Location is obviously as vital in the restaurant business as in any other. Curious about the ideal locale for a new, cutting-edge restaurant, I set out to understand two concentrations of excellent chef/owner type restaurants in certain Toronto neighbourhoods, one to the west and one to the east of Toronto.
Another good array of restaurants is to be found farther east on Queen East/Riverdale: Enoteca Ascari, Table 17, Skin and Bones, Goods and Provisions, Gio Rana, County General, Rock Lobster, Leslie Jones, Edward Levesque’s Kitchen, Queen Margherita Pizza, Ruby Watchco.
In the western area of South Parkdale and Queen Street, we have such fabulous places as Porzia, Chanteclair, Carmen, Grand Electric, Parts and Labour, Maialino, Local Kitchen and Wine Bar, Electric Mud, The Drake Hotel (just outside South Parkdale) and, just opened, Dandylion.
So, which of these areas is likely to be the better location for our cutting-edge restaurant? Would it thrive better in the west neighbourhood or the east? To help me decide, I looked closely at the economic, social and cultural backgrounds of the people who live in the areas nearby, who are likely to be the restaurant’s main customer base.
Studies have shown, not surprisingly, that people on higher incomes are more likely to eat out, and to spend more money per head when they do. And within the higher income groups, those with most disposable income tend to be single people or couples without children – whether those are young, urban professionals, or couples whose children have grown up and flown the nest.
However, traditionally, older people eat out less that younger. 18-24 year olds eat and drink out most frequently. 35-44 year olds spend the most per head when they do eat out. Smaller households with two earners eat out most often and spend most per head.
We also know that lower income families tend to use takeaways rather than full service restaurants for their eating from home treats. And it’s been observed that significantly high numbers from certain ethnic groups, including some black and Asian communities, prefer to eat out at places that serve foods from their own culture base.
With all this knowledge in mind, I’ve been looking at the background of the residents surrounding my eastern and western concentrations of restaurants. Namely, in the west, I investigated the districts of Dufferin Grove, Little Portugal, Niagara, Palmerstone (Little Italy), South Parkdale and Trinity Belwood. And in the east, Blake Jones, Greenwood Coxwell, Moss Park, North Riverdale, Regend Park and South Riverdale.
Next time, I’ll share my findings with you, and reveal which area I’d choose to locate my new, cutting edge restaurant!