Poll: Bernalillo residents want more local restaurants

Range Cafe at 925 Camino Del Pueblo in Bernalillo. Most Bernalillo residents want to see the town expand its dining options, according to a recent poll. (Matt Hollinshead/Rio Rancho Observer)

BERNALILLO — Many Bernalillo residents don’t want to settle for a 15-minute drive to Albuquerque or Rio Rancho just for a bite to eat.

In fact, 61% of them want to see the City of Bernalillo expand its restaurant offer in the years to come, according to a recent survey in response to the City’s development plan project. Additionally, 66% of residents said that restaurants are necessary when it comes to commercial services.

When asked where they go for shopping services, 84% said Albuquerque, 71% said Rio Rancho, and 56% shopped online.

“They are tired of eating at the same restaurants over and over again. It’s normal,” said Mike Kloeppel, director of economic development for Bernalillo. “Everyone just wants something different.”

The demand is there.

Kloeppel said a new Del Taco restaurant would be added in the near future, housed in the former Pizza 9 store that had closed. He said BadAss Coffee, across from the Santa Ana Star Casino and Hotel, was undergoing renovations and Starbucks would add a new location near the intersection of US 550 and Sheriff’s Posse Road.

Kloeppel said the town of Bernalillo isn’t actively recruiting businesses to move in because it doesn’t have the resources. Instead, the city would figure out which restaurant wanting to expand would be the best fit and sue them, he said.

And most new restaurants are tight-lipped about choosing a new location because if they find a place they like, they don’t want to risk losing that place to another establishment, he said. declared.

“Restaurants are a volatile business. They want to make sure their location matches what they’re trying to do,” Kloeppel said.

Restaurants also do their own research to figure out where they want to be, since many are franchised, Kloeppel said. He said McDonald’s, for example, assesses factors such as annual revenue, the vehicles people drive and their daily trends within a five-mile radius. He also said that channels like Chili rely on data-driven insights to decide whether or not to add a certain location. Two Chick-fil-A locations, for example, should be some distance apart.

“You can’t put them two blocks away unless it’s the same franchise owner,” he said.

Kloeppel said the development plan is pretty much a “20-year vision” and simply a plan to work with. It could be presented to city council around the end of April, he said.

Gladys T. Hensley