Unless they’re independently wealthy or have rich friends or business partners, those who open their own restaurants usually have to secure some kind of funding. There’s equipment and inventory to purchase, construction and renovation projects to cover, and wages and utilities to pay—which doesn’t include the host of other costs, like taxes, fees, and the like.
Where can funding be found?
In most cases, banks won’t be much help. Bankers are well aware that 60% of restaurantsshutter their doors within 12 months and 80% of them go under within five years. What’s more, banks usually rely on historical income data to determine whether to give out loans in the first place. This is information that most restaurants simply cannot provide. It doesn’t exist.
Most of the time, aspiring restaurateurs are forced to find funding through less traditional avenues. Luckily, the process of tracking down that money has been made considerably easier thanks to the Internet. It’s now simple to compare many potential financiers at once.
If you need to secure funding for your restaurant, the following five tips should increase the likelihood you partner with the best business lender right off the bat.
1. Choose a lender that can put money in your hands right away.
The restaurant industry moves quickly. Owners can’t afford to delay the running their restaurants any longer than is absolutely necessary.?
When searching for restaurant loans, look for lenders that promise to get money in your bank account within a few business days. Approvals should be fast and easy, with minimal paperwork required.
With a lender who moves money quickly on your side, you’ll be able to start satisfying your customers’ appetites a whole lot sooner.
2. Look for a lender that has a proven track record.
Instead of making a deal with the first business lender you come across, do your due diligence to make sure the lender is respectable. A quick Google search should give you an indication as to whether customers are generally satisfied with a specific company or individual.
Since securing funding can be critical to the success of your restaurant, you shouldn’t roll the dice on a company that no one’s seemed to vouch for quite yet.
3. Select a lender that prides itself on customer service.
Dealing with finances can be just as stressful in your professional life as it is in your personal one. That being the case, you don’t want to partner with a lender only to find out down the line that the company or individual financier is unbearable to deal with.
Look for companies that put their customers first and are willing to be patient, knowledgeable, and perhaps most importantly, available. You never know when you might have questions about restaurant financing. Do your best to ensure someone will pick up the phone when you do.
4. Pick a lender that offers competitive rates.
It’s one thing to find a nice lender who’s ready to fund your company quickly. It’s another thing to find a lender who can do that at a price point that makes sense for your restaurant.
When looking for loans for your restaurant, look for providers who very visibly advertise their low rates. Some financing platforms include offers from a host of financiers. This allows you to compare and contrast a bunch of lenders at once and find the best rate quickly.
5. Partner with a lender that has flexible repayment terms.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to pay your lender back on a very well-defined schedule.
But it’s nearly impossible for restaurateurs to predict sales and cash flow, particularly when they’ve just recently began serving customers. For example, the best steakhouse in town might have just opened a few months ago. But if the weather has been rather inclement, sales could suffer, making it difficult to stick to a fixed payment schedule.
Due to the unpredictable nature of the restaurant business, you should look for a lender that offers flexible repayment terms. That way, you’ll be able to select a plan that works best for your operations instead of having to figure out how to keep up with less sensible terms.
Finding a business lender for your restaurant can be a bit tricky. But it’s certainly not impossible. By partnering with the right restaurant loan provider, you’ll gain access to the funds you need to grow your business.