Can you open a restaurant with no money- is that possible? Definitely you can. Use our restaurant business plan software, put together your plan and follow our step-by-step instructions on raising money and you won’t need any of your own.
That’s the short answer and it’s completely true and very much something anyone can do. There is more to the story, of course and if you want to get into the details then you can read the rest of this article to figure out more specifically what you will need to do to open a restaurant with no money depending on which category you fall into.
How you go about actually doing it is going to completely depend on what things you are bringing to the project aside from the money which we will get from someone else. The more you can stack these items up the easier it will be to fill in the money part.
Some people will be able to do it simply based on their resume and others will have to put a little more work into it and assemble more parts to be able to attract the money. The bottom line however is that getting the money to open is not impossible at all- it can be done by anybody as long as they follow the steps and collect the right assets to enable the funds to be committed by others.
Here’s a look at the various ways that someone can open a restaurant with no money depending on what they do have to offer:
Open a Restaurant with No Money But Lots of Talent
Frankly, money is just money and by itself isn’t anything special. That may sound backwards if you are coming from the perspective of not having any money but the truth is green pieces of paper (green in the US, anyway) don’t do much by themselves. If you have worked as a chef or as a manager at a successful restaurant and your experience and background show that you know how to make a restaurant work that people want to come to and that can generate a nice profit then you have everything you need to prove yourself.
In order to open a restaurant with no money in this case all you really need is a business plan for the new place you want to start so that the investors have something to look at. They want to see what you want to do and how much it will cost and what it can make (that’s the financial part of the plan) but they are going to trust you beyond that and look to your past experience as proof you can deliver on your promises. Now you probably can’t pull this off if you were the fry cook at McDonald’s or the manager of a Sizzler but even that experience is worth something and can be built on. If you held a top position at any reasonably well known restaurant (not worldwide- just locally known) and can show that you’ve got a plan to create your own success, you will be able to find investors to back you, guaranteed.
Open a Restaurant with No Money But General Business Experience
Having business experience is better than anything except having restaurant experience. A restaurant is a business, just a specific type of business. But think about it, between two people, one who ran a manufacturing business with a million in sales and 12 employees successfully for 15 years and one who was a dental hygienist for the same time, who would you pick to be able to run a restaurant successfully?
Either one might do well or either one might fail, but if all we had to go on was what I just said I’d go with the experienced business person and so would the investors and backers. That person knows about accounting, meeting a payroll, managing employees, marketing, etc. What they have to learn is just how a restaurant works. For that, the first step is to recruit a few experienced restaurant advisers (current or former owners of similar concept restaurants as long as they aren’t direct competitors make the best advisers).
With their advisers and a solid plan then they will be able to raise the money to launch the business almost as easily as the person with restaurant experience. They may even end up doing a better job, because chefs aren’t always known for the business acumen and as we said a restaurant is a business and that goes beyond what happens in the kitchen.
Open a Restaurant with No Money and Plenty of Plastic
Don’t mistake the phrase open a restaurant no money to mean you won’t be using any money from anywhere. What it means is not using any of your own cash. In this scenario, you are going to use the cash from the credit card companies to fund your restaurant. Lots of people have gone down this route and it can work. What you need to take this approach is an iron stomach for risk, a willingness to face financial meltdown if you fail and the ability to move fast because time is the enemy with this approach. Once you start running up bills you will need cash coming in as quickly as possible to pay your minimum payments and keep your credit lines open.
This approach will only work where you take over a closed restaurant that is still in operable shape and preferably one where they left the equipment behind. You also need a landlord who isn’t going to ask too many questions. All your money will need to go into getting the doors open quickly so you can start taking in customers and making sales so you can pay the bills.
This approach requires that you already know what you want to do and hopefully you know a lot of people who will come by and try out your new place because with your budget the location will probably be bad and the main marketing you are going to be doing is by word of mouth. The best way to make this approach succeed it to offer great food and amazing service so people want to come and want to come back. You really need a business plan for this approach because you don’t have the money or the time to make errors or have to ponder decisions. This is not for the faint of heart!
Open a Restaurant with No Money, No Experience, No Credit Cards and No Anything Else
OK, want to make it tough on me, huh? Can you open a restaurant with no money and not one other thing going for you? Yes. But you are going to have to build up the required items that anyone would expect to see before they will invest no matter who is pitching the idea. Those things can be summed up as credibility and a realistic plan.
A restaurant business plan you already know where to get and that is the easy part. Our plan also will explain exactly how you go about establishing the credibility part, which is an essential part and can’t be overlooked. A plan alone is not enough, and credibility without a plan has no direction.
So what do you need to establish your credibility?
- a team of experienced advisers to make up for your lack of experience
- an understanding of the business
- a realistic and detailed financial proposal with projections and cost breakdowns
- steps need to be taken which move the process forward, such as:
- having a name
- having a website
- having a menu
- having business cards
- having a location (preferably with a lease option locked up)
- having permits and licenses lined up
- having a manager/key employees resumes waiting
- having a marketing action plan ready
All of these things cost little or nothing to do but show the seriousness of your intent and the planning and work you have already done makes the concept seem a lot closer to reality than just having a vague idea of starting something. The more front end work you do the less risky the idea seems and so the more willing investors are to get involved.
If you can do these things and follow the steps to build your plan, your team and your credibility then you will find, after hearing many “nos” and facing lots of obstacles that one day you’ve finally done it all and the doors are ready to open. The key is to not give up and not listen to the people who tell you it can’t be done. It can.
Literally tens of thousands of new restaurants open every year. If all those people can do it, so can you. Check out our restaurant success stories. All of those people did not wake up one day and magically have a restaurant- they had to work at it. And all of those people were not born rich and they didn’t have a special in with some bank. Very few of them used their own money. The ability to open a restaurant with no money is within reach of anyone who really wants it. The only question is do you want it?