Is it hard to open a restaurant in Australia? What licence do I need to open? Is starting a restaurant a good business?

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Have you always dreamed of opening a restaurant of your own one day? Perhaps you have fond memories of eating a certain cuisine with your loved ones as a child and would like to build a business where families can create similar memories of their own. Or maybe you’re an experienced chef who has earned their stripes and is ready to strike out as your own boss? Whatever the case, getting started is a little bit more complicated than you might imagine… 

But don’t let that put you off! With some careful planning and the proper licensing, your dream of opening a restaurant in Australia can very much be a reality. Let’s get stuck in!

Is it hard to open a restaurant in Australia?

So, is it difficult to open a restaurant in Australia? Yes, and no. Opening a restaurant is hard if you don’t do your due diligence or have a solid business plan in place. However, if you are prepared to put in the time and tick all of the right boxes, opening a restaurant in Australia is actually rather straightforward. 

The real question is, is it hard to manage a restaurant in Australia the answer is yes! The food and beverage industry is one of the hardest and most competitive industries in the world. It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for certain. 

That said, if you are truly passionate about food and have big plans to open a restaurant of your own then the lifestyle can be highly rewarding. Just be prepared to have to earn your keep! 

What licence do I need to open a restaurant in Australia?

Opening a restaurant in Australia isn’t as simple as buying your restaurant, kitting it out with some kitchenware, and then firing up the oven. There’s a lot of red tape that you must be aware of before getting started. 

While licensing and permit requirements may vary from one state to another, below we will give you a rough guide as to what to expect: 

  • First, register your business with your local council
  • Next, obtain a licence to serve food from your state authority 
  • Following that, you must submit a development application in order to renovate your premises 
  • If your business is likely to turnover more than $75,000, you’ll need to register for GST (Goods and Service Tax).
  • If you wish to sell alcohol, you’ll need a liquor licence. 
  • If you want to play music, you’ll need a licence for that as well. 
  • Additionally, you may need other permissions, especially if you are going to have outdoor dining. 

Again, these may vary depending on what state you are in, however, it should give you a rough idea as to how much red tape is involved with getting the green light. 

Is starting a restaurant a good business?

By this point, given how much work is involved with getting started, you are likely wondering if starting a restaurant is a good business. 

Starting a business can be incredibly lucrative! It has immense potential to make you some serious money, however, it very much is all about what you put into it. 

The fact is, the food and beverage industry is highly competitive and there are so many different rules and regulations that you must abide by. If you are prepared to labour over every detail and put together a comprehensive business plan – including excruciating competitor analysis in your area – then you might just be in for a shot at success. 

Rest assured the aim of this article isn’t to put you off but to give you a realistic understanding of just how much work is involved. 

Yes, restaurants can be incredibly lucrative when successful – but it’s the being successful that’s the tricky part. 

How can I run a successful restaurant? 

If you haven’t been put off yet and still very much want to start a restaurant in Australia, now you’re likely wondering how you can ensure that your restaurant is successful. 

Again, it’s all about what you put into it. 

  • Put together a thorough and comprehensive business plan. Leave no stone unturned! You need to think about everything from your industry analysis all the way through to your marketing plan. Yes, having a brilliant name and a catchy logo is important, but you have to tick every single box before you can even think about moving on to the next step.
  • Obtain the relevant financing. If you want to be successful you’re going to need a strong start, which means having enough budget to invest in renovating your establishment, hiring and training the best staff, and having a kick-ass marketing plan in place to help promote the big day. 
  • Just as competitor analysis is important you really need to be mindful of where you set your establishment up. What’s the competition like in the area? Are there any zoning restraints? What is the foot/car traffic like nearby? How accessible will the establishment be? How visible is the space? What is the local area like in terms of charm and character? These are all critical factors that can make or break your restaurant before you’ve even started! 

These considerations are just scratching the surface when it comes to what you need to be prepared for if you wish to succeed. Even the restaurant furniture you choose will have a significant impact on the long-term success of your establishment. 

Conclusion 

Starting a restaurant in Australia is easy enough – it’s outshining the competition and establishing yourself as a big name in the industry that takes some pizazz. However, so long as you do your due diligence and really pull out all the stops when it comes to planning your debut, introducing your menu, and providing your local community with a magnificent place to dine, then you shouldn’t run into too many problems. 

It’s all about passion. If you love what you do and believe in your dream to become a respected and successful restaurateur, then we say go for it! Just go all in and commit yourself wholeheartedly to the endeavour.