Small Business Brief

Entrepreneurship, Restaurant

A Step by Step Guide to Opening a Restaurant

Did you know that nearly 60% of new restaurants fail within the first year of opening in the United States?

Many people dream of opening a place where they can share their family recipes and special creations.

If you want to open a successful restaurant, there are a couple of things that you need to do. 

Continue reading to discover the key steps in opening a restaurant so that you can make your goals a reality! 

Design Your Concept

One of the most important steps of opening a restaurant is to design your concept.

The concept of your restaurant is the defining characteristic that sets you apart from other restaurants. While writing your business plan, you should think about the target group you want to cater to and what unique features will draw crowds in. 

Many types of restaurants have a theme or focus on a specific type of food. Brainstorm ideas so that you know the concept of your restaurant. You should have other ideas branching off that will support the image you are hoping for. 

It can be helpful to go online and search for restaurants with similar concepts that you have. This will help you learn more about what does and doesn’t work in the industry. 

Make a Budget

If you are starting a business, you need to make yourself a budget so that you don’t dig yourself into a hole of debt.

Review your bank statements and savings account information to see how much money you can invest in your restaurant. Budgeting will help prevent you from pulling money from your family to support the business. 

Your budget will need to take a couple of items into consideration. Payroll, equipment, and rental properties will all play a role in your budget and shouldn’t go overlooked. With financial support, you might have more flexibility with your budget. 

If you notice that you are going outside of your budget, take time to evaluate where your money is going and make adjustments where you can.

Get Permits & Licensing

If you haven’t already done so, you will need to register your business name and get an employer identification number (EIN). 

Your name and EIN will be used to obtain the business license, your food-serving license, and your food handler’s permit. If you are planning to sell liquor at your restaurant, you need to get your liquor license, which will have a fee and might take time to recieve. 

The health and fire departments will also need to make an appearance before you open the doors. They will make sure that you are abiding by all safety protocols and ensuring the health of customers. 

It is also a good idea to have your serving staff go through certified training to serve the public. This course reviews things like allergies, proper food handling, and alcohol consumption guidelines. 

Find Financial Support

Whether you have a large savings account, business partner, or loan, you will need financial support.

Opening a business comes with a lot of expenses. Especially when you have to consider filling the place up with food and equipment while paying staff. You will feel a sense of relief once you get financial support because you won’t have to be as concerned about little expenses that add up.

Even with this support, you will still need to make a budget so that you stay within your financial means. Applying for a small business loan can help you get the money you need to open the doors.

Start Buying Equipment 

You can’t open a restaurant if you don’t have the equipment to cook food and furniture for people to sit in. 

A large portion of your startup costs will go towards filling your restaurant up. You will need to purchase chairs, tables, and a POS system. You will also need to buy plenty of dining dishes and glasses to serve. 

If you want excellent ice machines for your restaurant, is a great resource. You should look into dishwashers, stovetops, and ovens as well.

Buying equipment can get overwhelming. The larger pieces of equipment can get expensive but there are also a lot of other small items you will need. 

Hire Staff

Before the doors open to the public, you will need to open them up to job candidates.

With months or weeks in advance, you should start putting out information about how people can apply. You will need servers, bartenders, and cooks. Dishwashers, bussers, and management are also essential.

Try to avoid hiring the first few people that you see unless they meet your expectations. As long as you are offering a competitive salary and benefits, quality employees will want to work for you. Take the interviewing process seriously and set a positive and hardworking tone with staff from the get-go. 

Take Time to Train 

Hiring staff is only the first part of pulling your team together.

With you and help from the management team, you will need to train staff. Training before the restaurant opens can help ensure that service runs smoothly and everyone knows what is expected of them. 

Many business owners are doing soft openings. A soft opening is where you have a few people attend a private meal so that staff and cooks can practice. 

Are You Thinking About Opening a Restaurant?

Business owners have many obstacles to overcome when opening a restaurant and only those that prepare, survive. 

The restaurant business isn’t as risky if you make a thorough plan before investing your money and making adaptations along the way. Defining your restaurant will help gain attraction from the public and make marketing a breeze.

Don’t underestimate the need for reliable and trustworthy staff. When you train your staff, success is just around the corner. 

Be sure to check out our blog for more articles about starting a business and sharing your passions with your community!