More parking isn’t always the answer

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

by: Sacha Oerlemans

Location is a crucial competitive aspect for retailers in general and restaurants in particular. Once the location is chosen, there are limited options to improve access to their business. Therefore, they usually tend to advocate for increasing parking supply as a way of providing more convenience to their current and potential customers and as such, abundant parking is perceived as vital for their business success. However, it is not always what consumers want and not necessarily the right solution for increasing revenue.

As reported by The Conversation, research was conducted to verify if car parking is as important as restaurateurs believe. To understand that, consumers’ mode of transportation to travel to the restaurant and their spend were investigated as well as restaurateurs’ perception on both aspects.

As can be seen in the graphs, there are significant differences between restaurateurs’ perceptions and the actual consumer behaviour. The largest gap is related to car usage, while restaurateurs believe that 52% of their consumers use this mode of transport, the reality is that it only represents 18%. On the other hand, the mode share of public transportation is underestimated by restaurateurs; they thought that only 15% of their consumers travelled by public transport when in fact 41% of them do.

Restaurateurs overestimate car use and underestimate public transport use by customers.

In addition, restaurateurs also have a misperception of the revenue share of customers according to their mode of transport. The graphs below demonstrate that gap:

Revenue from public transport users and walkers is more than restaurateurs think. Car users’ contribution is much less.

The study indicates that consumers who walked, cycled or used public transport to travel to restaurants spent more than those who used cars.

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