Wondering how to start a burger restaurant? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Burger Restaurants: A Growing Business Concept
Burgers are a quintessentially American menu item. The success of fast food franchising confirms not only Americans' hunger for great-tasting burgers, but also the ability hamburgers, cheeseburgers and related menu items have to anchor a profitable food service enterprise.
The U.S. restaurant industry is extremely active. Yet despite the prevalence of burger joints in the marketplace, the outlook for burger-based restaurants is good. Younger generations of consumers who have been raised on burgers have become adult consumers who often prefer burger restaurants over other dining options.
Potential Business Models for a Burger Restaurant Startup
Early in the strategic planning process, you will need to choose a business model for your burger restaurant startup. Like it or not, your startup won't be capable of serving the entire marketplace, so you'll need to evaluate your options and choose the business model that is the right fit for your business model and entrepreneurial objectives.
- Independent Fast Food. Most Americans immediately associate fast food with franchising. But there are more and more examples of independent fast food and burger restaurants that can compete with the franchises and even leverage their brands to become regional franchises. However, as an independent fast food, burger joint, you'll need to study the business models of McDonalds, Wendys and other fast food legends to learn how to design an efficient and profitable fast food operation.
- Gourmet Burgers. Gourmet burger restaurants may be the fastest growing segment of the burger marketplace. Rather than focusing on price and convenience, gourmet burger restaurants give diners premium burger experiences, often providing an extremely diverse burger menu in a sit-down restaurant environment. The key to opening a gourmet burger restaurant is to differentiate your startup based on menu and atmosphere, while still giving diners value for their dollars.
- Food Cart Burgers. Street food is growing in leaps and bounds, from major metropolises like NYC to smaller cities like Madison, Wisconsin. They don't dominate the food cart scene, but burger carts do have an active presence on America's sidewalks, with burger carts catering to gourmet diners drawing large crowds and positive reviews from critics.
Business Plan Mechanics for Burger Restaurants
Haven't created a business plan for your burger restaurant yet? You could be in big trouble.
At Gaebler, we advise new business owners to keep your business plan simple. Ultimately, your business plan is intended to be a resource for you, the business owner.
If your time is limiting, outline the essentials of your burger restaurant's business plan now and make a commitment to come back to it later.
How Many Local Customers Can You Acquire?
How many potential customers will be within a fifteen-minute drive of your business? How many will be within an hour's drive of your business? It's important to run the numbers to understand how many customers might be interested in doing business with your local burger restaurant.
Assess the Competition
Prior to launching a burger restaurant in your area, it's a smart move to find out what the competition looks like. Try our link below to generate a list of competitors in your city. Simply enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of burger restaurants in your town.
It's important to be aware of what the competition is doing. Take the time to visit the competition to properly assess their strengths and weaknesses.
A Good Source of Advice
After you've evaluated your local competitors, it's a wise move to have a conversation with someone who is in the business. If you think owners of nearby burger restaurants will give you advice, think again. What's in it for them?
On the other hand, an individual who has a burger restaurant in another town may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where can an aspiring entrepreneur like you find a burger restaurant entrepreneur in another city who you can speak with?
Here's one way to do it. Just use our link below, find somebody and call them.
Advantages of Buying an Established Burger Restaurant
Spurred on by dreams of a future big money buyout and an undeniable entrepreneurial impulse, many would-be burger restaurant owners are driven to pursue startup strategies.
Yet a healthier and safer strategy may be to purchase an existing burger restaurant.
When you buy an existing company, you get a functional (and presumably profitable) company from day one. As an added bonus, you'll also gain the ability to headaches and hassles of startup trial-and-error.
Don't Forget About Franchising As an Option
Choosing to partner with a franchisor means you get access to great ideas that were developed by experienced entrepreneurs who know your industry inside and out.
If your goal is to start a burger restaurant, it's worthwhile to assess whether franchise opportunities in your space might be worth investigating.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing burger restaurant, these resources will come in handy:
If you came here to learn about selling to burger restaurants, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.