You want to open a restaurant, but you don’t have a ton of cash to back it. What do you do? We’ve got some ideas that will fit perfectly with the trends coming into 2020. Not every restaurant has to cost a fortune to open.

Food Trucks

Food trucks are still a popular trend in the restaurant industry right now. Although the rise of the food trucks has slowed down a bit, they’re still a great way to service customers like a regular restaurant, without breaking the bank. One of the added benefits is that you aren’t committed to one location. It gives you the freedom to ride about town and discover where your ideal customers actually are. They still cost to start up, but it isn’t nearly the amount it would cost to start a brick and mortar restaurant.

Pop-up Restaurants

Pop-up restaurants are a fun way for chefs to start getting their name out there and express their creativity in a non-committal way. A pop-up is just what it sounds like, a restaurant that shows up for a few days, weeks, or months, in a temporary location. You can get really creative with these, too, like The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf did with their Friends inspired Central Perk pop up. The great thing about being a pop-up restaurant is that it isn’t just a themed menu, fast-casual, fine dining, etc. It can literally be whatever you want. The key here is that it’s exclusive. A secure location and the necessary permits are all you really need!

Ghost Kitchens

Delivery is only going to get hotter in 2020. Ghost kitchens allow a restaurant to meet those demands while having significantly lower overhead costs. A ghost kitchen is a kitchen with no dining space. Sometimes restaurateurs even share a commercial kitchen space to operate out of. Plus, it’s completely competitive in the regular restaurant industry because of the rise in delivery orders. The sustainability is there at a fraction of the cost to run it.


Similar to ghost kitchens, catering allows you to offer a menu without needing a dining space. Many successful stories have started with catering. Because catering takes a lot of skill, communication, and talent, it’s the perfect way to test the hospitality waters. Not everyone is cut out for the restaurant industry. If you can make it as a caterer, owning a restaurant might not seem so daunting after all!

Small Restaurants

Sometimes one of the most underrated solutions to opening a restaurant while on a budget is opening a small restaurant. Some of the best restaurants only have 10 seats. Plus, having a small restaurant allows you to create an ambiance that bigger restaurants can’t. Having only three tables filled will feel like your place is poppin’. Where in a bigger space, having only three tables filled would feel like a ghost town. Another pro to small restaurants is exclusivity. If you can get creative and create a space that is “instagrammable”, you’ll have people lined up wanting to get the experience of your adorable space. Soon the word will be out: “you have to get there early before the tables fill up”. A small space creates a sense of urgency. There’s a lot that goes into starting up a successful restaurant but luckily, money isn’t everything. What matters is a good concept and understanding what the people want. Listen, the bottom line is that whatever you decide to open, the restaurant industry is tough and running a business is demanding. Don’t over complicate things. Eater Creative is well versed in creating restaurants people can’t stop eating at, no matter the size. We’ve got you covered.