How to Start a New Restaurant

All the Big Steps You Need to Take to Open a New Restaurant

​Ashley DeLeon. © The Balance 2018

Opening a new restaurant can seem like a daunting task. There are so many different things to consider—from choosing the right location to finding financing to selecting the right name. And, let's not forget buying equipment and hiring staff. To help you get started, here is a roadmap for opening a new restaurant. 

Getting Started: Concept, Location, and Name 

The first step in opening a new restaurant is deciding what it is going to be. Do you want to open a high-end ? or a casual 1950's-style diner? Do you have a specific type of cuisine in mind, such as Italian, French, or Indian? Perhaps you want it to be a microbrewery or a pub. Before you move on, you first need to define what kind of restaurant you want to open.

Location, location, location. It can make or break a restaurant. Before you run out and, do your homework. Is the in a busy area, with plenty of foot traffic? If not, is there enough parking? Have ten or twelve other restaurants opened and closed in the same spot?

Probably, the most enjoyable part of opening a new restaurant is selecting a to you. It can be a family name or it can reflect the theme or location you chose, such as Broadway Diner or The Highlands.

The Business Plan

There are two important reasons you need a . One, it helps you see potential problems in your , such as not enough of a . Two, it's virtually impossible to get financing without one.

Financing is what prevents most people from opening their own restaurant. Although it is increasingly harder to get financing for a restaurant (due to their high failure rate), it is not impossible. Between banks, , and private investors, financing is possible. Just be sure to prepared and professional and show potential investors that you've thought through all the mechanics of opening, and then running, a restaurant.

And remember, many take several weeks, even months, to be approved. So, once your financing is squared away, start filling the paperwork. for restaurants, regardless of the state, include , signage permits, separate permits for outdoor space, and workers compensation.

Designing the Restaurant

A rule of thumb about designing a restaurant is that you never have as much space as your first think. Even the most cavernous of spaces quickly fill up when you start adding , walk-in refrigerators, a bar, restrooms, and a waiting area. The should be a balance between aesthetics and seating capacity, always keeping practicality in mind. Choosing the right color for your restaurant will help you establish a strong brand and help you establish a welcoming ambiance for customers.

Menus, Equipment, and Staff 

A should be descriptive, easy to read and have a clear, uncluttered layout. Also, it's better to use a fancy font and high-quality paper than muck it up with generic clip art.

Once you have your down, you can start purchasing and furniture for your dining room and other areas in the front of the house. To save money, consider from a reliable source. with the logo can cost more at first but will pay for itself many times over—and, it's good for the environment.

As you get closer to opening day, you need to begin hiring for both the kitchen and the floor. , wait staff, and are all integral parts of any restaurant, and you want to hire the perfect person for each position. If you can, hire people with experience in the food restaurant and if you're hiring a chef you don't know, don't be shy about test-tasting his or her food first.

Don't Forget About Advertising 

Advertising is a must for most . Today, you can supplement , such as newspapers and radio ads, with such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. And, don’t overlook the . People can't taste food online, but an aesthetically-pleasing web presence can entice diners.