Starting a Buffet Restaurant

If you are looking to start your own buffet restaurant, then this article will help you get started. Here, you'll find 4 steps that will add you some valuable information to your success.

Are you wondering if starting a buffet restaurant is a wise decision for you? Well if you love food a variety of food choices and you like serving hungry people, starting your own buffet restaurant business is an excellent decision.

Step 1: Put together a buffet restaurant business plan.

Your buffet restaurant business plan should be comprised of at least 3 smaller plans. Your first plan should cover your business set-up. In this plan include important concerns like buffet business licenses. You might want to visit your local city hall for restaurant legal permits and you might want to call the Department of Health for food regulation guidelines. Your second plan should cover your restaurant management system. In this particular plan add details like restaurant opening hours, staff turn over and job requirements, restaurant rules and policies and pricing system. On your third plan, it should cover how to attract buffet clients. After your grand opening date, what will you do next? Do you want to use membership promos; early bird discount incentives or maybe use personalized give a way like buttons or calendars?

Step 2: Get financing and find a location.

Start up cost for a buffet restaurant business depends mostly on your licenses, location and establishment remodeling needs. First determine how you will finance these expenditures. Will you take a bank loan? Will you self finance it? Do you know someone who can finance it for you? Once you have identified a solution to financing, determine next where to start your buffet restaurant business. Talk with a real estate agent for possible locations for your establishment. Then hire an architect to help you design it then hire a contractor who can efficiently do a clean job on the physical aspects of your buffet restaurant.

Step 3: Have a delicious and attractive line of menu.

Variety in food attracts a variety of people. Hire chefs who can cook a variety of American cuisine, Spanish style or Mexican style menu, Japanese food and maybe a few picked specialty dishes. Different tastes attract a lot of buffet clients. Another idea that will separate you from other buffet business competitors is of how fast your crew refills the food on each food station and the manner they present it. Buffet clients love quick quality food service. And also make sure that all the food area is clean. Food stations will be swarmed by people who will refill their plates so expect food on the floor, counters, a lot of dishes with leftovers and a busy washroom area.

Step 4: Make records.

Know your restaurant numbers. Know your peak business hours, profit per client, and utility cost per customer. Record and monitor your inventory flow. Know the strengths and weaknesses of your buffet restaurant plan by the numbers you measure.


  • Ama said on May 11, 2010
    Someone has to manage a buffet restaurant for me, pls i will like to get enough information on how to go about it, thanks
  • cally dittrich said on May 19, 2010
    Anna, I would be thrilled to help you. Pleaded contact me via email.
  • cheryl said on August 15, 2010
    Hi, I'm considering opening a buffet restaurant. I would like to know how much capital would be expected to open a buffet? And where can I get really good step by step help on opening it? Location of chices, San diego, New jersey or rochester NY? Thanks!
  • Michelle said on November 14, 2010
    Hi, I intend to open a international buffet restaurant in Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam. I want to know how much the capital needed for this kind of business. Anyone can help me to retrieve a detailed business plan regarding this? @Cally Dittrich: Are you so kind enough to give me your email contact and help give me some information on this business? Thanks and regards, Michelle
  • stan said on December 28, 2010
    Hello, We are moving towards opening buffet restaurant in Orland Park il it is already there equipped with food warmers kitchen etc. Cook, Bar. Can you give us good ideas how to attract customers and keep them, how to promote the restaurant in the community and beyond, we also are thinking of hosting parties. Thank you in advance for you response
  • Francisco Garcia said on February 11, 2011
    Hello my name is Francisco and I am trying to run a Mexican Buffet Restaurant. I am noticing that a lot of money is being wasted on food that is thrown away by customers. I am thinking of putting a sign on top of the buffet saying something like "please help us keep the price of buffet low by serving food that is needed" or something like that. I was wondering if you could help come up with different ways to say it. Thanks
  • Monica said on February 15, 2011
    Hi, I want to open a buffet style restaurant in Connecticut. How much capital is needed and like Cheryl asked how to get reliable step by step help.
  • Nur Saiful said on February 17, 2011
    Hi hello, I am from Singapore and will like to start my own International Buffet Restaurant here, will need to know more information other then the 4 steps mention, especially on the capital mention by the rest of responses, to cally dittrich hope you are a kind person to give me your contact detail as maybe you can help me and give me more information Thank You very much!!
  • jack shi said on March 2, 2011
    Hi hello, my buffet restaurant has been opened for 4 months the business is good in first month since we had grand opening. Second month the business was declined a little bit. Third month's business got less than previous month because of the snow and holiday. Fourth month's business get same business with last month but we didn't put advertisement for two month. the weekend the business is busy weekday is soso .my first question is advertisement is useful for our restaurant? secondly, how i can promote my business. we do very clean job for restaurant environment. offer fresh and good food , refill the buffet bar as soon as possible. price is not expensive. but i found problem is the customer didn't come here so ofter. some of them come our restaurant is like one time a month and there are a lot of different restaurants around us. we just sell beers no strong alcohol. most customer is white people they don't waste food too much. the business make my headache. i always think the business will have hope but i don't know how to do it. please give some ideals. my restaurant is chinese and japanese buffet.
  • James expert adviser said on March 3, 2011
    @jack shi, here are some points for you to consider.
    • Buffet restaurants are not like Mc Donald or KFC. You can expect a repeating customer once a month or once in 2 months.
    • Advertising will definitely help restaurant business and it is needed when you are starting as it helps in branding. You have to calculate the ROI though.
    • You can promote the restaurant through coupons, gift cards, referrals, discount for repeating visitors, group discount, weekdays offer. There are countless options.
    • Keep doing the good work as it is hard for a restaurant to make profit from the first month. Put your attention in traffic and quality, you will see some profit around the end of the year.

    Jestin James
    Startup Biz Hub - Senior Advisor (Staff)

  • Nene Tui said on January 5, 2012
    Honolulu, Hawaii. I've had this awesome idea to start a (affordable)buffet restaurant in hawaii as hawaii families love to eat! Dont really have experience, just a lot of passion and ideas.
  • Cloe said on May 16, 2012
    Hi I want to open a buffet restaurant. Do I have to take training/classes to get into this business? Will I make profit if I use organic produce, knowing they are a bit expensive. What government agency could give me a toll in setting up a business.
  • jen said on February 20, 2013
    hello, i am interested to open up a buffet restaurant in one of our town in philippines. can you help me how to start up my own buffet in our country? you can send to my email some details about opening a buffet.
  • Nadya said on April 3, 2013
    Hello all, I am also planning to open a buffet restaurant. The idea is that I want to open it in a country in Eastern Europe but I am not sure whether these kinds of ideas work here. I am now developing my business plan and it will take time. I have some ideas about the finance part. If anyone has ideas, experience or advice- you can find me at Regards, Nadya.
  • Dawn said on April 23, 2013
    I'm trying to put together a business plan and i'm interested in a buffet style restaurant for my area because there is only two but you have to travel 20 min to get there, mine will benefit diabetics for i am one insulin dependent, and no matter where i go i cant enjoy with out asking how much is in this is there any salt or sugars added. i would love to know some one who can help me with the business plan that will not coast me because the place i looked at that say free surprise you have to pay.
  • charly said on June 26, 2013
    Hi, i'm charly from fort lauderdale florida im a 19 year olf malr and i'm looking to open a buffet business real soon i just need help knowing what to do just a startup help or advice from anyone.
  • luis trejo said on January 7, 2014
    Hi guys...for those who need help getting ideas or business plan for mexican style food biz ...please contact me at
  • Ms Jay said on February 1, 2014
    Hi I'm from st Louis Missouri and I'm thinking about opening up a buffet style restaurant. My questions are 1 what's the capital needed to get started? 2 how do you compete with already established buffets? 3 what's the best thing to look for while looking for a location? If there is someone who is willing to help me pls email me @ Thanks in advance.
  • unaizah cajigas beginner adviser said on January 9, 2016
    Hey guys, if you need some ideas regarding putting up a buffet restaurant, i can help you, since i'm making a feasibility study about this kind of business. just email me at i'm willing to help. || Consultant

  • Samasoni Kupa said on July 23, 2016
    Hi all, I'm from auckland New Zealand And want to open a buffet restaurant here, Need help, please email
  • Swe swe Han said on July 28, 2016
    Hi , my name is SWE , I'm planing to open buffet restaurant but I have no idea how to operate and not enough money I really need help for that. Please contact me or share me your best idea how to open and where to take a good money loan.. I'm in Colorado my email address is ( hope to receive yr idea and help!!


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