The Reason Restaurant Owners Are Ditching Big Cities For The Suburbs

When you just can't eat your own cooking anymore, and you head out to a restaurant for some fine dining, you don't usually hit up the local strip mall. However, finding a high-end eatery in your neighborhood is becoming more commonplace as restaurants move out of the big cities and bring fancy food to the burbs.

According to The New York Times, chefs see the benefits of being big fish in little ponds. Restaurateurs are rethinking their approach to fine dining by moving to the small towns surrounding the big cities where they formerly struggled with various issues. A unique restaurant concept or cuisine stands alone in small towns instead of competing with similar restaurants on the same block in the city. Rent is far cheaper in the suburbs. There is more space available inside the restaurant and outside for diners who prefer a patio experience that isn't situated in oncoming traffic, which is all that cramped big-city restaurants can provide.

The pandemic highlighted a growing interest in fine dining favorites that consumers wanted to enjoy closer to home as they weren't commuting to big cities anymore but still wanted high-end meals (per The Wall Street Journal). The work-from-home culture has increased the number of people living in the suburbs along with their income, and with this shift has come a demand for broader food options.

How does a big city restaurant make it in the suburbs?

Move over Chili's. Your jalapeƱo poppers are no match for the duck confit tacos served at the new high-end restaurant next door. Many fine dining restaurants have discovered that people everywhere want a food upgrade, and expanded palates aren't exclusive to city dwellers anymore. Chefs and restauranteurs have an increasing presence in small cities, but they've had to adjust their business model to find success.

Big city chefs make their high-end menus more accessible to small-town diners by upgrading local foods and elevating regional favorites (via US Foods). Restaurants moving to the suburbs have also found success by providing exemplary customer service that makes diners feel at home and comfortable trying out various new menu options. Keeping costs down is also essential to integrating city eateries, as folks from the suburbs want to be pleasantly surprised by the high-end food, not the prices.

According to Vice, increased growth and development in suburban areas has boosted small-town economies and increased revenue for everyone from Michelin-star restaurants to local burger joints. The interest in a suburban lifestyle is only growing, and that means the demand for high-quality food that former city dwellers grew accustomed to will likely continue to expand as well.