Our pre-opening budget is $50,000. The restaurant lease included a substantial amount of equipment but there is still a lot we need. For example, there is no range ($5,000), refrigerated case for cold vegetables and desserts ($1,500), plates, pots, pans or utensils (who knows how much), etc. Most of the inside of the restaurant is brick, but we do have to paint some walls to remove the 15 foot murals which were associated with the theme of our predecessor.
Our space is huge - about 4,000 square feet. Besides the full service kitchen, there are two main dining rooms and a bar from a bygone era (we won't be serving alcohol). There's also a second floor which covers half the area of the restaurant and is semi-exposed to the main floor. It features private dining for groups of 50, our office and another room which we are thinking about using as an employee lounge.
My business partner and I are "accruing" our salary until we see how much money is left in our budget. We have agreed to pay ourselves $500 per week during pre-opening, $1,000 per week for eight weeks after we open, and then a fluctuating salary based on cash flow.
So how much does it cost to open a restaurant? We're making it happen with $50,000, but that's just to get us to opening day. If business starts out slow, we have some additional capital to fall back on...but not much. To keep our costs low we are doing most of the grunt work ourselves. For example, I'm having a great time learning how to use a pressure washer to tackle build-up behind the equipment. Some of our furniture is mis-matched, but in a restaurant with nearly 200 seats and three dining areas, it won't be as noticeable. Still, an extra $50,000 would easily be spent if we had it.
Our goal is to be open on January 17th.