This Week on The Street
(A more or less regular compilation of news, factoids and observations.)
By Harold V. Shumacher
February 7, 2011
Last month’s ice and snow storm in metro Atlanta proved an old adage true. The three most important things in real estate are location, location, location. For those restaurants that were able to get open the most successful were in close proximity to their customers-basically the intown spots where patrons could walk to them. In the suburban areas restaurants that were open had a harder time depending on patrons to venture forth on icy thoroughfares.
New year predictions abound at this time of the year so we’d be remiss not to include some of our own. First the biggie-we don’t anticipate a fundamental change in the real estate market for the next 3-6 months. The market will remain sluggish, deals will take longer to complete and financing will remain an issue for many, especially small business operators. One fundamental change is that we’ve apparently reached “the bottom.” We don’t anticipate rental rates and land prices dropping much below their current levels and in fact are already inching up in select markets.
Other predictions courtesy of the Atlanta Hospitality Roundtable, which we helped start 22 years ago, include value meals becoming a permanent part of restaurant menus, more emphasis on front of the house guest contact by management, a reduction in portion size rather than an increase in prices, more restaurants open on holidays, greater use of technology (from hand held ordering devices to social media), growing number of food trucks and a continuing expansion of upscale Asian concepts to markets such as Duluth and Suwanee.
Last week’s superbowl was also the zenith for the poultry industry. According to the National Chicken Council approximately 100 million pounds of pounds were consumed during the game-that translates into 1.25 billion portions. While that sounds like a lot-and is-throughout the year over 13.5 billion wing parts will be scoffed down in restaurants and at home.
Recent deal activity includes: the lease of the former Sambuca (Piedmont Road) to Ocean Prime; lease of the Buffalo House Woodstock and the sale of Cheyenne Grill (Buckhead) and Tavern 99 (Buckhead.)