8 Key Steps To Successfully Opening a Restaurant

December 26, 2023
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Opening a restaurant is an exciting undertaking that offers a host of benefits. Success, glory, or revenue—whatever motivates you to start your own business must also be enough to propel you through the ups and downs associated with the restaurant industry.

If you love a fast-paced environment where every day presents its own set of challenges and opportunities, owning a restaurant might align with your interests. Keep in mind, though, that the average full-service restaurant makes around 3-5% profit, or anywhere from 0-15%.

However, hard work can pay off in the long run as you’ll have the opportunity to develop a creative menu, establish an atmosphere, foster a community, gain business recognition, contribute to your local community, and so much more.

man opening a restaurant

You must be wondering, “How does someone open a restaurant?” Here are the 8 most essential steps for successfully opening a restaurant.

Steps to Opening a Restaurant

Choose a Concept and Brand

Out of the millions of businesses out there, you must choose a brand and restaurant concept that caters to your interests and the interests of the community by:

  • Establishing your unique selling-point
  • Figuring out your strengths and value
  • Finding out what the area currently lacks
  • Determining if your customer base is willing to try something new.

Understanding these vacancies in your community and establishing the strengths and values of your business will set you apart from other restaurants while helping you attract customers.

Come Up With a Business Plan

Planning for your restaurant’s future might seem daunting, but it will help grow your business and keep it on track in the years to come. In fact, coming up with a business plan isn’t as hard as you might be thinking, as long as you break it into discernible sections. Separating plans for marketing, operations, pricing, etc., will give you a more manageable set of tasks to address.

While there are different types of business plan formats, these blueprints typically include a business name, a description of the company, a market analysis, a business model, and an operations plan. Some business plans will also include other elements, depending on your particular needs and planning. Those who are new to opening a restaurant can learn how to write a business plan online or through an advisor while also choosing a format that works for them.

making a business plan

Secure Funding for the Restaurant

According to Phillip Foss in The Takeout, the quickest road to failure is not having enough funding to start the business. While it might be worth the effort to secure a loan from a bank, private investors are another way to secure the starting capital for your restaurant.

It is essential, however, to have any contracts or written agreements reviewed and approved by a trusted lawyer before signing anything. You should thoroughly understand the obligations, timetables, risks, and various details of any agreement before putting your name on the dotted line.

If you’d like to understand what kinds of financial options are out there, you can learn more about the different types of loans available for restauranteurs here.

Select a Location

Choosing a location that suits your needs while also providing the foot traffic and visibility that your restaurant needs should be primary considerations as you consider your options. Does the price of rent fit within your budget? Have you researched the area enough? Are there trends amongst the other businesses in the area that you should be aware of? Excessive competition, high turnover, or dwindling businesses are signs to look for and should generally be avoided.

Ideally, your location should also match the concept of your restaurant. Similar to how an ice cream parlor might be ideally situated close to a beach or other similar outdoor destination.

Acquire Proper Licenses and Permits

Every restaurant requires an assortment of permits and licenses in order to operate legally. While a business license is essential for any establishment, other permits, such as liquor licenses, are only required by businesses that sell alcohol. Licenses and permits required for a restaurant also include:

  • Building Health Permit
  • Certificate of Occupancy
  • Dumpster Placement Permit
  • Employee Health Permit
  • Employer Identification Number (EIN)
  • Food Service License
  • Live Entertainment License
  • Liquor License
  • Music License
  • Resale Permit
  • Seller's Permit
  • Sign Permit
  • Valet Parking Permit

Design Your Layout & Determine Your Equipment Needs

On your own or with the help of a professional designer, plan your room layout, furniture needs, and necessary kitchen equipment. Look for affordable solutions for top-notch appliances that fit your budget without compromising on quality.

It is worth noting that investing in quality appliances that last will help you avoid major and costly repairs while helping to better serve your customers in the long run.

commercial refrigeratorWilprep's 81" Commercial Solid Door Reach-In Refrigerator

Hire Suppliers and Staff

Get to know your local suppliers and adjust your menu if you have any issues sourcing ingredients. Hire the staff you’ll need, including hosts, servers, chefs, and managers.

If necessary, open with reduced staff for the first few months and hire more help as your restaurant attracts more business and your needs become more clear.

Advertise and Open Your Doors!

Begin marketing before you open. Create hype around your opening day, your concept, and everything that makes your new restaurant unique.

If you’re excited about your restaurant, your target audience will be too. Make sure to share videos and photos on social media, and consider holding a soft opening event to train your staff and allow your friends, family, and community to try everything you have to offer.

Open Your Restaurant With Confidence

Now that you’ve learned 8 of the most important steps toward opening the restaurant of your dreams, you’re ready to begin! Create an appropriate timeline for each step and note the different types of support you’ll need for each venture, such as assistants, architects, designers, decorators, and vendors.

Your business plan is uniquely ‘YOU’ and will lay the groundwork for your restaurant and its many years of success!

Get the Best for Your Restaurant Today

refrigerator display caseWilprep's 28" Countertop Display Refrigerator

A restaurant will only prosper if it has great people and equipment to back it. Wilprep Kitchen features premium-quality appliances ideal for any type, style, and size restaurant.

From refrigerators to fryers to ice makers, Wilprep Kitchen stocks a wide range of durable and reliable equipment that will fulfill your kitchen needs.

All of Wilprep’s products come with ETL certifications to ensure you enjoy superb quality and industry-leading safety. After all, the best deserve the best.

Give your restaurant the kitchen it deserves with iconic appliances from Wilprep. From our kitchen to yours, start your business off strong with well-crafted products courtesy of Wilprep Kitchen.

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