How To Open Your First Eatery For Less

You’ve probably heard that it costs a lot of money to open a restaurant.

In fact, if you do a Google search, you’ll find many sources quoting astronomical prices for opening a restaurant. One such source says it can cost between $250,000 and $2 million.

In this article, we’re going to dispel that myth and show you how to break out of that mold and do something different.

Here’s how to open your first eatery for less.

Choose the Ideal Location

The perfect location for your new eatery on a budget is a space that has already housed a restaurant.

Choose an existing restaurant space and remodel it to give it your own flair. Don’t overspend on the remodel. A fresh coat of paint, a quick floor refinish and a good cleaning can do wonders.

You are capable of enhancing the interior design of your new eatery. Use the Internet if you need to know how to do some of these design enhancements.

You’re sure to find a do-it-yourself video.

Get creative when refreshing the existing space. Enlist the help of friends so you don’t have to do it all on your own.

Do your research when choosing an existing restaurant space, though. You want to uncover why the previous tenants left. Was it the location? Or did they simply have bad food or a bad concept?

Why should you look for an existing restaurant space? You’ll cut down on set up costs because it should already have an outfitted kitchen with the proper plumbing and ventilation. It has designated spaces for a dining room and restrooms.

When you see a space come up for lease, jump on it fast as these don’t last long especially in high traffic areas.

Negotiate Everything

Don’t settle for anyone’s first price.

For example, when setting up accounts with your food vendors, the price is always negotiable.

Most vendors have a tiered system already built into their pricing based on how much a restaurant purchases.

What’s this mean for you? It means you have some wiggle room.

Let your potential vendors know you are shopping around. Make them want your business.

Another negotiating tactic is to buy everything from one vendor. Let them know you are giving them all of yourr business if they make you a good deal.

Other things you can negotiate include the prices of tables, chairs, appliances and uniforms. Most of these items have negotiable prices. Feel comfortable knowing they’ve already built in extra so they can negotiate with you.

Barter, A Lot

Bartering is not dead in the 21st century. In fact, it goes on a lot, so don’t feel bad about suggesting it to someone.

The worst that can happen is that they say no.

You might need a handful of experts to get your new eatery opened. So, it’s well worth your while to barter with them. What do you have to barter with? Your food, of course.

Here is a potential list of people who might be amenable to a barter situation:

  • Marketing expert: you can trade out graphics and design work
  • Website designer
  • Plumber
  • Electrician

Manage Employee Time

When it comes to your employees, you can keep an eagle eye on their working hours to keep your budget low.

Use a scheduling software like ZoomShift for employee scheduling

This keeps you from eating up valuable work time. Scheduling is super easy and collaborative, so your employees can work within the program.

A scheduling software can save you not only money, but time and headaches.


Leverage Free Advertising

In today’s digital world, advertising for free is possible.

You can promote your eatery across many social media platforms without spending any money.

By harnessing the power of Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat, you have the potential of getting your new eatery in front of thousands of people.

Start well before the opening of your restaurant.

You might even begin with a social media competition to name your new restaurant. You can also share your progress as social media fans love to see things like that.

Use photos and videos to excite your fans so they’ll share your posts, thus increasing your visibility.

Create a Facebook event for your grand opening and invite friends and family to share your posts.

Build a Website

Of all the things you most definitely need to open your first eatery is a website.

In the beginning it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. One page with your phone, location, some tantalizing photos and menu will suffice for a while.

The important thing is that customers can find you.

Think of your website as an investment. It’s not really an expense because it keeps on working for you all year long and into the future.

Barter out your website design or use an online website creator.

Consider your website the front door to your new eatery because you can bet your new customers will “Google” you before considering driving over for dinner.

Final Thoughts

Opening your dream restaurant can be equal parts scary and exciting.

But, one thing it doesn’t have to be is expensive. Follow these tips for how to open your eatery for less.

Be patient and start small. Let your growth dictate any new improvements in your eatery.

Are you looking to open an eatery on a budget? Or, have you already done so? We’d love to hear your pros and cons. Please comment below to share your thoughts with others.