Starting a restaurant is one of the most challenging entrepreneurial endeavours, especially if you’re an industry newcomer. Before taking the plunge into the culinary world, you have to analyse the risk of the establishment you have in mind and the required investment to turn your food dream into a reality. You don’t want to start a fine-dining restaurant only for it to close its doors after the first year.

While financing is vitally important when looking for a restaurant startup idea, you also need to consider the current market and your capabilities to meet customers’ demands. We’ve compiled a list of the top restaurant startup ideas to help inspire your new eatery.

1. Cook from home

This restaurant startup idea has grown exponentially over the past few years. It’s usually driven by experienced cooks and chefs who decide to go out on their own, or by a partnership between a restaurateur and someone they trust in the kitchen. The most significant benefit of the home cook business venture is the low investment required. You can run the business from your or your business partner’s kitchen and receive and fulfil orders directly from there. With the right marketing, branding and food niche, there’s no reason why a small home eatery can’t compete with larger franchises, especially as more home cooks are using food-delivery services.

2. Cloud kitchen

Not to be confused with the home kitchen, cloud kitchens are commercial facilities that produce food purely for delivery. They’re often referred to as ghost, shared or virtual kitchens and can have more than one brand operating from a single location – as opposed to a home cook that operates as a single brand. Cloud kitchens work more like a fast-food take-out business and will have more than one person preparing meals for better efficiency. Starting a virtual kitchen is an attractive restaurant startup idea for newcomers because of its simple format and lower investment requirement than a traditional brick-and-mortar eatery.

3. Food trucks 

Food trucks have been around for a long time but have increased in popularity over the past few years. The initial investment is less than a physical store, operating costs are relatively low and it can generate impressive income, making it an attractive option for first-time restaurateurs. The obvious bonus is that your business is mobile and can go where the patrons are and your food niche is more popular. It also provides an excellent opportunity to get hands-on experience in the food business before opening a restaurant.

4. Food Cart

Like it’s larger counterpart above, a food cart is also a great restaurant startup idea that requires even less of an upfront investment. If you’re aspiring to get a foothold in the business, but not quite ready with the experience and resources to begin a restaurant, this is the perfect match for you. Success here relies on consistency, quality products, a good location, portable kitchen set up and an extra pair of hands for rush times. It might be small, but it’s an excellent start and can be lucrative.

5. Fast food restaurant

Fast-food eateries are a popular restaurant startup choice. Because who doesn’t love a takeout meal? Here you’ll have two options: buying into an existing franchise or starting your fast-food eatery. The former requires a larger upfront investment but you will have the support of marketing, existing quality standards, and above all, the reputation of an established brand. Going it alone means you’ll be up against the known brands, but you can offer the meals you want to at a lower price point. If your food and service are excellent, you’ll be able to attract patrons away from commercialised takeout joints.

Startup support

Starting in the restaurant industry can be daunting, so you need all the support you can get. No matter what establishment you choose, Pilot software has a solution to help you get off the ground and to keep the till full. Our intuitive restaurant PoS solutions have been designed with productivity in mind so you can focus on your new restaurant startup while we lighten your operational and administrative processes.

Learn more about the benefits of PoS for your restaurant by downloading our Guide to Modern Day Point of Sale.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst