The Best Books on Starting a Restaurant

BookSummaryClub Blog The Best Books on Starting a Restaurant

So many of our best moments are based around food.

In this guide, you’ll find a list of the best books on starting a restaurant and reasons why we love each book.

Restaurant Success by the Numbers, Second Edition: A Money-Guy’s Guide to Opening the Next New Hot Spot

Restaurant Success by the Numbers, Second Edition: A Money-Guy’s Guide to Opening the Next New Hot Spot
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Roger Fields (Author) – Jonathan Yen (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 09/26/2017 (Publication Date) – Tantor Audio (Publisher)

You measure your business success in dollars; This is a fact we sometimes forget when we’re up to our ears in details.

Keeping track of spendings and gains is paramount to the survival of any project.

It’s even more critical in the restaurant business, where the money is made and spent in small increments.

There are many numbers in the book that show a different perspective of the food industry as a whole. I’d certainly recommend it to any restaurant owner.

The author Roger Fields was initially a CPA. Then he branched out to the restaurant business. His understanding of both areas is what makes this book such a good read.

Things We Like

  • A unique approach to the restaurant business
  • Unbiased presentation of pros and cons
  • Informative and easy-to-read

Things We Don’t

  • Few readers thought the font was too small

You can check it out here

group of people sitting on brown wooden chair

Cooking Up a Business: Lessons from Food Lovers Who Turned Their Passion into a Career, and How You Can, Too

Cooking Up a Business: Lessons from Food Lovers Who Turned Their Passion into a Career — and How You C an, Too
  • Hofstetter, Rachel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages – 12/03/2013 (Publication Date) – TarcherPerigee (Publisher)

This book is a compilation of true stories in the food business arena. These are real people talking about what works and what doesn’t.

Every chapter is the journey of a different startup, retold to demonstrate each step of the project.

The author Rachel Hofstetter holds a degree in economics from Miami University. She’s a former editor at O, The Oprah Magazine and Reader’s Digest, and she’s currently the founder-in-chief at Guesterly Magazine.

Things We Like

  • Original structure and content
  • Real-life stories from the food business
  • Hands-on advice about the various aspects of culinary startups
  • The part about food safety and scale is very informative
  • There’s an exciting chapter about selling luxury

Things We Don’t

  • It’s a little short on the details of daily operations

You can check it out here

people sitting in front of table talking and eating

Running a Restaurant For Dummies: Second Edition

Running a Restaurant for Dummies
  • Audible Audiobook
  • Michael Garvey (Author) – Shawn Compton (Narrator)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 10/22/2019 (Publication Date) – Tantor Audio (Publisher)

I think there’s a ‘For Dummies’ book on a shelf in every house. Their colossal popularity comes from the wide variety of titles they offer, being well organized and fun to read.

The last two chapters are particularly interesting; they bust ten myths about the food industry and give an account of ten unbelievable restaurant stories. These parts seem to be placed just for fun, but they’re quite informative.

It’s a bit more than a medium-sized book, with 384 pages of practical information. This is the second edition, so we know that it sold well the first time and that it contains updated information.

This book is a collaborative work of three authors:

Michael Garvey, the director of operations at Witchcraft, which is a division of the craft restaurant corporation. Heather Dismore, a professional writer with extensive experience in the restaurant business. Finally, there’s Andrew G. Dismore an award-winning professional chef

Things We Like

  • It’s a step-by-step guide on starting a restaurant
  • It details the process from beginning to end
  • The information is concise and to the point

Things We Don’t

  • It’s fundamental
  • Doesn’t include checklists and other useful material

You can check it out here

The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook: How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation, 4th Edition

The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook: How to Set Up, Operate, and Manage a Financially Successful Food Service Operation 4th Edition – With Companion CD-ROM
  • Hardcover Book
  • Douglas Robert Brown (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 1000 Pages – 09/25/2007 (Publication Date) – Atlantic Publishing Group Inc. (Publisher)

The word ‘handbook’ is highly metaphoric here! With 1000 pages it’ closer to an encyclopedia.

The book covers a broad spectrum of topics, all essentials for starting up and operating a restaurant. I believe it’s a must-read for any restaurant owner or manager.

The author Douglas R. Brown is the best-selling author of software and books on the food industry. He won several awards for his elaborate, detailed and practical writings. He’s also the CEO of Atlantic Publishing Group.

Things We Like

  • It has 28 chapters covering all aspects of running a restaurant
  • It contains technical details on kitchen planning, safety, and management
  • There’s a valuable chapter on hiring the best possible employees
  • The parts on finance, accounting and bookkeeping are on point
  • It’s an award-winning book
  • Suitable for new and experienced restaurant owners

Things We Don’t

  • Some of the information is outdated (since 2007)
  • It’s a bit on the pricey side

You can check it out here

Your First Restaurant – an Essential Guide: How to Plan, Research, Analyze, Finance, Open, and Operate Your Own Wildly-Successful Eatery

Your First Restaurant – An Essential Guide: How to plan, research, analyze, finance, open, and operate your own wildly-succesful eatery.
  • Boardman, Daniel Holmes (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 167 Pages – 01/09/2017 (Publication Date) – Edith Street Publications (Publisher)

The author Daniel Boardman had initially been an architect and spent decades working in the real estate business.

In 2011, he decided to leave all that behind and go into the restaurant business. Although, here’s the catch: he was middle-aged, he didn’t know much about the food industry, and he didn’t have much capital.

He purchased a former cleaning services building, and armed with his background in architecture, he remodeled the building and converted it into Tia Betty Blue’s. The restaurant was a success and was the first of three very successful restaurants.

This 214-page paperback is the full story of Boardman. It’s a good read for anyone who’s starting a business in the food industry or shifting careers later in life.

Things We Like

  • A successful restaurant owner writes it
  • The book approaches various topics with a different perspective
  • There’s an exciting part on why and how restaurants fail
  • It’s very informative about the real estate related sides of the business
  • The book came out in January 2017, so the information is updated

Things We Don’t

  • It’s not a detailed guide

You can check it out here

Final thoughts

If you love our list of the best business books on starting a restaurant, you can bookmark this list and re-use it later.

You can also share the Pinterest image below and spread the word to others you think will be interested in the book list.

Are we missing any books? Let us know if there are any great books for restaurant owners we need to add to the list.

Hey, I’m Erik… a Swedish university student, marketing professional, and life-long learner. Here at BookSummaryClub I summarize my favorite non-fiction books into easily digested posts. Hope you like what you’re reading!

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