So, you’ve got the bug and all you want to do is be the guy that whips up something fantastic with five ingredients in hand and watch seductively as people eat your food. Now, what’s it going to take? You’ve got the dream, the drive and some talent – shouldn’t that be enough? Hell no.

In this article, we walk you through the initial planning process of opening restaurant, which is no walk in the park at the planning stage or even after. So it just may be that after you read this, you may decide to go into an insurance career or even worse…fast food!

Your Golden Concept
Create a hypothetical menu with price points and pass it around your close friend to see if this excites them, do they see value for money? Chalk out what you are thinking with the minds of consumers.

Location

This is where you get to have fun and taste the dream a little bit. This is also where reality has a chance to rear its ugly head. Go visit commercial real estate offices in your selected neighborhoods and get tours of available properties. Don’t get too romantic; this is purely a fact-finding mission. Then go visit local establishments and ask questions about monthly gas, power, water, sewer, and garbage franchise costs and fees. You may need to visit several places to get one that fits your conceptual model and a crazy enough owner to share with you.

Local Service Providers
Call pest control, equipment and refrigeration service contractors, linen services, dishwasher/chemical service companies, and, most importantly, business insurance providers and governmental fees & licensing departments to get monthly, quarterly, and annual costs. Then call your local bar and ask them to double your monthly tab; you’ll be needing a lot more to drink.

Costing
Get out the old Excel spreadsheet – list all your gathered information in a monthly and quarterly format and extend for one full year, then multiply the monthly number by 1.5. This will leave room for unexpected or unforeseen costs. For the first year, factor in a higher expense on labor and food as you are still ascertaining what is required or not. These figures represent your fixed costs for the year.

Panic
If this figure scares you enough to give up on that dream, don’t be. Go back and repeat these steps until you find a concept and expense profile you can live with.

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