Study the demographics very carefully before you do anything.
Work out who your customers are, before you decide the cuisine.
The place is poorly located to serve the "real" locals, ie the residents further down Tooley Street
towards Tower Bridge, and those who live behind the viaduct in the Bermondsey High Street area.
Tower Bridge is well served by Wetherspoon and several other restaurants in Shad Thames
opened this week in Tea Trade Wharf and is excellent.
As to Bermondsey, in 17 years of going under the viaduct in a car, I have seen only a dozen people walk through it in total, it is an unpleasant experience. So basically almost no locals.
The parking is horrendous all around that area, so you will get virtually no drive-by trade, unless new car parks are built.
3) Office Workers
This is probably your best bet. More London and other new buildings will create large numbers of daytime customers. But they will dry up after 6.30. In the evening you will get competition from the well-established wine bar under London Bridge and the other restaurants around there .
There are quite a few tourists wandering around, but the vast majority are in groups visiting the various attractions such as World War II and the London Dungeon
. There are few hotels in the vicinity, so you will get little evening tourist trade.
My advice is check on:
1) Exactly why the previous restaurants/bars on that site have failed. They were high-quality gastro-pubs/wine bars etc. and they died.
2) Why other restaurants around them failed - there was a very classy french restaurant Le Truffle Noir almost opposite which has disappeared. Also why the restaurant opposite in the basement of Hays Galleria recently changed from Italian to French.
3) See which restaurants have survived longest and what is their secret, for instance the Peruvian restaurant in Tooley Street
has been there at least 17 years and is still going although I have never been in it and I have never seen more than 2-3 people in there at any one time.
My own choice would be an ethnic restuarant.
The Thai restaurant in Hays galleria has been a great success, whereas its predecessor, a US barbecue style place, failed.
There are two long-lived successful Chinese restaurants in Tooley Street
, although their food is very iffy. A really good HK restaurant would knock them out.
The Italian and the Indian restaurants on Tower Bridge approach have also survived 17 years.
However, there is no Japanese noodle bar for miles.
I would do a franchise with the Noto Noodle Bar on the highwalk next to Guildhall in the City to open up on your site. They are phenomenally successful, even to 10.30 in the evening midweek. The food is excellent and they are good value for money. Their appeal to office workers is very strong and they are becoming very trendy. Newest one I have seen is in Eastcheap - the Japanese Canteen. Doing great business.
Or a sushi bar..
As for marketing, I would try to do a deal with the London Dungeon
to take advantage of all those lovely potential customers queuing up for hours in droves just 50 feet away.. that alone could keep you in clover..
In fact, if you are not interested in going the ethnic route, why not amalgamate with the Dungeon to become their restaurant !
Also, I would have the place fungshuied - I believe it is on the site of a WWII bomb shelter which received a direct hit and many people (?200) died horribly. Perhaps the site is jinxed. Couldn't do any harm to placate the ghosts !
Also go and talk to More London and see what restaurants they have planned for the complex - their competition could wipe you out !
Why not just open something in More London yourself anyway?
Good luck !
Post edited (04 Jul 03 23:03)