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How to start a restaurant in Uganda

How to start a restaurant in Uganda. A restaurant is a business that prepares and serves food and drinks to customers (according to Wikipedia)

Let us look at the steps of how one can start a restaurant in Uganda.

1) Make a Restaurant Business

There is no business that does not require a business plan.

A restaurant business plan will describe all the aspects of your new restaurant, from your employees, plan of action, source of income and your business location.

How to start a retaurant in Uganda
People Dining

A properly written business plan will help you get funding from potential investors and also you can easily get a business loan to start a restaurant in Uganda when you have a business plan.

A well-written business plan will have the following:

  1. Executive Summary – The executive summary goes near the beginning of the plan but is written last. It should provide a short, concise and optimistic overview of your business that captures the reader’s attention and gives them an interest in learning more about it.
  2. Company Overview and Description – The company summary is a high-level look at what you are as a company and how all the elements of the business fit together
  3. Concept and Menu – In this section, you will clearly describe all the details of your restaurant concept and menu.
  4. Management and Ownership Structure – The Management and Ownership section of a business plan features short biographies of the key personnel involved in forming and running the business. You should include key staff personnel and members of your Board of Directors.
  5. Employees and Staffing Needs – In this section, you will list the number of employees your restaurant needs.
  6. Marketing and Competitor Analysis – In this section of your business plan, you need to provide a competitive analysis that is devoted to analyzing your competition- both your current competition and potential competitors who might enter your market. The marketing portion of a business plan addresses four main topics: product(What is the good or service your business will provide), price(How much will you charge? How do you balance sales volume and price to maximize income?), promotion(How will your product or service be positioned in the marketplace?), and place(Which sales channels will you use? Will you sell by telephone or will your product be carried in retail outlets?).
  7. Advertising and Marketing Strategies – Here, you will use the marketing analysis you completed in the previous step to choose the right marketing strategies.

2) Choose a Restaurant Concept

A restaurant concept is an overall idea or theme that defines the restaurant.

What will your restaurant be about? what will you sell in your restaurant?

How will your menu look like, How will you price your dishes and the style of cuisine you will sell (A Cuisine is a characteristic style of preparing food, often associated with a place of origin. e.g French cuisine)

The interior arrangement of your restaurant should also be considered when making your concept.

3) Create a Menu for your Restaurant

A menu is a presentation of a detailed list of food items and drinks served in a restaurant with a price tag on each item.

Your menu should be arranged well in either a descending way(The most-priced item comes first) or ascending way(The most-priced item comes last).

Make it easy for customers to search for dishes by arranging items sequentially and in logical groups, starting with the appetizers.

Use an easy-to-read typography when making a menu, and also choose good and appropriate colours.

Remember this; Your menu style talks a lot about your restaurant brand.

4) Get Funds

The next step needed to start your new restaurant is to obtain funding.

Opening a restaurant may require a big sum of startup capital that you may not have at hand.

This is where you need to get funding from outside sources like banks.

You can make an estimate of the amount of money required to start up your restaurant and all the money that is required to operate your restaurant for a period of a year.

With this estimation in hand, compare the total costs needed to start your restaurant to the amount of money you have currently.

If you find you have enough money to cover all expenses, then you don’t need to get funding from other sources but if you find yourself short of capital, then you need to consider getting outside funding.

You can get funding for your new restaurant from sources like;

  • A Bank – Most banks provide business startup loans with very low interest attached to them. However, to get a bank loan, you need collateral and a good credit score.
  • Friends and Family – You can not underestimate the might of family and friends when looking for startup funding. With a well-written business plan, you can ask your friends and family to lend you money for your startup you can even ask them to buy shares in your restaurant.
  • Government Grant – Though it may not be easy to get, a government grant (A government grant is a financial award given by a federal, state or local government authority for a beneficial project) can be used to fund your business as well.
  • Investors – an investor is a person or organization that puts money into financial schemes, property, etc. with the expectation of achieving a profit. Investors may be hard to come by but with sites like AngelList, you can easily find an investor for your restaurant.
  • Crowdfunding – Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising money from a large number of people who each contribute a relatively small amount, typically via the internet. Sites like Kickstarter and GoFundMe are great platforms to raise money to cover your startup costs.
  • Venture Capitalists – Venture capitalists are well-off investors, investment banks, and any other financial institutions that provide financing to startup companies and small businesses that are believed to have long-term growth potential.

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We have a whole list of currently active venture capitalists that can fund your restaurant business.

5) Choose a location for your Restaurant

As you choose a location for your business, you need to consider the following;

Visibility and Accessibility– Select a location that is visible enough and can be easily accessible by everyone. 

Local Competition  Choose locations where restaurants similar to yours are but don’t get too close to the restaurants that have the same concept and cuisine as yours.

As you choose your space, remember you can buy the land and build your restaurant building or you can lease an already built house and make your restaurant in it.

Your restaurant needs to be located in a demographic that has your customers. You need to position your restaurant in an area a place that already has restaurants that are like yours because chances are high that you will have many customers in that place.

But don’t put your restaurant too close to your competitors. You will start competing for the direct market. Place your restaurant some distance from the competitor’s restaurants.

6) Get The Permits and Licences

To start a new restaurant in Uganda, you need to register it and obtain an operating license.

It is advisable to have a lawyer or an attorney when registering your restaurant and applying for all the required permits and licenses.

You need a business licence, an operating licence and also a food serving permit.

7) Design a Layout For Your Restaurant

The layout of your restaurant needs to be well-planned. There should be enough space for your customers to seat and have their meals served to them.

Your restaurant needs to be neat and there are 2 places you need to carefully consider when arranging your restaurant.

This is the place where your customers will seat and the place where the food will be prepared – the Kitchen.

The place where your customers will seat and have their meals should be big enough to meet the requirements of a square footage per customer.

Your dining room furniture needs to be clean and well-organised. The floor should be made of materials that are easy to clean and disinfect.

You can also enhance your restaurant’s ambience through the use of decor and lighting.

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When designing your kitchen layout, you should add the following; An area where you will clean all the dirty plates and cups, a food preparation space where the restaurant staff will prepare meals, and cooling machines for soft drinks.

8) Find a Supplier

When starting a restaurant, you need equipment and machines to help you in your work. Some of the equipment that your restaurant may need are;

  • Refrigerators
  • Cooking equipment
  • Driers
  • Ovens
  • Bread toasters

You can buy all this equipment online or you can go to the shop directly and buy yourself the required equipment.

Jumia Uganda is reputable in selling cooking equipment and if you buy in bulk, they can gove you at a commison. Remember you pay after they have delivered your products.

In addition to buying equipment, you need to find a supplier who will give you raw food. You can deal with food sellers to supply you with food.

It is good to make a contract with these raw food vendors so that they don’t miss supplying you with raw food products.

9. Hire Employees

One of the steps how to start a restaurant in Uganda is hiring staff from managers to waiters to chefs and cleaners.

As the restaurant owner, you need to take time when opening hiring staff for your restaurant.

Remember the workers of your restaurant are the makers or breakers of your business.

You can start by hiring your management team so they can help carry out your mission and hiring goals.

The number of employees to hire and their speciality will vary depending on how big your restaurant is and what services your restaurant will provide.

10. Advertise your Restaurant

This is a must-do for all new businesses and your restaurant inclusive. As a new restaurant, you need to get the word out and attract your future customers.

Advertising provides basic information about your restaurant so that prospective customers know where you’re located and what type of cuisine and food you are serving.

Some of the most successful ways of advertising here in Uganda include;

  • Placing an advert on a radio or TV
  • Using social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp
  • Word of Mouth
  • Using online advertisements like Google Ads.

Your Turn…

It is advisable to host a soft opening function. By this, I mean that you should arrange a day for the grand opening of your restaurant.

Here you can try out your menu, and your cuisine and see how your customers respond to your new restaurant.

That is all we have for you today as far as how to start a restaurant in Uganda is concerned.

Do you have a point that we have not added to the list? please add it in the comments section below and we will gladly add it to the list.

7 thoughts on “How to start a restaurant in Uganda”

  1. Thanks please,
    However please how much can it take me to start a restaurant in mbarara Town which can accommodate 15-20 people


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