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Nontraditional spaces and smaller sizes can be a boon for restaurants

SmartPulse — our weekly reader poll in Restaurant SmartBrief — tracks feedback from restaurant owners and managers about trends and issues.

Last week’s poll question: Does your restaurant have locations in nontraditional spaces such as on campuses and in airports?

54.17% — Yes, my restaurant can be found in nontraditional spaces.
45.83% — No, my restaurant is only found in traditional locations.

Big chains are starting to think smaller, and startups are finding that it’s OK to begin business in a smaller location. The advantages include lower rent, fewer employees and offering only the best-selling items, according to this Tampa Tribune article that reported on the trend.

This week in the Wall Street Journal, Shane Covey’s 700-square-foot oyster bar in New York City garnered some attention. Restaurant owners steer away from the higher overhead of large locations in favor of more intimate and less expensive sites, the article stated.

In addition to smaller locations, franchises have long been moving into nontraditional locations, such as into retailer shops, hospitals and airports. Last week, CSP Daily News reported that Subway has more than 8,000 nontraditional locations, including sites at convenience stores and truck stops.

Where is your nontraditional location? Tell us in the comments.