How to open a fast food business

Updated April 17, 2017

Opening a fast food business can be a difficult task to accomplish in today's highly competitive fast food market industry. The good news is that people who don't have time to cook or prepare food at home will be looking for quick and inexpensive ways to get food on the table, and fast food is one way to do that. Because of this, fast food will always be in demand, and there's the potential to make a lucrative business out of it. In order to open a successful fast food business, you will need to have the desire to succeed, specific knowledge of the fast food industry and a good business plan or strategy.

Determine your target market. Figure out who your customers will be, what the age group is and where they are located. Because of the competitive nature of the restaurant business, it's essential to do your research beforehand so that your business won't be a failure when it opens. To gather more information on the food preferences of your future customers, it is a good idea to do research online or hire a company to do marketing research for you.

Figure out what kind of fast food restaurant you want to open. Your decision should be based on your target market as well as your own fast food preferences. Popular choices in today's fast food world include burgers, chicken, fish and sandwich restaurants. You also have the option of buying a fast food franchise if you do not want to go through the entire process of opening a fast food restaurant business by yourself.

Choose a location. In order to attract as many customers as possible, make sure there is a good population base of people living near your restaurant. Some examples are a downtown shopping district or a busy town or suburb. Other factors to consider when choosing a location is adequate parking space so it's easily accessible for customers and the visibility of the restaurant so people from different areas can spot it right away.

Write a business plan encompassing the next two to five years. Your business plan should include a start up budget, marketing analysis, total business expenses, business location, hiring plan, employee training, food and menu ideas, pricing of food and future financial goals that you plan to reach. Having a business plan will help make sure that your short-term and long-term business goals are on track. A good business plan will also help with attracting not just future customers, but business partners and investors as well.

Secure funding for start up costs. If you don't have enough many to pay for expenses such as building rental, mortgage payments and insurance, it would be best for you to apply business loan. Ask a bank for details on how to get a loan for a starting up business. Have your formal business plan with you so you can explain how much money you will need as well as your projections on future income and cash flow.

Interview potential employees, or hire someone to do the interviewing process. Make sure you have a written set of standards in place before you hire your staff so they will know what to expect and know what rules and regulations to follow.

Promote your restaurant business. You can hand out flyers or hold promotional events. Remember, if you don't have the same budget of already established fast food chains, the best way to advertise is by word-of-mouth. It's crucial to meet your customers' needs so they'll recommend you to their friends. Use paper or online surveys to poll your customers so you can continually improve your business over time.

Apply for a business license. Without a business license, you would be conducting business illegally. To get a license or find information on how you can apply for one, start at your local city hall or courthouse.

Things You'll Need

  • Business plan
  • Property location
  • Start up funds
  • Menu
  • Employees
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About the Author

Located in Orange County, Calif., Hulbert Lee has been writing for online since 2009. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor in creative writing from the University of California at Riverside.