A Guide to Opening a Restaurant: What you Need to Know

Some would say it takes a brave man or woman to open a restaurant at this time, but if you have that culinary magic, why not let the rest of the world enjoy the fruits of your labor? You will already know that location is everything with an eatery, whether fast food or a steakhouse and let’s not forget the take-away market, which is huge.

Buying or leasing?

Whether you decide to lease or purchase outright, your location needs to be such that you have residential zones nearby, while the ideal location is on the side of a busy road, perhaps in the city suburbs. Talk to a business attorney about buying or leasing and they can point out the pluses and minuses for both. If you do decide to rent, let the lawyer scan the lease to ensure your business activities are not restricted. Licenses need to be obtained and the law firm can handle that, you just have to provide the relevant documents.

Creating a menu

Of course, your menu will always be a work in progress, but you should start with a selection that you think is both popular and representative of different tastes. While it might be a challenge, try to focus on what the market wants, rather than dishes you like to cook and most restaurants specialize in a specific type of cuisine; Thai, Mexican, Indonesian, French and let’s not forget the traditional US diner that has a varied menu and targets through traffic.

Risk assessment

We recommend taking out restaurant insurance that covers you in many respects; including the following:

  • General liability
  • Commercial auto for food delivery
  • Worker’s compensation
  • Commercial premises
  • Liquor liability

With the right insurance in place, you have minimized risk to the business and you can sleep at night, knowing you are covered for every eventuality.


You could have the tastiest dishes at great prices, but if people don’t know you exist, things will be rather quiet. All marketing should be in digital format and social media would play an important role in promoting your restaurant and with a digital marketing agency, you have the perfect partner who will get your message across on multiple platforms. One good idea is to join many of the local Facebook groups, which will help to get your name out to the local community and preparing specials for occasions like Valentine’s Day and Independence Day will attract new clientele. Here is some more reading on setting up a food business.

Hiring staff

In our opinion, a desire to please and a pleasant disposition is more important than experience and using a leading recruitment agency will save you some time, as they can screen applicants and you end up with a shortlist to interview. You won’t need reminding that it is the people that make the restaurant, as much as the menu, so choosing the right staff is essential.

If you would like to learn more about setting up a business, the US government provides a lot of information that should help you.

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