You have always dreamed of opening a restaurant business, but how do you get started? How do you decide which type of restaurant is right for you? Where do you find the funding to finance your new restaurant? How do you know that people will come and dine with you and that you’re not wasting your money? These are all normal questions that all restaurant owners have considered at one time. This guide is for aspiring restaurant owners.
The restaurant industry is made up of hundreds of different cuisines and restaurant types, and it’s crucial that you choose the right one for your ownership goals. A crucial part of starting a new business is giving yourself enough time to consider your financial goals and the type of restaurant you want to own. Consider what your strengths and weaknesses are and what type of business you’d be most successful owning.
Here are a few things to consider during this time:
- Does it make more sense to purchase an already-established restaurant or invest in a franchise business?
- Will you invite people to dine inside your restaurant? (If not, a food truck or ghost kitchen may be an option).
- What type of food items will you serve?
- What hours will your restaurant be open?
- Who will you target to visit your restaurant?
- What are your intended open hours and days?
- Will you be in charge of menu creation, and how often will you change it? If not, will you hire a chef?
- How much money do you need in full to get the business started? (Don’t forget about utilities, inventory, payroll, and equipment)
- When do you think the business will become profitable? Months? Years?
- How many employees will you need? (Will they be part-time, full-time, salary?)
- What is an ideal location for the restaurant?
Try not to rush this step. Evaluating your goals as a restaurant owner and solidifying your plans is a crucial part of opening a new restaurant. You could also browse restaurants for sale in Ottawa to get an idea of what’s available. Visiting these restaurants in person can also give you an idea of any improvements you may be able to bring to the purchase.
Once you have a plan, it’s time to write it down. You’ll need a detailed business plan to attract investors or to obtain financing. You can use a business plan template online or create your own. Either way, though, make sure you include all the necessary parts, including details about your background, proposed goals for the business, and an intended timeline. You’ll also want to include information about the business, including the type of food, your menu, and your target market. You can use a lot of the information you considered in the last step to help you create a comprehensive restaurant business plan.
Most new restaurant owners seek financing to fund their new business venture. Get to know what financing options are available for new restaurant owners in your area. Many banks offer aspiring business owners lending. Ask around and find out what other business owners in Ontario rely on for financing. Some borrowers may also find financing options available through a private lender.
Of course, opening a business in Ottawa makes you eligible for Canadian government programs, too. Canada has a lot of excellent grants and financing options, many of them with competitive offers.
Some interested business owners may also seek private funding from investors. If you can demonstrate a good restaurant business plan, you may find that others are willing to back you financially. Partnering with another aspiring restaurant owner can also be an excellent way to share the risks of opening a new business while helping to control costs.
Opening a new business requires a few licenses, and understanding these ahead of time can help you create a more realistic timeline. All businesses in Ottawa that serve food on-premise must have a municipal business license. To get this license, you’ll need proof of ownership, proof of insurance, and an application with the $255 fee. Additionally, Ontario requires all new restaurants to undergo a fire service inspection. If your restaurant sells alcohol, you’ll also need a liquor license, which can take longer to get.
Assuming you’ll hire staff, it’s also a good idea to brush up on employment laws in Ottawa. For example, Ottawa requires businesses to follow minimum wage laws. You can learn more about these rules by reviewing the Employment Standards Act (ESA).
Opening a new restaurant can be an exciting business venture. However, it also requires a good amount of preparation and research to ensure you have the best chance at success. Give yourself ample time to consider your business goals, research existing businesses for sale in Ottawa, and then establish the licensing and legal requirements.