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Starting a Restaurant on a Budget

Do you have a passion for sharing great food? How would you like to turn it into a business? If you've been toying with the idea of opening your own restaurant but you’re worried about the costs and risks involved, here are four things the Conifer Area Chamber of Commerce wants you to think about as you develop your concept: 


Obtaining Funds to Get You Started


Opening your own restaurant is a pricey endeavor. Besides rent, utilities, kitchen equipment, and tables and chairs, you’ll also need to purchase general liability and property insurance, among a myriad of other things. Applying for a small business loan at a bank will let you be in complete control of your restaurant, and you can get help from loan funding programs from the SBA as well. You can also look for an investor to help you with financing as long as you don’t mind them becoming part owner of your place. And if you want to keep it all in the family, think about asking your friends and relatives if they want to partner up with you and invest in your dream. 


Alternatives to Brick-and-Mortar Establishments


If you want to test the waters first before opening a “real” establishment, a delivery-only restaurant, a pop-up restaurant, or a food truck are all good options that will give you and your customers a taste of what’s to come. You’ll gain experience cooking and serving your dishes, you’ll have time to decide on and finesse your concept, and by asking for feedback from your customers, you’ll be able to adjust your recipes and menus according to what people really want.  


Forming an LLC to Protect Your Assets


For a simple and inexpensive way of opening a restaurant while protecting your personal assets and benefiting from tax advantages, consider structuring your new business as a limited liability company. Forming an LLC will allow you to be taxed as a pass-through entity, and you will also gain credibility by having a solid structure for your business. Keep it low-cost by using an online formation service; you won’t have to hire a lawyer, and you’ll still get great advice as well as reminders about filing deadlines to stay in compliance with the requirements in your state. The liability protection offered by the LLC is especially important in the food industry where products can spoil, customers can slip and fall, and workers can get injured.    


Low-Cost Marketing Ideas to Promote Your Restaurant


Use social media to your advantage and promote your new restaurant online. Create a page for your business and join local groups; look for the ones that will let you advertise for free, and start building a following in your community. Use an online program that lets you design menus and promotional fliers for free, and catch the attention of potential clients with creative posts. A PDF file gives you limited options when it comes to formatting or adding to a document, so use an online converter like this tool to turn it into a Word file and make all necessary changes and edits. Add your restaurant logo, make your location and hours clearly visible, update your menu, then save your Word file back into a PDF you can easily send to everyone on your mailing list, or use it to create a new post on your business’s social media page.  


If you dream of opening your own restaurant, turn to your local community and start garnering some buzz online while you perfect your recipes. Choose a concept that will draw the type of customers you’re after. And always strive to deliver the most delicious fare!    

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