How to Open an Italian Restaurant

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Italian food is beloved by people of all ages all over the world.
Italian food is beloved by people of all ages all over the world. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

There is much more to opening an Italian restaurant than a “bottle of red, a bottle of white,” though the Billy Joel song “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” always sounds so right. When it comes to food, Italy is a culinary superpower. Italian food has conquered more nations – or at least their palates – than the Roman Empire ever could have hoped to militarily. Italian restaurants are found all over the world from Tokyo to Toronto. Opening your own Italian restaurant, like any other business, involves great research and preparation. However, if successful, you can be the Caesar of your own little culinary empire.

Choose your location and then study the market. How many Italian restaurants are already in the area in which you want to open? Is the location in an area conducive to a new business or is it in the middle of nowhere? If the competition is too fierce, you may decide to open an Italian restaurant in a different location.

Ask the owner of an Italian restaurant from an area far from your planned location (as a potential competitor will not help you) for advice on how to open and manage an Italian restaurant.

Study franchising. Is there a chain of Italian restaurants similar in concept to your planned Italian restaurant? If so, franchising might be right for you because you would have the benefit of a brand name, but at a financial cost. Do a cost-benefit analysis. (See References 1)

Sbarro is one of several chains of Italian restaurants. When considering to franchise, remember the risk as well as the reward.
Sbarro is one of several chains of Italian restaurants. When considering to franchise, remember the risk as well as the reward. (Image: Scott Olson/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Decide what kind of Italian food you will serve. Will you serve fast food Italian offering just pizza and a few pasta dishes? Will you open a high-end restaurant with a variety of Italian pasta, meat, seafood and dessert dishes? Are you going to offer imported Italian wines? How do you get a liquor license in the area in which you plan to open your Italian restaurant? (See References 2)

An Italian restaurant won't seem like an Italian restaurant if pizza is not on the menu.
An Italian restaurant won't seem like an Italian restaurant if pizza is not on the menu. (Image: Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images)

Select a theme for your Italian restaurant and design your restaurant.

Prepare the menus and establish the prices.

Your menu is your business. What will you offer and at what cost?
Your menu is your business. What will you offer and at what cost? (Image: Creatas Images/Creatas/Getty Images)

Create a marketing plan to attract customers and media attention.

Obtain the necessary licenses, permits, and insurance necessary to open your Italian restaurant.

You cannot legally open and operate an Italian restaurant without the necessary licenses and permits.
You cannot legally open and operate an Italian restaurant without the necessary licenses and permits. (Image: Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

Purchase the necessary furniture and equipment for the restaurant.

Find suppliers to provide the food and other supplies necessary for the restaurant to operate.

Establish an accounting and bookkeeping system.

At the end of the day, an Italian restaurant is a business and must balance its finances.
At the end of the day, an Italian restaurant is a business and must balance its finances. (Image: Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Hire the restaurant staff. (See References 3)

The chef you hire can make or break your Italian restaurant.
The chef you hire can make or break your Italian restaurant. (Image: Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images)

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