Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy A Restaurant?

Learn more about opening a restaurant with our complete guide.

Is it cheaper to build or buy a restaurant? This is a question that many restaurateurs face at one point or another during the life of their business. There are pros and cons to both options, and the final decision depends on a variety of factors. In this post, we’ll explore the topic in depth and help you make the best decision for your business.

The Pros And Cons Of Building A Restaurant

Building a restaurant from scratch is the most expensive and time-consuming option, but it also offers a few advantages. If you build your own restaurant, you’ll be able to customize every aspect of the design to perfectly fit your vision. From décor and layout to budgeting for kitchen equipment, building will give you complete control over how your space looks and functions. On the other hand, building comes with its own set of challenges. You’ll need to secure financing for construction costs and source materials in addition to managing a wide variety of contractors. Also, depending on where you plan to open your business, there may be additional zoning laws or permits that must be acquired before breaking ground.

The Pros And Cons Of Buying A Restaurant

Buying an existing restaurant may be cheaper and easier than building one, but there are still a few things to consider. If you choose to purchase an existing space, you’ll get the benefit of taking over the infrastructure that’s already in place. This means less construction and less time spent getting permits — plus, the previous owners may have secured favorable lease terms with the landlord or invested in quality kitchen equipment. On the other hand, buying a business often requires acquiring additional debt since it’s unlikely you’ll have enough cash on hand for a large purchase like this. In addition, if you’re planning to keep some or all of the existing staff, there will likely be high turnover as employees adjust to new management.

The Final Decision

At the end of the day, deciding whether to build or buy a restaurant is an individual choice that must take into account many factors. Building your own space will give you more control over design and may be easier in terms of financing, but it also comes with considerable upfront costs that can add up quickly. Buying an existing restaurant offers convenience and faster access to resources, but it also brings its own set of risks that must be assessed carefully before making any commitments.


Whether you choose to build or buy a restaurant, there are pros and cons to both options — and the final decision should come down to what’s best for your business. Do your research and consult with experts before committing to either option, and make sure you have the financial resources to support the choice you make.



Related FAQs

Building your own restaurant gives you full control over every aspect of design and allows you to create a space that perfectly reflects your vision. You’ll also be able to manage all associated construction costs, including kitchen equipment, and secure financing if needed.  
Before purchasing an existing business, it’s important to carefully assess both the short-term and long-term risks involved. In addition to analyzing any necessary permits or zoning laws, make sure you can afford the purchase price as well as any debt associated with taking on additional funds. It’s also essential to take into account potential turnover from employees and customers who may not be comfortable with new management.  
Yes, it’s always recommended to consult with experienced professionals before committing to either building or buying a restaurant. An experienced advisor can help you assess your options and provide guidance on how best to move forward.  
The cost of building a restaurant from scratch depends on the size and scale of the project, as well as any necessary permits or zoning laws. Generally speaking, construction costs for something like this can range anywhere between $500,000 and $1 million USD. It’s important to factor in additional expenses like kitchen equipment, furniture and fixtures.  
Yes, it is possible to secure financing for a restaurant purchase, depending on the lender’s requirements and your credit score. Before applying for any loans or lines of credit, make sure you have all the necessary documents — including financial statements and business plans — ready to present to potential lenders.  
The biggest risk associated with buying an existing restaurant is that it may require taking on debt in order to cover the purchase price. This can lead to significant financial strain if not managed properly. Additionally, there is the risk of taking on liabilities from the previous owner, such as unpaid taxes or other debts.  
The timeline for building a restaurant depends largely on the scale and complexity of the project. Generally speaking, you can expect it to take anywhere between six months and two years to complete construction — although this can vary depending on factors like local regulations and weather conditions.  
Yes, when purchasing an existing business, you may be eligible for certain tax benefits that would not otherwise be available if you were to build your own space. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim deductions such as depreciation expenses and property tax abatements.  
The cost of remodeling a restaurant depends largely on the scope of the project and whether or not any structural changes are required. Generally, you can expect it to cost anywhere between $10 and $25 per square foot — although this figure can vary significantly depending on the type of renovation being done.  
When inspecting a potential restaurant property, look for signs of wear-and-tear that could indicate potential problems in the future. Make sure to check out the roof and foundation, as well as any other structural components that could need repairs. Additionally, look for any pests or rodents, which can be a sign of an infestation.      

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