Local restaurants face big challenges

WICHITA, Kansas — Big names are coming to Wichita, spelling big challenges for local retailers.

Tanya Tandoc of Tanya’s Soup Kitchen looked at over 60 locations for her new restaurant. It was a shocking education.

“Some of the restaurants are going to close. It’s a natural attrition process,” said Tanya Tandoc. “New development and new restaurant building is enormously expensive. If you go into existing space it’s going to cost an awful lot less.”

As the saying goes, its location, location, location. And if you’re a small, locally owned business, and want to relocate on a busy intersection on the east side be prepared to pay.

“We’re seeing rents today that are above $30 a square foot,” said Steve Martens, Martens Commercial Group. “That had been unheard of a few years back in the Wichita market.”

National chains are able to handle it because of their deep pockets — pushing out the mom and pop shops. That’s why Tanya has gone from serving customers to serving businesses.

“Independent restaurants have the opportunity to create unique marketing strategies that chain restaurants simply cannot,” said Tanya. “The community connection, I think, is enormously important.”

Hopefully it’s enough to allow the small guy to compete with the big names.

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