Cost for Starting a Restaurant

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You have a passion for fast food, and now you think about the cost for starting a burger restaurant?

So it’s time to start with your business plan. This article focuses on how much the cost for starting a restaurant is, especially to buy the necessary equipment. According to, the average startup costs for new restaurants are $175,500 to $750,500. This cost estimation is just a rule of thumb, and it will depend very much on your concept and the size of your restaurant.

This article does not handle all possibilities, but we elaborate a specific example for a 120-seat fast-food burger restaurant in the United States to give you an idea, where to start. Let’s name our new restaurant „Peter’s Burger Joint“.

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A Basic Thought

When it comes to calculating the cost for starting a restaurant, you should focus on what you need and not what you might need. It is therefore advisable to first create the menu and keep it small. A small menu has many advantages:

  • You need fewer devices
  • The quality will increase because you are not distracted
  • The offer gets a more robust profile that the customer will remember more easily
  • It promotes word of mouth
  • The cost of goods decreases
  • And it’s easier to build a unique selling point

Sounds convincing, doesn’t it?

The Concept

The first location of Peter’s Burger Joint is in a busy spot in a city in the United States. Since there is a very high footfall in front of our business premises, our goal is to win our guests from this potential. The focus of our offer is our cheeseburger, which comes with a special sauce.

The Menu

We deliberately keep the menu very small at the beginning to secure top quality and to reduce costs of inefficiency. We take McDonald’s as a model and start with the following menu:

  • Peter’s Cheeseburger with Secret Sauce
  • French fries
  • Soft drinks
  • Milkshakes
  • Coffee
  • Donuts
  • Ice cream
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The Equipment Cost for Starting a Restaurant

The equipment has a huge impact on the cost for starting a restaurant. Therefore, we now determine which equipment is needed to implement the Burger concept and to realize the menu.

Meat Grinder – $1,000

You need a powerful meat grinder to prepare the meat of your hamburger patties. Stainless steel casing makes it easy to clean.

Heavy Duty Hamburger Patty Molding Press – $300

The hamburger press helps you to create consistently portioned burgers for even grilling.

Gas Countertop Charbroiler – $1,500 to $3,000

To grill the hamburger patties, you need a reliable heavy-duty char-broil grill.

Stainless Steel Deep Fryer – $ 1,000 to $2,000

A double deep fryer with enough power helps you to prepare delicious French fries. A good one allows you to reach your ideal temperature with ease and tells you when the temperature goes too high. Get one with an internal thermometer to protect the oil from heating. Gas is more expensive than electric, but it’s better because gas consumes less energy.

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Exhaust Hood – $2,000 to $6,000

The equipment in the kitchen gives off fumes and heat that you must remove from the preparation area. The size of the exhaust hood depends on the length of your hot line. A 48″ hood could meet your needs.

Preparation Table – $1,000

To prepare the hamburgers, you need a stainless steel preparation table.

Worktables – $1,000

To support the meat grinder, the patty press, and the charbroiler, you need solid stainless steel worktables.

Bain-marie – $200 to $600

A bain-marie keeps the prepared food warm.

Triple Sink – $1,000 to $2,000

A stainless steel triple sink is ideal for organized washing, rinsing, and sanitizing.

Food Refrigerator $2,000 to $4,000

You need a refrigerator to store the meat, the cheese, and the ingredients for the sauce.

Countertop Beverage Dispenser   $5,000

A countertop post-mix beverage dispenser prepares sodas and soft drinks and is accessible to service.

Ice cube machine – $2,000 to $4,000

A heavy-duty ice machine produces plenty of fresh ice and is ideal for busy restaurants and bars.

Ice cream machine – $5,000 to $15,000

Produce delicious ice cream with various toppings. The ice cream machine does the job.

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Milkshake Machine – $300 to $600

The milkshake machine should be heavy-duty, stainless steel, robust and powerful to make shakes fast.

Display Case for Donuts – $ 1,500 to $3,000

A refrigerated countertop bakery display case with LED lighting is perfect for presenting your donuts.

Coffee Brewer – $500 – $2,000

Good insulation keeps coffee tasty, fresh, and hot, and compact size saves space.

Dish- and Glasswasher – $6,000 to $10,000

A good dish- and glasswasher is easily accessible, reliable, solid, and energy-efficient.

Restaurant chairs and tables – $9,000 to $30,000

A heavy-duty set of four restaurant chairs and one table costs about $300 to $1,000. With 120 seats, that adds up to $9,000 to $30,000.

Decoration  –  $2,000

We spruce the space with themed wall art and decoration.

POS System & Computers – $5,000

The Point of Sale (POS) is essential as it enables the cashiers to send the customer orders directly into the kitchen. It also ensures the customer has paid for the service. Restaurant managers need computers for managing inventory, scheduling, and payroll. Additionally, they are used for ordering, reservations, and settling payments.

Music System – $1000 to $3,000

To provide chilling background music, we need a sound system.

TV monitors – $2,000 to $5,000

The TV screens show cool videos and entertain our guests.

Crockery, glasses and cutlery – $2,000 – $4,250

250 plates ($2-$5), mugs ($3-$5), drinking glasses ($2-$4) and cutlery ($1-$3) add up to about $2,000 – $4,250.

Total cost

This list is not complete, but it does include the most necessary items. Overall, the cost of the equipment listed is from $ 46,500 to $ 109,750.


To correctly estimate the costs for your restaurant, you should therefore proceed as follows:

  • Define your concept
  • Create your menu
  • Check out what equipment you need to prepare and serve every single product on your menu.

With this information, you can then create a business plan and a budget and stick to them.

Financing Tips

To avoid buying unnecessary equipment, you can buy second-hand items such as furniture. Or you could enter into a lease agreement with a company to use the equipment at a cost. These options may help you kick start your business without stressing financially.

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