Starting a restaurant isn’t cheap. Between purchasing equipment and hiring staff, you’re bound to spend a lot of money getting your startup off the ground. But this doesn’t mean you should go in over your head. If you’re working with a smaller budget, it’s important to plan your spending carefully so you can avoid unnecessary expenses and unexpected costs. Here, we discuss a few key areas where you can save money—without compromising on quality!

Essential Technology

It can be tempting to spend a good chunk of your funding on the latest technology for your restaurant, but try to stick to the essentials. Your business needs a solid bookkeeping program and a point of sale (POS) system. You don’t need to invest in iPads for every server or gimmicky burger-flipping robots for the kitchen. Before investing in a new tech tool, consider whether or not you truly need it to get up and running.

Staff Expenses

Labor is one of the highest costs for restaurants. While you can’t avoid hiring cooks and servers, you may be able to save some money on administrative staff. A payroll service will help you comply with labor laws and avoid paycheck errors that result in costly staff turnover. Some other ways to reduce labor expenses include ensuring employees only work their scheduled shifts, training your staff to assume different roles, and improving the organization of your restaurant to optimize productivity.

Building Costs

If you’re looking for ways to save on building costs, try thinking small. You might not need to launch with a permanent restaurant location. Instead, consider setting up a popup restaurant or buying a food truck! Webstaurant explains that pop-up restaurants are great for testing out new restaurant concepts, attracting potential investors, and offering high-end food at an affordable price. Similarly, food truck owners enjoy low operating costs and the flexibility to test the waters without a massive financial commitment. Starting small is a great way to build excitement around your brand before investing in a full-fledged restaurant.

Kitchen Equipment and Tableware

Purchasing kitchen equipment and tableware is another area where restaurant owners tend to overspend. Instead of buying shiny new equipment, look for second-hand options. You may even be able to buy some gently used equipment from a local restaurant that’s closing down. Even if you find a great deal, only buy what you need right now. You can always add more equipment in the future! If you’re really strapped for cash, consider starting a delivery-only, virtual restaurant—also known as a ghost kitchen—by renting a commercial kitchen and forgoing the traditional dining room.

Restaurant Décor

If you opt for a traditional restaurant, you will need to spend some money on decorating the place. Fortunately, minimalist design is super trendy right now! You don’t need to splurge on expensive accents to make a statement. Focus on creating a welcoming entrance, showcase local art, add indoor greenery, and get creative with DIY atmospheric lighting.

Promoting Your Restaurant

Believe it or not, you can advertise your restaurant for next to nothing! Instead of paying top dollar for an ad in a local newspaper, stick to cost-effective digital marketing strategies like social media, blogging, and local business partnerships. Focus on using your social media platforms to build an engaged community around your restaurant. All you have to do is post content and engage with your followers regularly.

Add some personality to your social media pages by creating an attractive banner that calls attention to your restaurant’s opening. There’s no need to hire a pro—an online banner generator can offer a huge selection of templates to choose from. Select a template and then customize the copy, font, and color scheme.

Have some extra room in your budget? Sponsoring a charity event could be a great way to use your marketing funds, especially if you leverage the opportunity to drum up some local PR.

Don’t let funding issues stop you from pursuing your dreams of owning a restaurant. As you prepare to launch your startup, keep your costs as low as possible. Start small and expand your business as you begin to see some positive cash flow. There’s no rush!

Ready to grow your business? Lead2Goals provides coaching, counseling, and training in building culture, leadership, effective communication, strategic planning, and more!


Tina Martin | Personal Fitness Instructor, Life Coach

After leaving her early career in business administration, Tina Martin turned her professional efforts to building a career in sectors that inspired her. Now a personal fitness instructor and life coach, Tina has found that her life quickly changed for the better once she made the decision that her ideas matter and that she is the author of her own life story, and finally that she can, and should be, her own inspiration. She believes that “if we all took that same approach to life, we’d all be much happier, and the world would truly be a better place for it!”

Her website,, is a side project in an effort to reach a wider audience and encourage people to put their dreams first. She says, ” if you want to truly be happy, be your own inspiration!

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