How long does it take to open a restaurant

How Long Does It Take To Open A Restaurant From Scratch In 2023

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Welcome friends,


One of the most common questions I get when talking about restaurants is:

“How long does it really take?”

And my answer always begins the same:

“Well, it depends…”,

And in this article I will share with you:

  • The factors that will affect your opening timeline
  • The first steps to opening your restaurant
  • An action plan timeline


But first here’s a quick answer,

Developing the concept and opening a restaurant could take anywhere from 1 month to years,

(Spoiler: Total Estimated time required with steps outlined at the end…)

But that answer doesn’t make any sense,

That’s why in this article,

You will learn what are the factors that will determine how long does it take to open a restaurant,

As well as the process that you will need to follow based on those factors,

So if you want to open and run your own restaurant this year,

Let’s jump right into it!


Factors Affecting The Opening



In this section, I will share with you what could potentially affect your opening timeline,

And all of those factors are assembled into one concept,

Which is the feasibility study,

If you don’t what that is,

I suggest your read this article that outlines every step to creating one,

But simply said,

It is the first mandatory step in developing the concept of your restaurant,

It’s that document where you will outline:

  • Concept
  • Location
  • Target market
  • Competitors
  • Financing



You will be able to determine if your concept is feasible or not,

That is the main goal of this document,

And once you have created your feasibility,

You will just use that information to create a business plan to present to investors,

But you might say,

But how does that affect the opening timeline,

Well, all of those points mentioned,

From concept to financing,

Will be the factors that could increase or decrease the amount of time required,

For instance, imagine that in the location section,

You want to open a restaurant that is in front of the beach with a nice view of the sea,

Well finding such a location might require more time than one located in the center city,

This is just an example but this is the idea,

But now that we know that,

We need to know the actual steps to take,

And the time required to accomplish those steps,

So let’s start with the first steps,


The First Steps In Opening Your Restaurant



These are what I like to call the “pre-requirement listing steps”,

And the reason is simple,

These steps will simply allow you to know before starting the actual plan,

What you will require when opening your restaurant,

And these include:

  • Your budget
  • Licenses and permits
  • Types of equipment
  • Technology (if applicable)


So let’s briefly go over those steps and see what it required,


A. Set your Budget

The budget is one of the most important financial documents that you will need before opening your restaurant,

It will tell you how much you have,

How much do you plan on expanding,

And how much you actually spent,

It allows your business to stay in good financial health while growing in the industry,

And you must not skip this step,

Budget is key,

And if your want to learn how to create your own budget,

Just take a look at this article where we cover the whole topic,


B. Set your licenses and permits list

Licenses and permits and a huge part in opening your restaurant,

You need to gather all the required legal documents to operate legally,

And the types of documents you need will depend on your concept,

For example, a food truck will require different licenses compared to a regular restaurant,

We have a whole guide covering what are all the licenses you can get to open your restaurant,

And how to get them,

But for you to get an idea,

Here is what you should expect:

  • Business License
  • Certificate of occupancy
  • EIN
  • Resale permit
  • Food handlers permit
  • Food service license
  • Building health permit
  • Liquor license
  • Live entertainment and music license
  • Sign Permit
  • Food truck permit
  • Dumpster placement permit
  • Vale Parking permit
  • Sale tax license


So the best way to plan your legal documents is to make a list,

Take a piece of paper,

An outline of the documents you will need depending on your concept,


C. Make your equipment list

You also need to plan for your operations,

As some types of equipment might be costly,

Or require you to purchase in advance because of the wait time,

So list your equipment needed in the same way we mentioned in the licenses and permit sections,

Equipment will obviously vary depending on your concept,

But here are some components that you might think of:

  • Kitchen furniture
  • Kitchen ovens, pan…
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Operation needs


D. Make your “Tech” List

Your technology list will include all the potential technologies that you would like to include in your restaurant,

As well as their associated costs,

You will then need to update your budget as new technologies can sometimes be very expensive,

And in this list, you should include the “Essential technology”


Essential Restaurant Technolgies


And a list of “desired technology”:


Desired Restaurant Technolgies


Now that your “pre-requirement listing steps” are done,

We can tackle the main body,

The actual action plan,

That will include the estimated completion time for each section,



Action Plan Timeline


Restaurant Opening Action Plan


A. Finding the Location

Finding the location will be your first step into the real action plan,

But even though it might sound scary,

As you have already outlined your location in the feasibility study,

It is actually very simple,

One skill is required here,

Deep research,

You need to perform in-depth research about all the potential locations that would fit your concept,

Time required:

This will depend on:

  • How hard you are researching
  • Your network
  • Your area


The harder you work,

The faster you will find a location,

The bigger your network,

The faster you will find a location,

But here let’s make an estimate to give you a number,

Considering you are working relatively hard and your network is average,

You should be able to find the right location between 1 and 2 weeks,

But then that doesn’t stop here,


B. Presenting the layout to the architect

Once the location is found,

You need to present the layout you have designed during the feasibility study to an article,

So two steps here:

  • Find a great architect
  • Present the layout


Time required:

Finding an architect could take less than a week,

And setting an appointment with him to present the layout is done immediately after finding the architect,

So this step could take around a week,


C. Presenting the equipment list to suppliers

Fortunately, you made your equipment list earlier,

And the reason was that,

Now you simply need to present your list to the different suppliers,

The only action that will require some time will be to find the great ones,

But with some research and connections,

This could be done extremely fast,

Time required:

You expect this to take up to a week or two,


D. Getting all the required legal documents

With your licenses and permit list,

You know what you should gather,

But each document requires a specific procedure to follow,

And unfortunately, this could be the step that eats up a lot of your time,

So what to do here?

Pretty simple,

You simply need to gather all the legal documents,

WHILE following the action plan,

Instead of gathering all the documents at a certain point in time,

From the start,

Slowly begin to assemble everything you need,

So that at the time of your opening day,

You are fully prepared to operate legally,


E. Ordering the equipment

You have presented your suppliers with the equipment you need,

Now you simply need to confirm with them,

And order all the pieces of equipment you need,

Depending on what types of equipment you have purchased,

It could take more or less time,

But the average time required to receive the equipment could be around 2 weeks,


F. Construction of the layout

I can’t give you a specific estimation of the time required for the construction,

Because the one who will tell that is the architect,

That will totally depend on your layout,

Maybe you are deciding to base your restaurant in an already furnished location,

Then you could skip this step,

If you are planning to build the whole restaurant,

Depending on your location and the efficiency of the construction company,

This could take between 1 month and 6 months


G. “Pushing the marketing efforts”

Now that your location is settled up,

You need to push your marketing effort to prepare for the opening day,

Get your name out there,

Let people know what is coming,

This doesn’t require any specific time because you should be going hard on marketing from day 1 to the last day,

So this will be an ongoing effort,

But I wanted to mention it in the action plan because it is a necessary step,

Especially when you plan for the grand opening,


H. Planning the opening day

Now you are all set,

Last thing to do,

Plan for your opening day,

And this is a whole plan by itself,

So what I recommend you do,

Is to read this full article on how to plan your opening day,

But the same applies here,

There is no specific time,

As the opening day will be your choice depending on:

  • When you feel more comfortable
  • Market Demand
  • Weather
  • Suppliers efficiency
  • Employees recruitment


Total Estimated Time


Total estimated Restaurant opening time






I hope you now know how long does it take to open your restaurant,

By now,

You should know that the time required could be between 13 Weeks and 55 Weeks,

So I hope you enjoyed this article,

Stay safe and see you soon!

Restaurant Hit

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