With proper planning, quality ingredients, and the right menu, a Mexican restaurant can be a lucrative business venture. It's important to start out the right way to increase chances of lasting success.
Apply for and receive all the permits you will need to operate a food business. The rules vary by city and state, but typically, food handler permits, inspections, and liquor licenses will be needed. It is important to get a liquor license, as patrons at a Mexican restaurant will likely want to order tequila, margaritas and beer from the menu.
Ensure you have enough money to operate. Some people start their Mexican restaurants with as little as $50,000, but having more money will help you stay afloat while trying to turn a profit. Earning a profit can take as long as one or more years. Keep in mind that you will need to furnish the restaurant, pay for food, and pay your staff.
Develop business and marketing plans. These need to be well thought out, because it is likely that you will seek funding from a bank or investors. If you have no experience writing a business plan, hire a business plan writer or marketing consultant to help you.
Decide on a target market or niche. This will guide your menu, location choice and even how and where you advertise. Niche ideas for a Mexican restaurant: authentic cuisine, family style, upscale, fusion, organic-only, vegetarian, vegan, Tex-Mex.
Choose a location. This will depend on the city zoning as well as your target market. Seeking the help of a commercial real estate agent can save you time and provide important information.
Hire staff. You will need servers, door attendants, cooks, dishwashers, a head chef and possibly parking attendants. Make sure that you have an established employee conduct code and that you pay fair wages so that you can have a low staff turnover rate.
Inviting a band to provide authentic music entertainment can increase your customer base.
Consider donating a portion of your proceeds to a local nonprofit; it's good for PR and community relations.
Make sure you keep your restaurant clean and adhere to city guidelines; you will be inspected regularly.
Insurance isn't optional and is typically required by many cities and states. It's too risky to not have it, so don't let your insurance lapse.
So that your liquor license isn't revoked, abide by state liquor laws.