Old American Eateries Make Adjustments to New Trends
Rural American eateries in towns and communities across the nation have struggled to keep the lights on and doors opened during the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months. Now, restrictions are easing and the patrons are back inside at the tables and outdoor patios.
These local diners, pubs and food service businesses in small town USA are mostly family owned and operated. They are living the American dream. Grandparents, parents and children, multi-generational business owners and operators fared far better than the national chains have done during the pandemic.
Thousands of chain restaurants closed locations all over the nation as urbanites were not allowed to go out for meals. Those business models, in many cases, did not have the flexibility or ability to adjust to the new environment of the food service business.
Contactless Food Service Takes Over
Rural and small town American restaurants and diners had to find new ways to serve their loyal customers. Enter the contactless food service with curbside pickup or delivery. Rural America is now having food delivered to their doors by local restaurants that never thought about offering that before.
With contactless food services, there are many new expenses to add to your budget. Plastic dishes, Styrofoam, plastic stemware, packaged condiments, websites and apps for online ordering all come with added costs and staff adjustments. However, many mom and pop shops flourished and delivered the goods all over America, keeping customers happy and their doors open.
Added Services Provide Extra Income
Retail was another new venture for some restaurant operators who needed another income stream. Bottled hot sauces, bottled BBQ sauces, cocktails to-go, branded apparel and all kinds of swag was added to the website menus at a small cost to the restaurant owners.
As a commercial real estate broker that specializes in food service and hospitality properties, I engaged many restaurant and bar sellers who chose to sell their businesses and properties. The ones who stayed open and adjusted to survive while reinventing their business came out the other side of this with a thriving business and very loyal customers.
Rural American restaurants have been, and always will, welcome travelers, vacationers, tourists and locals. The next time you’re out on the road, drive by that big box brand and find Main Street, where you’ll find the heart and soul of the food service in the area. This is where you’ll find the owners, the families and the good food.
Selling a Restaurant has Promise in Today’s Rural Market
These local eateries have the value. They are still very attractive to urbanites looking to remodel their lifestyle. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a client say, “let’s move to a small town and buy or open a restaurant.” There are hundreds of people a year that have the idea to own a business like yours. Listing and selling the American rural lifestyle business has never been more attractive and the timing perfect to get the best price for rural America restaurants.
As the pandemic winds down, most people are thinking about where they’ll travel, who they’ll visit, and which restaurants they’ll eat at first. Those with the entrepreneurial fire, however, are doing what they always do in good times and bad — sniffing out the hidden opportunity.
About the author
Michael Krieg is a real estate broker with United Country Real Estate who specializes in commercial properties, businesses for sale, resort properties and international sales. He has worked the food service and hospitality market for 20 years with firsthand knowledge as a hotel and restaurant owner operator for over 40 years. Learn more about Michael and the rest of the team at United Country | Real Colorado Properties at www.RealColoradoProperties.com.