Startup Costs to Expect When Opening a Restaurant

If you work in the food industry for a while, you may start to dream of opening your own restaurant. Before you do, however, you should be prepared for how much it is going to cost. Just getting to the point of opening your doors may cost six or seven figures. In order to gauge how much financing you are going to need, the first thing you must do is sit down and account for all the things you will need before you welcome your first guest.


Whether you rent, buy or build your restaurant, it’s going to take quite a bit to secure a location. If you rent, you need to come up with both a security deposit and the first month’s rental cost. Don’t forget to factor in expenses such as turning on the utilities, including phone and internet, as well as the first month of usage. You may have to renovate a little to turn the building into a suitable place for food service.

Supplies and Equipment

A restaurant cannot operate without a properly stocked kitchen, dining room and, if applicable, bar. Items to add to your shopping list include:

  • Kitchen equipment, such as stove, freezer, and industrial mixer
  • Tables and chairs
  • Food and beverages
  • Utensils, glasses, dishes and bar ware

Operating Expenses

You probably cannot run a restaurant on your own, so you need to budget for the first month’s payroll. You will need to obtain the appropriate licenses and inspections. Other costs include insurance as well as accounting and ordering software.


None of your preparation matters if no one knows your restaurant exists. Figure advertising costs into your startup plans. Printing costs include signs, business cards, and menus. Think about where you can place ads that will draw the clientele to whom you wish to cater, and focus your initial marketing efforts there.

Opening a new restaurant is a lot of work and can be expensive. Once you see your dreams realized, however, it may all be worth it.