How to Start a Home-Based Restaurant

Starting a home-based restaurant is an enterprising venture. It's exciting to open your own working eatery conveniently located at your home. Though you will encounter various pitfalls, the joys are exhilarating and benefits plentiful.

Obtain a business license or permit from your state's issuing department. You will need to contact your city hall to get information about paperwork and the correct office to visit in order to file. Be sure to have an employer identification number, driver's license and application. You will have to pay a fee depending on the state.

Scout out a location for your home and business. Choose a place that has good visibility from the street. Think about the crime rate, accessibility to public transportation, and commonality with the other businesses in the area. Your business must double as a home, which means you have to find a place that has enough room to separate the living quarters from the dining area and kitchen. Two-story houses, duplexes and homes with carriage houses are good choices.

Plan the type of restaurant you want to open. There are three general types of dining: fast food, midscale and upscale. Give a lot of thought to the cuisine you want to serve and your clientele. Thousands of restaurants close their doors every year because of poor planning. Develop a business plan with realistic goals.

Contact your planning department for permits for renovation. You will have to follow strict health codes for the kitchen and dining area. Your list of requirements includes an application for a permit to operate or certificate of sanitation, health permit application, zoning referral form, fire marshal referral form, food certification form and workers' compensation declaration.

Plan your menu and get ready to open the doors. Marketing and strategy will help you fill the seats. Contact local businesses and invite them to come down for the grand opening. Make fliers and invite local food critics to check out your new venture.


  • Plan a "soft opening" before the grand opening launch. A soft opening consists of you friends and family members coming in and acting as paying customers. Have them rate the service and food to tighten things up before the general public visits.


  • Renew all of your permits annually to keep the government from closing you down.