If you’re thinking about starting a business, opening up your own restaurant might be the first option to pop in mind. However, owning a restaurant is not for everyone. It takes hard work and long hours to convert your dreams into success. But, if you’re the type of person who enjoys working in the kitchen and managing an environment where creativity and passion meet, then this idea might just work for you. But to achieve the reality you’re aiming for, you’ll have to start somewhere. So here’s the ultimate checklist to ensuring the quality of your building that will house your customers in.

Research the Location

Location is crucial to any business. It can be the primary contributor to the success or failure of your restaurant. Ideally, a prime area where there’s plenty of action going on in the community is where you’ll want to start this business. But location research means much more than just knowing the activity around the place. It also includes:

  • The surface level of the land. Is it leveled? Are there any elevations you’ll have to be wary of? What about massive rocks or trees that need clearing?
  • Next, check the distance to the main road and the physical condition of the roads leading up to your business. Accessibility for cargo trucks and delivery vehicles should also be accounted for.
  • Another thing to keep in check is the population around the surrounding area as well as those who drive through daily such as commuters and locals.
You can’t just go ahead and build a restaurant in an area you prefer right away; take time to research the place.

Find a Good Commercial Contractor

This is by far the most important decision you will make for this undertaking. Good contractors will determine how sturdy the structure will end up being. They also help find and secure the right location for your construction needs. On top of this, you’ll want contractors who:

  • Provide regular updates on the progress, so you can plan and adjust accordingly.
  • Ensure they have all the proper licenses to be working as a contractor in your area, such as OSHA compliance and licensing through the state.  
  • Make sure they work with subcontractors that follow OSHA standards as well as local laws, meaning they have everything from securing permits to cleaning up debris after construction is complete.  
  • Have insurance and the ability to financially cover their own equipment and labor in case of an accident or property damage. Building a restaurant is already expensive on it’s own and you don’t want to plague yourself with unnecessary expenses.
  • Have a proven track record of past work.  Read reviews about them and better yet, talk to their previous customers about their experiences.

As any businessman knows, a strong foundation is a key to a successful operation, which means taking the time to find a commercial contracting company that won’t cut corners and has your best interests in mind.

Hire a reputable commercial building contractor.

Choose an Architect That Is Well-Versed

Although you’ve already read an entire section about contractors above, a commercial architect deserves credit on his own. See, aesthetics play a huge role in the success of a restaurant. The design of the building needs to match the theme of your concept. For example, if you are opening up an Italian restaurant then it might be smart to hire an architect with experience in designing restaurants that revolve around Italian culture and cuisine. In addition to the architect, you might also want to consider an interior designer. The layout and how things are arranged inside will determine if people will enjoy the ambiance inside. If this isn’t something that you’re good at, it’s always more than worth it to seek professional advice.

Again, don’t just go around picking the cheapest architect you can find. Make sure you know that the architect knows what they’re doing.

Get Your Paperwork in Order

Organizing the paperwork elated to building the restaurant is an essential part of this process. This includes all licenses, permits, insurance, leases, and other legal documents. On top of that, consider hiring a business attorney who specializes in these types of situations to draft your contracts and prevent any future legal headaches.

That being said, here are the documents you will need from the beginning:

  • Building Permit: Permission to construct or make renovations
  • Business License: Needed to operate any business in the U.S
  • Building Health Permit: Evaluate the safety of the entire structure for the public.
  • Certificate of Occupancy: Certifies that a building meets construction and maintenance standards.
  • Employee Identification Number: Used for identifying tax accounts of businesses.
  • Food Service License: Issued by the health department to ensure your restaurant follows food health and safety standards.
  • Music License: Needed to play and perform copyrighted music in the venue.
  • Employee Health Permit: Ensures that the restaurant staff has received proper training in the preparation of safe and healthy food.
  • Liquor License: Required in order to sell and distribute beverages in the establishment.
  • Valet Parking Permit: Needed in some states to offer parking to customers.
  • Dumpster Permit: Some cities might require this so you can put up a dumpster in the back where wastes are disposed of.
  • Live Entertainment License: Required if you plan to have life performances in the restaurant.

That’s a lot of documents, right? Don’t worry. They might seem like a hassle to comply and obtain but it’s all worth it. Every piece of paper will save you a ton of stress later on in the long run.

In The End

Putting up a restaurant is a massive endeavor. It takes time, effort, and money. Make sure you plan things out carefully first before going ahead. More importantly, trust the process. Good things take time.

Bon appetite!

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