69 Questions to Ask a Restaurant Owner

So you’re thinking of opening a restaurant. Congratulations! Opening a restaurant is a big undertaking, but it can also be an incredibly rewarding experience. Of course, there’s a lot you need to know before you take the plunge. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of questions you should ask a restaurant owner before you open your own place.

By asking these questions, you’ll get a better insight into the day-to-day reality of running a restaurant. You’ll learn about the challenges restaurant owners face and the strategies they use to overcome them. You’ll also learn what diners are really looking for when they go out to eat at a restaurant.

Of course, every situation is different, so think of our questions as guidelines rather than absolutes. And don’t be afraid to ask your own questions – the better prepared you are, the better chance you have of success.

69 Questions to ask a restaurateur:

  1. What inspired you to open a restaurant?
  2. What were the biggest challenges you faced when getting started?
  3. How did you decide on the concept for your restaurant?
  4. How do you market your restaurant?
  5. How do you handle negative reviews?
  6. What role does social media play in your marketing strategy?
  7. Do you use delivery or online ordering service?
  8. How do you feel about tipping?
  9. How do you deal with staff turnover?
  10. What’s your philosophy for customer service?
  11. How do you train your staff?
  12. Do you have any tips for dealing with suppliers?
  13. What are some of the most important financial considerations when starting a restaurant?
  14. How do you know when it’s time to expand or open a new location?
  15. How long have you been in business?
  16. What kind of food do you serve?
  17. Do you have any signature dishes?
  18. What’s your target market?
  19. Where did you get the funding?
  20. Who are your vendors?
  21. Do you have any advice on how to find good vendors?
  22. How many employees do you have?
  23. Do you have any advice on how to find good employees?
  24. What kind of restaurants do you like to frequent?
  25. How much did you budget for startup costs?
  26. How did you choose your menu items?
  27. How do you price your menu items?
  28. What kind of atmosphere do you want your restaurant to have?
  29. How did you choose your location?
  30. How did you decorate your space?
  31. Who are your suppliers?
  32. How often do you change your menu?
  33. How do you deal with dissatisfied customers?
  34. What kind of POS system do you use?
  35. How do you manage your inventory?
  36. What experience do you have in the restaurant industry?
  37. Who’s your competition and how do you differentiate yourselves from them?
  38. Are you going to have a full bar? If so, what type of alcohol will you be serving?
  39. How big is your restaurant and how many employees do you need to run it effectively?
  40. What kind of margins are you projecting for your first year of operation? For the next five years?
  41. What are your long-term goals for your restaurant? Do you plan to expand at some point? Sell it? Turn it into a franchise?
  42. What challenges do you anticipate in your first year of operation and how will you overcome them?
  43. Do you use local ingredients?
  44. Where do you source your ingredients?
  45. How has the restaurant industry changed since you started?
  46. What are some trends that you are seeing in the industry?
  47. What are some of your marketing strategies?
  48. How do you measure the success of your restaurant?
  49. Do you have any vegetarian or vegan options?
  50. Do you accommodate special dietary requests?
  51. Do you have a liquor license?
  52. Are your dishes made from scratch?
  53. Do you have a private dining area?
  54. Do you offer catering services?
  55. Do you host special events?
  56. Do you accept walk-in customers?
  57. What kind of wine list do you have?
  58. What are your hours of operation?
  59. Is a reservation required?
  60. How can I make a reservation?
  61. What’s the dress code at your restaurant?
  62. Are there any specials or discounts currently available?
  63. What’s your favorite dish on the menu?
  64. What are your restaurant’s core values?
  65. How would you describe your culinary style?
  66. Are there any restrictions on what can be brought into the restaurant (e.g., outside food or drinks)?
  67. How can I get involved with your restaurant?
  68. Do you have any tips for promoting a new restaurant?
  69. Do you have any advice for aspiring restaurateurs?

Frequently Asked Questions

What do you call a restaurant owner?

A restaurant owner is often referred to as a restaurateur, a term that conveys the idea of someone who has both culinary and business expertise. A restaurateur is responsible for creating and running a successful restaurant, often through careful planning and management of resources such as staff, food, and finances.

Depending on experience and skills, restaurant owners may also be involved in activities such as cooking or purchasing ingredients for the menu. Ultimately, their success depends on their ability to provide quality food and services that meet the needs and preferences of their customers.

Is it hard to own a restaurant?

Owning a restaurant can be a challenging but rewarding experience. There are many factors to consider when you run a restaurant, from food and service to business operations and financial management. 

To be successful, you must be organized, focused, and dedicated. It can also be difficult to deal with the many challenges that come with the job, such as staffing issues, unexpected costs, and competition from other restaurants in your area. 

All in all, however, owning a restaurant can be a very rewarding and satisfying endeavor if you put in the time and effort necessary to succeed.

Is a restaurant a good investment?

That’s a matter of perspective. On the one hand, owning and operating a restaurant can be incredibly lucrative, offering a high return on investment and the potential for high profits. 

On the other hand, starting a restaurant also comes with significant risks, such as high overhead costs, strict regulations that can be difficult to navigate, and fierce competition from other restaurants in the area. 

Whether owning a restaurant is a good investment ultimately depends on your individual goals and circumstances, as well as your ability to overcome the many challenges associated with this type of business.


These are just a few important questions to get you started as you begin researching the feasibility of opening a restaurant – but the list is by no means exhaustive. If you need more help getting started in the exciting (and often challenging ) world of owning an eatery, consider contacting a restaurant consultant near you. With their help, experience, and expertise, opening a successful restaurant can be within reach. Bon appetit!

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