When you don’t have to make the meal yourself, going out on the town and enjoying a delicious meal are sometimes the best things ever! Numerous Canadians value dining out because it brings people together to share in novel gastronomic experiences.

If you’re the kind of person who wants to share these experiences with as many people as possible, starting your own restaurant can be of interest to you. So, if you’re wondering how to open a restaurant, think about using this steps listed below to launch your dream restaurant.

Checklist for Opening a Restaurant

If you have made the decision to create and run a restaurant, you will need to take into account the following information and actions in order to properly carry out your strategy.

The stages you must follow to open a restaurant are listed here. They include what you need to open a restaurant, the paperwork and procedures that must be completed, as well as all information regarding the menu items, location design, and the entire dining experience you wish to offer to guests.

When launching your restaurant and entering the restaurant business, use this checklist to make sure you have covered all the necessary ground.

1.Select a restaurant service approach

Making a decision on a certain service approach is the first step in starting a restaurant. How you run your restaurant’s core services will depend on the service style you choose. How will your visitors and customers get their meals and drinks?

There are five primary restaurant service emphases to pick from, including:

Waiter service: Your customers place their orders while seated at a table, and the waiter brings their meals and beverages.

Chinese banquet service: Another type of water service that includes big tables and often serves food for sharing and communal consumption

Customers can choose to order from the menu from a waiter or help themselves from the buffet line during the buffet service.

Self-Service: Using a counter, customers may place orders, pay, and pick up their food and drinks for a quick and relaxed meal.

Semi-Self-Service: Clients order and pay at the counter, but wait staff brings their food to their table.

Certain restaurant service techniques will fit your envisioned business concept more readily depending on the mood and ambiance you are striving for and the food you will be providing.

2.Select a restaurant category

Since they go hand in hand, the service approach you chose in step one will help determine the kind of restaurant you want to open. While choosing a self-service style may make your establishment feel more like a fast food restaurant, choosing a waiter service style will most likely result in a fine dining or casual dining experience.

You can choose to build any of the following 11 types of restaurants and restaurant concepts:

  • upscale eating
  • informal dining
  • modern-day casual
  • in the family
  • Fast-casual
  • swift food
  • Cafe
  • Buffet
  • Consolation booths
  • Pop-up
  • Delivery-only

Consider the price point, menu items, and level of formality you are going for when deciding which restaurant kinds would meet your business concept. Are you motivated to create a fancy, five-course dining experience, a laid-back, family-style atmosphere, or a quick service environment? You can choose the best kind of restaurant for your establishment by providing answers to questions like these.

3.Establish menu items and their costs

You must already have a plan for the food items you want to serve as your business begins to take shape. The moment has come to give these ideas some attention and completely conceptualise the meals and drinks you will serve your clients.

Consider the kind of food, the standard of the ingredients, and the price range you had in mind while choosing the menu items. Are you creating a menu using dishes from several regional cuisines, or are you giving a mix of different foods? Your menu or menus may also be impacted by your operating hours. Will there be separate lunch and supper menus or will there be a single menu that includes all meal options?

Take into account how the long-term impact of menu prices on the restaurant’s bottom line. What kind of experience are you aiming to create—a cheap night out or an expensive affair? These price ranges will be directly impacted by the food items you purchase and their quality.

The menu consists of more than just food. Which beverages will you be serving? Alcoholic drinks will they be available? If so, will a complete bar be included on your menu, or just a list of wines? Items sold in bars have a usual price markup of 200% in restaurants that do serve alcohol.

In light of this, you should also take into account your province’s sales tax on alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages when determining the costs of menu items.

4.Write a business plan for a restaurant

You will be well-prepared to write a restaurant business plan if you have worked out these more minute aspects in the earlier steps. As the business owner, you must consider every facet of your evolving culinary facility while preparing a business strategy, just as in any other industry.

Therefore, be careful to include the following information when creating your restaurant business plan:

  • Your idea for a restaurant
  • a market study
  • Details of a sample menu design
  • Financial assistance and funding for restaurants
  • necessary restaurant supplies
  • marketing strategy
  • You’ve created a restaurant
  • The geographical setting
  • Your procedures for hiring employees
  • A conclusion that brings everything together

It can take a while to develop a company plan, but the effort is worthwhile. You may cement the broad idea for your restaurant by considering these specifics and doing research, which will set you up for the following steps. This strategy will also be helpful at every stage of opening a restaurant, but notably when securing the funding required to start and maintain your establishment.

5.Obtain financing

Now is the moment to get your finances in order, whether you have the funds and liquid assets to build this restaurant yourself or you need to borrow the money through financing options with a bank or from investors and stakeholders. If you don’t have the financial means to support your goal, all of the preparatory procedures could be for naught. As a result, it’s essential to raise the right quantity of capital for your company.

The majority of restaurant operators will require access to $500,000 when opening a business. Depending on whether you rent or acquire real estate for the business, the average restaurant startup cost in Canada ranges from $300,000 to $500,000. You must factor in both ongoing operations costs and all initial charges for your restaurant when creating a budget for your enterprise.

Lack of funding to pay for the restaurant’s initial fees is one of the major obstacles to opening one. Therefore, you must account for all costs related to starting and maintaining the business in your budget. All the information regarding the financial sums you would require to launch and operate your restaurant for its first few years of operation should have been included in a well-written and well-thought-out business plan.

As banks and investors are more likely to support a well-researched business strategy, your restaurant business plan can also assist in obtaining finance for a restaurant business loan. To assist you with your financing choices and line of credit, find out more about being eligible for a small business loan.

6.Permits, legislation, and rules governing research

You need to have the appropriate licences and permits at the provincial and federal levels in order to lawfully run your restaurant in any province in Canada. You must register your company with the provincial government and apply for a federal business number.

Depending on the type of business you have—a sole proprietorship, a partnership, or a corporation—you must submit the appropriate application to the federal government.

Before you can successfully start a restaurant, you must be informed of the several different permits and laws that must be applied for. For instance, if you intend to sell alcohol on-site, you will need to have the necessary liquor licence. If your restaurant will have a parking area, you will also need to get the proper parking lot licences.

With all of this in mind, it is now necessary to do research and submit applications for the proper documentation pertaining to the restaurant industry:

  • insurance for eateries
  • provincial and federal business licences and permits
  • Taxes on dining establishment services
  • requirements for food safety
  • Inspection of public health
  • compliance with accessibility

The Government of Canada has established this licencing and permit database, which enables people to look for their required documentation by region and industry, to assist you in determining what your restaurant needs to apply for.

7.Select a suitable site

You’ll need to find a suitable site to match these criteria depending on the kind of restaurant you want to open and the atmosphere or vibe you want to project. The time has come to start looking for the ideal location.

Will you be looking at rental homes or wishing to buy an empty lot or building when searching for your dream real estate? Do you like a location that is off the beaten path for a more private event or one that is close to the highway or highstreet to be accessible to high amounts of traffic?

8.Take your restaurant’s layout into account

Once you’ve selected the ideal location for your restaurant, it’s time to measure the structure and make decisions about the layout and interior design of the space. Consider the best way to utilise the space while you stroll around the establishment, taking into mind client and waitstaff foot flow.

Where do you want to place the main sitting area? The bar and the kitchen should be located in which part of the restaurant? Will there be a place to wait? When planning the layout and flow of your restaurant, the responses to all of these questions should be recorded.

This phase can also assist you in figuring out how much water, gas, and electricity the restaurant’s equipment and appliances would require. Do you already have the necessary fixtures in place for such things, or would you need to contact a contractor to adapt the area?

9.Decide on a secure payment method

You must make sure that sensitive financial data for your restaurant and your customers is properly protected when carrying out any commercial transaction. Due to this, businesses must have a secure point of sale or payment system that protects all transactions and data flowing through it.

Since your small business’s revenue streams are closely related to this service, selecting the right POS system is crucial. In case you decide to add a delivery service to your business, your restaurant POS system should also be able to take and process all kinds of payment and provide a function for online checkouts and payments.

10.Decide on a food vendor

You need to discover a food provider who meets these requirements once you’ve decided on your food items and the standard of the ingredients. You must engage with a supplier who can give you all the fresh and high-quality products you require if you want to make sure your culinary dishes and menu items are up to your expectations.

For your restaurant, finding a reliable and ethical supplier is essential. As you depend on this vendor for your culinary services and goods, they must be open and honest about their food standards and price in order to maintain a positive working relationship. Therefore, before signing a contract, take some time to study local, easily accessible food suppliers.

11.Recruit staff and set up payroll

A workforce is one thing you’ll need when starting a business. The recruiting and training of wait staff, cooks, bartenders, hostesses, bussers, and other necessary employees fall under your purview as the restaurant owner. Therefore, executing the hiring procedure to discover dependable and diligent employees constitutes a significant portion of opening a restaurant.

It is best to enter the hiring process with a strategy and a list of the traits and skills you want to see in your future workers. This is particularly true when taking care of your customer service requirements. While holding face-to-face interviews can help you narrow down your selections for the best fits, posting job openings online can help you reach a wider pool of possible candidates.

After you’ve taken care of your human resources, you’ll need to select a payroll provider and set up payroll processing so that your new hires are paid correctly. Now that you are in charge of a workforce, you must stay on top of payroll processing every month to guarantee that your employees get paid for their labour.

12.Start promoting

Prior to welcoming customers, you should concentrate on marketing your business. Spreading the word about your new restaurant is crucial for attracting clients.You can benefit right now from social media marketing. Find out which social media sites are most popular among your target audience by conducting some market research, then start there.

Create company pages and profiles on these social media sites first. The amount of people who enter your doors can be significantly increased by setting up these social media profiles, announcing your grand opening, and producing frequent content and promotional activities.

13.Make your entrance

Your restaurant is prepared to begin operations now that you have completed everything on this list. It’s time to roll up your sleeves and keep working hard now that you’ve covered every facet of establishing and running your new restaurant.

Many restaurants hold a grand opening, a soft opening, or both to introduce themselves to the general public. As it only serves a small number of customers, a soft opening enables you and your staff to test out its functioning. Before the official opening, a soft opening can generate awareness about your restaurant and give you feedback on the menu and service.

As your restaurant welcomes the general public, a grand opening can be a grandiose event. The community can learn about your restaurant’s mouthwatering menu and intriguing new atmosphere thanks to this event. Word of mouth has considerable influence.

Your efforts have finally paid off, and now that the opening is behind you, you can continue to concentrate on running and managing your brand-new restaurant.

Think About the Correct Software

If you’ve made the decision to open a restaurant, you’ll need the appropriate software to assist you in managing and operating your new enterprise. Why not give QuickBooks Online a try to help with your restaurant’s financial and accounting needs?

To make revenue tracking easier, high-quality accounting software like QuickBooks can simply connect with your restaurant’s POS system.In order to correctly and comprehensively track cash flow, handle payroll, and generate financial reports to improve management procedures and increase sales, millions of small businesses and new restaurant owners turn to QuickBooks Online.