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The time is finally right to start your dream restaurant. But how much does it cost to open a restaurant? Start-up costs vary depending on location, square footage, and whether you’re building from the ground up or taking over an existing foodservice venue. No matter where you begin on your journey to open a restaurant, there are a few start-up costs you can count on:

1. Location

Generally speaking, the busier the area, the higher the price. Restaurant leases in a given area can range from $1-5 per square foot, per month. Do you want to spend all your capital on a high foot traffic location?  Should you pay less on the property and spend more on marketing to persuade guests to find you in a lesser-known part of town? Hiring a restaurant consultation company could help you decide which option to choose and put extra money in your pocket for other expenses.

2. Pre-operation Expenses

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First and most importantly, you’ll need to secure all the proper licenses and permits to run your business. Sign up for gas and/or electricity, internet, and water — all things you don’t want to be stuck without on your first big day. Be sure to find a dependable insurance company, and don’t forget workers’ compensation insurance. 

Choose your point of sale system and budget for computers, tablets, and card-readers. Factor in the monthly cost to run the system.

Pre-operation marketing is an important expense. Getting your name out there before you open will require a social media marketing guru and possibly a PR agency. 

Finally, you’ll have to consider the cost of tangibles that your restaurant will need in order to be ready for the grand opening. These expenses can include:

  • Non-food inventory, such as cleaning supplies and paperware.
  • Team member training.
  • Storage cabinets.
  • Uniforms.

3. Design

Aside from the expense of your lease, your location might require extra funds for the interior and exterior design to make it restaurant-ready, including:

  • Landscaping.
  • Lighting and signs.
  • Art and interior decorating.
  • Flooring and paint.

4. Equipment, Appliances, and Furniture

open a restaurant

Whether you purchase a ready-made restaurant complete with equipment or start from scratch, there are big expenses here. When purchasing used equipment, inspect it and budget for replacements or repairs. If you plan to design and build your own commercial kitchen and dining area from scratch, consider hiring a consulting company to help you plan the space and get the best deal on essential equipment.

The start-up phase of running a restaurant may seem daunting and expensive. Don’t let the cost to open a restaurant scare you away. Mise Designs has helped hundreds of happy customers develop thriving restaurant spaces. From restaurant consultation to commercial kitchen design, we do it all, and we’ll help you do it too.

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