5 Things You Need to Open your Own Restaurant

You’ve been working hard. You fall into one of two categories. You simply love to cook and everyone you meet says you need to open a restaurant or you have dedicated your life to the art and have worked your way through culinary school. Either way, opening a restaurant is a huge undertaking. Here are 5 of the most important things you’ll need.

A Brilliant Concept

You can’t open just any old restaurant. There are plenty of diners and small cafes out there but the thing that sets each apart – the thing that makes each special – is a concept or theme. Start by thinking about the types of food you enjoy cooking and then think about the type of atmosphere you enjoy eating in. Pair the two together and choose a theme for your menu and decor. Go with your gut and make it uniquely yours.

The Legal Stuff

You need a great understanding of the legal side of your business. You’ll need to form your business (into a LLC, corporation, or some other format. You’ll also need to find out what your township’s zoning laws are, what you need to see in a lease (if you’re not buying your building), and what licenses you need (especially if you want to sell alcohol). There are also codes for food safety and insurance policies that need to be purchased. Make sure you get some legal guidance if you aren’t sure where to go with all of this.

A Written Business Plan

Seriously. A business plan. In writing. There’s no other way to do this. If you want your business to be successful, you simply must create a business plan and keep it handy. This will show your own understanding of your business, focus, and even the population near your restaurant. It will also help you to find the financing you need if you should find it necessary to approach a bank later on.


Speaking of financing, you need money. There’s no way around it. You’re going to need funds for your initial equipment, to buy or lease your space, for furniture, for dishes, for ChefWorks uniforms for your staff, for your initial food stock, and much more. You’ll need plenty of working capital throughout the life of your venture. Where will that come from?

A Fantastic Menu

Have you ever watched those bar and restaurant rescue shows? There are at least a dozen on television these days. One of the first things every host does is change the menu at the restaurant he’s visiting. Most don’t have enough focus. They span too many types of food and simply feature too many dishes, making it almost impossible to serve fresh cuisine. Choose a theme and serve a handful of spectacular appetizers, entrees, and desserts. Stick to the type of food you know and love and you’ll draw in a crowd every night.

Opening a restaurant will require a ton of time and energy but your work will be worth the effort. Take your time, do some research, talk to other pros, and open the restaurant of your dreams!


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