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Starting Your Own Restaurant on a Tight Budget


To start a restaurant on a tight budget, you need a good business plan to present to financial institutions, an attractive location, a menu that appeals to customers, and industry experience.

Types of Restaurants on а Tight Budget

One idea is to open a small restaurant and offer local, fresh food. There are some fantastic restaurants with an ambient and relaxing atmosphere and 10 – 30 seats. A pop-up restaurant is also a good choice on a tight budget. This is a place that pops up at different locations over a short period, say two weeks or a month. Some restaurants pop up at unusual locations like old and empty buildings. Alternatively, you can rent a venue for a couple of days or weeks using the kitchen and equipment of an existing restaurant. A food truck is a third option to consider on a tight budget. The main advantage is that you can move your truck restaurant to a location where you are more likely to attract customers. And you can always use social media to inform existing customers of your current location.

Your Business Plan

A business plan is a must if you are on a tight budget and need financing to open a restaurant. Begin with an executive summary and describe the type of restaurant, menu, location, and other details. Highlight the fact that your management team has extensive experience in marketing, finance, management, catering, and the fine dining (food) industry. Continue with a section on your mission, i.e. to offer high quality, friendly service, ambient atmosphere, and delicious food. It is a good idea to include a section that covers your goals and objectives, for example, advertising and marketing venues, average sales volume, low labor and food costs, etc.
You may want to include a section titled keys to success such as a high-traffic location, easy-to-remember brand, unique menu and tasty meals, etc. When it comes to financing, it is important to mention your start-up costs, for example, stationary, packing, monthly rent, furniture, equipment, kitchen, etc. Make a list of your total assets, including long-term, current, and start-up assets as well as the amount of cash required. A restaurant business plan may also include a section on your competitors, target market, market segmentation, market trends and needs, buying patterns, industry analysis, etc.

Government and Private Sources of Financing

There are multiple sources of financing, the main ones being government-backed loans and funding offered by unions, banks, and other private providers. The first step that many businesses make is to apply for a loan or grant under the Canada Small Business Financing Program. This is one way to obtain a low-cost loan of up to $1 million. Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria are asked to submit a business proposal. Note that loans are offered and administered by participating financial institutions. Businesses that fail to qualify have other options, including government grants, tax credits and refunds, loan guarantees, contributions, and a lot more. Another option is to apply with a local or big bank, your credit union, or another private loan provider of your choice (preferably a financial entity that has you as a regular customer). Having a long-established relationship means that you are more likely to benefit from favorable terms, a competitive rate, and a flexible repayment schedule. Make sure you ask for prepayment penalties, whether the rate is fixed or flexible, and whether they are willing to offer a slightly lower interest rate. Finally, peer to peer networks and angel investors also offer financing to businesses.

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