-Terry when it comes to me and my family. Just cant afford you. Your concept is to be admired. But your get rich scheme didnt abide well with me and mine. I have a tendency now that when i pass one of your estabestablishment i point and say, the 10 dollar buger! Not worth it. Sorry……

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