So, you want to open a restaurant?


Five things to do first:

Know your why 

Whether you’re pivoting your business from a mobile unit to a bricks and mortar site, or you’re new to hospitality all together, if your why isn’t your food – your passion for it and your desire to share it with a wide audience, then you’ve started out on the wrong foot. Running a restaurant is rewarding, but it’s also incredibly challenging so it’s crucial to your business’ success and longevity to have a genuine and meaningful reason for getting started.

Get your ducks in a row

The possibilities for funding your business venture have thankfully increased in recent years, with the advent of crowdfunding giving budding entrepreneurs the chance to establish a business without being thousands of pounds in debt before they’ve so much as flipped a burger or pulled a pint. However, long before you’ve even thought about whether you’ll crowdfund, draw on savings or take out a loan from the bank, you need to know your costs, and that means asking a lot of questions. How much are leases in your desired area? What’s the initial contract length likely to be? Do you need to pay solicitor’s fees? And then there’s nitty gritty in the space to consider – what changes do you need to make for usability, and for the restaurant to reflect your concept? How many staff will you need initially? Speak to contractors ahead of time and try to gage prices. Ask the current proprietor or the landlord about utility costs. Not only are we in precarious economic times, but there’s also a seasonality to the industry, which means an emergency fund is always prudent.

Establish your concept/USP

You will likely have an idea in mind already but choosing what type of restaurant you want to offer, the target audience, and its unique selling point (USP) are important considerations when creating a concept – think about what you would like your restaurant’s voice and character to be, then try to ensure that everything in your restaurant aligns with this, from the big things like the menu and aesthetic, to the seemingly small things, such as seating arrangements or staff uniform.

Regulations and licenses

You need to establish early on in your journey whether you want alcohol to be part of your offering, as you’ll need to obtain an alcohol licence; head to to find out how you can get a licence in your area. You will also need food premises approval from your local council if your premises handles meat, fish, egg, or dairy products (if food sales account or will account for over 25% of your business.) You can apply here Running a restaurant also means you’ll require public liability insurance. This protects you if either your staff, or your customers suffer personal injury, or property damage as a result of your business, the insurance covers compensation claims, as well as legal expenses. Last but not least, remember to ensure that you and your staff have completed your food hygiene training – all food handlers require a L2 food hygiene training certificate as a minimum, whilst supervisors and managers must pass their L3 food hygiene course before business commences.


Just having an online presence isn’t enough anymore, your website and social channels need to be thoughtfully branded, try to keep your aesthetic consistent throughout. And think carefully about who your audience is when selecting which social media platforms you’ll utilise – you’re unlikely to find the over 50s on Tik Tok, and in the same vein, Facebook numbers are dwindling hugely in the under 30s. Whether you choose a website platform with options for table reservation, or you want to accept payment via your website, an intuitive, sleek user-experience is essential; with vast amounts of competition out there, potential customers aren’t going to sift through page upon page of your website to locate a menu, and they’re going to get frustrated and leave if the website is clunky and unresponsive. A perk of using an online booking system is that you start to accrue a meaningful database of previous, and potentially returning customers. Whilst you must abide by GDPR legislation if you’re going to store email addresses, it’s a good opportunity for new and exciting email marketing campaigns.

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