Most important checklist for opening a restaurant

The catering industry is fast paced and requires restaurateurs to be creative and economical to create a successful business. With fierce competition and significant upfront investment costs, aspiring restaurant owners need to understand the key elements to the success of their establishments.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a complete checklist that includes the basic steps to starting your own restaurant:

Decide on a restaurant idea

When people choose where to eat, most choose according to the category of food offered. This is just the first thing to consider when deciding what theme you want your restaurant to be. What other features will set your establishment apart from your competitors? Do you try your ingredients locally? Will you only offer eco-friendly options? Want to be the most important seafood place in your community?

The choice of a single concept also takes into account other factors, such as:

  • Demographic data of your ideal customer
  • Overhead costs to produce the food and beverages you offer
  • Market trends for your type of restaurant where you operate

With proper planning, you can maximize your attractiveness and competitive advantage.

Don’t forget your restaurant’s business plan

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Any business, especially restaurants, will struggle to achieve financial success without a business plan to guide them. This document is the roadmap for achieving your goals for your business financially and as a brand. Describes how your restaurant should progress from the moment your first day of operation begins. You will rely on this plan to guide your team during the initial launch and use it to show potential investors why they should give you capital.

Financing your new restaurant

Restaurants require significant capital to open, regardless of whether you have a franchise, a solo transaction, or a co-owner. If you are unsure where to start looking for financing, there are several business loan options to choose from, such as:

  • Lines of credit
  • Equipment and technology loan
  • Working capital loans

Choose the perfect location

Another decision to make is where your restaurant will be located. This is a shocking option, as your location will affect everything from accessibility to sponsorship numbers. When visiting different places to open your business, keep the following in mind:

  • Customer demographics
  • Local competition
  • Space and size of the premises
  • Visibility from the street
  • Car park
  • Historical background of the property
  • Its relevance to your restaurant concept
  • Amount of renewal required

You also need to decide whether to buy the property or rent the space.

Licenses and permits

Opening any business involves a lot of bureaucracy, but restaurants have more because of the risks involved in operating these establishments. Plan to obtain all necessary licenses and permits at the beginning of the process. It’s not uncommon for inspections to take place before they are issued, so plan to avoid delays.

The specific permissions you need to operate your restaurant will depend on your services. For example, if you have a family restaurant that serves alcohol, you will need a liquor license. Not having them and running your business could lead to heavy fines and possibly permanent closure.

Create a menu and a drink program that customers will love

It is essential to have a well-designed menu of food and drinks before opening the doors. Sit down with your chef and bar manager to develop ideas for dishes (and names) that represent your restaurant vision. For example, if you have an Italian restaurant, how can you offer these dishes in a unique way? Do you want to serve spaghetti in a bowl made with garlic bread? How much should a customer pay for lasagna?

Just remember that when pricing your menu, make sure you think in advance about the cost of food, expected sales, and inventory. These are just a few metrics that can help ensure that your restaurant is profitable.

Choosing the staff of your restaurant

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Each employee you hire will represent the values ​​and culture of your restaurant. Hire the best talent on your team that has the same values ​​of customer service and business loyalty. To take advantage of high-quality candidates to fill the many positions needed for your establishment to run smoothly, consider looking for them in career positions, job boards, and referrals.

It creates a nice atmosphere to eat

From modern lighting to decorative bamboo skewers to your noodle dishes, many elements create the perfect dining environment for your restaurant. When designing the interior of your building, think about the mood in which you want your guests to be.

Some of the common elements that restaurants include in achieving this goal include:

  • Decorative tableware
  • High grade utensils
  • Fabric and upholstery style
  • Lighting levels
  • Music
  • Decoration


Creating your own restaurant business is really a job of love. To ensure success, take the time to research the different aspects of this article to get started on the right path from the moment you open your doors.

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