How to Open a Restaurant Business in Arkansas: Business Plan, Requirements, Setup Cost, and License/Permit

Arkansas is a great state to open a restaurant business. A restaurant is a process of business that prepares and serves food to customers. Meals are served and eaten on the premises, but many restaurants offer take-out and delivery services. Opening a restaurant business can prove to be the best decision of your life, provided you take up the opportunity in a perfect way and work for it day and night. Every business needs good investments, patience, and smart work. 

How to Open a Restaurant Business in Arkansas

How to open a restaurant business in Arkansas

Choose a location to open a restaurant business in Arkansas

It would help if you considered some important factors when choosing a location for your restaurant. These include;

  • Demographics – The niche market your restaurant targets should coincide with the area’s demographics. 
  • Local competition – It’s ideal to select a location where restaurants similar to yours are successful. However, avoid highly saturated areas with restaurants that compete with your concept. 
  • Visibility and accessibility – Choose a location with good visibility and foot traffic. Also, consider parking availability and ease of access for cars, pedestrians, and people with disabilities.
  • Labor costs – This mainly depends on the location. If the restaurant is located in an area with high living costs, you’ll have to pay more wages to attract decent employees. 

Selecting the right location for your restaurant is critical. The location of the restaurant should be easily accessible to your target market. It should also be large enough to accommodate your projected growth. You will also need to consider the cost of rent or property purchase and the availability of utilities such as water and electricity. Arkansas is a prime restaurant location due to its central location in the United States and its diverse population.

In case you missed it: How to Start a Landscaping or Lawn Care Business in Arkansas: Business Plan, Setup Cost, Profit, License/Permit

Restaurant Business

The state is home to many different types of cuisine, so there is sure to be a demand for your food. With careful planning and execution, opening a restaurant business in Arkansas can be a successful endeavor. If you choose to have a physical location for your restaurant, you can either buy or lease restaurant space, or you can build your restaurant from the ground up. Here are some additional criteria to focus on when evaluating a restaurant location to decide if it’s right for you:

  • Target market and ideal customer profile
  • Real estate market conditions
  • Community
  • Size of the site
  • Previous tenants

Decide on the type of restaurant in Arkansas

There are different types of restaurants, from fast food to fine dining. First, you will need to decide what type of food you want to serve and what atmosphere you want to create. Once you know the type of restaurant you want to open, you can start researching the necessary steps to make your dream a reality. The first point you must consider is the model or type of your restaurant. It depends on many factors, like the restaurant’s location, investment, and competitors.

The most popular restaurant models are cafes, bakeries, quick-service restaurants, casual dine-in, and resto-bar. The capital investment varies for each model. It would be best if you did proper market research about what works best in your location. For example, a casual dining restaurant will be a good choice if your restaurant is based in a small town. Since different restaurant concepts require different capital investments, the budget is the main thing you should keep in mind while deciding on your restaurant idea.

Get financing and funding to open a restaurant business in Arkansas

After estimating the cost, the next step is finding the source. The process is pretty simple if you have enough money in the bank. Even if you don’t have one, there is no need to worry. Either you can take a loan or find an investor. You can request a loan from a bank to fulfill your dream of starting a restaurant. You need to produce some security such as land or house. The third option is to find an investor. There are a large number of investors who are constantly on the lookout for good businesses to invest their money in.

In case you missed it: How to Start a Cleaning Business in Arkansas: Business Plan, Setup Cost, Profit, Requirements, and License/Permit

Cost Involved

Order restaurant equipment

Restaurant business equipment can get pricey, so you want to be strategic when selecting what to buy or lease. First, list everything you need, which depends on your menu versus what you want, from equipment to decor for the dining room. You can save money by buying some used items. Then, make decisions based on your budget and your financial analysis.

Choose the best menu to open a restaurant business in Arkansas

Your restaurant menu is most important because it’s the first thing a customer looks at after entering your restaurant. A smartly designed menu can make a significant impact on your business. The menu should be created with the help of experienced chefs and consultants.  The restaurant’s main product is its food. The food of a restaurant can make or break the business. Thus, the menu should be carefully designed. A smartly designed menu can significantly impact the restaurant’s food costs.

The menu should include local or readily available items and food that can be prepared quickly.  The menu should include items that can be made easily and quickly. It should be as appealing as your dishes. Always use proper readable fonts and language. Mixing up expensive and inexpensive food items in the menu card is better. So that customers will not feel the food items are too costly or too cheap. If the food is too cheap, sometimes the customer may doubt the quality of the food.

Obtain permits and licenses to open a restaurant business in Arkansas 

Starting a new restaurant requires obtaining local, federal, and permits and licenses. Like any other state, Arkansas has particular requirements around the licenses and permits needed to open a restaurant. Some licenses are administered by the state, while several others are done on a local (city or county) level.

In case you missed it: How to Start Restaurant Business in California: Business Plan, Requirements, Investment, and Profit

How to Open a Restaurant business in Arkansas6

If your restaurant is located in a city or county with its health department, you will also need to obtain a local permit. The permit fee and requirements vary by locality, so you need to check with your local health department for more information. The licenses you’ll need to open a restaurant in Arkansas include the following:

Business License – In Arkansas, business licenses are controlled by the city or county you live in. If you operate a restaurant with multiple locations across cities and counties, getting a business license for each business in different jurisdictions is important. 

Certificate of Occupancy – A certificate of occupancy is a document showing your space is zoned for your type of business, up to code, safe to use, and up to date on its checks and inspections. 

Food Handler’s License, also known as Food Service License – A food service license, also known as an employee health permit, allows restaurants, vendors, or any other type of food business to sell and serve food on-site safely. In addition, these licenses ensure that every employee knows how to do their part to keep their diners safe from foodborne illness. 

Seller’s Permit– Any business that plans to sell tangible goods subject to sales tax needs a seller’s permit. This permit allows them to charge sales tax.

Liquor License Permit– This license is required for any business to sell and serve alcohol to its patrons. Since alcohol has an incredibly high markup and a long shelf life, it’s often beneficial from a profit standpoint to sell alcohol.

Food Facility Health Permit – In Arkansas, health permits are under city and county jurisdiction, so check with your local health department to find out how to apply. Unlike some liquor licenses, health permits are not transferable. So when you start a new restaurant, even if it’s in the space of an existing restaurant, you’ll need to get a new health permit. 

Food Service Establishment License: This license is required for any business that serves food to the public, including restaurants, caterers, and mobile food vendors. The license must be renewed annually.

In case you missed it: How to Open a Restaurant in the USA: Business Plan, Investment, Profit, License, and Requirements

Serving Food in a Restaurant

Health Permit: All Arkansas restaurants must obtain a health permit from their local health department. The permit must be renewed every year.

Building Permit: You may want to obtain a building permit from your local city or county government if you make any changes to your restaurant’s physical space, such as remodeling or adding new construction.

Get manpower for your restaurant business in Arkansas 

  • Kitchen staff– Your kitchen staff comprises the cooks, food preparation staff, support staff, etc. They will mostly be unskilled labor.
  • Service staff– The waiters, housekeeping staff, etc., are your service staff. Since they must interact with customers, they must be good at communication and be trained appropriately.
  • Management staff– Your restaurant’s manager, chef, cashier, store manager, etc., comprise the management staff, who need to be educated and experienced.

Cost of opening a restaurant in Arkansas

The cost of opening a restaurant in Arkansas can change greatly depending on the size and type of restaurant you want to open. The cost to open a restaurant in Arkansas is approximately $10,000 – $80,000

Steps to create a business plan in Arkansas

  1. Decide on the type of restaurant you want to open – There are many different types of restaurants, so you need to decide which one is right for you and your location.
  2. Find a good location – The location of your restaurant is important for its success. You need to find a convenient location for customers with enough space for your needs.
  3. Write a business plan – It will help you organize thoughts and ideas and give you a roadmap for success. 
  4. Get the necessary licenses and permits – Before you open your doors, you must ensure you have all the required state licenses and permits from Arkansas.

In case you missed it: How to Open a Restaurant Business in Alabama: Business Plan, Setup Cost, Profit, and License/Permit

Business Plan

5. Find suppliers for your ingredients and supplies – Once you know what type of restaurant you want to open, you need to find suppliers who can provide the ingredients and supplies you need at a reasonable cost. Before opening your doors to customers, you will need to stock your restaurant with all the necessary supplies and equipment. 

6. Hire staff and train them properly – Your staff is one of the most important aspects of your restaurant, so be sure to hire qualified people and train them well on how to do their jobs correctly. Then, when it comes time to open your restaurant, you will need to staff it with qualified employees. Post job ads in local newspapers and online job boards to find the best candidates. You can also contact local culinary schools to inquire about recent graduates who may be looking for work. 

Marketing plan for the restaurant business in Arkansas 

  • First and foremost, make sure your website and social media platforms are up-to-date and looking good. Then, start reaching out to local media outlets and see if they’re interested in doing a story on your new restaurant. You can also offer discounts or special promotions to get people in the door during those first few weeks.
  • Develop a strong branding strategy. Your brand sets you apart from the competition and will make customers remember you. Come up with a catchy name, logo, and tagline that represents your restaurant well.
  • Create an advertising campaign that targets your target market. Use various channels such as print, online, radio, or TV to reach potential customers who are most likely to see or hear your message. Make sure your ads are creative and attention-grabbing.
  • Promote special events and deals. Hosting regular events or offering discounts and specials can help bring customers through your doors. Be sure to promote these events heavily leading up to them, so people are aware of them.

In case you missed it: How to Start a Cleaning Business in Arizona: Business Plan, Setup Cost, Profit, Requirements, and License/Permit

Taking an Order in a Restaurant


The restaurant business is very lucrative. Apart from the initial investments you need, it can earn you lifelong revenues and a luxurious life. However, hard work and planning are required for excellent and very high results from opening a restaurant business. The restaurant industry is a marketplace sector that prepares food to be consumed by people on-site or through curb-side pick-up services or banquets. It’s used to find an industry that supplies food services in cafés, restaurants, bars, and similar settings.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here