35+ Profitable Restaurant Ideas You Can Start Today [2021]

35+ Profitable Restaurant Ideas You Can Start Today [2021]

Interested in starting a restaurant business in 2021?

We put together 35 of the best restaurant businesses you can start in today.

For each business idea, we’ll show you real-world examples of other restaurant businesses to help you see what it really takes.

Here's the full list:

1. Start a catering business ($240K/year)

Nestor Nidome from Crestmore, California, USA started Elegante Catering ago, a catering business.

  • Revenue: $20,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 10
  • Location: Crestmore, California, USA

For as long as I can remember I have always been attracted to the idea of being a business owner. I’ve tried many businesses starting with my own DJ company. I got some business cards, printed them at Staples, passed them out, and waited for the calls.

It took a bit of time, but eventually, the calls started to come in and bookings started to happen. I did that for a couple of years until one of the DJ gigs some gangsters got into it and I was almost in the middle of a gang fight. Thank GOD things calmed down, but after that, I started looking for another business!

During this same time, the whole tech bubble was growing and I wanted a part of it. I took some coding classes in college and started using HTML to code my website from scratch. I kind of borrowed a lot of ideas from Yahoo but it was going to be mainly focused on my local city. I visited some businesses and got some of them to advertise. Things seemed to be going well when the bubble burst and I was once more left to venture out and look for something else.

how-i-found-success-with-a-20k-month-catering-company-after-starting-many-businesses

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Nestor Nidome, on starting Elegante Catering ($20,000/month) full story ➜

2. Start a food truck ($18M/year)

Jeffrey Mora from Los Angeles, California, USA started Food Fleet over 9 years ago, a food truck.

  • Revenue: $1,500,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 6
  • Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

We started the food truck business in 2012.

We kept finding it very difficult to find locations to operate. We had a booker that we used to find our locations but fell short and we let her go. I took over our booking and found that most people did not want to book just one truck, not only that they were upset that most of the time the trucks didn’t show up or were late.

We learned the real need was not only helping the trucks but providing a turnkey service for the corporations. This was a game-changer for us, we were really struggling financially.

how-i-took-food-trucks-corporate-and-built-a-18m-business

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Jeffrey Mora, on starting Food Fleet ($1,500,000/month) full story ➜

3. Start a vegan restaurant ($360K/year)

Wen Raiti from Jacksonville, Florida, USA started The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. over 5 years ago, a vegan restaurant.

  • Revenue: $30,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 7
  • Location: Jacksonville, Florida, USA

Why did I leave my corporate job to become an entrepreneur? I want to pursue my passion for Healthy Living and Healthy Dieting. I was diagnosed with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) in 2008. After seeing many doctors, undergoing a wide variety of examinations, tests, and scans, I was told that I have no problems with my body.

However, I know that I am not fine because I feel bloated even when I hungry. I decided to take charge of my own health and fate. I did a lot of research regarding digestive system problems. Some research outcomes resonated with me such as selecting the right food combinations, buying less processed foods, and using fresh, organic ingredients enable our system to more easily digest the food that we eat. Regular exercise, making sure to get enough sleep, regularly de-stressing through meditation or by being in nature was also important.

I started incorporating organic food into my diet and over time my whole pantry began to fill with organic produce and spices. I also began a routine of exercise and meditation, even when traveling, I gradually realized that my condition was improving. My IBS has been gone for the last couple of years. I look back and believe that changing my diet and lifestyle transformed my life and cured IBS.

the-ibs-diagnosis-that-led-me-to-a-30k-month-fresh-plant-based-food-restaurant

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Wen Raiti, on starting The House of Leaf & Bean Inc. ($30,000/month) full story ➜

4. Start a japanese restaurant ($21.6M/year)

Jimmy Liang from Quincy, Massachusetts, USA started JP Fuji Group about 23 years ago, a Japanese restaurant.

  • Revenue: $1,800,000/ month
  • Founders: 2
  • Employees: 500
  • Location: Quincy, Massachusetts, USA

I started learning how to make sushi when I was 14. I was taught by my sensei (a word for a teacher in Japanese) at a local Japanese restaurant. Then I realized that sushi wasn’t just my part-time job but it was my passion. When I became the youngest head sushi chef at 18, I also learned that a lot of customers followed me around to eat my food as I worked in different restaurants over the years. So I was inspired to open up my sushi restaurant to serve my not-so-little fan base which I managed to do so in the year 1998.

I was young and I knew that I could take the risk. Being a sushi chef was my best asset and even if I failed I’d still be young to go back to school so I decided to take the risk. In the year 1998, I was 19 at the time, my best friend and I decided to open up our sushi restaurant in Quincy, MA. With all the savings I accumulated from working as a sushi chef, I was finally able to open my restaurant. (Fun fact: our Fuji restaurant was the first-ever sushi restaurant opened in Quincy, MA)

Focus on building your superfans.

how-i-started-a-20m-year-sushi-and-japanese-cuisine-restaurant-group

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Jimmy Liang, on starting JP Fuji Group ($1,800,000/month) full story ➜

5. Develop a restaurant menu online designer tool ($3.6M/year)

Jim Williams from Ashland, OR, USA started MustHaveMenus ago, a restaurant menu online designer tool.

  • Revenue: $300,000/ month
  • Founders: 1
  • Employees: 25
  • Location: Ashland, OR, USA

The idea for MustHaveMenus was a simple one: to replace aging desktop publishing tools with a menu design tool on the web. We also envisioned a wide selection of templates that would make it easy for restaurants to establish all of the cornerstones of marketing: strong branding, strong communication, consistency, etc. We started with a more general market approach, testing different markets to see which were the most receptive and in need of online design. Wedding invitations were a strong one as were church programs. Both of those turned into standalone businesses on their own. But the one that got the team excited, because of our passion for restaurants and great food, was MustHaveMenus.

I can’t say it was an overnight success. The technology risk in this business is very high. Browsers simply couldn’t handle graphics and text placement well in the years before 2010. Our first true editor was available for restaurants by 2009, and we were the first on the web to do so. But this editor still had a lot of problems managing graphics like food photos and logos. Despite the challenges with the software, restaurants still rushed to join us as the power of work-from-anywhere and quick edits online proved appealing.

how-i-started-a-300k-month-easy-online-menu-designer-for-restaurants

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Jim Williams, on starting MustHaveMenus ($300,000/month) full story ➜

6. Start a waterfront restaurant business

Examples of a successful waterfront restaurant business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a waterfront restaurant business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a waterfront restaurant business ➜

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7. Start a buffet-only restaurant business

Examples of a successful buffet-only restaurant business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a buffet-only restaurant business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a buffet-only restaurant business ➜

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8. Start a restaurant supply business

Examples of a successful restaurant supply business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a restaurant supply business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a restaurant supply business ➜

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9. Start a restaurant reservation platform

Examples of a successful restaurant reservation platform:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a restaurant reservation platform:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a restaurant reservation platform ➜

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10. Start a sea food restaurant business

Examples of a successful sea food restaurant business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a sea food restaurant business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a sea food restaurant business ➜

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11. Start an american food restaurant

Examples of a successful american food restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a american food restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an american food restaurant ➜

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12. Start a community restaurant guide business

Examples of a successful community restaurant guide business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a community restaurant guide business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a community restaurant guide business ➜

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13. Start a restaurant menus business

Examples of a successful restaurant menus business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a restaurant menus business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

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14. Start a ghost restaurant business

Examples of a successful ghost restaurant business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a ghost restaurant business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a ghost restaurant business ➜

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15. Start a restaurant meal delivery business

Examples of a successful restaurant meal delivery business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a restaurant meal delivery business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a restaurant meal delivery business ➜

16. Start a shipping container restaurant

Examples of a successful shipping container restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a shipping container restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a shipping container restaurant ➜

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17. Start a hawaiian restaurant

Examples of a successful hawaiian restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a hawaiian restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a hawaiian restaurant ➜

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18. Start a roadside restaurant business

Examples of a successful roadside restaurant business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a roadside restaurant business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a roadside restaurant business ➜

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19. Start a beer garden restaurant

Examples of a successful beer garden restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a beer garden restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a beer garden restaurant ➜

20. Start a restaurant washroom cleaning service business

Examples of a successful restaurant washroom cleaning service business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a restaurant washroom cleaning service business:

Learn more about starting a restaurant washroom cleaning service business ➜

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21. Start a restaurant placemats business

Examples of a successful restaurant placemats business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a restaurant placemats business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a restaurant placemats business ➜

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22. Start a pop-up restaurant

Examples of a successful pop-up restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a pop-up restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a pop-up restaurant ➜

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23. Start a cannabis restaurant

Examples of a successful cannabis restaurant:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a cannabis restaurant:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a cannabis restaurant ➜

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24. Start a fast food business

Examples of a successful fast food business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a fast food business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fast food business ➜

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25. Open a cafe

Examples of a successful cafe:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a cafe:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a cafe ➜

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26. Start a brew pub business

Examples of a successful brew pub business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a brew pub business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a brew pub business ➜

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27. Start a fine dining business

Examples of a successful fine dining business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a fine dining business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a fine dining business ➜

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28. Start a bar business

Examples of a successful bar business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bar business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bar business ➜

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29. Start a takeaway hotels business

Examples of a successful takeaway hotels business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a takeaway hotels business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a takeaway hotels business ➜

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30. Start a juice bar ($240K/year)

Examples of a successful juice bar:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a juice bar:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a juice bar ➜

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31. Start a bakery

Examples of a successful bakery:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a bakery:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a bakery ➜

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32. Start an ice cream parlour business

Examples of a successful ice cream parlour business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a ice cream parlour business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting an ice cream parlour business ➜

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33. Start a cloud kitchen business

Examples of a successful cloud kitchen business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a cloud kitchen business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a cloud kitchen business ➜

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34. Start a quick service food kiosk business

Examples of a successful quick service food kiosk business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a quick service food kiosk business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a quick service food kiosk business ➜

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35. Start a home cooking business

Examples of a successful home cooking business:

Here are some great videos on how to get started with a home cooking business:

For further info, check out these books and products:

Learn more about starting a home cooking business ➜

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Pat Walls,  Founder of Starter Story

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