Restaurant Startup Ideas

For many foodies and “home chefs”, owning a restaurant is a lifelong dream. The truth is that restaurant statistics aren’t pretty and success in the industry isn't easy. Sadly, 60% of restaurants don't make it past their first year, and that’s why choosing the correct business model is so critical to your success.

If you’re still here and ready to put in the work, read on to discover ten unique startup ideas that can help you break into the restaurant industry. After exploring your options, remember to keep all these opportunities at your fingertips with our free Small Business Startup app—available for both Apple and Android.

Click here to see "Restaurant business opportunities".

Food Trucks

food truck start up idea

One of the biggest perks of opening a food truck is that you can see what people think about your menu before you spend significant money or sign a long lease on a brick-and-mortar location. You can also test the waters to discover the areas in your region where your menu is most popular. Food truck demand has been growing at a significant rate over the past decade. The possibilities are endless in terms of menu and locations including weddings, sporting events, festivals and of course, simply parking outside of a busy office park during the lunch rush.

Cafés & Bakeries

Can there ever really be too many cozy, boutique cafes in one city? This classic and beloved restaurant idea is perfect for early-morning risers who would prefer to shut their doors after lunch. Cafes and bakeries also enjoy the benefit of having traditionally smaller menus with items like freshly baked croissants, espresso, sandwiches, and other items that require little preparation. If you go this route, remember to invest in public Wi-Fi! We say this because with more and more people working from home, cozy cafes and bakeries have become one of America’s favorite destinations for meetings and working remotely.

Specialty & Niche Restaurants

One of the smartest ways to open a restaurant is by examining what is missing from your community. For example, is your town surrounded by burgers and French fries but lacking healthy options such as acai bowls or smoothies? By offering a unique experience that people can’t find anywhere else, you may just discover a group of devoted customers who have been waiting for someone unique! The main idea behind a niche restaurant is not to have an extensive menu, but to offer one type of specialty item in which you are the best in its class. Sometimes, less really is more.

Farm-to-Table Food

There isn’t a better way to support your local farmers than with a farm-to-table restaurant and menu. By taking advantage of the season’s freshest ingredients, you can provide customers with a one-of-a-kind experience that is centered around the agriculture of your unique region. In a recent survey by Trace One, 68% of consumers in the United States revealed dissatisfaction with not being provided with enough information about what is in their food and where it comes from. By using local ingredients as your core menu and marketing focus, a farm-to-table restaurant may allow you to reach an untapped market in your community.

Partner with a Brewery or Winery

restaurant with a micro brewery

When you’re opening a new restaurant, one way to go is to partner with an existing nearby business. If you have a local brewery or winery near you, consider carrying their products to set yourself apart from competing restaurants in your area. Often breweries and wineries are willing to offer discounts for other local businesses, so cost reduction and higher margins are another bonus here.

Explore the Restaurant Industry Today

As you can see, there are many ways to break into the restaurant industry. The ideas here are truly endless, so remember to explore all the opportunities available to you. Choosing the right restaurant and location can make all of the difference.

While you always have the “opportunity” to start a restaurant, sometimes, it makes more sense to invest in an opportunity that already exists. These are called “Franchise Opportunities,” and tout brand names with proven track records.

With the help and support provided by a franchise, opening your first restaurant can be a lot less intimidating. If you’re ready to explore your franchise options, take a look at the opportunities below! And, remember to download the free Small Business Startup app to keep all these opportunities at your fingertips—available for both Apple and Android!

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Charleys Philly Steaks

Our commitment to providing authentic Philly Cheesesteaks, made from the highest-quality ingredients and with exceptional customer service, has won us strong following. As a franchise opportunity, Charley's Philly Steaks cant be beat. With a chic, new restaurant design, the addition of wings to our menu, streamlined operations, and exceptional training, Charley's Philly Steaks is ready for national expansion.

$150,000 Min Cash Required

Brusters Real Ice Cream

At Bruster's our simple retail model distinguishes us from the other franchises by focusing on serving ice cream and related products filled with the giant chunks of real fruit, candies, cookies, nuts and other delicious mix-ins. We have 200 successful units open in 22 states

$100,000 Min Cash Required


Over the years millions of happy consumers have enjoyed the TCBY and Mrs. Fields brands, earning both the icon status. So, for us, joining the two brands makes perfect sense. Through our Dual Branding Concept franchisees can now leverage the power of two of the countrys most readily recognized brands, with over 90 brand awareness

$100,000 Min Cash Required

Wayback Burgers

Wayback Burgers is growing at a fast pace due to satisfied franchisee & franchisor relations & strong local marketing. With 160+ stores open the opportunity to join a highly successful fast casual burger brand is waiting for you. In 2021, expansion & innovation led to a systemwide sales increase of 26.2 and comparable store sales increase of 24.2

$200,000 Min Cash Required


Dont be fooled This is NOT a typical food truck franchise. DonutNV serves a delicious & easy to make product to corporate & private event customers. Corporate customers book their special events (product launches, holiday parties, team-building days). Families call to serve donuts at private parties (weddings, baby showers, birthdays).

$100,000 Min Cash Required

Scooter's Coffee

Scooters Coffee is offering franchises for the right to own a quick service drive-thru coffee shop with kiosk only or in-store seating types, offering Drive-Thru, carry-out and in-store seating service of espresso-based specialty coffee drinks, smoothies, baked goods, and other items under the service mark Scooters Coffee. Learn more a now

$200,000 Min Cash Required

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