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5 Supplies New Restaurants Pay Too Much For

March 02, 2020

Average restaurant startup costs vary from a few thousand to millions. Location, type of restaurant, and other factors all contribute to the cost of opening the doors. That being said, typical averages point to $3,586 per seat for overall costs.

Restaurant Food Suppliers Share Cost Saving Tips 


Here we share five items startup restaurants typically overspend on and how you can avoid unnecessary expenses.

1. New Equipment 

Kitchen and dining room equipment is necessary for every restaurant, but startups should be cautious not to overspend. It’s easy to want the kitchen outfitted with all the newest and best equipment, but plan to purchase only what you need. Think about buying second-hand equipment to save some extra dollars. Look for other restaurants in your area that might be unloading some of their supplies and equipment. 

2. Technology 

Many startups make the mistake of spending too much on high-tech equipment. Just like your kitchen equipment, start with only the essentials. Make sure you have an easy to navigate POS system and a user-friendly accounting system to help track costs. 

Most new restaurants don’t require much more technology than these two systems. While it might be cool to outfit all your servers with iPads for ordering, is it really essential? Evaluate your tech needs after your first year and see if adding more high-tech is within your budget. 

3. Marketing 

New restaurant owners will often shell out some serious cash on sleek ad campaigns. While marketing is crucial to get the word out for startups, there’s no need to break the bank. Use low-cost marketing tools to promote your restaurant and get people through your doors. Running ads on social media tend to be more affordable and are a great platform for customers to find and interact with your brand. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your marketing! 

4. Decorating 

We all want our restaurants to have wow factor, but it’s easy for decor costs to get out of hand. When designing the interior of your restaurant, go for low-cost but high-impact solutions. Get adventurous with paint colors, start with one large statement piece like an impressive chandelier above the bar, invest in quality lighting to create atmosphere, and look for inexpensive landscaping options. Check online resources like Pinterest for some out-of-the-box, cost-effective DIY decor ideas. 

5. Food 

Most startups will unnecessarily overspend on food costs. This is partly due to inaccurate food cost projections and ordering amounts in the first year. Work on calculating  your food cost plan right away. Always evaluate your food costs and menu prices at least once a year to keep costs in check.

New restaurateurs can also overspend on ingredients. Avoid exclusively working with high-end boutique vendors with expensive products. Instead establish a relationship with your local wholesale restaurant supply store, where you can get high-quality products at reasonable price points. 

Bottomline, you will have unexpected costs in the first few years of your restaurant. It’s important to keep that in mind when budgeting for marketing, equipment, and decorating costs. Be frugal in your spending habits so when the unexpected happens--like a broken freezer or leak in the ceiling--you’ll have it covered.

Smart Foodservice-Your Startup Restaurant Solution


Let Smart Foodservice help you save on food costs. From fresh produce, to high-quality meats, to dry goods, we offer exceptional products at wholesale prices. What’s more? We carry a variety of cleaning and kitchen supplies to further your savings. Sign up for an account, search our full line of products and start saving today!

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