Go back to blog homepage

How to Start a Small Restaurant Business

Starting a small restaurant business in Nigeria can be an exciting and rewarding venture despite the industry being highly competitive.

It usually requires careful planning, preparation, and execution to ensure success.

The restaurant industry in Nigeria is known to foster job growth and support local agriculture.

Although it presents both challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs and operators, the restaurant business boasts of a diverse culinary landscape, with a wide range of regional cuisines, flavours, and ingredients influenced by the country's ethnic diversity and cultural heritage.

Traditional Nigerian dishes such as jollof rice, suya, moi moi, and egusi soup are popular staples offered in restaurants, alongside international cuisines such as Chinese, Indian, Lebanese, and Italian.

Starting a Small Restaurant Business

Starting a small restaurant business requires dedication, hard work, and a passion for hospitality.

By following these steps and staying focused on delivering exceptional dining experiences, you can build a successful restaurant business that delights customers and thrives in the competitive food industry.

1. Develop a Business Plan

Begin by creating a detailed business plan that outlines your restaurant concept, target market, menu offerings, pricing strategy, competitive analysis, marketing plan, and financial projections.

A well-thought-out business plan serves as a roadmap for your restaurant and helps secure financing from lenders or investors.

2. Choose a Suitable Location

Select a prime location for your restaurant that attracts your target customers and aligns with your concept and branding. Consider factors such as foot traffic, visibility, parking availability, and proximity to complementary businesses.

Conduct thorough market research and site evaluations to identify the best location for your restaurant.

3. Obtain Necessary Permits

Research and obtain the required permits, licenses, and registrations to operate a restaurant in your area. This may include health permits, food service permits, liquor licenses (if applicable), business licenses, and zoning permits.

Ensure compliance with local regulations and health codes to avoid legal issues and fines.

4. Design Your Menu

Develop a menu that reflects your restaurant's concept, culinary style, and target market preferences. Create a diverse selection of appetisers, entrees, desserts, and beverages that cater to different tastes and dietary preferences.

Consider offering signature dishes or unique specialities to differentiate your restaurant from competitors.

5. Secure Financing

Determine the startup costs for your restaurant, including lease or purchase costs, equipment purchases, renovations, inventory, staffing, and marketing expenses. Explore financing options such as personal savings, loans from banks or investors, crowdfunding, or government grants to fund your restaurant venture.

6. Set Up Your Kitchen and Dining Area

Equip your restaurant with the necessary kitchen equipment, furniture, and decor to create a functional and inviting space for guests. Invest in commercial-grade appliances, cookware, utensils, and servingware that meet industry standards and support efficient operations.

7. Hire and Train Staff

Recruit and hire qualified staff members, including chefs, cooks, servers, bartenders, hosts/hostesses, and dishwashers, to support your restaurant's operations.

Provide comprehensive training and ongoing support to ensure that your team delivers exceptional service and upholds your restaurant's standards and values.

8. Develop a Marketing Strategy

Promote your restaurant through various marketing channels to attract customers and generate buzz. Implement targeted advertising campaigns, special promotions, and events to attract diners and build brand awareness.

9. Open for Business

Launch your restaurant with a soft opening or grand opening event to introduce your concept to the community and generate excitement. Pay attention to detail, provide outstanding service, and solicit feedback from customers to continuously improve your restaurant's offerings and operations.

10. Monitor Performance and Adapt

Monitor your restaurant's performance closely by tracking sales, expenses, customer feedback, and industry trends. Analyse data and insights to identify areas for improvement, refine your menu offerings, adjust pricing strategies, and capitalize on opportunities for growth and expansion.

Funding Options For Small Restaurants

Funding your small restaurant business requires careful planning and consideration of the various financing options available to you.

Some ways to fund your small restaurant business may include:

Personal Savings

Using your personal savings is one of the most common ways to fund a small restaurant business. By investing your own money, you retain full ownership and control over your business without accruing debt or paying interest.

Family and Friends

You may also seek financial assistance from family members or friends who believe in your business idea and are willing to invest in your venture.

Be transparent about your business plan, expectations, and potential risks to maintain positive relationships.

Small Business Loans

Explore small business loans offered by banks, credit unions, online lenders, and government-backed programs.

Small business loans provide access to capital that can be used to cover startup costs, purchase equipment, hire staff, and finance operational expenses.

nairaCompare has curated some of the best SME Loans in Nigeria offering competitive loan terms, interest rates, and eligibility requirements.


Microloans are small, short-term loans typically offered by nonprofit organizations, community development financial institutions (CDFIs), or online lenders.

These loans are ideal for entrepreneurs who need a modest amount of funding to start or expand their business.

Franchise Opportunities

If you're interested in opening a franchise restaurant, explore franchising opportunities offered by established restaurant chains.

Franchise agreements typically require an initial investment, ongoing royalty fees, and adherence to the franchisor's standards and guidelines.

Evaluate your funding needs, assess the pros and cons of each financing option, and develop a comprehensive funding strategy that aligns with your business goals and financial situation.

Power Your Restaurant With A Small Business Loan

As a passionate restaurateur, your dream of taking your culinary vision to the next level is not farfetched.

You could enhance your restaurant's offerings, expand your menu, or create an inviting ambience with a small business loan.

Here's how a small business loan can benefit your restaurant:

Expand Your Menu

With a small business loan, you can invest in new ingredients, experiment with exciting flavours, introduce seasonal specials, or add popular dishes that cater to diverse tastes and preferences.

Upgrade Your Equipment

Outdated kitchen equipment can hinder productivity and compromise food quality. With an SME Loan, you can invest in state-of-the-art appliances, commercial-grade stoves, refrigerators, and other essential equipment that streamline operations and elevate culinary standards.

Enhance Ambiance

Create an unforgettable dining experience that keeps customers coming back for more. Use funds from a small business loan to renovate your restaurant's interior, upgrade furniture and decor, or add outdoor seating areas that enchant guests and create a welcoming atmosphere.

Boost Marketing Efforts

With an SME Loan, your restaurant can stand out in a competitive market and attract new customers with strategic marketing initiatives.

Invest in professional photography, digital advertising campaigns, social media promotions, or loyalty programs that showcase your restaurant's unique offerings and drive foot traffic.

Improve Operational Efficiency

A small business loan could also help you streamline your restaurant operations and enhance efficiency with technology-driven solutions.

These may include implementing point-of-sale systems, inventory management software, or online ordering platforms that simplify processes, reduce overhead costs, and improve customer service.

How to Successfully Apply for an SME Loan

Applying for an SME loan for your restaurant requires careful planning and preparation to increase your chances of success.

Here are some steps to guide you through the process:

Assess Your Financial Needs

Begin by evaluating your restaurant's financial requirements. Determine the amount of funding you need and how it will be used, whether it's for expanding your menu, renovating your space, purchasing equipment, or covering operational expenses during slow periods.

Review Your Credit Profile

Lenders will assess your creditworthiness when evaluating your loan application. Obtain a copy of your credit report and review it for any errors or discrepancies.

Gather Necessary Documents

Prepare all the documents required for the loan application process. This may include business financial statements, tax returns, bank statements, business plan, cash flow projections, legal documents, and personal identification documents.

Research Lenders

Explore different lending options to find the best fit for your restaurant's needs. Compare interest rates, loan terms, eligibility requirements, and application processes to identify lenders that offer favourable terms for your business. That's where nairaCompare steps in, your one-stop platform for finding the perfect business loan.

Why nairaCompare?

  • Wide Range of Loan Options: Compare offerings from trusted lenders, ensuring you get the best rates and terms for your specific needs.
  • Fast & Easy Application: Forget about site-hopping! Our user-friendly platform streamlines the process, saving you valuable time and effort.
  • Expert Guidance: Our dedicated team is here to answer your questions and guide you through the entire loan application process, ensuring a smooth and stress-free experience.

Don't let funding hold you back! Visit nairaCompare!

how to start a small restaurant business

Prepare a Comprehensive Business Plan

Craft a detailed business plan that outlines your restaurant's concept. A well-thought-out business plan demonstrates your restaurant's viability and your ability to repay the loan.

Submit Your Loan Application

Complete the loan application form provided by your chosen lender and submit it along with the required documents. Be thorough and accurate when filling out the application, providing clear explanations for any discrepancies or unusual financial circumstances.

By following these steps and presenting a strong loan application, you can increase your chances of securing an SME loan for your restaurant.

Are you ready to take your restaurant business to the next level? Visit nairaCompare to unlock your full potential with an SME Loan and seamlessly boost your productivity.

Want more content like this? Sign Up!

Subscribe To Read Full Post