Introduction: Starting a Restaurant and a Complete Restaurant Startup Guide


When it comes to starting a restaurant, many people might think that with a little bit of money and the right location, success is guaranteed.

While starting your own restaurant might very well bring promising economic opportunities, a restaurant startup does require that the business owner go through the proper planning process.

Restaurant startup costs can be significantly higher than other businesses, but at the same time, the economic rewards from starting a restaurant business that is successful can lead to long-term financial success.

In this brief article, AdvisoryHQ will explain everything you need to know about how to start a restaurant. We will begin by looking at why you should learn how to start a restaurant business. Next, we will explore the economic potential of a restaurant startup.

The potential problems and pitfalls associated with how to start a restaurant will be our next area of focus before turning our attention to restaurant startup costs and the overall cost of starting a restaurant. For people who are seriously considering starting a small restaurant, we will then offer a restaurant startup guide and a starting a restaurant checklist.

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Why Should You Learn How to Start a Restaurant Business

Many people dream of running their own business and being their own boss. Unfortunately, in our competition-driven economy, it’s not easy to find a niche where original businesses can be profitable and successful in the long run.

Starting a restaurant is one of the most common entrepreneurial activities out there.

If you have an entrepreneurial side, trying to start a small bank or investing company will pit you among some of the most wealthy and powerful companies in the world. Starting your own restaurant, however, will allow you to find much less direct competition from the big corporations.

Starting Your Own Restaurant

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While McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, and other such companies might have a monopoly on the fast food restaurant business, starting a small restaurant still offers numerous opportunities to find a niche market that could help you generate serious income.



The growing diversity of America and other developed nations allows for more and more opportunities for starting a restaurant business.

Many migrants and other minorities who may feel excluded and marginalized from certain high paying jobs, might be able to find a quality self-employment opportunity through starting a restaurant business.

Furthermore, taking the risk of starting your own restaurant might also allow you the opportunity to cash in on the public’s appreciation of small “mom and pop” diners.

Though the cost to start a restaurant might make many people shy away from taking the risk, learning how to start a restaurant business can help you map out a path to success.

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The Main Problems Related to How to Start a Restaurant

One of the main issues that many people come up against when it comes to starting a restaurant business is lack of preparation. The cost of starting a restaurant can seem prohibitive, especially if you are considering renting or leasing a property in a high-end part of town.

While most people might be able to qualify for certain types of loans that can help you deal with restaurant startup costs, the first couple of months and years will be a time of tightening your belt as you struggle to stay on time with your loan payments while also attracting customers.

Before starting a restaurant, it is important to do quality research on the public demand and market for the type of restaurant you are planning to open. For example, if you wanted to start your own restaurant selling burgers, fries, and milkshakes on a busy intersection on the strip where dozens of fast food restaurants already operate, chances are that you’re going to be paying a fortune in rent while also coming up against pretty stiff competition.

Starting A Restaurant

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If, however, you were starting a restaurant specializing in burgers and fries in an historic part of town where there were numerous office buildings but few affordable lunch options, then with the right advertising, you should be able to quickly build up your customer base with the underserved office workers in your district.

Doing proper research and planning before starting a restaurant is a prerequisite for success. With proper preparation, the initial cost to start a restaurant can easily be offset by generating quality business soon after opening your doors.  

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Restaurant Startup Costs and the Total Cost of Starting a Restaurant

Every restaurant startup is unique, and the cost to start a restaurant will differ widely depending on a number of important and influential factors. For example, the cost to start a restaurant in downtown Chicago will obviously be several times more expensive than starting your own restaurant in a small town in rural Iowa.

Below, you will find several factors that might influence the total restaurant startup costs for your entrepreneurial endeavor.

Rent: One of the main factors affecting the cost of starting a restaurant is the rent you will be paying. Unless you or your family own quality real estate in the middle of town, chances are that you’ll be renting a space for your restaurant business.

Starting a restaurant in a metropolis might leave you with rent options that are simply beyond your budget. It is always important to search several locations to find the best deal before starting a restaurant business. 

Equipment: Starting your own restaurant will also require you to invest significant amounts of money in expensive machinery and equipment.

Remember that rigorous health codes apply to restaurants that will require you to purchase stainless steel countertops, huge walk-in freezers to keep your produce fresh, and other costly, but necessary, equipment.



Advertising and Publicity: Word of mouth publicity is certainly important for starting a restaurant business. Unless you have numerous connections from the get go, however, you will want to set aside a part of your budget to get your restaurant’s name out there.

Even if you have great food and a great ambience, if people don’t know of your restaurant startup, you won’t be making any money.

Employees: When starting a restaurant, it is important to understand and accept that you’re not Superman or Superwoman.

Starting your own restaurant will require enormous amounts of time and energy and the temptation to basically live at your restaurant while neglecting your family and other responsibilities will always be present.

Finding quality employees that share your vision for the restaurant startup and who can take some of the responsibility from your shoulders is another important cost of starting a restaurant that is important to consider.

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Restaurant Startup Guide and Starting a Restaurant Checklist

Imagine the following scenario: For the past year you have dreamed of starting a restaurant business. You’ve designed a menu, bought the equipment, found a great spot at an affordable price, and completed the decoration so that your restaurant is up and ready to go.

The day before your doors are set to open, however, you get a visit from the city health commission saying that your restaurant can’t be open because you haven’t applied for a health permit nor received a health inspection from the city office.

Having a restaurant startup guide and a starting a restaurant checklist can help you stay organized during the sometimes hectic process of starting a restaurant.

Below, you will find a quick restaurant startup guide and starting a restaurant checklist to help you avoid missing any important steps along the way.

Develop the Idea: Starting a restaurant business always begins with an idea. Ask yourself what will set your restaurant startup apart from the competition.

Come up with a Menu: People go to restaurants in search of quality food. By starting your own restaurant, will you be bringing a new flavor or cuisine to your town? How will you stand apart from the rest?

Find Suppliers for Your Restaurant Inputs: Once business starts pouring in your doors, you will need to make sure that you have enough suppliers to get food onto the plates of your waiting customers. Before starting a restaurant business, make sure you have developed the necessary connections with local and regional suppliers.



Search for Locations: Starting your own restaurant and having it be successful will largely depend on your ability to find the right location. Make sure to take the time to compare several locations and the price they are offering.

Create a Preliminary Budget: Before you head to the bank, make sure you have crunched your numbers and know exactly what to ask for. Banks aren’t always friendly to people who are planning on starting a restaurant, but by presenting a well thought out budget, you can help to state your case.

Find Funding and Loans: When you are ready to get a loan, make sure to visit several banks. Local credit unions might also be an option if your business is small and community-oriented.

In addition, make sure you take the below points into consideration.

Research all Necessary Permits and Inspections Needed:

Every town and city will have its own ordinances on top of the state and nationwide regulations. Visit your local chamber of commerce before starting a restaurant to make sure you understand all the different permits you will need.



Interview Quality Personnel:

Don’t wait until the last minute to start searching for workers. There is nothing worse than having a great restaurant with great food served by unfriendly people. Starting a small restaurant will require you to take time to find great workers, even if that means you’ll have to pay them a few extra bucks each month.

Design an Advertising Campaign During the First Few Months:

Think about who your target customers will be and find ways to get the publicity regarding your restaurant startup into their hands. Social media platforms are a fantastic way to generate interest if you are starting your own restaurant but don’t have the funds to pay for expensive commercials and radio spots.

Find Ways to Engage with Customers to Start Word of Mouth Publicity:

Once customers start to come in your doors, make sure you spend time engaging with those people. The best customer for any restaurant startup is the customer who continues to come back. When you are starting a restaurant, be aware of your how your customers feel and be open to feedback and suggestions.  

Starting A Restaurant Business

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For more information on starting your own restaurant, Entrepreneur.com offers a free restaurant startup guide that you can find here.

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Conclusion – Starting a Restaurant Business as a Path to Economic Independence

Starting a small restaurant is an exciting adventure and challenge for everyone. The promise of being your own boss while being able to dedicate energy and enthusiasm to something you love is a reward in itself.

Starting a restaurant business, though it has fantastic economic potential, requires you to take the time to do your homework and be prepared. The first months immediately after starting your own restaurant will undoubtedly be hard and trying times. However, with the right preparation and a helpful restaurant startup guide, you should be able to make it through the initial challenges. 

Starting a restaurant, even if you are only starting a small restaurant, offers one of the most promising careers for any entrepreneur. Furthermore, as the saying goes, find a job you love and you’ll never work another day of your life. Starting a restaurant business certainly offers that possibility.



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