So, you want to open a restaurant. It’s an exciting—and possibly profitable—decision!

At the same time, the restaurant business is one of the hardest industries to break into, with around 60% of restaurants failing within the first year.

To thrive and survive, you’ll need to know the steps to opening a restaurant inside and out. Keep reading to find out how you can beat the odds and open the restaurant of your dreams!

1. Franchise or Independent? That Is the Question

Franchising can be a great way to get your foot in the door as it comes with name recognition and corporate assistance.

You should know that franchising can be tough, however. In addition to annual royalties, you’re responsible for providing a huge sum of cash upfront. Plus, you’ll need prior restaurant management experience.

On the other hand, you might have a great idea for a wholly original restaurant. While this can be exciting and rewarding in its own right, it does come with certain caveats.

It may be more difficult to acquire a loan, for instance, and restaurants are seen as risky endeavors. Therefore, it might not be a good idea to go independent unless you have prior restaurant experience.

2. Apply for Licensing

Once you’ve come up with your concept, you’ll have to go through mountains of paperwork.

Before you can break ground on your new restaurant, you’ll need to ensure you have the following:

  • Business license
  • Foodservice license
  • Alcohol and liquor license
  • Building permit

And that’s only the beginning. Down the road, you’ll need to acquire sign licensing, a certificate of occupancy, and music licensing if you plan to play any music.

The fees alone can cost a small fortune, so make sure you’re prepared for these extra costs.

3. Find the Right Location

Coming up with a great angle is only half the battle. To maximize your chances of success, you’ll need a great location.

The perfect location is one that naturally draws traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular. That’s why you see so many restaurants in shopping malls or right off of exit ramps on the interstate.

4. Choose an Architectural Team

Whether you’re operating as a franchisee or an independent owner, you’re responsible for finding a team of reliable and trustworthy builders.

If you are going the franchise route, you’ll have some help along the way. The specific responsibilities vary from brand to brand, so be sure to look into how much of the construction you’re responsible for.

A great way to save money and give back to your local community is to use local businesses. For instance, an independent Commercial Plumber is more likely to offer specials and discounts. Once you have your team of builders in place, don’t forget to also consider building a professional website. Using a restaurant website maker or working with a web developer can help you create a customized and user-friendly online platform for your customers to explore your menu, make reservations, and place orders

5. Advertise

Once you’ve passed your health inspection and your building is complete, it’s time to spread the word!

You’ll want to print some flyers and coupons, but these days your best bet is to invest in digital marketing, which allows you to hyper-target your intended audience. This can save you thousands in the long run—plus it’s a great way to boost interest.

Order Up! Understanding the Most Important Steps to Opening a Restaurant

Now that you know the most important steps to opening a restaurant, it’s time to get out there and live your dream! Good luck!

For more tips on building your business, check out the other posts on our blog.

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