Opening a restaurant in Montreal: the short guide

How to open a restaurant in Montreal

Have you always dreamed of opening your own restaurant in Montreal, but don’t know where to start? Don’t worry, this article will guide you step by step through the opening process, from developing your concept to promoting your restaurant. The following article ”Opening a restaurant in Montreal: the little advice guide” guides you through a list of essentials for the successful opening of your restaurant.

Choosing your restaurant concept

A successful restaurant must be based on a solid concept with a clear guideline. Your restaurant should reflect your vision, philosophy and values. These will be a trigger for attracting target customers. Take the time to think about what you want to offer, and above all to define your catering concept.

Restaurant types

There are several types and concepts of restaurants, such as :

  • Bistros
  • Gourmet restaurants
  • Fast food
  • Coffee
  • Theme restaurants
  • Fast-casual concept
  • Family restaurant
  • and many more

It’s important for you to know which type of restaurant best suits your skills. But above all, you need to know that each type of concept is managed differently, and requires different skills.

Defining your culinary offer

Depending on the type of restaurant you choose, you’ll need to define your culinary offering. What is your culinary theme? Your theme must have a guiding principle. This can be based on your choice of cuisine origin (French, Italian, Asian, etc.). You may decide to create a seasonal menu. Create a menu based on a specific concept. Define your culinary offer. But this is only part of the success story of your future restaurant.

Market analysis

Before taking the plunge and opening a restaurant, it’s crucial to analyze your local market and get to know your competitors.

Know your competitors

You need to identify your main competitors. They may be restaurants with similar offers to yours. These are your direct competitors. There is indirect competition in the form of various concepts. Study your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses. This will enable you to differentiate and better position yourself in the market.

Identify your target customers

Determine the profile of your potential customers and their specific needs. Your catering concept, your food offer, is aimed at certain customer segments. You need to know who they are. This will help you adapt your offer to better meet their expectations. The customer segments are different, such as ;

  • Professional customers
  • Families
  • Students
  • The women
  • 25 à 35
  • Vegetarians

As you can see, you won’t be able to reach everyone at first. So target your customers.

Finding the ideal location

Your restaurant’s location is essential to attracting customers and ensuring your success. But not every restaurant concept can be established in every location.

Accessibility and visibility

Choose a location that is easily accessible for your customers, with good visibility from the street. It could be a premises on a street corner. Take into account the availability of spaces, parking and proximity to public transport. These are just a few parameters.

Proximity to your target customers

Make sure your chosen location is close to your target customers. For example, if you’re targeting students, it might be a good idea to open your restaurant close to a university, close to student life. Which makes sense. if you have decided to target a professional clientele, your premises will be located in a professional context, at least semi-professional.

Create a solid business plan

A well-structured business plan is a genuine management tool. It is essential for convincing future investors and obtaining financing.

Determine your budget

Set a realistic budget for opening your restaurant. You’ll need to take into account the initial costs of opening your restaurant, such as inventory, permits, work, equipment purchases, etc. There’s also the marketing budget, IT equipment, working capital, etc. Take the time to evaluate all the costs involved in opening your restaurant.

Forecast operating costs

Estimate your restaurant’s monthly and annual operating costs, taking into account fixed and variable charges. This will enable you to draw up financial forecasts and determine your break-even point.

Comply with local regulations

To open and operate a legal restaurant in Montreal, it’s essential to comply with current regulations.

Obtain the necessary permits and licenses

Check with local and provincial authorities to find out about the different types of permits and licenses required to open a restaurant in Montreal. You’ll need to obtain various types of permit, depending on the type of restaurant concept, the location and the regulations in force in your target area.

Comply with health and safety standards

Make sure you comply with Montreal’s food safety and hygiene standards. You may be subject to regular inspections to verify compliance. You’ll also get a visit from MAPAQ, the agency that issued your restaurant permit.

Hiring and training competent staff

The success of your restaurant also depends on the quality of your team.

Recruiting qualified employees

Take the time to select competent and, above all, motivated employees to ensure quality service for your customers. Depending on your catering concept, you’ll need different kinds of skills. This could include chefs, waiters, dishwashers and administrative staff.

Ongoing training

Invest in your team’s ongoing training to maintain a high level of competence and encourage their professional development. This training must be in line with the company’s needs. The idea is to promote training and boost your sales.

Promoting your restaurant

Once your restaurant is open, it’s important to promote it to attract customers. You’ll have to implement various marketing and communication strategies.

Online and offline marketing

Implement an effective marketing strategy, combining various online actions (website, social networks, local referencing) and offline actions (advertising, flyers, local partnerships).

Organizing inauguration events

Organize special events for the opening of your restaurant, such as an inauguration party. This will give you a chance to get your bearings before the official opening. Set up a loyalty program as soon as you open your restaurant. free tastings or special offers. This will create a buzz around your establishment.


So, what can we learn from the article: Opening a restaurant in Montreal: the little advice guide. Opening a restaurant in Montreal is an exciting project, but one that requires meticulous preparation and a good knowledge of the local market. By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll be able to create a restaurant that meets your customers’ expectations and stands out from the competition. Good luck in this entrepreneurial adventure!

FAQ: Opening a restaurant in Montreal: the short guide

1. What are the most popular types of restaurants in Montreal?

Montreal is a cosmopolitan city with a diverse culinary scene. Popular restaurants include bistros, gourmet restaurants, fast-food outlets, cafés and theme restaurants. There are no good or bad concepts, it’s how you market them that makes the difference.

2. What are the regulations for opening a restaurant in Montreal?

Local regulations include obtaining the necessary permits, complying with hygiene and food safety standards, and complying with labor laws.

3. How can I promote my restaurant in Montreal?

You have several options. To promote your restaurant, don’t hesitate to break down your marketing and communication strategies. Combine different marketing actions to draw attention to your establishment.

Philippe Bertrand

Founder of the Quebec Restaurant Entrepreneurship Center

  • Master of Restaurant and Hospitality Management
  • Licence Rights-Economy-Management: Creating and taking over a restaurant

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