The restaurant industry is burgeoning, and it has never been a better time to start a restaurant in India. That said, it does take meticulous planning, execution, and some secret sauce to successfully run a restaurant.

Here’s our ultimate guide on how to start a restaurant in India – based on our own experiences, and from talking to thousands of other fellow restaurateurs.

  1. First, know the pitfalls to avoid.

    We wanted to be really honest with this guide, and that’s why we’ll first talk about the harsh realities of running a restaurant business. Below are the top reasons why restaurant’s fail – so, make sure to avoid the these pitfalls.

    Why Restaurants Fail

  2. Choose the restaurant’s business model.

    The type of restaurant you plan to start will depend on market potential, cuisine, your budget, and capability. The cost of starting a restaurant can be anywhere between ₹5 lakhs to ₹2 crores. Higher the budget, higher the profits – but if you are a new restaurateur, it’s safer to start a small restaurant/fast food business.

    Restaurant business models in India

  3. Use consultants & chefs to create a menu.

    Creating a menu might sound easy, but it is a crucial aspect of your business. Your menu will determine the ingredients, equipment your kitchen will need, and the production plan. For new restaurateurs we highly recommend getting help from an experienced food consultant. This is also the time when you start having conversations with chefs and bring them onboard.

    Read our article on how to create a winning menu.
    You can also download our list of food consultants here.

  4. Connect with equipment & ingredient vendors.

    Before purchasing equipments, estimate your production capacity. For critical equipment like oven, display counters, it’s better to pick up new ones from a reliable brand. Other things like kitchen table, racks, and burners can be picked up in used condition to save costs. Some popular restaurant equipment manufacturers are:

    Kitchen Elixir – All kitchen equipments
    SG Equipments – General cooking equipments
    Kanteen – General cooking equipments
    Climaire – Display counters
    Williams – Display counters
    Sinmag – Oven, Mixers
    Rational – Baking & multi-purpose cooking units
    Western Equipments – Chillers, freezers
    Middleby / Celfrost – Chillers, freezers, fryers

    For used equipment listings you can checkout HoReCa Central app.

    For regular purchase of ingredients, connect with local wholesale dealers, or you could also use online services like Zomato’s Hyperpure. For packaging material you can use Swiggy Assist or Inkmonk.

  5. Know these tips to select the right location.

    For a restaurant’s success 3P’s are vital – Product, Price & Place. While you can easily improvise on Product and Price, it’s important you get the right Place right-away. 

    To get insights on locations potential, you can use the Restaurant Location Analyzer free tool.

    Below are some portals you can use to find and rent commercial shops:

    No Broker

    You can also join this popular Facebook Group to watch out for restaurants that are available for sale.

    Below are some tips to help you choose the right location:

    ☞ The place should comply with fire safety norms.
    ☞ Make sure commercial electricity connection is available.
    Footfall is more important than rent.
    Parking space should be available as per target audience.
    Ground floor is best suitable for most outlet types. Avoid top floors unless you cater to students or go for a bar or well known franchise.
    ☞ For underserved locations, make sure it’s developing and people have purchasing power.
    ☞ Research about the locality’s food preference and spending power around the location. Zomato listing’s “What people love here” and “Avg. Cost” are a good starting point.
    ☞ Ensure hygienic surroundings. Pest control / garbage disposal should be possible.
    ☞ Make sure water supply is good, food outlets consumes a lot.
    ☞ Avoid places where people just drive by and hardly stop.

  6. Assemble a team for construction.

    The project execution team comes up with the restaurant layout, architecture and branding. Make sure this team understands the needs of a restaurant and how a kitchen should be set up. The layout and plan of your restaurant is important to get the FSSAI and Fire Department approvals.

    Read our restaurant interior design article to know more.
    For furniture, Home Canvas is one of the popular players you can checkout.

  7. Get required licenses & approvals.

    The licenses and approvals required to open a restaurant varies from state to state based on regulations. The best option is to consult a local agent who is aware of the regional regulations and can get all the licenses for your business.

    Download / print our restaurant licenses checklist.

    Licenses needed to start a restaurant in India

  8. Get listed with food aggregators.

    Getting listed with food aggregators like Swiggy, Zomato, etc is a good way to get initial traction. You can also run sponsored campaigns on these platforms to improve your outlet’s discoverability. Invest in quality packaging for food delivery so that the food taste is retained.

    Partner Signup Links
    Swiggy – Submit this form, or email to with subject “I want to partner my restaurant with Swiggy”.
    Zomato OrderVisit here to submit request.
    Uber EatsRegister here.
    Zomato (Listing) – Register here.

  9. Go-live.

    Your restaurant launch needs a comprehensive planning. We have put down a checklist below to make sure you do not miss out on important things.

    Download / print our restaurant launch checklist.

    Restaurant opening checklist

  10. Things to watch out after go-live.

    Once you go live, you have to keenly watch out for feedback, train staff and invest in marketing. Below is the list of things you can do after going live.

    ☞ Track returning customers.
    ☞ Track average ticket size.
    ☞ Closely monitor food safety, hygiene and freshness.
    ☞ Test your dishes for consistency, recipe adherence.
    ☞ Activate Google My Business listing.
    ☞ Create a Zomato listing.
    ☞ Create Facebook & Instagram pages.
    ☞ Announce the launch on city’s foodie groups.
    ☞ Spend time on production planning, purchase planning, inventory management and accounting.

Hope you liked our guide on starting a restaurant, and we wish you all success in your restaurateur journey.

Now that you know how to start a restaurant in India, learn how to manage it smartly.