What is the cost of starting a restaurant business?

restaurant business

Starting a restaurant business is a dream for many, despite all the hard work. Have you nurtured the same ambition for a long time; but are concerned about the cost of starting a restaurant business?

If getting funds is on your mind, then are you still thinking about what budget to include in your restaurant business plan?

Worry not; we will walk you through the average cost of starting a restaurant business so that you can get an idea of your expenses.

The average cost of starting a restaurant

On average starting a restaurant can cost around $250,000 to $500,000 widely depending on factors such as location, size, concept, and equipment.

However, the cost can go up to $1,000,000 if an individual wants to open a high-end restaurant with a great ambiance.

Let us understand it better by breaking down the cost into different segments:

Employee costs

Labor can be one of the highest expenses for a restaurant owner to manage. A significant part of employee costs also depends on the demand, size of your front-of-house, and back-of-house crew.

You are in charge of hiring, training, and paying every employee at your restaurant, including all kitchen personnel and front-of-house staff like waiters, managers, and cleaners.

So the employee cost is individual to the restaurant owners, the number of employees, and the experience of employees.

Building costs

The majority of the time, the owner of a restaurant prefers to have a property on lease in their preferred location.

Rent is determined by the area you have chosen. Tenant space is less expensive than a freestanding structure. Utilities may quickly pile up for a restaurant with all the kitchen equipment and water usage.

When establishing a restaurant budget and a strategy plan, estimating these costs is crucial.


Tableware, which might include plates, cups, utensils, and napkins, is sometimes overlooked while playing a crucial role in both the practicality and overall appearance of a restaurant.

Usually, restaurant owners cut down on tableware purchases, which might result in shortages during busy times and other operational issues.

To prevent this, determine how much you should spend on dinnerware by knowing your anticipated restaurant capacity and peak hours.

Your overall spending is also influenced by the design of the plates, cups, and utensils you use; this should be taken into account when creating your budget.


A meal’s total price can be misleading and may astound you. According to the National Restaurant Association, food and drink transactions account for one-third of restaurant sales.

What happens to all this money? To begin with, the variety of components that go into a single dish can be deceiving.

Let’s examine how to make pizza. Even though it might not seem like much, making pizza involves a lot of components to produce the dough, the sauce, the cheese spread, and finally the toppings.

Apart from all the ingredients, consider the amount of waste that is going to be there. Will the ingredients be used in other dishes on the menu if that particular pizza is the only one that your business serves?

Also, consider the duration of these substances’ shelf life. A lot of money could be squandered if an owner doesn’t carefully consider the menu to make the most of the ingredients.


You want to select the best technology for your particular firm, just like you would with equipment. Start with a POS system for your restaurant that is integrated and can handle payments, receipts, inventory, and much more. A POS system will simplify your responsibilities as a restaurant owner in collecting payments.


As a restaurant owner, prioritize the appropriate equipment rather than the newest products available. Speaking with your team can help you determine the tools they require, and analyzing the menu will help you identify the necessary food-handling supplies.

Chefs frequently request particular tools and utensils, which could have an impact on your costs. Therefore, it’s crucial to select a chef who is in line with your idea. It lessens the impact of any unexpected requests that might pass through the pipeline.


The success of your business depends heavily on marketing, but many owners spend too much money on ineffective campaigns. It’s crucial to pick marketing strategies that will give your company a high return on investment (ROI).

While email marketing may be a useful technique for some businesses, social media may be a vital strategy for others. You might also consider organizing occasions like kitchen takeovers.


It is simple for a restaurant owner to become mesmerized by pricey objects and overpay for decor, from jaw-dropping chandeliers to intriguing artwork. Keep in mind that a restaurant can make a great first impression with little and subtle decoration.

Think quality above quantity when choosing statement pieces for your restaurant.

Some unexpected costs

The startup costs for a restaurant are hidden behind the main expenses. Even though it sounds unrealistic, it is true to expect some unexpected costs. Ignoring unforeseen expenses can eventually result in significant financial difficulties.

Wrapping up

In conclusion, starting a restaurant business can be a costly endeavor, but with a solid restaurant business plan and proper funding in place, it can be rewarding and profitable.

It’s important to remember that the cost of starting a restaurant is an investment, and it’s always better to invest more at the beginning to have a better chance of success in the long run.

After getting an idea of the average cost of a restaurant business, are you thinking of writing a business plan? Here is a restaurant business plan template for you to go through.

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