Table de restaurant avec des verres de vin

Opening a French restaurant abroad

Many professionals are thinking about opening their restaurant abroad. But what are the real advantages of doing so? How to differentiate your business in another culture? In this article, we will discover which countries to choose, what budget to plan and the necessary authorizations.

How to differentiate yourself when opening a French restaurant abroad?

Reproduce a strong "French style" atmosphere

The "French atmosphere" is above all to propose a warm ambiance and an impeccable service. Try as much as possible to recreate this atmosphere in your establishment.

Above all, do not fall into clichés with a "Paris" theme and bad taste. Instead, pay attention to a series of small details, such as the setting of your tables and the dress of your waiters and waitresses. Also, for the sake of authenticity, don't hesitate to hire a staff that speaks fluent French.

Modernize traditional dishes

The French gastronomy has to prove itself abroad, it pleases by its numerous typical dishes changing from region to region. Despite the cultural richness that can be found in each of these traditional dishes, it is also essential to modernize the French dishes that you want to offer.

Customers are increasingly looking for organic, vegan or vegetarian solutions. The concepts of fusion of two cultures are also very successful and in vogue. Depending on the country in which you want to set up shop, it will be essential to adapt your menu to the local culture and consumption habits.

Fine-tune your food and wine list

It will be essential for your restaurant to fine-tune your menu. Whether it's the food or wine list, it is essential that it is complete and can please everyone. Deli meats, sauces, cheeses, wines are examples of dishes you can select. Find out in detail how to create your wine list.

Select quality products that are as close as possible to those available in France. Think carefully about your suppliers: you will have to compose with local products and anticipate what you will import in order to be in the tradition of French cuisine. The same goes for wines: take the time to carefully select and include quality wines that are representative of French wine-making know-how.

How to open a restaurant?

In which country should you open your restaurant?

To choose the country in which you are going to open your restaurant, it is important to ask yourself which cuisine you want to practice. If you want to focus on meat, we recommend Argentina, for fish and shellfish, Peru and Chile. For cultural and culinary diversity, Canada is a good choice.

Adapt these destinations according to the languages you speak, or start learning them now! Aim for a relatively touristy country, with people who are also curious to discover French cuisine. Here is a small ranking of the most favorable countries to start a business according to

1 - New Zealand

2 - Canada

6 - Singapore

7 - Australia

8 - Hong-Kong

10 - Portugal

14 - Belgium

15 - Taiwan

Also take into account the local processes to open a restaurant, some countries have more protectionist policies than others. In the United States, for example, the steps to open a restaurant are simpler than in other countries.

What is the budget to open a restaurant abroad?

The budget to plan for will also depend on the country and the city where you want to go. Some have premises that cost more or less to open your restaurant. Also take into account the cost of living in the country concerned for your accommodation and the purchase of your raw materials from your suppliers.

To give you an idea of the budget needed to open your restaurant abroad, here is a list of expenses you may have to incur:

  • Business start-up costs: depending on the country, the cost of setting up your company may vary
  • Insurance costs: some countries require mandatory insurance to open your restaurant
  • Training costs: some authorizations or licenses can be obtained only if you follow mandatory training courses
  • Cost of buying or renting your premises
  • Fitting out costs: work, furnishings, dishes, decoration...
  • Purchase of kitchen equipment
  • Purchase of stocks and raw materials

You must also anticipate the operating costs of your restaurant, i.e. the expenses you will have to incur to run your business:

  • Staff salaries
  • Bills (water, energy...)
  • Inventory management
  • Maintenance costs

Which process and authorizations to take over a business ?

Concerning the authorizations required to open a restaurant abroad, the most frequent case is the takeover of an existing business.

It will be very important for you to be well informed about the administrative procedures abroad and particularly the legal status, the available aid and the tax legislation. Do not hesitate to ask for advice from local people or acquaintances who can help you open your restaurant abroad.

Why is it interesting to open a restaurant abroad?

French gastronomy: a guarantee of success abroad

What does France evoke abroad? Luxury, high gastronomy and Parisian chic. One could say that these are good foundations for spreading French culture. For many people, France and therefore French cuisine evoke real skills and a guarantee of quality and even excellence.

The "gastronomic meal of the French" has been registered by Unesco for more than 10 years as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity. Perhaps this is a sign to start your own restaurant business abroad? Many professionals around the restaurant business have built a successful career outside of France.

We can mention :

  • Guillaume Galliot : this three-starred chef is a real success in Hong Kong. The Chinese population is particularly fond of and knowledgeable about French cuisine and gastronomy.
  • Daniel Boulud : with today about twenty establishments around the world, Daniel Boulud has been elected best world restaurateur in 2021. His establishments can be found in the United States, Canada, London, Dubai and Singapore.
  • Alain Caron: now a public figure in Amsterdam, Alain Caron has participated in the Masterchef show, opened 4 restaurants and regularly organizes culinary festivals.

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