Tips For Opening A Restaurant In Canada When You’re Low On Funds

how to open restaurant low on funds bootstrap restaurateur

So, you’ve just graduated from culinary school, and you’re ready to get started in the “real world.” If your lifelong passion has always been to own your own restaurant, this may seem like the ideal time to get started. After all, you’ve got a new degree in hand, have honed your skills, and are hungry for work. However, depending on how your education was financed, you may have considerable financial stumbling blocks. 

If you’ve got student debt, you’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow your dream of opening a restaurant. Here’s how to get started in the food service industry when you’re low on funds. 

Start Small 

This should go without saying, but it’s easier to start small than dive in headfirst into the deep end. Even if your dream is to someday run a large catering business or big restaurant that serves upwards of two hundred guests, if you don’t start small, you run the risk of burning out before you truly gain your footing. Beginning as a food truck or lunch counter, although a bit different than your full dream, may be the perfect way for you to learn the ins and outs of running your own business. If you make mistakes on a small scale, you can learn from them; however, making mistakes when there’s more pressure on you may cause your restaurant to fold. 

Don’t Blow Your Budget On A Venue 

When you’re low on funds, every financial decision that you make matters. Because of this, you need to make sure that you’re getting a good deal on your venue. If you’re paying too much for your storefront, you may be forced to make sacrifices time and again because of your lease. Make sure to research a variety of commercial venues before signing a lease, and compare the price per square foot to see if you’re really getting a good deal. Keep in mind that while you may be able to save by purchasing chef jackets in Canada and having them shipped to you, you are at the mercy of your local real estate market when it comes to the venue, and those costs matter. 

Get A Loan To Keep Things Going 

While you may be averse to getting a loan when student loan debt is part of the problem with your cash flow, without money, you won’t be able to start your restaurant. Keep in mind that running a restaurant will allow you to use the profits you make in order to pay this loan down, ultimately helping you pay off your student loans faster, too. You may even need a small loan from week to week in order to pay for groceries and other kitchen supplies. In these cases, a full-fledged business loan isn’t always necessary; instead, consider browsing websites that offer online payday loans for a quick and safe way to get some extra money into your bank account. 

Craft A Menu With A Focus 

Another way to build a brand and keep costs low is to carefully curate a thoughtful, focused menu. For example, proteins are often one of the priciest items you’ll need to buy for your restaurant, so why offer a large variety of poultry, red meat, and fish? Focusing on just one category like chicken, can reduce your costs and focus your menu, helping you stand out among the crowd. You could even go with a completely vegetarian menu and use that to create a niche in your local scene while also reducing costs. Thinking creatively with your menu prep will not only help your budget, it will help you market your business in a sea of competitors. 

Rev Up Restaurant Revenue

Starting any business is a challenge, and the restaurant industry is no different. Even if you have financial obstacles, it’s possible to open a restaurant with the right strategy and smart business sense. Do your research, make a plan, and you’ll be cooking in no time.

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