In order to start a restaurant in New Jersey certain steps need to be followed. Any business that deals with food has a couple of additional requirements which need to be met in order to be legally set up. Even though restaurants do not have a high earning ratio compared to the hours that the owner or operator usually has to put in, it can still be extremely rewarding for the right person.
Write a business plan outlining your idea for the business, the expenses, planned income and even details such as the dishes that will be on the menu. The more detailed your plan is the easier it will be to make the business successful. According to Forbes magazine, most the fate of restaurants is usually decided before it even opens its doors.
Incorporate the business in the state of New Jersey. You can do this yourself by contacting your local government to file the correct paperwork or use an attorney. An attorney is recommended as they can advise on the type of corporation which would be best suited and also make sure that all of the papers are filed. Even if you are choosing to buy an already open restaurant, you will still need to set up some sort of business entity which the restaurant will run under. A corporation is best as it protects your assets and allows for any liability to be strictly limited to the actual restaurant income and assets.
File for a sales tax number and an EIN number in the state of New Jersey. These will allow you to have employees and sell food within the state. Acquiring the EIN number is usually the job of your attorney, and the sales tax number that of your accountant. You will also need a certified business accountant to file your yearly corporate taxes, but the monthly sales tax can be paid by the owner of the restaurant.
Hire a payroll company to take care of the employee's paychecks and to pay all of the required taxes. This can be done by the owner but requires a lot of time and knowledge and is usually best outsourced to a third party which specializes in this process.
Find the right location and negotiate the lease. This will be a fixed overhead expense and the lower you can get it, the better.
Obtain the needed funding for the business. Each restaurant will need to be equipped with a kitchen and other items as well as decorated. You might also want a professional sign up front and a POS register with a touch screen to make the workflow easier.
Pass the food certification exam with either the National Restaurant Association or the National Registry of Food Safety Professionals. This certificate is required by the state of New Jersey in order to be able to serve food. One person in the restaurant, typically the owner or manager, will need to have this.