How to Plan to Start a Restaurant

restaurant image by Svetlana Kashkina from

When opening a restaurant you must go through a specific process to set up the restaurant properly, so that you can concentrate on running the restaurant, making food and serving your customers. The better your planning before you begin spending money on the restaurant itself, the better everything will come together when the restaurant actually opens. As this process takes time and careful planning, there should rarely be a rush to get a restaurant started.

Research, Development and Budget

Find a location where you want to build your restaurant. Know how much it would cost to buy or rent the location and try to get a blueprint of the old floor plans. Make sure there is parking nearby for customers or you can figure out a way for people to park easily and inexpensively through a valet or parking garage.

Hire an architect to draw up a blueprint for how you want your restaurant laid out with the kitchen, bathrooms and seating for patrons. Talk with a few contractors who will help you figure out the cost of construction for this floor plan and the number of employees you will need. Add this amount to the cost of the rent and the parking for the restaurant.

Design a basic menu and decide on the hours of operation for the restaurant. What type of food will you serve and how much will you have to charge to make a profit? Decide how many meals the restaurant will serve each day. Breakfast, lunch and dinner? Or will it be open for lunch, close for a few hours and then serve dinner? This needs to be incorporated into the overall budget of the restaurant.

Create a theme or style for your restaurant. Will there be a theme in the decor to help encapsulate how the restaurant will feel for patrons who dine there? Carefully plan furnishings, like plates, silverware, tables, chairs, televisions, stools and anything hanging on the walls and add their cost to the overall budget. Plan lighting fixtures. Will there be overhead lighting for the entire restaurant or individual lighting at each table, like lamps or candles? There will also need to be required lighting, for both customer, employee and food preparation. Ensure you have planned all of this out as well and added it to the cost of your overall budget. Include the cost of food preparation. How much will this cooking equipment cost and will it fit into your kitchen? Research this and include it into your proposal to investors.

Research the types of building and restaurant permits you will need before the restaurant opens. Know exactly what needs to be done to obtain these permits so that there is no delay in the restaurant's opening. Ask your architect and general contractor how long they believe it will take to get the job done. Then decide on a realistic date when your restaurant will open.

Presentation Packet

Take all of the steps, figures and details outlined in Section 1 and put them into a comprehensive presentation portfolio for investors to see, so they have an idea about exactly how much the restaurant will cost to start, what it will serve, how it will look and feel inside, when it will open and how much money it will have to make before they begin to see a return on their investment.

Use computer programs like Adobe Photoshop to professionally design color images and Microsoft Word to type the presentation.

Print out the proposal in color, if possible and professionally bind it to give to prospective investors.


  • The more concise and attractive you can put all of these restaurant plans together into a document for prospective investors or a bank, the better chance you have of them funding your restaurant. Consider adding color pictures and simple, explanatory graphs and pie charts.


  • Make sure all the financial assessments for your restaurant are accurate and that your assumptions are not too optimistic. Not being able to fulfill your promises to investors will cause you and the restaurant problems in the future.