Start a Restaurant

We hope this guide will give you a good overview of what it takes to open a restaurant and, most importantly, keep it open.

This guide was prepared for the Restaurant Association of Nova Scotia (RANS) with the support of Tourism Nova Scotia in 2014, with minor updates in 2018 and 2023. It draws from a document originally prepared in the late 1990s with substantive new material added, particularly on running a restaurant. The project was coordinated by the Economic Planning Group. Content was prepared by Jane Wright (owner of the former "Jane's on the Commom") and Katelyn Bourgoin (Red Riot/Brand Strategist) with input from Chef McKay (Menu Tools) and Kerra AuCoin Mansfield.

Thank you to Nova Scotia restaurateurs Jennie Dobbs (Morris East), Roland Glauser (Charlotte Lane Café), Chris Smith (Jamieson’s Irish House & Grill) and Joe Mcguinness (Durty Nellys Irish Pub) for their invaluable comments which helped fine-tune the content. The ‘Helpful Tips’ scattered through the manual are based on their experience in the restaurant business.

Restaurant Guide