Finding The Perfect Restaurant Space—What To Discuss With Your Broker

In today’s world of retail commercial real estate, few things get more buzz than a new and exciting restaurant concept. When we ask what people would like to see in a particular property or development, the vast majority of requests and comments are for restaurants. So this got us thinking, what do restaurateurs need to look for and consider when deciding on the best property to lease or purchase for their new concept?

At Crunkleton, we’ve helped a number of clients reach their goals of opening a successful restaurant. Here are a few things your broker needs to discuss with you before beginning the search for the perfect piece of property:

Concept & Clientele

The first thing we need to examine is your concept, who your customers are, and when they will be coming to visit. Is your concept open for all three meals of the day or just dinner? What will your busiest time of day be? Knowing your projected peak hours will help you determine if you need to be situated near a large daytime/work population or an area with a more active evening population.

You may also need to consider how commuter traffic affects your desired location. Do you need to capture the crowd heading to work during the morning hours? Or will you get more business after work hours? Determining these factors first will narrow down the areas that need to be considered, making your search more efficient while eliminating areas that wouldn’t be suitable.

We also need to consider local zoning laws. If you serve alcohol, then we need to make sure we search in the correct zoning district and may need to be a certain distance from protected uses, such as schools and churches.

Size & Special Features

Next, let’s determine what size space you need and if you require any special features such as a drive-thru or outdoor patio. One of the biggest factors in the success of a restaurant will be occupancy costs. Essentially, this is how much it costs you to occupy the space in relation to your sales volume. A space too large will drive up your occupancy costs by leaving you to pay rent on empty tables that aren’t producing sales. A space too small may limit the number of customers you can serve, therefore driving up occupancy costs by not producing enough sales to cover your expenses. Finding the appropriate size space is critical to long-term success.

These added features (like the patio or drive-thru) may be beneficial to your business and drive more customer traffic. Properties with these features generally cost more to lease or purchase, but the increased costs may be worth it in the long run.

Parking & Accessibility

Another important factor to consider is parking and accessibility. Like we mentioned previously, these factors will largely be determined by your concept. A lunch-focused restaurant may need to be more concerned with parking and convenience than a sit-down dinner concept. If your patrons will be pressed for time, having an abundance of parking close to the front door may be important.

Are you a quick-serve breakfast concept? Then you may want to be located on the “going-to-work” side of the road so customers can easily swing in and out during their morning commute and don’t have to waste time crossing traffic or waiting on a light to change.


Lastly, let’s talk about the condition of the space we need to be looking for during our search. Can you handle the initial build-out of the restaurant or do we need to find a space that has previously been a restaurant? Restaurant spaces have requirements that may not be in place in some of the properties we find, such as grease traps, vent hoods, adequate HVAC, etc.

Finding spaces that already have these features installed can certainly save time and money when it comes to build-out and getting open, but may be difficult to find and costlier to lease or purchase. Part of a broker’s job is knowing the market well enough to expedite your search and introduce you to spaces that fit your needs when it come to these necessities.

Obviously saving that time and money on build-out would be nice, but don’t let your decision on the final location be driven by the fact that the space is a second-generation restaurant space. We’ve put this last on the list because we believe from our experience that the other factors are more important to the long-term success of a restaurant than saving some money during the build-out.

Are you searching for the perfect restaurant space? Be sure to check out our full list of available restaurant spaces here.

And give us a call at 256-536-8809, or email us at Our retail brokers would be happy to help you with your search and answer any questions you have.


Zac Buckley
VP of Leasing
Crunkleton Commercial Real Estate Group


Originally from Tennessee, Zac studied business management at Samford University. After moving to Huntsville in 2001, Zac started out his career in banking, wealth management, and financial planning. In 2010 he joined Crunkleton and has since become the VP of Leasing for the commercial real estate group where he focuses on retail leasing and development.

Construction Update: 117 Clinton Avenue!

Downtown Huntsville is evolving day-by-day, and we are always excited to share some of the progress that’s happening behind closed doors.

In February, we announced that the historic 117 Clinton Avenue building would undergo a major renovation and transform into Clinton Row’s next retail or dining experience. Construction crews have been hard at work, and the property has already taken on a new look inside.

Several walls have been removed, opening up the space and setting the stage for a truly unique shop or restaurant. A new rustic vibe has been introduced with the exposure of brick walls. And any built-in shelves, desks, and other décor from the property’s days as an office are gone.

Of course, this is just the beginning of the transformation! There’s a lot of construction still on the way. Here are some before and after images of the project so far.





117 Clinton will be a unique, urban atmosphere for its next tenant and be situated near many of Downtown’s major hot spots like The Garage at Clinton Row, the Clinton Row Shops, The Avenue retail shops, and the recently announced 106 Jefferson: A Curio Collection by Hilton boutique hotel.

If you’re interested in leasing this incredible space, contact us by email at or call us at 256-536-8809. Find the listing for this property here.

Be sure to stay tuned to our blog as we share more updates on 117 Clinton!

Make sure you’re staying on top of the latest trends, newest developments and hottest new stores in Huntsville by subscribing to our weekly blog updates!

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Development Updates: “Times Plaza” & “Williamsburg Plaza”

There’s a lot going on in Huntsville in terms of development. In fact, an article recently released by shares current U.S. Census figures that show Huntsville metro is still growing at a fast pace. We are always excited to be involved with this growth and help talented businesses become a part of the Madison County community.

As promised, Crunkleton will bring you updates on the progress of projects that we have already announced, and we have two for you today.

Read on below to see the latest from “Times Plaza” and “Williamsburg Plaza”!

Times Plaza

When driving past the old Huntsville Times site off the Parkway, you may have noticed the new sign that showcases renderings of the completed “Times Plaza” development.

We are thrilled to share the latest renderings of the project with you so you can see what’s coming. Check it out!

Times Plaza is the official name of the development that will be situated at 2317 South Memorial Parkway. It will be a mixed-use retail/office development that will house multiple exciting tenants including restaurants, boutiques, and more.

(We have a tenant announcement coming very soon, so check back here!)

Click here to see details on the property.

Williamsburg Plaza

Last November, we announced the addition of a new 8,200 square foot development coming to the corner of Highway 72 and Nance Road: Williamsburg Plaza. The site includes two confirmed tenants—Bank Independent and Aspen Dental.

As an addition to one of the city’s busiest retail corridors, it’s easy to see the development’s construction progress when driving by. Walls are up, and passersby can now make out the roof of the Colonial Williamsburg-style Bank Independent location.

According to the development team, “Construction continues at Williamsburg Plaza on the corner of Highway 72 and Nance Road. For the most part, the weather has cooperated and plans are on schedule. Williamsburg Plaza expects tenants to open up during the 4th Quarter of this year.”

Click here to see details on the property.

Make sure you’re staying on top of the latest trends, newest developments and hottest new stores in Huntsville by subscribing to our weekly blog updates!

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Pet Supplies Plus Coming To Madison In April!

Residents in Madison will soon have a new pet supply store where they can stock up on brand name food, pet toys, necessities, and much more. Pet Supplies Plus, a pet store franchise headquartered in Livonia, Michigan, will open a location in Madison at 4577 Wall Triana Highway.

Ray Bellenfant and his wife Ronda will head the store’s opening as its co-owners with more than 20 years of local business experience under their belts.

“Pet Supplies Plus has the third-largest volume in the pet food retail industry,” stated Ray. “And they are very close to taking over number two. We are thrilled to give Madison even more access to quality food and supplies for their pets.”

The leadership team at Pet Supplies Plus in Madison.

Today, Pet Supplies Plus has 425 locations operating in 33 states, offering a large variety of products at a great value to ensure pets’ overall wellness. Additionally, experienced and knowledgeable team members are available on-site to answer a broad range of questions about dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, and fish. Pet Supplies Plus currently has shops in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa. However, this will be the first site to open in the Huntsville/Madison area.

“Our love for helping animals runs deep.”

“When we discovered the opportunity to run a franchise for Pet Supplies Plus, we knew it was a perfect fit,” said Ray. “We have been involved in franchises since 1995 and this one offered us a unique chance to be involved with a company that’s driven by an important cause—the wellbeing of animals.”

Experience alone isn’t the only thing that makes Ray and Ronda the ideal team to manage the store. The pair currently holds the record for most pets owned by anyone who has opened a Pet Supplies Plus location.

“At the time of the agreement, we had four horses, four donkeys, six dogs, five cats, and a fish,” laughed Ray. “We also foster for A New Leash On Life and make periodic donations to the organization. Helping animals is something we’ve always made a priority. Our family has always had a love for them.”

The new store will be another way that Ray and Ronda plan to give back to the community and the animals they care for.

“They are more than customers—they are our neighbors,” said Ray. Pet Supplies Plus neighbors, nationwide, come into the stores with their pets so frequently, they become like family. “We can’t wait to meet each and every owner and their beloved pets.”

“Our goal is to take the hassle out of shopping for your pet,” said Ray. “We plan on having several services that help the local animal community and the owners who love them.”

Soon after their official opening, the pet store will be able to host fundraisers by partnering with local school teams/clubs or churches to help them earn funds for different causes.

“Instead of a car wash, it’s a pet wash,” joked Ray. “We will provide the necessary supplies they need to make the fundraiser a success.”

A New Leash On Life will also host some adoption events at the store and periodic fundraisers will allow customers to come in, purchase any item and donate it to the animal shelter or charity of their choice.

“We’ll make sure the donated items are delivered to the right charity,” assured Ronda. “Anyone with a heart to give will be able to do so without any hassle involved. That’s what you do for your neighbor—you help them out. We just make the process a little easier.”

Pet Supplies Plus website.

“We offer quality products at a quality price.”

Pet Supplies Plus will carry brand-name products and match prices.“We strive to deliver quality customer service with a neighborhood feel,” said Ray. “You can be assured that you will purchase products for the lowest prices in the market. And we have plans to incorporate other services that will make life easier for our neighbors.”

“We strive to deliver quality customer service with a neighborhood feel,” said Ray. “You can be assured that you will purchase products for the lowest prices in the market. And we have plans to incorporate other services that will make life easier for our neighbors.”

In addition to pet grooming, the shop will have a VIP pick-up area with designated parking for customers on-the-go.

“Basically, you order online, park your car, and we deliver it to your vehicle,” explained Ray. “Veterinarians will also be coming to the store on certain days to a clinic we will have at the back of the store.”

An agreement with local, quality vets will allow the store to offer services like microchipping, vaccines, and more.

“Come see us in April!”

Be sure to drop by the new store in Madison when they have their soft opening this April. Ray and Ronda are ready to meet their new neighbors—and their pets too, of course.

“We hope you all come meet us soon and we will strive to give you the best customer care for your pets,” assured Ray. “They are an important part of the family, and we will help ensure they are taken care of. Great customer care and a neighborhood feel—that’s what we will provide.”

The Grand Opening is currently scheduled for May 11-13.

For more information on Pet Supplies Plus, please visit

Make sure you’re staying on top of the latest trends, newest developments and hottest new stores in Huntsville by subscribing to our weekly blog updates!

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