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.
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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.
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
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!