How Much Does It Cost to Open a Restaurant in Manchester? [Restaurant Startup Costs]

Ryan Gromfin

Ryan GromfinAuthor

Let's talk about what it costs to open a restaurant in Manchester.

Starting your own restaurant is a big deal and pretty exciting too.

After wondering "How do I get my restaurant started?" the next big question is "How much is this going to cost?"

There's a lot to think about, and things can differ from business to business, so there’s no one straightforward answer. But in this article, we're going to walk through all the different costs you need to think about.

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How much does it cost to open a restaurant in Manchester?

How Much Does It Cost to Open a Restaurant in Manchester [Average Cost 2023]

Based on your lease, choice of furniture, and the way you set up your space, the overall expenses for starting a restaurant in Manchester can be anywhere from £150,000 to more than £1 million.

Restaurant Opening Cost by Square Foot

For restaurant or hospitality space in Manchester, the cost starts from about £21 per square foot but can be much higher for prime spaces. This amount varies based on the area and whether you decide to rent or buy. And, for restaurants using hundreds or even thousands of square feet, this expense can grow substantially.

If you're thinking about renting, typical restaurant rents in the UK can range from £2,000 to £5,000 a month, with costs going up in busier city spots.

If you're looking to buy an existing 1,500-square-foot restaurant with all the furnishings and equipment, you might start at the lower side of the £150,000 to £1 million spectrum. But starting from zero to build your own place could cost a lot more, maybe £2-3 million for top-notch spots, especially if you're going for high-end construction, equipment, and decor.

Remember, these are just ballpark numbers for kicking off a restaurant – the real expenses can vary a lot. And don't forget, having a solid business plan for your restaurant is key, so make sure it's thorough and accurate.

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What Restaurant Startup Costs You Can Expect

Starting a restaurant in Manchester involves a lot of different factors — there isn't just one cost that fits all situations. But knowing where your money is most likely going to go can help you get a better picture of your overall spending.

And don't forget, failing to plan is planning to fail. Right from the start, you and your team should take the time to plan out everything — that means working out how you're going to pay for all the parts needed to get your restaurant up and running.

In this business, restaurants typically run on tight budgets and have a lot of things to juggle. So, if you start off with a layout that doesn't work well, you might end up paying more for extra staff and losing money because your customers aren't satisfied. A space that feels uncomfortable or just doesn't flow right might stop people from sticking around longer for another drink. And if the construction is poor or you pick the wrong equipment, you could find yourself paying a lot more later on.

Here are some of the key costs and expenses you'll need to think about when opening a restaurant in Manchester.

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Restaurant Startup Costs Breakdown

Refer to this checklist of restaurant startup expenses to help you start planning and budgeting for your new venture.

1. Utilities

Even if your restaurant isn't fully operational during the initial setup, you still need basic services like gas, water, and electricity up and running. These utility costs can add up quickly; in Manchester, restaurants and bars usually spend about £1,000 to £1,500 monthly on these bills.

Price Range: Each year, expect to spend somewhere between £12,000 and £18,000 on utilities, with the total depending on the size of your place. If you've got a bigger restaurant, those costs will be on the higher end.

2. Location

Choosing the right spot for your new restaurant is a crucial decision. For foodie-lover’s fare, Altrincham Market could be a perfect match. But if you're going for current and contemporary, consider areas like the Northern Quarter and Ancoats. Generally, it's a wise move to invest in a location with plenty of people walking by, instead of just depending on ads to bring people into your new Manchester restaurant.

Depending on your concept, you might also be in a position to consider a few different options:

  • Building from the ground up and investing in new construction.
  • Opening in an existing building and purchasing an operating restaurant.
  • Converting an existing commercial space into a restaurant space.

Each choice comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, and this will impact your initial expenses. There aren't definitive right or wrong choices — but with thorough research, you can make a well-informed decision about which option is the best fit for your needs.

3. Interior Finishes and Equipment

This is where all the little costs start to add up. You definitely need kitchen equipment, utensils and big appliances. Your Manchester restaurant also needs furnishings and decor to show off your brand to your customers. And don't forget about the back-of-house essentials like signage, lights, sound systems, and phones.

It's really easy to go over budget here, so careful planning is key to avoid blowing through your initial funds. The big-ticket items affecting your budget will mostly be your kitchen equipment and furniture, which will depend on the size of your kitchen and dining space.

Price Range: You'll likely spend anywhere from £35,000 to £100,000 on equipment and decor.

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4. Pre-Opening Expenses

Everything needs to be in place, ready, and operational the moment you welcome guests into your new Manchester eatery.

Investing in training is crucial to ensure your staff is ready and works well together, so don't skimp on a good training program. Also, make sure your kitchen and storage are fully stocked from day one. You'll need food, plates, drinks, glasses, and all other essentials to provide an excellent experience for your visitors.

Price Range: Expect to spend somewhere between £25,000 and £40,000 on food and utensils, and around £2,100 monthly for each staff member.

5. Marketing

This aspect is really all about what kind of restaurant you're planning to open. If it's a franchise, a lot of the advertising might be taken care of for you. However, if you're opening a brand-new place in a competitive spot, you might need to invest more in advertising and promotional efforts to stand out from the crowd.

For an upscale restaurant in Manchester, partnering with a PR firm to gain some visibility could be a smart move, or you might end up in the spotlight thanks to media interest in your venue.

Kicking things off with social media is a great way to begin engaging with new customers, and as your following increases, moving into email marketing can be very beneficial. The amount you spend on marketing and PR will depend on the characteristics of your restaurant, the competition in your area, and other specific factors that you, as the owner, will understand best.

Price Range: Typically, 3 to 6% of your total sales.

6. Capital and Contingency

Even if your Manchester restaurant quickly becomes an overnight hit, remember that it will take some time before things run seamlessly. Anticipate sales to grow slowly and be aware that it may take a while to turn casual customers into regulars. This is why it’s wise to have some funds and a reserve set aside to help your restaurant during the first six months, which could see fluctuating or lower-than-expected sales.

Price Range: Allocate 10-20% of your initial startup expenses for emergency situations.

7. Exterior Finishes

Don't just focus on the inside of your restaurant. If you have any say over the facade of the space, putting money into the exterior with good design, lighting, and plants can really make your place pop. And if you've got space outside for dining, make the most of it when the weather's nice.

Even if altering the outside of the building isn't an option, clear signs are crucial for letting people know you're open and ready to welcome them.

Price Range: You could be looking at spending anywhere from £100 to £100,000, but keep in mind there may be additional costs for any necessary planning permissions.

8. Organisational and Development Costs

This might be the part you're dreading in the process of opening a restaurant, but it's essential. You need to get and pay for your restaurant's licences and permits, make initial insurance deposits, and cover starting costs for utilities such as gas, electricity, and water.

Getting through this part can take as much time as it does money, so it's crucial to get to know the specific licences and permits required to launch your restaurant in Manchester.

Price Average: Expect to pay between £100 and £1,905 for licences, and between £750 and £1,500 annually for insurance.

9. Professional Services

If you're new to the hospitality industry, it's a good idea to look for extra help from professionals. Bringing on a restaurant consultant and seeking advice from specialists like architects, solicitors, and interior designers might be a wise move to ensure your restaurant starts off on the right foot.

Price Range: You could spend between £0 and £55,000, depending on whether you decide to hire professionals.

10. Technology

Your technology is key to making your restaurant run smoothly. Every venue needs a good point-of-sale (POS) system, and depending on the unique style of your restaurant, you might need other gadgets and tech to keep things moving without a hitch.

For instance, full-service restaurants could really use handheld POS devices to speed up customer service, while quick-service places might do well with a kitchen display system and data tracking to help understand the business better. You can learn more about each here. 

Price Range: Get a quote.

11. Food Cost

Because this is at the heart of your restaurant offering, it's vital to ensure you have everything for a smooth start. Running low on food supplies, especially early on, can disappoint your customers. Moreover, a well-supplied inventory means your kitchen team has what they need to provide seamless service. Just like everything else in the restaurant business, the typical monthly cost for food will vary depending on your restaurant, including the type of cuisine you serve and what's on the menu.

Price Average: Generally, allocate 25% to 35% of your total food and beverage sales to stock their inventory.

Bonus Cost: Franchise Fees

Needless to say, this cost won't apply if your Manchester restaurant is not a franchise business. But if it is, be ready to invest a significant sum. Here is a list of typical initial costs for established restaurant franchises*:

  • McDonald’s: Between £350k and £1.85m
  • Pret a Manger: Approximately £500,000 
  • Costa Coffee: £250,000 to £800,000
  • Five Guys: Approximately £300,000
  • Domino’s: Approximately £350,000 
  • Subway: Between £85,000 and £220,000

*Data collected in November of 2023 and subject to change. 

Assembling Your Restaurant Startup Dream Team

It's well-known that restaurants can face difficulties and sometimes fail because they don't have adequate funding. Coming up short in funds can turn an already difficult restaurant industry into an even bigger challenge. To avoid these typical problems, it's crucial to work with professionals at every step of the way.

Here is a list of trades and professionals that you should consult as you plan to open your restaurant:

  • Real estate agents
  • Solicitor 
  • Accountants
  • General construction contractors
  • Marketing firms
  • Architects

Seek advice from such experts to ensure you're heading in the right direction. Whenever you can, look for specialists who have specific experience with restaurant and hospitality businesses.

Open a Restaurant without Closing Your Bank Account

Before jumping into starting a restaurant, assess your available funds and decide how you'll allocate them among various needs. For example, you might decide early to spend more on renovations than on advertising.

Be meticulous with your budget planning and strive for precision. While your final costs might end up being much more or less than expected, starting out with a well-considered and realistic budget will improve your likelihood of succeeding in the Manchester restaurant scene.

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