Many people dream of running their own business, and if you’re the type that likes to cook or entertain (or both), a restaurant might be right up your alley. Unfortunately, many restaurants fail within the first 1-5 years, often as a result of overspending and poor planning. So before you launch your business you need to think about ways you can reduce the costs associated with starting and maintaining your restaurant for at least the first year or two. This will help to ensure that you have the time you need to build up a following and start earning a profit. You can always upgrade or expand later when you’re bringing in some money. But in the beginning you need to exercise extreme care when it comes to where your money is going. Here are just a few ways to reduce startup expenses when you decide to launch a restaurant.

  1. Hire a restaurant consultant. Whether you’re opening your first restaurant of you’ve been out of the game for a while, it’s not a bad idea to hire a restaurant consultant to help you plan the path you’ll take from getting loan approval to launching your business, and everything in between. This professional is an expert at helping restaurateurs to get all of their ducks in a row, and he/she will make sure that you have all the proper permits, licenses, equipment, staff, and more in place before you open your doors, avoiding any fees, penalties, delays, or other issues that might come with unnecessary costs.
  2. Choose your location wisely. Location is almost everything when you’re starting a restaurant and it can make or break you. Of course you want to choose a location with lots of traffic, affluent residents and visitors, and little competition. But you also need a spot where the rent isn’t more than you can reasonably afford. It’s a balancing act, but with due diligence you should come up with a location that offers a lease that fits your budget, along with enough potential customers to earn a profit.
  3. Use your food. It really doesn’t pay to have ingredients that are only used in one dish. In order to make certain that less food is wasted, you should make sure that every food item in your kitchen is used in multiple dishes on your menu. Over time you’ll learn how much of certain items you need to order, but when you’re just starting out you don’t want to risk having to throw tons of food away, especially rare and expensive produce.
  4. Buy locally-sourced food. There are several benefits to buying locally-sourced food items. In addition to getting fresh and even organic options, you can save on shipping costs and spoilage due to increased time between harvest and serving. You’ll also support other local businesses, which could bring you additional opportunities for recognition and patronage.
  5. Consider used equipment. Of course you can find the brand new, high-quality equipment you want on websites like, and there are certain products you’ll definitely want to buy new. But you can also purchase some items used, say from area restaurants that have closed, as a way to significantly reduce the cost of startup. Forums offering restaurant equipment tips should help you to figure out what you can get used and what you’re better off buying new. But this is a great way to get the high-end kitchen equipment you need without the high cost.

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