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How To Open Up Your Own Restaurant

Jul 13, 2022 Franchise Information

Opening up a restaurant can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding business ventures you could embark on. As with most things in life, that area just outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens!

And while there is much to consider when it comes to choosing the type of restaurant you want to open and what your business plan looks like, we’ve got your back to ensure your decision-making process is as streamlined and comprehensive as possible.

Ready to make your dreams of running a restaurant a reality?

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

What experience is required as a prerequisite?

Let’s cut to the point. Prior restaurant experience is not a prerequisite, but it’s certainly an advantage. Whatever background or level of experience you come from, there’s no denying that starting your first restaurant is a lot of work. Some experience can definitely help.

While you may be eager to get into the food space, if you’ve never worked in the industry, you need to prepare yourself for a steep learning curve. If you have experience working at a restaurant, especially if you have experience working at various levels, you’ll have a keener understanding of the way it all works.

A great restaurant owner should also have business and marketing experience that will help them evolve and keep up with market demands. Having a fundamental understanding of how to run a business can definitely help you.

If you don’t happen to have restaurant experience, it’s always great to connect and network with colleagues, mentors, partners, and ideally a franchising organization that will help you learn the ropes. Opening up a restaurant is not for everyone, so if you can save yourself from some of the hurdles early on by learning from people that have been there, you’ll be better equipped for success.

How do you know if the franchise restaurant model is the right fit?

Franchise models offer entrepreneurs the freedom to create their own business while having access to a framework that can help them along their journey.

Having said that, a franchise model is not for everyone. Some want to make a brand new path where none have yet tread. There is no right or wrong way to look at owning your own business.

It takes a lot of hard work and dedication, no matter which model you choose.

It will come down to your motivation. Let’s consider the “pros” of a franchise model:

  • You get oversight of your own location.
  • You get to run your team.
  • There’s an established framework.
  • The brand awareness is already there.
  • You often get the benefit of group buying power on supplies.
  • You have access to a support system, geared towards ensuring the success of your business.
  • Strategic planning and continuous research and development is done by the Franchisor.
  • You get to be your own boss.

If all of these fit the criteria for you, you may want to research a franchise model. Learn more in our article, ​​Benefits of Owning a Restaurant Franchise versus Small Business.

Do you have a business plan for your restaurant?

A great business owner should have a solid business plan—one that includes start-up costs and support. If you’re opening a restaurant from scratch and haven’t created a business plan, stop reading and get to it!

If you’re looking to partner with a franchise, be sure to do your research and review multiple business plans with your account manager to determine which restaurant type is right for you.

How should you select between a QSR or FSR model?

Exterior shot of Harvey's Restaurant FranchiseQSR stands for Quick Service Restaurant, though they are more commonly known as fast-food restaurants. Examples include New York Fries, The Burger’s Priest, and Harvey’s.

A Full-Service Restaurant franchise is also known as an FSR. FSRs are characterized as restaurants that provide table service to their customers. Examples include Swiss Chalet, East Side Mario’s, and Montana’s.

As stated by Franchise 500, there are three important things every potential franchisee should consider when deciding which type of restaurant to invest in:

  • First, evaluate training programs.
  • Second, evaluate initial unit opening support systems.
  • Third, evaluate the franchise’s front-line support staff.

Be sure to check out our article, QSR or FSR Franchise – How to decide? for more information.

How can you best work with the franchising company to select the location and determine the space?

Paul Amato, Director of Market Development for Recipe Unlimited

For those who have always dreamed about owning a restaurant, finding the right location should be a top priority.

Paul Amato, Director of Market Development for Recipe Unlimited shares his thoughts on this.

“For a restaurant to be successful, there are normally a series of ‘site’ and ‘situation’ metrics that we want to either measure and quantify or subjectively qualify,” he explains.

Amato summarizes some of the site conditions they assess:

  • Excellent visibility.
  • Full access from the road (easy ingress and egress).
  • Building signage, including placement on pylon signs.
  • High vehicular and pedestrian traffic volumes at the site; and in some cases must have a drive-thru (if brand applicable).


“Regarding the situation characteristics, we first examine the site environment,” he continues. “For example is it a freestanding building, end cap, in-line unit or inside a shopping centre? Each of these will have an impact on the restaurant’s overall performance.

“Then we look at the trade are demographics, considering variables such as population density, daytime working population, household incomes, average restaurant spend potential, median age and the various age cohorts. Finally we also quantify the future growth potential within the trade area (e.g. number of residential units under construction or in planning phase).”

We invite you to read our blog, How to Find a Good Location for a Restaurant to dive deeper.

How should you prepare yourself for the work required?

Before investing in any restaurant venture, we encourage you to speak with current and former franchisees to better understand the personal and financial commitment of owning a franchise.

During the purchasing process, you’re going to need support – especially if you’re getting into franchising for the first time. Then, once you’re up and running, the support needs to continue.

“A hard reality is that many restaurants fail during their first year, frequently due to a lack of planning. But that doesn’t mean your food-service business has to be an extremely complex operation. In fact, the more streamlined you can make it, the better your chances for success.” – Entrepreneur Media, Inc.

That’s why you should strive to partner with a franchising company that will help get your business going and be fully dedicated to helping you succeed in the long run.

As with any important decision you make, remember to do your research and trust your gut.

Owning a franchise is a big financial investment and personal commitment. By asking the right questions, you can determine if your franchisor’s ongoing offerings will be right for you. These supports can include everything from start-up costs to mentoring, to hosting job fairs and beyond.

Contact Recipe Franchising To Get Started.

At Recipe Franchising, our franchise managers would be happy to walk you through your options for opening a restaurant in Canada.

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