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Feeding Your Dream

Choosing the Perfect Location for Your Food Venture in Bournemouth, Poole, or Christchurch

Choosing the location for your restaurant or sandwich shop can be as decisive to your success as the very essence of the business concept itself. Among the picturesque landscapes and bustling towns of Dorset, three locales stand out as coveted spots for aspiring restaurateurs – Bournemouth, Poole, and Christchurch. Each of these locations has its own unique charm and offers a different blend of potential customers, making them ideal bases for various types of food businesses.

This article dives deep into these distinct areas, offering an overview of their respective culinary landscapes. Our aim is to provide a robust guiding platform to support your decision-making process when choosing the right location for your food venture. We will explore the character and demographic makeup of each area, assess the competition, and evaluate potential market gaps. In addition, we will discuss factors such as accessibility, visibility, and potential for foot traffic that contribute significantly to the success of a food establishment.

Whether you aspire to establish a gourmet restaurant that serves as an elegant dinner destination, or a cozy sandwich shop catering to quick lunch breaks, your choice of location can play a significant role in defining your business trajectory. Being privy to insights about the local population, competition, and market demands can equip you with the knowledge to identify the most suitable location for your dream food venture.

From the energetic beachside town of Bournemouth, with its diverse population of students, tourists, and locals; to the historic port city of Poole, known for its affluent residents and a bustling quay; and finally to the peaceful, scenic town of Christchurch, with its charming blend of history and a thriving food scene – the choice of location holds immense potential to shape the future of your culinary enterprise.

Venturing into the food business is an exciting journey, and with the right location, your dream of owning a thriving restaurant or sandwich shop in the heart of Dorset can turn into a delicious reality.

Location, Location, Location

1. Bournemouth

Bournemouth, known for its sandy beaches and stunning gardens, is much more than just a seaside resort. This bustling town offers a diverse, dynamic dining scene, ripe with opportunities for both established and budding restaurateurs. The fusion of tourist footfall, local residents, and a considerable student population creates a unique blend of demand, offering space for a variety of food businesses to flourish.

The town’s heart pulsates with energy, featuring a wide array of eateries, from fine dining restaurants to quirky cafes and takeaway spots. The beachfront, always brimming with tourists and locals, offers another promising location for a food venture. Establishments here can capitalise on the constant stream of beachgoers seeking to complement their seaside adventures with delectable food experiences.

An important element to consider is the presence of Bournemouth University, a source of a steady influx of students. This demographic often seeks quick, affordable, and diverse food options, providing a potential market for concepts like street food stalls, sandwich shops, or budget-friendly ethnic cuisine.

Moreover, Bournemouth’s reputation as a popular venue for festivals and events can provide additional opportunities for seasonal business surges. Events like the Bournemouth Air Festival attract masses of spectators, creating spikes in demand that food businesses can leverage.

Lastly, Bournemouth’s vibrant nightlife, with its mix of clubs, bars, and entertainment venues, could offer potential avenues for late-night eateries or takeaways. Catering to the night crowd might provide an additional revenue stream and a way to stand out in the bustling Bournemouth food scene.

In summary, Bournemouth’s diversity and energetic atmosphere present an attractive landscape for your food venture, whether you’re considering a gourmet restaurant, a hip coffee shop, or a casual fast-food joint.

Pros: High footfall, especially during the summer months; diverse customer base.

Cons: Competition can be high, especially in central areas; seasonal variations in customer flow.

2. Poole

Situated on the edge of the world’s second-largest natural harbour, Poole is a town of fascinating contrasts. It combines rich history and stunning coastal beauty with upscale residential areas, presenting a distinct landscape for potential food ventures. A restaurant or sandwich shop here could potentially cater to both locals and tourists, each group adding to the flavour and richness of your customer base.

Poole is a town that effortlessly exudes an aura of affluence. High-income areas like Sandbanks, known as one of the UK’s most expensive places to live, house a population with refined tastes and a propensity for high-end dining experiences. This offers an opportunity for food businesses offering premium dining experiences, upscale cafes or gourmet takeaway options.

At the same time, the historic charm of Poole’s Old Town and Quay is a strong draw for tourists. The quaint, cobbled streets, the mesmerising harbour views, and the iconic Poole Pottery all contribute to the area’s allure. Establishing a food business here would place you in the heart of the town’s footfall, with a steady flow of potential customers eager to complement their sightseeing with a satisfying meal or quick bite.

Another potential crowd-puller in Poole is the bustling Dolphin Shopping Centre, the largest indoor shopping complex in Dorset. Housing a food court or a restaurant near such a busy retail hub could attract a wide range of shoppers looking for a place to refuel.

Moreover, Poole’s active marina and the surrounding areas are home to numerous events throughout the year, including the Poole Harbour Boat Show and the British Beach Polo Championships. These events attract both locals and tourists, presenting additional business peak periods for nearby food establishments.

In essence, setting up shop in Poole offers the chance to cater to an affluent, discerning clientele and tap into the town’s strong tourist industry. From boutique eateries to high-end restaurants, Poole’s unique blend of charm and prosperity provides fertile ground for your food venture.

Pros: Potential for higher price points; strong local and tourist market.

Cons: Less foot traffic compared to Bournemouth; potential need for more upscale offerings to match customer expectations.

3. Christchurch

Nestled between the lively towns of Bournemouth and Poole, Christchurch offers a different yet equally appealing backdrop for budding restaurateurs. Renowned for its rich history, beautiful architecture, and picturesque harbour, Christchurch presents a quieter, more tranquil alternative for those looking to establish a food business.

Establishing a restaurant, café, or sandwich shop in this scenic town offers you the chance to cater to a unique blend of customers. On one hand, you have a steady stream of locals – residents who value the town’s close-knit community and slower pace of life. These patrons, many of whom are retirees attracted to the town’s serene lifestyle, often seek eateries that provide a comfortable, relaxed dining experience.

On the other hand, Christchurch’s compelling history and impressive landmarks draw in a significant number of tourists. From the spectacular 11th-century Christchurch Priory to the medieval Christchurch Castle ruins and the charming quayside, visitors to these sites often look for convenient, welcoming places to eat and drink.

Moreover, the natural beauty of the area – with two rivers, a harbour, and proximity to the New Forest – lends itself to a variety of outdoor activities. Food businesses that can cater to walkers, bird watchers, sailing enthusiasts, and nature lovers can tap into a customer base that enjoys the great outdoors as much as a great meal.

Christchurch also hosts a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. Food-centric events like the Christchurch Food Festival and the Cheese and Chilli Festival attract locals and tourists alike. Having a food business in the vicinity of these events could provide significant boosts to customer numbers and visibility.

In conclusion, Christchurch, with its enticing mix of serene charm, historical allure, and active local and tourist communities, could be the ideal location for your food venture. Whether you’re considering a cosy café, a family-friendly restaurant, or a takeaway sandwich shop, this tranquil town offers a unique landscape for your culinary aspirations.

Pros: Unique historic charm can attract tourists; potential for a more local, community-focused business.

Cons: Quieter, less footfall than Bournemouth and Poole; seasonal fluctuations in customer base.

Factors to Consider

When choosing a location, consider the following:

Target Market: Understand your target customers’ demographics and preferences. Students? Locals? Tourists?

Competition: Evaluate the competition in each area. Can your concept offer something unique?

Accessibility and Visibility: Is the location easy to find and reach? Locations with high visibility and foot traffic are usually beneficial.

Rent and Overhead Costs: Compare rental prices and the cost of utilities in each area.

Potential for Growth: Is the area developing? Could it attract more people in the future?


Choosing the right location is a crucial step towards your food business success. Whether it’s the lively streets of Bournemouth, the affluent charm of Poole, or the historic appeal of Christchurch, understanding each area and its potential will help you make an informed decision.

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