Opening a French Restaurant

The smell of fresh baked bread on the table, the sound of soothing music and the taste of vintage wine - one can say everything is here so French in this restaurant! A table for two or for five, it’s a fabulous place to dine.

Why not open a restaurant like this on my own? Here are a few guidelines how to get you started on your own French connection.

  • Homework: Have a business strategy. Don’t fail to include in that strategy checklists for food inventory, restaurant equipments and food suppliers. You may also want to include interviewing a French restaurant owner in your plan and as well as some legal counsel. Also pencil in the plan, an attractive menu with competitive pricing which your future patrons will love. Don’t fail to plan out your restaurant opening times as well. In short, do your homework and plan properly and efficiently. Make sure your plan will work for you and not against you.
  • French Restaurant Business Plan: Develop a plan for financing. Paraphrasing from scripture, “You have to count the cost before you start building a tower otherwise people will criticize you if you aren’t able to finish what you started.” In other words, get ready and be ready to invest and spend. This goes for both opening a restaurant as well as for on going operational costs and expenses in maintaining a business. Experts say it takes at least five years to recover from your start-up overhead. So save up!
  • Location: Find a location that is right for your restaurant. Consider things like parking space, corner lots and proper zoning procedures. Have several potential locations in your lists so as you have many alternative options to back you up.
  • Have a cost effective contractor. From your business plans, make sure your contractor understands the specs you want in your restaurant. You want to avoid costly and unnecessary reconstructions. Have your plumbing, air conditioning, electrical and painting done properly. You want to avoid utility headaches within your first year of business operation. Emphasize to the contractor the floor spacing you need to operate your restaurant efficiently.
  • Hiring Chef & Other Staff: Hire a great chef and a hire a fantastic staff to support him or her and your restaurant. You may want to hire an experienced manager too! Find a manager who has first hand experience in running a French restaurant establishment. He’ll be able to refer you an excellent chef as well as do a fantastic job interviewing and hiring help to run your restaurant. He can play a big role in your success. Of course, don’t forget to pay him well.
  • Opening Day: Have a loud and grand opening day. To create this rush of customers, your advertising should be catchy and with great recall. Have a month or two in advance at least for promotional preparations. If I were you I would do four months prior to opening. Use balloons, news ads, bumper stickers and even radio commercials if you can afford it. You may also want to develop restaurant opening discount promos, memberships, or product giveaways like pencils, caps, pins and calendars. Be creative and have fun with it!

Starting a French restaurant business takes dedication, commitment and work ethic. As an owner you also need to be open to new tastes and new cuisines. Learn to listen to what your customers are communicating thru your food. Place a lot of premium on quality service and ambiance and be ready to go the extra mile.


  • Naveen Ganotra said on November 24, 2009
    I am an indian, want to start a small business here in France,,,,,, plz advise which type of business will be successful ?????
  • pitso sithole said on December 1, 2009
  • alejandro castro said on August 19, 2010
    I am looking for someone who is interested to open a French restaurant. I already have a location and equipment. I live in eau claire Wisconsin usa. If you interested send me a e-mail. Alex
  • Hillary Halsema said on September 14, 2010
    I am in school and working on my business plan for opening a French Restaurant here in Ft Wayne, IN. I have lived in France before but don't know all the intricacies of what types of positions to hire, what to include on my menu, etc, can you help Alex???


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