Everything You Need to Know About Opening Your Own Restaurant

Opening a restaurant seems easy on the surface: hire a great chef, come up with a fantastic menu, decorate the place, and voila—culinary success. Unfortunately, the realities of the business aren’t nearly as pretty. One out of three restaurants fails within its first three years, and making it in this industry is often more stressful and demanding than investors realize. If you’re truly serious about opening your own restaurant, consider these facets of the business.


The Conception of a Concept

heidi nazarudin pelican beach resort

One of the best meals I had was at The Pelican Beach Resort.

Restaurants aren’t only about food. In such a competitive industry, it’s important to determine the ways you can make your business a standout. Looking to attract customers? You’re going to need more than a spatula and stove. It’s important to come up with a solid concept for your restaurant.

Are you looking to become a classy destination for couples on date night and business professionals for client appointments? You’ll need to invest in elegant furniture and designer art that will fit the vibe. Perhaps you’re hoping to attract a down-home crowd looking for great grub and a good laugh. You’ll want to encapsulate that homey feel with cozy chairs, warm décor, and a relaxed setting.

Decor is very important to a lot of people when choosing a restaurant.

Understanding what you hope to make out of your restaurant will help you plan out all the important details, from budgetary concerns to marketing techniques. Take a look at restaurants in your area. What can you offer that they don’t provide? What can you expand upon? It’s a dog-eat-dog world, and positioning your restaurant for success means learning from your competitors.

Creating a Business Plan


Regardless of industry, an airtight business plan is essential. As with any financial venture, you need to provide proof of business acumen in order to manage your business and improve your bottom line—and attract investors. Make sure you’re well-versed on the various aspects of the business before breaking ground on your restaurant. Attend restaurant seminars, speak with local restaurant owners, or pursue a degree or certification in a related field. Any extra effort will put you that much further ahead in an already competitive industry.

Finding the Funding

I work in the kitchen a lot.

Starting a restaurant is an expensive venture, and if you don’t have the personal capital to invest, it’s important to consider the ways you’ll acquire the money you need to get your idea up and running. Consider the upfront costs for starters: you’ll need to find the venue, restaurant furniture, kitchen equipment, and plan for paying a staff. You’ll also like need to buy a liquor license; these permits can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. License Locators, Inc. provides information about the actual cost of various types of permits in your area, so be sure to consider what you can expect to pay.

The costs will continue to pop up long after you’ve got your restaurant up and running. There are many ways to fund such a venture, but it’s important to find the route that’s best suited for your aspirations. You may apply for a grant from the SBA, or you may find it’s necessary to approach private lenders. Because the restaurant business is so enticing, you may find it somewhat simple to find a restaurant investor. Be sure your business plan is as detailed as possible before approaching an investor, and ensure you’ve crossed your “T”s and dotted your “I”s.

Hiring the Right Staff

Getting the best team on your roster should be priority number one. A restaurant is only as good as its service, and your hosts and waiters will essentially be the face of your business. In most cases, it’s best to avoid hiring family members and friends. It can lend itself to problems that wouldn’t be present with the normal hiring process. Money and business tend to affect relationships, so consider long and hard before offering jobs to your mom’s friend’s cousin’s daughter.

The restaurant business isn’t an easy industry to break into, but with the right concept, capital, and team, it can turn into a promising investment of your time and money. If you’re considering opening a restaurant, keep these facets in mind and make the best go of your attempt to take a solid idea to fruition.



  • Taylor says:

    I have always thought of opening my own restaurant ever since I was a child. I loved seeing my Maman cook in the kitchen and she inspired me to cook recipes out of scratch. When I graduate in senior high school, I have full intentions of getting a degree on culinary and restaurant management. I am glad I read this article, it helped me learn more about building and achieving my dream in the near future, Thank you!

  • Ashley says:

    Definitely gonna take note of these for when I finally decide on having my own resto, soon!

  • Janine says:

    Love this!

  • Darla says:

    I’ve had this dream of owning a business someday, but never have I accomplished it due to many reasons. First, I lack the capital to start one; secondly, I still need to further better my capabilities and skills in the kitchen. But I really hope someday I’ll be able to fulfill this.

  • Gabrielle says:

    … and here I thought I already have all I need to pursue with my dream of opening my small catering business. I clearly have a lot of things to check out first.

  • Jessica says:

    I’m not really in the food and dining business, but this useful article will definitely help my cousin who’s thinking of opening her own Mediterranean style restaurant soon. THank you!

  • Jennifer says:

    You are an angel… Thank you for all of this!

  • Anna Readon says:

    Haven’t thought about this really, although I love cooking.. and my family’s urging me to try doing resto business. I think I’m gonna give it a go once I’m really an expert in cooking or once I take professional culinary courses.

  • Claire says:

    I’d like to also add about hiring a real effective PR who can do marketing and promotions. A social media guru is also advisable so she/he can spread the word via the world wide web. Just my two cents.

  • Miss M. says:

    This is great. Thanks for all the help!

  • Ashley says:

    Would love to own a restaurant too, although I am not really fond of cooking. But I have an eye for business marketing and I think I can also hire the best staffs when I need to. Would definitely check out all these suggestions 🙂

  • Greta says:

    I’ve been told about attending seminars and such, to further utilize my skills and knowledge about managing a restaurant. This is really good, I actually went to some of it and have been learning a lot when it comes to catering and hotel/resto businesses.

  • Regina says:

    So it isn’t enough that you know about cooking and food preparation, you should also make sure that you have the heart to manage a business and maintain it against time.

  • Kianna Michaels says:

    This is what I need! Been wanting to further better my craft but I have not much knowledge about restaurants and catering. This is very helpful.

  • Kelly S. says:

    This is really a big help, not only to those planning to open their own restaurant but also to most food catering services and small-business entrepreneurs. I surely learned a lot from you The Ambitionista!

  • carla says:

    Thanks for this article. I now have all the things I need to know about opening restaurants. This has been really helpful.

  • Hannah says:

    I should have read about this before, when I was still undecided about opening food service business. Love all the tips!

  • Micah Ira says:

    I didn’t know much about restaurants or even opening business establishments, but I am willing to learn more, even if I have to attend seminars and luncheons if I have to. Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

  • Blue says:

    I’m in the baking business, my sister and I bake cakes and pastries. I think this post also covers us and will also help us when we decide to open a small bakery/cafe of our own. Thank you.

  • kurtis says:

    Now working out on our business plan and funding.. In a few more months, hopefully we’ll get there. Always appreciate tips like this!

  • Nicole says:

    When I was a kid, I thought of opening my own restaurant too, but I never got to study about it because I was more of an eater than a cook. I stay a lot in the kitchen, that’s true, but I could only whip and beat and fry an egg. I seriously need to go to cooking class if I want to have my own resto soon.

  • Lauren Mancini says:

    I will forward this to my friends who are now planning to start their restaurant chain. Thanks for a wonderful blog that helps a lot of us woman on how to make it to a man-filled world.

  • Ali says:

    Now those are easy ways and steps to follow.. Thank you so much for sharing and making them more understandable. Will remember these when I finally get to start with my food service business 🙂

  • Margarita says:

    Well, I’m not a great cook, but I already have a team that I can count on when my restaurant business pushes through in the near future. Just a few more guidelines and tips and we’re ready to go. Thank you so much for this very informative post 🙂

  • Karla E. says:

    Thank you The Ambitionista, for always looking out for us young entrepreneurs. Your help is such a big thing for us, we really appreciate all these wonderful tips and suggestions!

  • Airish Sofi says:

    Oh wow! Not only do you share with us your tips about fashion and beauty and blogging, you also give us advice about business. You truly are an inspiration, Heidi.

  • Susan Armstrong says:

    I didn’t know much about the food service, but I do know that it entails a lot of work and manpower. Thank you so much for continually sharing this important posts that helps women entrepreneur like me.

  • shauna says:

    I think I got all the basics covered, except for the food taster (LOL) but seriously, thank you for all these advice!

  • Ljane says:

    Restaurant business is a good business. People are always on the hunt for the newest or latest specialties, and kids go hungry everytime, so it means many customers. Would love to start one up for myself in the future. I’ll take note of all these tips.

  • Monique says:

    Wow Heidi! I didn’t know you also provide info about restaurant stuffs and entrepreneurial topics. This is great. You are really awesome #BossLady.

  • Maureen Robbie says:

    Now more than ever, I’d love to start my dream of opening a restaurant in the city. So thankful for all these tips and ideas, Heidi.

  • Desiree Lynch says:

    I don’t think I’m fit with the restaurant business, but I can be of help in marketing. I hope my someday I could be of help to the food service business or any other business for that matter.

  • Lorelei Chung says:

    Agreed! Your skin always looks amazing, your tan is gorgeous and your beauty is beyond comparison. You’re my #womancrushwednesday Heidi!

  • MJ says:

    Oh Heidi, you’re like Jill of all trades, you help a lot of entrepreneurs, not only those office based and fashion companies, but also the food service business and the like. You are amazing!

  • Angelica says:

    Thanks for all this tips. I hope I could build my own food serving business too!

  • Tu Mingh says:

    I’ve always wondered how some major food establishments continue to prosper amidst all the new and upcoming food services popping around lately. Their staying power is strong. I wish I could have that same strong staying power when I start my own food venture soon.

  • Franny says:

    OMG.. I think you are my soulmate… I work a lot in the kitchen too 🙂 But I don’t even cook.. lol

  • Jenni Clark says:

    How exciting! These tips would definitely help me and my fiance with our upcoming restaurant business! THank you!

  • Helga K. says:

    Wow Heidi, I didn’t know you also offer tips and advice for restaurateurs. This is magnificent and really helpful!

  • Faye says:


  • Tuesday Anne says:

    This is exactly what I need! Wow, thanks for this article, it’s really helping me a lot with my new food business!

Comments are closed.