Top 6 Tips to Open a Restaurant and Keep Costs Down

Just starting out in the restaurant business? We've got six tips for you to help get your business off to a great start.
3 min to read

Top 6 Tips to Open a Restaurant and Keep Costs Down

For a chef who loves fresh ingredients, your dream of starting a restaurant can be incredibly rewarding, but it can also be costly. If you have the passion, the last thing you want is for your budget to stand in the way. These tips are all about using a little creativity to keep costs low so that your dream of starting a restaurant can become a reality.

#1  Think Outside the Box

Instead of jumping into a full-scale restaurant, why not try something a little less conventional first, such as a pop-up restaurant? A pop-up can be done for less money, and it can be a great way to get your name out. Pop-ups are seeing a resurgence in popularity, and the buzz that is generated from a time-limited event is amazing publicity. This buzz can even attract the attention of potential investors, possibly leading to additional funding sources. If you decide to go this route, set a realistic budget for all costs so that it pays off financially.

#2  Use Resources Wisely

Whether you’re starting small with a pop-up or going big from the start, make sure your resources are serving your needs, including finding the right employees. Get prepared for the hiring process by researching the best interview questions to ask. The restaurant industry is notorious for high turnover, resulting in lost revenue, but finding the best employees reduces this risk. Two of the top things to look for are employees with good references and ones with experience in the industry.

Another major resource that can really add to your costs is energy. Between the heat that’s generated, lighting, and water use, restaurants can really run up some energy bills. Go green and reduce energy use to be kinder to the Earth and cut costs at the same time. Invest in energy efficient equipment and lighting, and train staff in energy efficient practices.

#3  Go for Quality Without the Cost

Great food starts with high quality, fresh ingredients. Finding ingredients through a local food map is a great way to make sure what you’re getting is fresh and top quality, and buying local is more affordable and eliminates shipping costs. Keep in mind you can cut costs on things like equipment by buying second-hand. Shop around to find exactly what you need at a fraction of the cost of buying new things.

The same idea applies to technology, in terms of devices, software and services. You may not be able to go second-hand here, but new technology helps you save time and money, so it’s well worth the minimal investment. For example, Redde Payments offers streamlined credit card processing, quickly and reliably ensuring every transaction is completed safely and efficiently so you can continue building your business.  

#4  Get Funding Help

If you’re starting with a low budget and little funds, there are options out there for help - you just have to pursue them. So, look into government programs that provide loans to small businesses. If that isn’t an option, some entrepreneurs choose to borrow from friends or family, often making use of crowdsourcing websites. You can also apply for a bank loan, or look for unique funding opportunities, such as peer-to-peer lending.

#5 Set Up Your Payroll

Employees and payroll are integral parts of the process; without either, you’re going to have a rough go of things. As such, it’s important to set up a payroll for your growing startup. In addition to providing the correct forms for your employees, you’ll also need to set up a payment schedule that everyone understands. Furthermore, you’ll be required to keep accurate records and pay your payroll taxes on time; otherwise, you could find yourself staring down fines and penalties, neither of which you need when you’re starting your restaurant business.

#6  Get the Word Out

Thanks to social media, you can advertise your new restaurant with little to no money. Start creating your web presence by checking out PC Mag’s top website builders, that make creating your website a snap. You want to have an engaging online image that includes being active on social media. Foodies love to share pics of an amazing meal, so you’re in the perfect business to make the most of Instagram and other social platforms. The great thing about web marketing is that it’s an incredible advertising opportunity that allows you to reach your customers where they are for very little money.

These are just a few examples of how a little creativity lets you keep costs low while still giving yourself the tools you need to succeed. You put your heart and soul into your food and your business. These tips will help make your budget line up with your dreams and make success a reality.

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