The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Startup Costs

An in-depth breakdown of restaurant startup costs for new restaurateurs.

sample pages from the start up costs guide

What You’ll Learn in This Restaurant Startup Costs Guide:

  • What to expect to pay for rent
  • How to budget for equipment
  • How much to allocate for staffing needs
  • What you’ll spend on food and beverage costs
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An in-depth breakdown of restaurant startup costs for new restaurateurs.

So you’ve decided to open a restaurant and you’re eager to learn how to navigate the difficult dance of creating something both unique and economical. Success in the restaurant world is all about getting started on the right foot and it’s often a miscalculation in the early phase of opening that sets a restaurant up for failure. In other words, it’s easy to underestimate startup costs and overextend when there’s not yet any revenue to offset expenses.

Opening a restaurant is an expensive endeavor, but just how much will you need to spend? While that figure varies greatly depending on your location, restaurant size, and concept, this breakdown of restaurant startup costs will help you gain a clearer understanding of what you’ll need to invest.

This downloadable guide covers six main costs of opening a restaurant: space, set-up, menu, staff, legal, and miscellaneous expenses. Here’s a preview of what you can expect from each section.

6 Essential Restaurant Startup Costs


You’ll learn what percentage of your restaurant’s total revenue you’ll be spending on rent or mortgage payments for your venue, and how to save money on a commercial space.


After you’ve found your perfect space and signed a lease or mortgage, you’ll need to outfit your restaurant with equipment, appliances, technology, and decor. In this section of the restaurant startup costs breakdown guide, you’ll gain insights into frequently asked questions like:

  • How can I budget for equipment?
  • What technology is worth investing in?
  • What’s the best way to budget for renovations and decor?

You’ll also learn tips for how and where you can save money on equipment and design if your budget is tight.


Consistently delicious food will keep customers craving (and coming back for) more. Knowing how much you’ll be paying for food and beverage supplies can help you create a consistent experience. We explain the pros and cons of fluctuating prices versus negotiating set prices, and share insights for how you can save money when working with suppliers.


You can’t run a restaurant without a team, so it’s no wonder that payroll is one of the most significant costs of opening (and running) a restaurant. In this section, you’ll learn how much of your budget you should allocate for staff wages and how that percentage will vary between full-service and limited-service concepts. You’ll also learn how much you should budget for manager salaries.


In order to run your business safely and legally, you’ll need to shell out for business insurance, licenses, and permits. This guide gives an overview of 10 types of business insurance and explains how their premiums are determined. 

You’ll also learn about different types of permits and licenses you may need to run your restaurant, and what you can expect to pay for them.

Miscellaneous Expenses

Finally, you’ll learn about restaurant startup expenses related to marketing, advertising, and design, and get an idea of what they will cost. You’ll also find out how to legally play music in your business and how much you’ll need to spend on music licensing.

Download TouchBistro’s Restaurant Startup Costs Guide to set your business up for financial success on opening day and beyond.

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