How to Start a Restaurant in Georgia

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Georgia peaches are famous around the world.
Georgia peaches are famous around the world. (Image: Peach+plum+peach image by Galaiko Sergey from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>)

Georgia has a lot more going on food-wise than just the famous peach. According to the Georgia Restaurant Association, there are some 13,000 food service organizations in the state generating $14 billion and creating more jobs than any other business in the state. If you have a great idea and plan carefully you can get in on the action. The city is home to many top chefs, including Richard Blais, runner-up in Season Four of Top Chef, the popular Bravo network show.

Open a Restaurant in Georgia

Choose an exact location. Study demographics carefully before you do this. Georgia only has some nine million people. So to make sure you can fill up your restaurant. You may want to pick one of the touristy places on the coast or if you plan to set up a quirkier place like a vegetarian or ethnic restaurant, you may want to focus on Atlanta to take advantage of the student population and cosmopolitan tastes.

Write a business plan. This will include your honed idea. For instance, you might want to open a healthy upscale vegetarian restaurant in Atlanta or Athens. Calculate how much everything will cost, from renting the space to setting up the kitchen to paying your employees. See how much money you have to invest and raise the rest from private investors or bank loans.

Apply for and receive licenses and permits. You will need to go to your local city hall to get a business registration number. Then you will undergo an inspection by the local health office to award you your food handlers license. Consider whether you will need a liquor license. They can be pricey—starting at $300 in Georgia.

Hire your staff. Make sure they are covered by workers compensation insurance. Do background checks to make sure they are using correct Social Security numbers.

Start a publicity campaign. The single most important step for new restaurants is letting people know they are out there, according to the Georgia Restaurant Association. Advertise in the Atlanta Intown or Creative Loafing newspapers. Consider lower prices and specials for your grand opening to attract more people. Offer specials to Chowhound.com members.

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