Opening a restaurant is both an exciting and scary time. There are a lot of moving pieces that go into it, that can easily get lost. 

One way to stay on top of everything is by staying organized with an opening a restaurant checklist. This will help you remain focused throughout the process and should include every detail. Everyone’s list is going to be different but there are five key items that should always be included. 

Read on to learn what you need on your list. 

1. Business Plan 

The first thing that should be on your list is your business plan. Your plan should be detailed and fully outline your vision and how your restaurant is unique amongst the rest. 

Take your time with this plan and make it as clear as possible so that you can accurately articulate your goals. Plans should include everything from your concept, menu example, location, target audience, marketing strategy, to the number of employees needed. 

Once you have a solid business plan, you can easily pitch your idea to investors and it makes for a smoother opening process. 

2. Secure Loans 

Opening a restaurant is very expensive and it’s not realistic for owners to pay for it themselves. That’s why securing loans is so important. This money is used to purchase real estate and any renovations needed, meet operating needs, pay employees, and buy equipment. 

Many restaurant owners receive help through small business loans from banks and lenders. This is why a solid business plan is needed because, in order to get your loan, you must prove that you’re a good risk. 

3. Licenses and Permits 

There are several legal parameters that go into owning and operating a restaurant. You have to remain up to code for multiple requirements to ensure safety for both the customers and employees and that’s where the licenses and permits come into the picture.

You can’t open a restaurant without a certificate of occupancy which signifies the building’s compliance with codes and laws making it suitable for business. Also, a food license is needed along with a liquor license if you choose to serve it at your restaurant. 

You will also need a food handler’s license and possibly one for live entertainment if that is part of your vision. Each document requires a fee and you need to go through different organizations to get each one. 

This step is very important because, without these, your business will not be able to open. 

4. Equipment and Design 

Next, make sure to include buying your equipment, furniture, and decorations. Think about the space you have and what type of environment you want customers to come in to. Plan to get more than enough furniture in case one breaks and decide what type of equipment you’ll need. 

List out everything such as ovens, stoves, freezers, and storage. If you wish to have a full bar in your restaurant, make sure to include large wine fridges on your equipment list as well. 

Think strategically on this part and try to get the most cost-effective items while not compromising on quality. 

5. Hire Staff 

Lastly, you need to set aside a good amount of time to hire your staff. You shouldn’t neglect this part because you want competent and professional people representing your brand. Take your time and have a thorough process to make sure you’re bringing in the right people

A restaurant can have the best menu in the world, but if the customer service is inadequate, it won’t be successful. 

Read More: Your Ultimate Guide to Getting a Career in Restaurant Purchasing

Stay on Track With Your Opening a Restaurant Checklist 

We hope that you found our tips for opening a restaurant to be helpful and that you have more clarity going into your process. 

No matter what type of restaurant you’re looking to open, you’re going to need an opening a restaurant checklist to help you get to the finish line. It’s a long and hard road, but it’s worth it in the end!  Make sure to explore our website for more tips and advice! 

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