5 Step Guide To Opening A Restaurant In New York City

New York Metropolis has lengthy been one of the crucial sought-after locations to open a restaurant, with barely over 27,000 eating places throughout New York. It’s additionally probably the most populous metropolis within the nation with greater than eight million folks and counting. That’s plenty of hungry mouths to feed, so it’s no marvel increasingly restaurant homeowners are organising store. 

Nonetheless, it goes with out saying that operating a profitable restaurant in New York Metropolis is not any simple feat. The challenges are particularly pronounced for expert hospitality employees transitioning to the function of an proprietor. As Fredrik Berselius, chef and proprietor of Aska (two Michelin-starred restaurant in Brooklyn) shares: 

“From having my focus all the time centered on a kitchen surroundings, I instantly turned concerned in issues like negotiating leases, making use of for permits and overseeing design and building…my strategy shifted to be extra expansive within the sense that I used to be now accountable for [not] only one component of the image, however of the entire thing. Every choice holds much more weight and threat as a result of the duty finally ends with you.”

Regardless of the tense calls for of operating a restaurant, if performed efficiently, there are many rewards. Listed here are 5 key steps to remember when opening a restaurant in New York Metropolis.

9-step survival information to opening a restaurant

Do not miss out on these key steps earlier than opening your restaurant. Tick off all of the must-do gadgets for a profitable grand opening with this survival information and grasp guidelines.


Step 1: Create a marketing strategy

The foundations of a profitable restaurant are cemented in a radical and well-researched marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy will information you thru every little thing from registering what you are promoting and getting the appropriate paperwork, to discovering suppliers, making a menu choice and hiring workers.

A serious element of a marketing strategy can also be figuring out the kind of enterprise mannequin you’ll function on. For instance, in case your restaurant is an LLC, a Restricted Partnership or a Company, you’ll must register with New York state authorities. However, in the event you function as a sole proprietor or beneath a Normal Partnership, that you must register with the county clerk. 

When you’ve selected what you are promoting mannequin, you’ll must determine on the kind of meals and drinks you’ll promote. Your choices will play a task within the sorts of permits and licenses that you simply want. You’ll additionally must have a New York gross sales tax ID from the state as a way to apply for the required permits and licenses.


Step 2: Discover the appropriate location

With actual property, it all the time goes again to the three magic phrases: location, location, location. The identical holds true for eating places.

The place you use performs a big function within the success or failure of the enterprise. Value is clearly an enormous issue when searching for the appropriate house in New York Metropolis. You’ll most definitely lease the restaurant house and pay a month-to-month lease. 

Along with value, every borough of New York Metropolis has a very totally different vibe, which suggests an idea would possibly thrive in a single borough and underperform in one other.

  • Manhattan is the borough that involves most individuals’s minds once they consider New York Metropolis—Occasions Sq., Central Park, the Empire State constructing. Whereas yow will discover nearly any sort of restaurant that you’d need in Manhattan, that is the most costly borough to each reside and do enterprise in. For a brand new restaurant proprietor with restricted capital, the excessive value of actual property and intense competitors are two compelling causes to contemplate an space exterior of Manhattan.
  • The Bronx presents a less expensive different to Manhattan and nonetheless options vacationer points of interest like The Bronx Zoo, Yankee Stadium and Little Italy. Plus, faculties like Fordham College and Manhattan School means there are many hungry college students searching for a spot to eat. Should you’re simply beginning out in New York Metropolis, The Bronx might supply an inexpensive place to start out.
  • Brooklyn has been the “it” spot for hip, younger millennials for a decade or extra at this level. If that is the audience you’re attempting to draw, then Brooklyn is the place to be. Do have in mind, nonetheless, that the recognition of this space will affect and enhance your working prices as effectively.
  • Queens is residence to New York Metropolis’s largest borough with practically two million folks. Astoria is among the most well-known neighborhoods in Queens with lovely parks, loads of eating places and nightlife all whereas being a fast subway experience away from Manhattan. This may very well be a perfect space for eating places seeking to cater to younger households and professionals.
  • Staten Island is usually New York Metropolis’s ignored borough. That is residence to a number of historic websites, museums and botanical gardens. It additionally presents one other inexpensive different to Manhattan and Brooklyn.

To open a restaurant in New York Metropolis, your location needs to be in an space zoned for companies. To save lots of money and time, contemplate taking up an area that was already a restaurant. If you’re setting up a brand new house, you’ll need to discover a registered architect and engineer to submit your blueprints to the Division of Buildings.

Step 3: Get your licenses and permits so as

Arguably probably the most arduous but vital space of opening a restaurant are the licenses and permits. At a minimal you’ll want:

  • Enterprise registration with the state of New York. The submitting charge is between $100-$120 relying on the county the place you’re registered.
  • Legitimate New York restaurant allow. The restaurant allow charge in NYC is $280, and since it expires after 1 yr, it have to be renewed yearly for a further $280.
  • New York Meals safety certificates. Free on-line meals safety programs might be discovered on the NYC Well being web site and the ultimate examination prices $24.60.
  • New York issued liquor license. Should you plan on serving liquor, you’ll must additionally apply for a liquor licence from New York State Liquor Authority. 

Fortunately, the method for acquiring these permits is pretty simple. You possibly can fill out what you are promoting info on-line via New York Metropolis’s Division of Small Enterprise Companies. This can information you thru a step-by-step strategy of the necessities for what you are promoting, together with the hyperlinks to respective purposes.

Do give your self sufficient time to fill out the purposes and have your Employer Identification Quantity (EIN) helpful. Should you don’t have an EIN, you possibly can apply for one via the IRS. 

Along with the permits, there are different laws eating places must abide by resembling:

  • Kitchen gear laws: business cooking gear like ovens, stoves and fryers will need to have a spread hood.
  • Hearth suppression laws: business kitchens must have a hearth suppression system in place that have to be registered with the New York Metropolis Hearth Division.

To save lots of your self time, contemplate hiring a licensed skilled that will help you via this course of. They are going to help in submitting the required purposes to the right authorities to make sure you are compliant with New York Metropolis laws. 


Step 4: Discover the appropriate insurance coverage

Defending your restaurant from the very starting is crucial. Eating places face dangers like buyer lawsuits, fires and injury to property, worker accidents and meals poisoning. Insurance coverage is one of the simplest ways to guard what you are promoting. Whereas some insurance coverage insurance policies are mandated by legislation, others are designed to fulfill particular enterprise necessities.

Bar in New York City with open seating concept
Beneath are some insurance policies to contemplate: 

  • Normal Legal responsibility Insurance coverage: This protects what you are promoting in opposition to monetary losses because of claims related to third-party private harm and injury to property.
  • Employees Compensation Insurance coverage: A authorized requirement for eating places in New York Metropolis. Employees compensation pays for the medical payments and rehabilitation prices if an worker is injured on the job.
  • Business Property Insurance coverage: This protects what you are promoting in opposition to hearth or different incidents that may injury the property.
  • Liquor Bond: That is required to use for a liquor license, which is remitted by the New York State Liquor Authority for eating places that promote alcoholic drinks.
  • Liquor Legal responsibility Insurance coverage: In case your restaurant presents alcoholic drinks, this insurance coverage coverage will defend for enterprise within the occasion a buyer who has consumed alcohol causes bodily hurt or property injury.
  • Meals Contamination Insurance coverage: This insurance coverage protects what you are promoting in opposition to losses and authorized charges related to meals poisoning claims.


Step 5: Construct your staff

Within the restaurant trade, staffing has all the time been difficult. Even in a pre-pandemic world, managers need to cope with excessive turnover in addition to particular authorized necessities.

For instance, in New York Metropolis the minimal wage for tipped workers is $10 per hour. Along with this, the New York Metropolis Well being Division requires {that a} supervisor passes a meals safety course and all the time be current when the restaurant is open.

The important thing to avoiding citations from well being inspectors lies in training. Guarantee all of your workers perceive the best way to correctly deal with and retailer meals.

There are additionally different methods to streamline restaurant operations. POS techniques, for instance, make it simple to handle worker schedules, seating charts, gross sales, accounting and extra.

Opening a restaurant in New York Metropolis is each thrilling and rewarding, nevertheless it’s additionally extraordinarily difficult. There are such a lot of components to consider and it requires a ton of laborious work and self-discipline. However with the following tips in thoughts, you’ll absolutely be capable to make your purpose a actuality.

Open your restaurant with the appropriate basis. Speak to certainly one of our consultants right now to learn the way Small Biz Sense can assist your new restaurant.

Cyndy Lane

Cyndy is business journalist with a focus on entrepreneurship and small business. With over a decade of experience covering the startup and small business landscape, Cyndy has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, insightful and approachable journalist. She has a keen understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing small business owners and is able to explain them in a way that is relatable and actionable for her readers.