10 surprising pre-opening expenses for your new cafe or restaurant


You’ve signed the lease and have the keys for your new premises. There’s a business plan, trades-people organised and the equipment will soon be delivered. Now it’s time for the installation and working with trades people to get the shop open as soon as possible.

So what are some of the surprise pre-opening expenses that you may not have expected?

  • Wages for the great chef you've found, even if you're not open for another month. You hadn't planned on an extra 4 weeks of wages, but if you don't sign her now she'll be gone.
  • Installing a grease trap! Maybe the building was previously a bookshop, so wastewater was not an issue. The lease puts responsibility for these installations firmly onto you - and they cost at least $5000. Your lawyer may have advised about this, but you were so keen to get this shop!
  • Plumbing to bring a new gas line into the kitchen - the existing one can't supply enough gas for the fryers and the big stove.
  • Rewiring the ceiling lights after you discovered faulty fittings. Again, the building lease makes it clear that this is your responsibility!
  • Repairs for the coolroom - the motor on the second-hand unit you bought is shot, and it will cost $2000 to pay for a new one.
  • Solid training time for the new staff - you know it's important. They need to be paid for their time, and it adds up to another $1000.
  • A website that's as good as your food - simple, stylish and informative. Essential to catch the attention of Google and social media. You need at least $1000-2000 to have something respectable.
  • Modern, comfortable chairs - you realise cheap stools or hard metal aren't right for the people you're targetting. If you want people to stay and spend more, this is essential.
  • Acoustic panels for the ceiling - after a couple of pre-opening events, your honest friends said they loved the food and hated the noise. This fix can't wait.
  • Decent tableware, wine glasses and cutlery. You're creating a stylish look, and this means good quality pieces, not the cheap stuff. Good plates can cost $10-20 each, and a knife and fork $2 each and more. Add it up!

So where did the money go - you started with $150,000?

First there were the legal, leasing and landlord costs, then there were all the renovation costs. Your clever friends (in safe jobs) told you to pay cash for equipment, which you did - spending more than $100,000 of your hard-earned savings. Now you're 2 weeks from opening and out of essential funds to finish the job - help!

Don't panic, Silver Chef's Buy Back program can repurchase and finance new equipment that you've purchased in the last 6 months, releasing funds and saving you from cashflow nightmares. Your situation here is not unusual, and flexible funding means you can make the first months of business as good as your vision, without cutting corners.

Call Silver Chef on 0800 453 010 to find out more, or message us here.