No Shortcuts: The Steps You’ll Take to Open a Bar or Restaurant

Image: Nattapat.J / Shutterstock. Restaurant Start-Up Guide image courtesy of KRG Hospitality. (Neon bar or restaurant open sign)

Just how much work is involved in reaching the point of opening a bar or restaurant’s doors to the public for the first time?

Broken down into unique tasks, KRG Hospitality has identified 500 steps operators will have to take in the journey toward their grand opening.

If an operator really thinks about all they endured to take their business from idea to brick and mortar, 500 steps probably seems correct.

Think about it: there aren’t any “small” steps when opening a bar or restaurant. Not if the effort is put in from the start to set the business up for the strongest odds of survival in this cutthroat industry.

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The graphic below outlines 60 steps operators must take to open their doors for business. That’s just 12 percent of the unique tasks KRG Hospitality has identified.

Restaurant Start Up Guide - KRG Hospitality

Choosing a location isn’t one step when seen through the lens of KRG Hospitality’s systematic approach—it’s at least three. The final decision includes 1) site assessments, 2) lease and legal reviews, and 3) signing the lease. Include lease negotiation and there’s a fourth unique task.

Consider the steps involved in obtaining a business license. Now remember that there are additional licenses from various local and state agencies, each with their own hoops you must jump through. You’ll need a liquor license, and your business will be subject to health and building inspections, to name just a few licenses you’ll need.

Now consider expansion. It’s possible you’d be able to skip a few steps in the process (naming, trademarks, core statements), but that still leaves over 400 tasks. There are no shortcuts when pursuing greatness, but there is a roadmap leading to it.

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Planning on adding another concept to your portfolio? Doug Radkey, president and project manager of KRG Hospitality, will address expansion and the crucial steps operators must take to grow their businesses at the 2020 Nightclub & Bar Show. Register today and add Radkey’s session “When One Just Isn't Enough: Expanding Your Business” to your schedule.


KRG Hospitality Restaurant Start-up Guide (PDF version)