If you’re a chef, entrepreneur, or food lover who wants to open your own restaurant, there are a few key things you need to know before taking the plunge. Despite the romanticized image of being a passionate restaurant owner, the reality is that it takes a lot of hard work, dedication, and careful planning to be successful in this industry. Here are six important things to keep in mind before opening your restaurant:

1. Ownership Is Not for Everyone

Upwards of 90% of restaurants fail within the first year. While there are several reasons for this high failure rate (lack of experience, inadequate funding, poor location, and poor management, to name a few), they all boil down to one thing: kickstarting a business in the food industry is a tremendous challenge.

A love for food isn’t enough; to succeed as a restaurant owner, you have to be a savvy businessperson, a risk-taker, and an adept multitasker. You’ll also need to have strong leadership skills and the ability to remain calm under pressure.

2. Location Is Everything

If you’re going to skimp out on any part of the investment, make 100% certain it isn’t real estate. A good location will make or break your restaurant. You may have the most innovative concept, the best menu, and superb service, but if you’re in the wrong spot, your chances of success will be slim.

Be strategic when choosing a location for your restaurant. Consider factors like local demographics, competition, visibility, parking options, and foot traffic. It’s also a good idea to analyze the success of previous restaurants in the same location to get an idea of what worked and what didn’t.

3. Have a Plan for Emergencies

This isn’t meant to be a pessimistic point, but rather a realistic one. The restaurant industry is unpredictable and can throw unexpected challenges your way at any time. Whether it’s a power outage, a natural disaster, or a sudden change in food trends, you need to have contingency plans in place.

For example, restaurant fire stats indicate that more than 7,000 restaurant fires occur every year in the US alone. Make sure you have fire safety protocols, insurance coverage, and backup plans to minimize the impact of such emergencies on your restaurant’s operations.

4. A Significant Investment

From kitchen equipment and furniture to licenses, permits, and inventory, opening a restaurant requires a lot of upfront investment. You’ll also need to budget for marketing, employee wages, rent or mortgage payments, and utilities. When it’s all said and done, you’re looking at an upfront investment of at least $175,000.

It’s also important to note that it can take months or even years for a restaurant to turn a profit. This means you’ll need to have enough financial cushion to sustain your business until it starts generating revenue.

5. Use the Right Software

Software can help you optimize and streamline many aspects of your restaurant’s operations, from managing reservations and tracking inventory to processing payments and analyzing sales data. Choosing the right software can save you time, money, and stress in the long run. Do some research on the best software solutions for restaurants and consider investing in a system that has features specifically tailored to your unique needs.


Opening a restaurant is not for the faint of heart, but with careful planning and realistic expectations, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Before jumping into such a competitive space, make sure you have the passion, knowledge, and resources to succeed. With the right mindset and approach, your dream of owning a restaurant can become a reality.