Opening a new restaurant is an exciting time in a business owner’s life. Whether you have your heart set on a top of the line bakery, a luxurious dinner establishment, or the commercial kitchen of a deli that pumps out delicious burgers and comfort food, getting the opening right is a must. One of the main concerns that new owners face in the Seattle area and beyond is the financial burden that a new restaurant places on your cash flow, both individually and professionally.

You may be struggling to come to grips with the disproven anecdote that 90% of restaurants close up shop after just one year (the real figure is 19%, actually making restaurants a very healthy startup opportunity). The truth is, going in with a strategy is key to success, just like in any other industry. The most seasoned restauranteurs know that a successful strategy is all-encompassing, keeping a calm grip on your finances rolls into successes in other aspects of the business.

Start with the equipment.

Buying the best equipment you can afford is always the best advice — for any industry. Using high-quality tools will give your staff a feeling of pride in their work and workspace. This will set your kitchen staff and front of house employees up for success right from the start.

Utilizing a small business loan is often a great way to procure the necessary equipment, and finding a local source by searching online for “restaurant equipment Seattle” is a fantastic way to keep costs low while still splashing out for the best quality products. Beginning with a list and checking over it multiple times is the best way to succeed here. A restaurant needs a wide variety of fixtures, utensils, and decorations; so making sure that you have it all from day one when the doors open is essential.

It’s also often helpful to split these into categories: kitchen supplies, cooking surfaces (stoves, hood, ovens, etc.), sales terminals, furniture and décor, and dinnerware. Running through your list to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything is crucial, and eating out at restaurants locally with your eyes peeled while you finalize these purchase orders is a great way to spot any oversights.

Secure the funding with enough time to spare.

Securing a small business loan is partially dependent on the business, and mostly reliant on your own financial background. Securing a loan with favorable repayment terms and a low-interest rate is tied intimately to your credit history. This means that carefully grooming your own personal finances in the months and even years before this dream comes to fruition is critical to laying a successful foundation.

Alternatively, some business owners choose to seek private equity to fund their venture. The primary difference here is a tradeoff of ownership in return for the capital. With a traditional bank loan, you are entering into a debt financing agreement, in the same way, that you would borrow for a car or home purchase. Once your payments are completed, the relationship is terminated and you can continue building wealth through your venture.

With a private investor, you trade a percentage of the ownership stake, meaning that you will make less money on the earnings over time. However, through this arrangement you won’t immediately and repeatedly have to make loan repayments. In the early stages, it’s not a certainty that you will have the free cash flow to cover operating costs and loan payments, meaning a dip into your own personal cash to cover one or the other. This can be a significant financial strain for those unprepared for the burdens. Understanding your options here is a great way to start on the right foot and continue growing your presence in the community for years to come.

Start out on the right foot with smart financing and a great deal on the essential equipment in order to launch and grow your dream.