Food Fantasies: Making Your Small Restaurant Dreams Come True

Posted on January 25, 2015

If opening a restaurant was as easy as working up an appetite through minding legal, social, and business needs of such a venture, any person could do it. Those who explore impending food fantasies make the leap into the culinary arts,

opening restaurants and exposing themselves to the pitfalls of opening up a small business.

However, those who are smart, dedicated, and studious make culinary dreams come true. So, before you think running a small business is a cakewalk, mind the following suggestions and instructions regarding restaurant management and operation.

Zoning Laws



As seen on Forbes, Mashable,

The law is to be abided and very meticulous when it comes to location boundaries and zones under particular jurisdictions. If you plan to excavate, galvanize, or build a new restaurant, review local zoning laws, especially restrictions, before making time-related investments, breaking walls, or lifting a finger to sign a check.

Commercial Lease

If you are taking over an existing restaurant or plan to build one, you’ll need to own or, most likely, rent the land, adopting a commercial lease. Be smart in negotiating the best terms, and consider the future along with best and worst-case scenarios. For example, what happens to the value of the real estate if your term is up and business is doing very well? Or, what if a competitor builds a restaurant nearby, thus lowering the value of the property in your eyes?

 Legal Liability

Ask a lawyer or consult a businessperson in your industry about what variety of business to establish, such as an LLC (Limited Liability Company), which protects the business owner’s personal assets from the impending doom or liability that a business attracts. Corporations are much more complex to establish, involving board members, directors, shareholders, etc. You may learn more about becoming an LLC versus a corporation at the SBA’s website.

License and Permit

In addition to zoning laws and permits, you’ll need a mélange of permits and licenses particular to the food and beverage industry. Do research on needs related to your zip code in addition to your main business address. Some entrepreneurs foolishly establish businesses from remote locations without getting the respective permits for each location and individual venture.

Food Safety

Health officials make visitations, enforcing federal, state, and local laws related to food health and consumer safety. A restaurant needs to pay strict attention to how food is received, stored, handled, prepared, and served. Legitimate restaurants host up-t0-date permits, ensuring all safety requirements are met and exceeded.


A business needs to stay protected from patron injuries, medical expenses, and lawsuits resulting from employee negligence, unfit conditions, etc. Additionally, owners need to consider the actions of patrons regarding served food and drink, necessitating property, general liability, insurance, and liquor liability insurance. Without the proper insurance, an owner is responsible for the repercussions of fights, drunk driving, and any damage done due to disorderly behavior.


In addition to operating a successful restaurant, which involves proper expense balancing, on-time deliveries, tasty foods and beverages, an owner needs to manage, or hire someone to deal with, disgruntled patrons, lost orders, confused employees, and unfit walkways. You don’t need to be a business psychologist to deal with your employees or know the ins and outs of the law to regard how to treat a misbehaving guest, but you’ll need to hire someone to field a range of questions related to human resources, legalities, and the exchanges between employees.

Franchise, Corporate, or Private

The type of ownership dictates the interior design, tone of servers, and altogether ambiance of the restaurant. A creative franchisee will be frustrated buying into a structured company brand, which thrives on a cookie-cutter operation, along with an unwavering recipe list and uniform menu. Alternatively, a private owner has the ability to change the interior, menu, and number of cooks at will, which is a refreshing yet demanding position aside from managing, accounting, and attending to other restaurant needs. Decide on the right type of ownership to match your desired income, managing style, and daily work and activity.


Aside from a right-priced lease, a ready-to-go staff, and positive owner, a successful restaurant needs efficient and quality equipment. In addition to refrigerators, mixers, etc, ensure each piece is operating at higher efficiency, with quality parts attached. For example, a quality mechanical seal ensures a mixer is operating safely and efficiently.

Running a successful restaurant is the dream of many experienced chefs, curious entrepreneurs, and experienced businesspeople. However, before dipping one’s bread into the industry, ensure you have a recipe for quality equipment, extensive insurance coverage, and a knack for dealing with patrons and employees.

Brendon Hutchins is a chef in a small town cafe. When he’s not cooking up the latest dish, he’s sharing his love of food service on the web. You can read his entertaining and informative articles on many websites and blogs today.


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