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How to Start a Restaurant on a Budget

A lot of people assume that opening a restaurant has to be an expensive affair when it isn't. There are plenty of ways that you could start your own little restaurant business with a minimal investment. And, if you do things the right way, you might not even have to spend a dollar of your money at the beginning. Let’s take a look at how you can start a restaurant on a budget.

Think Small

The very first thing you have to do is forget the idea of opening a big or even medium sit-down restaurant. Not only are they expensive to set up, but they require a lot of investment when it comes to insurance, staff, energy etc.

Instead, we would suggest that you go for something more akin to a takeout joint. You could have a few tables or stalls outside your premises, but you’ll want to keep these to a minimum. Your goal is to have as many people going in and out as possible while saving on space. 

You also should consider a model that will reduce the amount of equipment you’ll need and how much actual cooking you’d have to do. Opening a Chinese takeout, for instance, will require much more of an investment than starting a small sandwich shop. So, think about this as well when thinking about your options.

Start Looking for Spaces

With a plan in mind, now would be a good time to start looking at the places where you could set up your restaurant. Look at local listings and see if you can find any interesting spots you can lease. Make sure that they have lots of foot traffic and large display windows that will allow people to see inside. 

It's also very important to know what's included in the lease when speaking with landlords as some things like trash removal and equipment may or may not be included. Also, be sure to conduct a thorough background check on the landlord, and don't be afraid to negotiate certain terms.

Build a Business Plan and Seek Financing

Your next step should be to start drafting a business plan and start looking at financing options. If you have things to give out as collateral and go with a lender that is known for being favorable to people who want to start this kind of business, you have realistic chances of getting a loan. But your business plan has to be well drafted and your idea needs to be feasible.

This is again why starting small is very important as most lenders prefer lending money to smaller restaurants as they know they're less risky.

Build a Menu and Get in Touch with Suppliers

Now that you have everything in place, you can start building a menu and getting in touch with suppliers. Try to keep your menu small to make inventory management easier. Speak with multiple suppliers in your area and consider working with a food service like Sysco that can offer prepared ingredients. This will enable you to save on labor and simplify your operation.

You might also want to start looking at things like restaurant uniforms for you and your staff. If you’re looking for a place where you can find great affordable uniforms, you can click here.

Open and Start Advertising

Once everything is in place and your restaurant is properly fitted, you can open your business and start promoting it. Offering great specials is a good way to get noticed and generate buzz on the cheap. You also have to be very careful to treat your first clients like gold as their reviews will make a world of difference when getting established.

This is all you need to know if you want to start a restaurant business without spending too much upfront. You might be surprised at how profitable this kind of business can be, so don't assume that you have to go big to succeed.



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