Tips to Successfully Open a Restaurant in California the Right Way. Opening a restaurant in California can be a daunting task. Along with researching the restaurant scene and learning both business and food-industry practices, starting a restaurant requires compliance with licensing procedures and food-service laws. California cities and counties have varying regulations and required permits, so it is important to double check local laws. This guide will set forth the steps necessary for opening a restaurant.
Create A Business Plan Just like starting any business, you will need a specific, thought-out business plan before seriously pursuing a new restaurant. This may include the overall concept of the restaurant, your target market, a solid financial plan, startup costs, advertising strategies, menus, pricing, and a name. It would be wise to construct an exit strategy as well. Researching the area where you wish to open your restaurant can give you an idea of how much you can expect to pay for rent, utilities and supplies as well as anticipated sales volume based on foot traffic.
Create A Business Entity The type of business entity you choose for your restaurant will affect your tax obligations and amount of personal liability. There are four basic types of business formations: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, and limited liability company. Each type has different requirements, costs, tax implications and levels of liability. Do some research and/or speak with an attorney or accountant to decide what type of business structure would work best for you.
Obtain Funding for Your Restaurant Once you have a business plan, you can work on obtaining the funding to move forward. The amount of money required depends on the type of restaurant, the facility you may or may not have already secured, whether or not you have equipment or inventory, and other related costs.
Funds for your restaurant can be sought through a bank loan, a line of credit, investments from family or friends, securing a partner with financial resources, or even government programs that can assist small businesses. If you seeking funding from someone other than a bank you will need a loan or demand promissory note.
Secure a Location Zoning ordinances may limit where you can open a restaurant, so check with the relevant government agency in your area, typically the Department of City Planning, to see if your desired neighborhood is zoned to permit restaurants. After you’ve secured a location, double check with that agency to confirm that your specific location is zoned for your type of restaurant.
Obtain All Necessary Permits, Licenses, Registrations, etc.
Hire and Train Employees Selecting the right employees will help your restaurant succeed. In addition to servers, busboys, hosts, and cooks, you may want to consider hiring a bookkeeper and manager. If you can afford it, offer positions with compensation higher than minimum wage to attract more experienced applicants. Then, be sure to adequately train your staff to prevent mishaps. You’ll want your operation to run as smooth as possible from the start.
More information on hiring employees and complying with employment laws can be found on the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development website.
Pass Your County’s Health Inspection Before opening your restaurant, you will need to pass inspections with your local health department.
Prepare to Open Your doors to the Public Once all of the formalities have been settled, you’ll be able to prepare for your restaurant opening. Don’t forget to advertise in local publications, create a website, and prepare your inventory.
Opening a restaurant takes plenty of research, planning and effort. You may want to consult an attorney to help you secure a lease and form your business entity. UpCounsel can connect you with many attorneys in your area and within your budget.
- See more at: https://www.upcounsel.com/how-to-open-a-restaurant-in-california#sthash.jHXYxJCZ.dpuf
Laura Rose’s Answer
It is VERY hard to open a restaurant and perhaps even harder to run one. You should spend a LOT of time in a restaurant before deciding to open one. The first 3-5 years it's open you have to be there everyday open-close. It is exhausting and draining.
That being said, it's very rewarding to serve people beautiful food in an atmosphere where they feel comfortable.
San Francisco in particular is especially dense and filled with many good restaurants which means it's harder to stand out and survive.
Good luck, whatever you choose but I would be VERY sure before making any final decisions on starting a restaurant!
Here is a web site that will give you some idea of what is involved. deliciousdesign.com/new-restaurant-checklist/
The most important thing to know is that being in the restaurant business could be your whole life, because you are the restaurant. It reflects your personality and you put your whole life into it.
If you are really interested in opening a restaurant, you need to learn from someone who is running a successful restaurant. You need to start working for a restaurant that you admire in any capacity possible, even starting as a bus boy. People who run restaurants have learned much by making mistakes, which you do not have to make by learning from them. Do not tell them that you plan on running your own restaurant, as you may very well want to continue to work for them and help them grow their business.
Find out from successful restaurant owners what courses you need to take and what you need to learn along the way to realize your dream.
Anything is hard when you start, but if it is really what you want to do, it will be worth it.
Good luck! Keep me posted! I would like to help further if needed.
Sent thank you notes to people who help you.