How to Start a Restaurant: Checklist of 10 Steps to Open a New Restaurant

Beginning a new restaurant could be a really exciting business venture. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. families will spend an average of $3,365 annually eating out at restaurants, almost as much as eating at home. The business continues to grow year over year, and there’s never been a better time to open your own restaurant company , but it could be quite an intimidating prospect.

You want to deal with various complicated tasks and make significant decisions, some of which you might not have even thought up to this point before you’re ready to open your doors to customers.

However, it is possible to make the whole undertaking of planning seem more relaxed and more manageable by breaking it down into separate steps with our handy checklist.

Checklist of 10 Steps to Opening a New Restaurant Successfully


In case you’ve got the required skills and feel as if you’ve got something to offer today’s dining fans but have no idea about the best way to begin a brand new restaurant, you’ve come to the perfect location. To make this huge undertaking much easier to handle, I have supplied steps you can follow as an important guide.

Within this guide, you will learn everything from how to select your concept into your soft opening. You will also learn everything in between just like how to perform recipe costing, so you are going to have a good deal on your plate (no pun intended). Following is a checklist of measures to aid with everything you want to begin and start your restaurant like a pro.

1. Pick Your Concept

Before beginning, you want to sit down and consider what sort of restaurant it’s going to be. The kind of food you wish to provide, style of service and type of environment you imagine are aspects of the idea. These can help determine whether you would like to produce a quick casual, bar and restaurant, family style, quick food, cafe, buffet or dining establishment as a few examples. Here are a few of the best trending theories to get the creative juices flowing.

The idea plays a substantial part in determining your restaurant’s mission, character, and identity, and for that reason ties in with the brand. A unique and well thought out concept can help you create a brand which contrasts clearly with the sort of audience you want to attract to your restaurant.

If you’re still unsure what sort of food and beverage operation that you need to start out, there are various kinds of choices to choose from which are popular. Fast-casual restaurants would be the next big thing in restricted company, here is a listing of the top 40 fast-casual theories by QSR magazine.

After you’ve chosen your type of restaurant, it is time to have some fun with naming your company. Choose a few titles and get feedback from friends, family, and coworkers.

Another choice to think about is to go for a franchise, so you don’t need to reinvent the wheel, and lots of the work on this checklist is completed for you. But it depends upon your risk tolerance and if you would like to have your own business or become a part of a larger organization. Let’s not sugar coat it, starting and running a restaurant can be a risky undertaking , so working with a franchised business can decrease but not eliminate a few of the risks. In any event, you are going to need financing and also to prepare a business plan, which brings us to our next step in the procedure.

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2. Produce Your Business Plan

To gauge the viability of your new business enterprise, and also to seek funding from most lenders, you’ll have to have a thorough business plan. A business plan will help you get into the specifics of how you wish to make the venture work.

You may download a free restaurant business plan template in that is handy for preparing your strategy. Or you can also search for free business plans on the internet to discover a template for your own restaurant kind.

Your plan may be anywhere from 10 to 50 pages based on the size and type of your concept. The restaurant business plan will have several sections where you will need to provide certain details for your study and your potential customers. Here Is What an outline would look like:

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Business Overview
  3. Business Description
  4. Present Marketplace
  5. Advertising/Marketing Plan
  6. Business Operations
  7. Financials
  8. Business Plan Summary
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By completing each element in detail, you will have your estimated costs of startup and how much you will have to keep your restaurant working for the upcoming few years. You will also have a snapshot of how much funds you have available to spend and how much you might want to borrow using a business loan.

Margins can be thin, but with a well-prepared business plan, you can have the ability to show investors and creditors that you’ve evaluated the viability of your enterprise, and have a notion of how you wish to make it profitable, daily and in the long term.

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3. Design Your Menu

You want to get a basic idea of some of the primary food items you would like to supply customers way before you start your new dining establishment. These should help you compile a bare-bones menu that will initially direct your choices involving the kind of workers and equipment you require. A menu also gives you an indication of the sort of customers you would like to attract.

A good tip when it comes to designing your menu will be to work together with your food vendors to assemble your menu items and prices. Speak with your food vendors, since they have a whole lot of experience working with different food and drink establishments and will help you put together your menu and help with recipe costing.

It is possible to update the menu later on as you get a clearer notion of what your customers enjoy, but you are going to take a physical menu prior to going live. Also having a spreadsheet or hard copy of your menu to present to your POS provider will help to program your own POS (point of sale) system. Many POS businesses can use your menu data to program the menu on your POS, so providing this information will help expedite the installation procedure.

4. Pick Your Location

To put it simply, the location you select for your new restaurant can make or break it. As such, you want to put some consideration into the place before signing that lease arrangement.

Signage and Parking. When searching for space, you will need your signage and preferable your building to be visible by people driving or walking nearby. You will also want to take into account the parking requirements according to your own seats. If you are busy on a Friday night, would you have sufficient parking to accommodate all of your guests?

Local Competition. It’s a fantastic idea to get a balance in the space between your opponents — that way your clients are not tempted to stop by another establishment that’s similar.

Customer Demographics. If you see Bar Rescue with Jon Taffer, then you will know he consistently researches local demographics prior to performing a rescue. So picking the appropriate location in advance according to your desired demographics is crucial.

Wages and Labour Costs. Determine the labour costs for the area you are considering and integrate that into your business plan — this may also give you an idea of what to cover your workers.

A appropriate location should be readily accessible, by car or foot, in a high traffic area to guarantee visibility and a fantastic flow of customers. Additionally it is important to pick a location that’s not overly aggressive; beginning a restaurant a safe distance from the fiercest competitors may be a fantastic way to pull a consistent stream of customers.

If you are starting as a restauranteur, we suggest that you rent your space to keep your costs down — this will also give you more flexibility if something happen with the company or whether you’re planning on expanding.

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5. Acquire Permits and Licenses

Based on the state you reside in, you’ll need several licenses and permits to run your new eatery. As an example, you’ll need a business license, EIN, foodservice license, liquor permit (if you are serving alcohol), signage license, and food handler’s license irrespective of where you would like to start a restaurant. If you’re thinking about having an outdoor area, you’ll need separate licenses.

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Since it may take a few weeks or months to issue licenses, it’s vital that you begin the application process after you have funding. Consider using a legal professional help you with the permit applications to make certain that everything is done properly.

6. Find Providers And Employees

As previously stated above, you should begin buying the essential equipment and supplies once you’ve got a menu. You ought to go for Energy Star-branded appliances since they are more energy efficient and will provide considerable cost savings during their useful life. In addition, you have to find reputable providers and food vendors who supply fresh and high quality products and some other consumables at the best possible prices before you start a restaurant business.

Each company will be exceptional, but here is an idea of some of the positions you will need to employ for when starting your own restaurant:

  • Head Cook or Executive Chef
  • Sous Chef
  • Servers
  • Prep Cooks
  • Bartenders
  • Hosts
  • Food Runners
  • Dish Bussers
  • Dishwasher

As your opening date draws nearer, you should begin hiring workers for the kitchen and the floor. Don’t forget to take time to spot the ideal professionals for every position. Do not be shy about asking any questions or even asking to test-taste food prepared by the chefs under consideration, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with them and their food preparation skills.

7. Choose a Layout

It’s vital for you to think of the ideal design before opening your eatery for company. The arrangement should basically facilitate a perfect flow in the front entry of the space into the kitchen in the back.

You can design the layout yourself with applications meant for floor preparation like RoomSketcher, CAD Guru, or SmartDraw, or might want to think about working with a design consultant who will make the most of the floor plan. If you’re unsure what designer to work together, your gear providers or food vendors should have some regional recommendations. With an optimized design and seating arrangement, the simpler your operations will be and the greater the prospect for more profits.

After the layout is finished, you may then look to decorating the room to create the ambiance and mood you envisioned in the start.

8. Buy a POS System

Protect your profits by using a point of sale system for your restaurant. If you are starting a small restaurant and need to use a cash register, that is fine. But if you plan on having employees, stock, and need to accept multiple payment types, then you will need to consider buying a modern restaurant management system.

We find that most owners make this the final step on the list, but it is crucial to research your options prior to making a final choice. Honestly, with all the choices available on the market and using the minimal cost of cloud-based POS systems, you will want the benefits of using a POS to increase customer support and grow your company. You and your staff have to be adequately trained, and the POS should go through test transactions prior to going live to resolve any programming errors or operational difficulties.

With the majority of POS companies and suppliers, it will take at least 30 days to find a full working POS system installed and programmed. There are exceptions to this rule, however, the purpose is to wait till the last minute as you don’t need to delay opening or open until your point-of-sale is set up.

9. Restaurant Advertising

Advertising your new restaurant can help catch the interest of possible diners, and with it, attract clients. Be certain that you opt for the most appropriate advertising channels remembering the sort of patrons you’re looking to reach. The major focus of your advertising needs to be to get people interested in your brand new dining establishment, using excellent images of a few of the dishes available, in addition to sharing relevant information regarding your restaurant.

Here a few tips to help create some buzz as you begin:

Website with Pictures and Menu . You should begin with a site that’s branded with your organization name. Your website needs to have your menu, high-resolution pictures, about us section, address, telephone number, and hours of operations. When someone types in your brand name in the search engines, your site should come up. Following is a roundup of 50 examples of restaurant site design we compiled for you to get the creative juices flowing.


Google My Business (GMB). Installation a free Google My Business account and completely complete the profile with your company information. Link your site address in your GMB account. Receive at least 5 positive reviews from the customers to find the gold stars.

Use Social Media Accounts. Produce a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram account and share pictures, coupons, promotions, and information about your establishment. Pick at least one to post to regularly and it is important to remain consistent when discussing on social networking. Link your site address on your entire social accounts to help establish your brand.

Get a Yelp Account. Another terrific way to improve your brand authority and also to be discovered online is to set up and claim your organization on Yelp. Yelp is one of the chief sources for opinions and testimonials and you need to be certain that you have accurate information on your own page and that you keep on top of the testimonials.

Use a Loyalty Program. Reward your clients with a loyalty program to keep them coming back again and again. It is possible to use a mobile loyalty platform or some POS systems include loyalty applications as part of this service. Text and send messages out with promotions.

Local Radio or Newspaper. You may believe that paper and radio is old school, but do not dismiss these marketing avenues. Radio ads are still quite important for getting the word out about neighborhood eatery’s. Reach out to the editor of the local newspaper to find a write up about your grand opening.

Produce a Newsletter. Capture mails from your site and your POS system to begin building your email list. You can send a newsletter to your clients about promotions, events, coupons, pre-fixed menus, and bands which are playing, as a few examples. Also share the newsletter on your social networking accounts.

Offer Promotions. Everyone loves a great bargain, especially if it’s for free. Give your first-timers a free appetizer or dessert to welcome them to your company. Offer your present customers discounts or free goods as part of a loyalty program.

These are simply a couple of tips, but the hottest advertising channels to utilize include social media advertisements, your restaurant site, local papers and radio stations.

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10. Soft Opening

Before you go live, you may want to think about having a gentle opening — this is extremely common in the industry. By having a gentle opening, you give your employees the chance to experience the paces without the strain of serving the general public with a enormous grand opening. It’s a fantastic idea to give everyone a”trial run” to use the point of sale system, fine tune your meal times, and clinic serving guests, as a few examples.

Here are a few tips to help pull off a soft launch:

Host Family and Friends. Among the more popular methods would be to entertain your loved ones and friends with a free meal to help train employees.

Offer Reduced Menu. Start with a smaller menu for a limited time, then invite your clients back to enjoy the entire menu.

Reduced Hours. Open for half a week for the first couple of days or a week, then ramp up and start for complete days when everybody is prepared.

So there you have it, our listing of the actions necessary to open a new restaurant. The procedure is anything but simple; however, with appropriate preparation and perfect execution, your dream of starting a new dining institution can be accomplished. Thank you for reading, we hope this list was helpful to you. When you have any queries or comments, please tell us below.

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