Do you want to start your won food shop? Have you beed attractive by the wonderful food kiosk in the mall? Are you one of the thousands of French people who dream of opening a restaurant, but you want more information on the procedure to follow before you start? Then, you are in the right place!

In this guide, you will find information on each of the significant steps involved in setting up a restaurant, including practical tips for carrying out market research and a restaurant business plan. And this page tell you the ultra easy 9 step to start your restaurant business.

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#1. Perform a restaurant market research

The first step in opening a restaurant is to carry out a market study, verify that it is opportune to get started, that there is indeed a business opportunity in the area of ​​an establishment that you are considering, and define the optimal commercial strategy to adopt.

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Food Business Analysis

The market research should begin with a thorough analysis of consumption habits and current trends in the sector. The objective of this part is to allow you to understand what are the challenges that restaurant owners face and to identify the most promising market segments.

You will also have to ask yourself:

  • What is the state of the sector: growth or decline? What are the main reasons for this?
  • What are the popular restaurant concepts? Those who seem to be struggling?
  • What are the main difficulties encountered by restaurateurs today?
  • Independent restaurateurs or chains: who is doing the best?
  • How many times a year do people go to restaurants on average?
  • What are the peak periods and the off-peak periods?
  • How long do customers take for lunch or dinner?
  • What is the average meal ticket per customer?
  • What part of the turnover is generated on-site? On sale to take away?
  • How much of the turnover comes from food or drinks?

Evaluate demand at the level of the implantation area

Once you have honed your understanding of the industry, it will be time to look at the location's business potential.

The objective here is to assess the local market's size and identify the most promising catchment areas.

In particular, you should ask yourself:

  • What is the size of the local population?
  • What are the demographic characteristics (age pyramid, male / female distribution, socio-professional categories, disposable income, unemployment rate, etc.)?
  • What are the city's main attractions (pedestrian street, shopping district, office area, train station, etc.)?

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Analysis of the competition at the level of the implantation area

You will then have to familiarize yourself with the offer already present on the market you wish to invest in:

  • How many restaurants are already current?
  • Where are they located?
  • What type of cuisine do they offer?
  • Are they freelancers or chains?
  • What rates do they charge?
  • What capacity do they have (number of seats)?
  • How many people do they employ?
  • What is their turnover?
  • What is their fill rate?

Once these analyses have finished, you should generally determine if the market is large enough to support the arrival of a new entrant (i.e., your restaurant), have identified some exciting locations, and have a good idea. Concepts that can work given the characteristics of the population and what your competitors are already offering.

#2. Focus on the French catering market


After a few difficult years due to the prevailing economic gloom, the catering market in France is now starting to recover somewhat, mainly thanks to an increase in attendance in the fast-food segment.

France has 175,000 restaurants recognized for its gastronomy, more than 10% of which are located in Paris. The sector's turnover was estimated at around 87 billion euros in France in 2015.

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Typology of the catering market

The catering market is split in two: on the one hand, traditional catering, and on the other, fast food, which currently represents 37% of the sector, after a period of highly dynamic growth. 

Traditional catering

There are two types of traditional restaurants:

  • Independent restaurants, representing more than 90% of the sector, face a drop in their attendance due to decreased household purchasing power and solid competitive pressures from fast-food restaurants.
  • The restaurants under the banner represent 25% of the sector's turnover and are positioned in 4 different market segments: meat, breweries, pizzas, and world cuisine (tapas, tex-mex, sushi, etc.).

Fast food

Today, one in two meals outside the home is taken in a fast-food kiosk or restaurant. Four types of players share the market:

  • Burger restaurants represent nearly 50% of the market and are dominated by the large group's Mc Donald's, Quick, and KFC.
  • Sandwich shops: this is the "French-style" baguette sandwich found in bakeries and specialized stores such as Pomme de Pain or La Brioche Dorée. (How to start a sandwich store?)
  • Pizzerias: four major brands share this market: Pizza Hut, Domino's Pizza, La Boite à Pizza, and Speed ​​Rabbit.
  • Themed concepts: here, we find a majority of unique products, such as kebabs, pasta, bagels, salads, burritos, or even works.

We can also mention the rapid development of food trucks, which have the advantage of requiring a lower initial investment.

Future trends in the catering market in France

Traditional restaurants are likely to continue to suffer a decline in attendance in favor of fast-food restaurants. As a result, we are witnessing an upscaling of the offer towards more qualitative products.

We can also note a growing desire to opt for a healthier and more balanced diet, which has given rise to the emergence of " fast-casual" fast food.

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Some aspects of restaurant regulation

There are many regulations to follow when you want to create a restaurant. 

In the first place, each restaurant must have in its workforce at least one individual who has completed training in food hygiene.

During installation, you must also register with the Departmental Directorate in charge of the Protection of Populations (DDCPP).

If the restaurant owner wishes to sell alcohol, it will be necessary to apply for a license and obtain an operating permit from the town hall.

Many standards are also in place concerning safety and hygiene:

  • Health standards (regulation 852/2004 of April 29, 2004, on health safety, a decree of December 21, 2009, on the conservation of perishable products).
  • Safety standards for establishments open to the public (configuration of premises, electrical installations, cooking appliances, etc.)
  • Mandatory nature of the mention "homemade" following decree 2015-505 of May 6, 2015.

#3. Which restaurant idea to start?

After doing your market research, you need to think about the type of restaurant you want to open.

Again, a multitude of options are available to you:

  • Would you like to open a traditional restaurant, or on the contrary, opt for an innovative concept surfing the wave of fast food?
  • What type of cuisine do you want to serve?
  • What type of clients are you targeting?
  • Do you prefer to open a restaurant with affordable prices or relatively upscale?
  • What about the atmosphere you want to give to your restaurant?

You can also choose to open a branded restaurant, which will allow you to benefit from the reputation of an extensive network, and limit the choices to be made.

Whatever the case, the main thing will be to create an identity specific to your restaurant to stand out from your competitors.

#4. Finding a location for your restaurant

Once you have decided on the type of restaurant you are going to open, it is necessary to consider its location. And This is a crucial point of your project, which will directly influence the success of your business.

When setting up a restaurant, it is essential to choose a location with sufficient traffic to benefit from good visibility within a sufficiently large catchment area. In addition, make sure the restaurant is easily accessible, whether by car or public transport.

If you are looking to attract a professional clientele during their lunch break, setting up in an industrial zone is the ideal option. If, on the contrary, you are targeting a clientele looking for a unique location for a special occasion, choosing a place with an atypical view (proximity to a waterway, rooftop) will be a significant asset.

Finally, there is also the possibility of taking over a restaurant, which will allow you to benefit from an already equipped room, and an existing clientele.

#5. Prepare the legal formation of your restaurant.

The next step in setting up a restaurant is to choose the legal status of your business.

Choosing the legal status of your restaurant is an essential step, as it will have repercussions on:

  • the administrative formalities to be completed
  • the taxation of your company
  • your social security regime as a manager
  • your liability for the debts of the company in the event of bankruptcy

To help you make your choice, find detailed information on the different legal statuses available to you in our guide to restaurant legal situations.

#6. The Staff and Material Needs 

After you have decided on the concept of your restaurant, found a local, agreed on the legal structure of your business, it is time to think about the initial investments you will need, which are essential to open a restaurant.

You will first have to take care of the layout and decoration of your room, following the regulations in force. Investments in equipment are also proving to be quite heavy, particularly concerning kitchen equipment (oven, hotplates, utensils, etc.).

The restaurant's success depends mainly on its cuisine and its welcome and atmosphere, which is why the recruitment of the kitchen team and that of the service staff should in no way been neglected.

Finally, as with any business, setting up a restaurant also requires taking out several professional insurances and calling on an accountant to manage the accounting and payroll.

#7. Create a marketing plan for the opening of the restaurant

How to open a restaurant with a good turnover from the start?

For that, you will need an effective marketing plan to make it known and, above all, to retain your customers.

The options available to you are very numerous; we have counted 17 of them that you can find in detail in our guide to promote your restaurant.

The important thing here is to identify the most promising actions according to your location, concept, and means (budget, size, and team).

Whatever actions you decide to take, consider integrating social networks and online review sites into your strategy: mastering your digital reputation is essential in the age of smartphones.

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#7. Write the business plan of a restaurant.

When you have completed all the previous steps, you can then start writing your restaurant business plan. 

The business plan is a document containing a financial forecast highlighting the financing need and the profitability potential of the project and a written part presenting the latter's strengths and the company's objectives for the years to come.

The business plan is critical: it will be used to validate your professional project and to ensure its financial viability, if necessary, by adjusting a few parameters. But it is also this document that you will communicate to your bank and potential investors to present your plan to open a restaurant and make them want to support you. It is, therefore, better to carry out a professional, reliable and flawless business plan.

#8. Raise the funding to open a restaurant

After writing your business plan, the final step in creating a restaurant is to seek funding.

According to All La Franchise, opening a restaurant in France generally takes an initial investment of 300,000 to 400,000 €. The exact budget will depend on the size you want and the location of the restaurant.

To raise the necessary sum to launch the activity, you will need to consider the different financing options available.

First, it is ideal to have a personal contribution to building up the company's own funds. These are funds that you and your possible associates can contribute to setting up the project to share capital or contribution to the associates' current account.

You can then turn to the banks to obtain a professional loan to finance part of the development work, equipment, or delivery vehicles.

Also, think about state aid for business creation, such as ACCRE or NACRE.

#9. Buy Restaurant Furniture & Interior Decoration

When all necessary paperwork is finished, you need to concentrate on the interior restaurant decoration. The decoration is an essential step for every restaurant, whether big or small, you should create an attractive and comfortable place for customers. 

The restaurant decoration usually starts from a 3D interior design and layout design to arrange the different tables, chairs, bar counters, even display racks and lighting.

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That's it for this start a small food business, and we hope this article has helped you better understand how to open a restaurant. If you have any questions or looking for a restaurant bar counter, tables, chair, or any furniture, please do not hesitate to contact us.