How to Start a Restaurant | Starting a Restaurant In 17 Steps
If you’re interested in starting a restaurant, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, we’ll teach you how to start a restaurant in 17 steps!
Starting a restaurant can be daunting, but with our guide, you’ll be ready to tackle the task head-on.
So what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
How to Start a Restaurant
1. Choose a Restaurant Concept and Brand
One of the first steps to opening a restaurant is deciding on a concept and brand. This will help you determine your niche market and what type of food you’ll be serving. It’s essential to choose a niche you’re passionate about to build a successful business.
Some things to consider when choosing a restaurant concept include the following:
- What type of food do you want to serve?
- What is your target market?
- What is your restaurant budget?
- What are your goals for the business?
2. Decide On a Service Style
The first step to opening a restaurant is deciding on the type of service you want to provide. Do you want a fast food or quick service restaurant? A casual dining restaurant? Or a fine dining establishment? Consider what kind of experience you want your customers to have and what type of atmosphere you want to create.
3. Create a Restaurant Business Plan
Creating a restaurant business plan is vital in opening a new restaurant. This document will outline your restaurant’s concept, menu, target market, marketing strategy, day-to-day operations, and financial projections.
Having a clear and well-thought-out business plan will make it easier to secure funding and attract investors.
4. Choose Your Restaurant’s Name and Legal Structure
Your restaurant’s name should be reflective of its overall theme and cuisine. Once you’ve chosen a name, you’ll need to select a legal structure for your business. The most common business entities for restaurants are sole proprietorships, partnerships, limited liability companies (LLCs), and corporations.
5. Create Your Food and Beverage Menu
When creating dishes for your menu, consider what items appeal to your target customer base. Focus on the simple yet delicious fare if you’re aiming for a casual dining experience. For a more upscale restaurant, you’ll want to create dishes that are both creative and beautiful to look at. And no matter what restaurant you’re running, it’s always important to use fresh, high-quality ingredients.
Another key element of any successful menu is balance. Be sure to offer a variety of items, including vegetarian and gluten-free options, to appeal to as many people as possible. And don’t forget about dessert! A delicious sweet menu can be a great way to finish a meal and leave guests with a positive impression of your restaurant.
Regarding drinks, it’s important to have a well-rounded selection that will complement your food menu. Again, think about what type of experience you’re trying to create for diners. If you’re going for a casual vibe, focus on offering a variety of beers, wines, and spirits. For a more upscale restaurant, you may want to create signature cocktails or offer rare wines. No matter what you choose, make sure your beverage program is top-notch and able to stand on its own.
6. Secure Restaurant Capital
Opening a restaurant takes significant financial investment. Before you can start serving your delicious dishes, you’ll need to secure funding to cover rent costs, restaurant equipment, supplies, and more.
There are different ways to finance a new restaurant, including personal savings, loans from family and friends, small business loans, and private investors. Research your options and choose the best option for your specific situation.
7. Choose a Location and Lease a Commercial Space
One of the most important aspects of starting a restaurant is choosing the right location. The location you choose will impact everything from your build-out costs to your customer base.
When searching for a location, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- Foot traffic: The more foot traffic your location gets, the better. Look for spaces near busy retail stores, office buildings, or tourist attractions.
- Parking: Make sure your location has adequate parking. This will make it easier for customers to visit your restaurant.
- Zoning: Be sure to check the zoning regulations in your chosen area. You’ll need to make sure your restaurant complies with all local regulations.
Once you’ve found a suitable location, you’ll need to negotiate a lease with the landlord. Be sure to get everything in writing and have a lawyer look over the lease before you sign it.
8. Design Your Layout and Space
Your restaurant’s layout and design will play a big role in its overall feel and atmosphere, so it’s important to take your time in planning it out. Decide on the size and shape of your front of house and back of house area to place furniture and fixtures. The goal is to create a functional and inviting space so that customers will enjoy their experience and want to come back.
Some things to consider when designing your layout and space:
- The size of the dining room and how many tables you will need
- The shape of the dining room and how it will flow
- The location of the kitchen and where customers will order
- The placement of furniture and fixtures, such as chairs, bar stools, restrooms, etc.
- The restaurant lighting (both natural and artificial)
- The décor of the space, including wall colors, flooring, and art
9. Find a Wholesale Supplier
Before stocking your restaurant with food, you’ll need to find a wholesale food supplier for restaurants. This is a company that sells food in bulk at a discounted price. You can find wholesale suppliers online or by contacting local food distributors.
Once you’ve found a supplier you’re happy with, you can place your first order! Be sure to also ask about minimum order requirements and delivery fees.
10. Get a Tax Identification Number for Your Restaurant
If you’re planning to open a restaurant, one of the steps you’ll need to take is to obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and used for tax purposes.
11. Register Your Restaurant for State and Local Taxes
Registering your restaurant for state and local taxes before you open for business is important. Most states require businesses to pay income taxes, employment, and other fees.
Contact your state’s tax office or visit their website to find out what you need to do.
12. Obtain Necessary Permits and Licenses
The first step to starting a restaurant is obtaining the necessary permits and licenses. Depending on your location and type of restaurant, you will need to obtain a food license, a health department permit and possibly get a liquor license. You will also need to ensure your restaurant complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Once you have obtained all the necessary permits and licenses, you must purchase restaurant insurance. This will protect you in case of any accidents or injuries at your restaurant.
13. Set Up Accounting Documents
You’ll need to set up some basic restaurant accounting documents in order to get started. This will include items such as a chart of accounts, general ledger, and income statement. These documents will help you track your restaurant’s finances and performance over time.
14. Invest In the Right Restaurant Technology
One of the most important things you can do when starting a restaurant is to invest in the right technology. This includes:
- Tableside Ordering
- Mobile point of Sale Systems
- Contactless Payments
- Self Ordering Kiosk
- Kitchen Display System
- Online Ordering Platform
- Online Ordering Systems and Delivery Apps
- Restaurant Inventory Management Software
- QR Codes
- Restaurant CRM Systems
- Third-Party Online Ordering Solutions
- Subscription Management Software
- Voice Ordering System
Investing in the right restaurant technology will help you set your business up for success from the start. Taking the time to research and select the best systems for your needs will pay off in the long run.
15. Hire the Right Staff
Hiring the right staff is one of the most important aspects of opening a successful restaurant. You will need to find employees passionate about food and restaurant customer service and with the necessary skills to excel in their roles.
The best way to find qualified candidates is to post job listings on online job boards and local newspapers. You can also ask your friends and family members if they know anyone who would be interested in working at your restaurant. Once you have a few candidates, conduct thorough interviews and reference checks before making final decisions.
16. Create a Restaurant Marketing Plan
To succeed in the restaurant business, you must have a solid marketing plan. You can’t just open your doors and expect customers to come flooding in. You need to let people know that you exist and are worth their time and money.
There are a lot of different restaurant marketing strategies out there, but only some of them will be right for your business. You need to find the ones that will work best for you and your budget.
Here are some restaurant marketing ideas to get you started:
- Create a solid social media presence.
- Get involved with food festivals and events.
- Make use of local print and online publications.
- Sponsor a charity event or food drive.
- Hold special events at your restaurant
17. Host a Soft-Opening and Grand-Opening
As you get closer to the opening date of your restaurant, you’ll want to start inviting people in for a sneak preview. This is called a “soft opening,” and it’s a great way to work out the kinks in your operations before you open your doors to the general public.
Invite friends, family, and local VIPs to check out your new place during the soft opening. Make sure they know this is a test run so that they will expect something other than perfection. Use their feedback to make any necessary adjustments to your menu, staff training, or décor.
Once you’re confident everything is running smoothly, it’s time for your grand opening! This is your big chance to show the world what your restaurant is. Pull out all the stops and make it a night to remember.
After the grand opening, it’s time to settle into a routine and start building up your regular customer base. You’ll serve delicious meals for years with hard work and a little luck! Keep your eye on the competition and always look for ways to improve your own business.
The steps should help you begin your journey to a successful restaurant business. It will be a lot of work in the beginning, but engaging in the process should make it much smoother—and most importantly, you will be able to better understand your restaurant’s setup by reading through each step in detail.
Frequently Asked Questions About How to Start a Restaurant
Before opening a restaurant, it is essential to do your research and prepare for challenges that will inevitably come. Here are some people’s most common questions about opening a restaurant.
Is It Hard to Open Your Own Restaurant?
Opening a restaurant is not a small feat. It takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and money to get everything up and running – and that’s just the beginning.
You must also be prepared for long hours, tough competition, and potential obstacles. But if you’re passionate about food and have what it takes to succeed, opening your restaurant can be an incredibly rewarding experience.
Is Running a Restaurant Profitable?
Yes, running a restaurant can be profitable. However, there are many factors to consider when determining whether or not a particular restaurant will be successful. These include the restaurant’s location, the type of cuisine offered, the quality of the food and service, and the marketing strategy employed. Additionally, it is important to remember that profitability can vary greatly from year to year, depending on economic conditions.
Do You Need Qualifications to Open a Restaurant?
No, you don’t need qualifications to open a restaurant. However, depending on the type of restaurant you want to open, you may need some experience in the food industry. For example, if you want to open a fine dining restaurant, it would be beneficial to have some experience working in a similar establishment.