Operators can reduce overhead and focus on the quality of their products by opening small restaurants. With fewer distractions, chefs can express their culinary creativity.

The motivation does not come only from the operator; small restaurants can also answer customer demand. The way customers interact with restaurants has changed. Grubhub and Uber Eats are examples of apps that have been developed to meet the growing demand for delivery. While many still eat out, new dining trends prove that they’re doing things differently.

Below are nine small-scale restaurant ideas that can be started with relatively low startup costs. We also discuss the pros and cons of each. No matter what type of restaurant you choose, this opening-a_restaurant checklist will help.


Food trucks are one of the most fun food and drink concepts. They’reThey’re also appealing to aspiring chefs with a menu to share, but who don’t want to spend in full-service restaurants or arenas aren’t ready.

The pros: A food truck can produce a focused menu with high efficiency. The food truck can be moved from one location to another, providing service in multiple areas and neighborhoods. Creative chefs can update the menu on an ongoing basis. Opportunities to offer food at events are available for owners.

Cons: It cannot be easy to get financing. Depending on where you live, regulations and ordinances might not be favorable to food trucks. The truck’struck’s location may be difficult to find for truck owners.


A food hall is a collection of smaller restaurants under one roof that offers a wide range of kiosk-style dining options. The individual restaurants that makeup food halls are known for their local, artisanal cuisine.

Pros: Food halls offer a relaxed atmosphere, quick service, and easy access to food for customers.

Cons: Some in the industry believe that food halls are not as fashionable as once.


This is coffee-centric. Some coffee shops may use other models (drive-thru or grab-and-go or kiosk), but a small cafe or lounge is more of an informal restaurant that offers a limited menu and allows customers to order to-go.

The pros: American coffee drinkers continue to be interested in the beverage.

Cons: Customers may not find it as convenient and quick as other small restaurants. Small cafes and restaurants that are most popular in high foot traffic areas tend to be the best.


The pop-up restaurant is a descendant of the supper club popularized in the 1930s. It can be an exciting way for chefs to reach new audiences, and it’s a great way for them to do so. Pop-ups can attract investors and customers and as a jumping-off point to build a larger restaurant.

Pros: A limited menu makes pop-ups efficient. They are also a great way for chefs and restaurant owners to market their concepts.

Cons: A pop-up can only last for one day, and unless followed by a full-scale restaurant opening, it’sit’s not a viable option for entrepreneurs looking to make a long-term investment.


A snack bar is one of the most casual restaurant options. Snack bars are food counters that sell snacks, drinks, or other light menu items. You might find prepared food from other sources and bring it to the counter. Others may only have a small kitchen to make hot dogs, hamburgers and similar items.

Pros: A snack bar is an excellent option when it’sit’s part of a larger operation, such as a poolside spot at a hotel.

Cons: Entrepreneurs have higher aspirations than just a small restaurant idea.


A ghost restaurant concept is a popular option for restaurant delivery. It’sIt’s predicted that restaurant delivery will grow in popularity between 2018-2023 to three times the number of dine-in sales. All orders are shipped, and there is no dining area.

The pros: A ghost kitchen requires only cooks and management. Some people may choose to share a kitchen.

Cons: Marketing and promotion can make or break ghost restaurants since there is no physical storefront.


Although this type of restaurant isn’tisn’t as affordable as others, it is a great investment in fine dining. Here are a few examples of small fine-dining establishments.

Con: A small footprint means a lower rent/overhead. It almost feels like a permanent pop-up.

Cons: The cuisine at this restaurant is more expensive than other small restaurants. This can lead to higher overhead costs.


Fast food needs no introduction. It’sIt’s fast, efficient, reliable. These restaurants are big businesses because of their drive-thru windows.

The pros: Customers don’tdon’t even need to leave their car at a restaurant or food truck, which is an advantage for busy commuters. Fast-food restaurants often operate as part of a franchise system, making them more efficient, profitable and streamlining their operations.

Cons: Fast food restaurants can be a bad place to eat; it’sit’s all about getting the food you want. The food is less high-quality, offering a lower quality experience. It is possible to spend upwards of $1,000,000 to open the top fast-food franchises.


Fast-casual can be described as a mix of fast-food and casual dining. Fast food is often a more expensive option because the food and drinks are usually of higher quality. Although the ordering process is similar to that of fast-food restaurants, with a menu board displayed at the counter, fast-casual restaurants don’tdon’t often have a drive-thru window.

You will find a more sophisticated atmosphere inside, with more comfortable seating and soft lighting.

Pros: Fast-casual has been growing for many years and continues to drive the restaurant industry growth. Startup costs are comparable to those of fast-food restaurants and are very affordable. Franchise owners have the option to rely on support and guidance from franchisors for both startup and ongoing operations.

Technological advancement is increasing business for fast-casual restaurants like Wayback Burgers. They have an app for customers and recently introduced a small, electric delivery vehicle that cooks burgers on-site using a mobile kitchen.

Cons: Customers may not find it as convenient due to the lack of a drive-through window. However, customers prefer a better quality product over the convenience offered by a drive-thru.

Wayback Burgers has a small footprint but a lot of upsides. The brand’sbrand team is dedicated to finding new ways for franchisees that increase revenue and add value to their customers.


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