Questions to Ask Yourself Before Opening Your Own Restaurant

So you want to be a business owner? More specifically, you want to be a restaurateur? As catchy of a title as it is, you don’t want to be caught off guard in the middle. Assuming you have analyzed whether you are ready, able and willing to become a business owner, there are some important questions to ask yourself and that of your co-team, if applicable, before taking a bite into the world of restaurant ownership. Asking these questions of yourself isn’t meant to second guess or doubt your becoming, but rather to ensure your decision in all awareness and confidence of both yourself and your available resources.The stakes are high and should be gravely considered. Roughly 60 percent of restaurant startups close doors within their first year of ownership. Take considerable time to evaluate your readiness and ability with all honesty with these questions below.

Trendy and spendy

Restaurant ownership is a popular business. It is bursting with individual creativity and best of all, delectably rewarding treats! Food is a centerplace and common ground of all people in all places, and we need it to survive at the least! Making an enjoyable atmosphere is half the fun while serving others and watching their enjoyment of your thought and creation makes work as rewarding as it can be stressful and quick-paced. Whether you are looking to open a cafe, pub, grill, large chain, local delicacy… these will apply to you and addressing each with honest examination will give you the best start into the industry and increase your chances of success.

Your Purpose and Intent

  1. What makes you unique? What characteristics do you want your restaurant to have?
  2. What will your menu look like? Does it carry complementary and diverse options?
  3. How do you want your diners to feel and what will they say about your restaurant?
  4. What will your atmosphere look like? What is your theme?
  5. Have you tested your idea and sought feedback?

Let’s talk money and legalities

  1. How much money do you need to start your restaurant? How have you determined this?
  2. What are total operating costs?
  3. How much money do you need to make to profit after overhead?
  4. What do you expect for financial performance? Do your expectations aline with area and industry averages?
  5. What are your state regulations for permits? Do you know what permits you will need?
  6. Have you found a CPA, bookkeeper, and attorney?
  7. What insurance will you need?

Technology Employment

  1. What ordering system will you use?
  2. How will you track inventory?
  3. What will your website or app look like?
  4. What management and payroll system will you use?


  1. What kind of cultural demographic exists in your chosen location?
  2. Does your location fit your theme and vice versa?
  3. What kinds of establishments surround your location? Will they be drawn to your restaurant?
  4. Will you rent or buy your building? Build?
  5. Does your location fit your budget?
  6. What will your floor plan look like?

Who you’re up against: Competition

  1. What kind of restaurants are already in your area? Are they successful or failing and why?
  2. How will you differ from surrounding restaurants?
  3. How can you provide what they don’t and what don’t they provide?

The Customer

  1. Who is your customer? What kind of customer do you want to have?
  2. Where do they currently dine? What will attract them to your restaurant?
  3. How will you cope during slow seasons or times of day?

Supplies and Employees

  1. What kind of equipment will you need and how much does it cost?
  2. Where will your food be sourced?
  3. How will you keep fresh supply?
  4. How much shrinkage should you expect?
  5. Who will you employ and for what kind of positions?
  6. How many people will you need to hire on opening and how will they be trained?
  7. How will you manage complaints and walkouts?
  8. How will you manage tips?
  9. How will you keep your employees interested and content?


By now your head may be spinning, but at least you’re here considering what exactly it takes to start up a restaurant of your own. Different aspects will require different technique and sometimes things won’t crop up until later. It’s important to work with a close friend or hired advisor who has experience and know-how in this field. They will help you see things from a different perspective and an outside-in kind of approach, helping you see things you may have missed. Think and evaluate each area listed, with each question, before you get started with your first course. Keep up with industry news, statistics and reports, and map out a realistic and well-researched plan! Be sure to check in here for sips and bites of information to help you in your restauranteering success!


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