Many companies nowadays have delivery-only business models which don’t require a high street presence, and instead rely on the rapid, time-limited delivery of orders within a specific area (typically town and city centres). These organisations are often virtual brands taking orders only online and by phone. They may also be so-called dark kitchens, which prepare and deliver food orders to local customers, often on behalf of an established high street brand, or provide order fulfilment services for multiple brands.
Changing customer preferences driven by, among other things, increasingly easy and familiar online ordering systems, the Covid pandemic and fierce competition among operators, has resulted in strong demand for small and medium-sized warehouses, industrial units and kitchens, often located in the suburbs of towns and cities, from where orders can be prepared and delivered within the time frame chosen by the customer (this may be as little as 15-30 mins). These commercial properties offer the advantage of being relatively cheap to rent and staff, allowing small and medium-sized operators to compete in their target market.
Unless the premises is pre-equipped, the tenant will usually need to make alterations to meet the practical needs of their business. This is one area in which a commercial property solicitor can assist the tenant, mainly by ensuring that the lease terms are suitable for the latter’s intended purposes. Leases are normally lengthy documents, sometimes containing unexpected and unwelcome clauses for the unwary. Reliable legal advice is therefore a prerequisite for entering into such agreements to guarantee the smooth operation of a warehousing, fulfilment or dark kitchen business over the duration of the lease.
Our solicitors can help prospective tenants with all aspects of commercial leases, including negotiating terms with the landlord. We also carry out the various searches and enquiries to check, for example, the property’s planning permission status. The commercial property team at Bartletts can advise and support clients in every aspect of getting a warehouse, fulfilment unit or dark kitchen up and running as quickly and efficiently as possible – and with the minimum of fuss.