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How to Open a Restaurant in Chicago: The Ultimate Guide

If you’ve “bean” thinking about opening a restaurant in Chicago, this guide is for you.

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What You'll Learn in this Guide to Opening a Restaurant in Chicago:

  • How to open a restaurant in Chicago
  • How to register your business with the City of Chicago
  • How much it costs to open a restaurant in Chicago
  • Which permits you need to apply for
  • Local associations and resources you can turn to
  • …and more!
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If you’ve “bean” thinking about opening a restaurant in Chicago, this guide is for you.

From local favorites like Chicago-style hot dogs and deep dish pizza to world-renowned James Beard Award winners and Michelin-starred, bucket list destinations like Alinea, the Chicago food scene has something for everyone. However, opening a restaurant in Chicago is no walk in Lincoln Park. 

Every year thousands of new restaurants open their doors with high hopes of global recognition and success. Though the odds of thriving might seem challenging – with more than 7,000 restaurants already vying for the hearts and stomachs of locals and tourists – opening a restaurant in Chicago can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a restaurateur’s life. 

If you want to know how to open a restaurant in Chicago and be successful, it’s crucial to prepare well in advance and understand the Windy City’s unique hospitality demands. This guide can help you create a restaurant that makes a mark on this dynamic food scene. 

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can expect when you download the Ultimate Guide to Opening a Restaurant in Chicago:

Tips for researching the local market

Before you cash in your life savings to open a restaurant, you’ll first need to arm yourself with a wide range of hospitality experience. You’ll learn how to conduct meaningful research about the Chicago restaurant scene and use it to build the business of your dreams.

How to create your vision

Once you’ve completed your preliminary research, you’re ready to begin creating your vision. We’ll help you turn your abstract dreams into an actionable vision by guiding you through these six classic questions: who, what, where, when, why, and how.

How to write a business plan

One of the most important parts of learning how to open a restaurant in Chicago is writing a business plan. You’ll get step-by-step instructions on how to create and refine your restaurant’s business plan.

How to register your business with the City of Chicago

In this section, you’ll discover how to register your business with the State of Illinois and City of Chicago. You’ll learn about business legal structures, where to find the forms you’ll need, and how much it costs to register your restaurant in Chicago.

How to find the perfect restaurant space

Chicago is no stranger to high rent coupled with closet-sized spaces. Finding the right space for your venue may very well be one of the most daunting and costly undertakings you will experience during this process. Our guide makes the process easier by sharing practical tips and local resources, like commercial real estate firms that specialize in restaurant spaces.

Chicago restaurant permits 101

This guide simplifies permitting and legal compliance by explaining which permits and certificates you’ll need to open the restaurant, which inspections you’ll need to pass, and the legal requirements you’ll need to meet to stay in business.

Tips for creating a menu

Now you can dive into the fun part of starting a restaurant: creating your ideal menu. The Ultimate Guide to Opening a Restaurant in Chicago helps by asking questions that will get your creative juices flowing.

How to hire restaurant staff in Chicago

A restaurant is nothing without its employees. These are the people on the front lines with your customers, cooking the food, and making the drinks. Hiring the right people is crucial to the successful operations of your business.

We’ll help you uncover the traits of your ideal employee, so you can build a winning team from the start. You’ll also learn about TouchBistro’s Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Staffing.

Local associations and resources for Chicago restaurants

No guide for how to open a restaurant in Chicago is complete without a cheat sheet for resources you can turn to long after you’ve opened your doors. You’ll gain access to a list of local restaurant associations.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Opening a Restaurant in Chicago to set your business up for long-term success.

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