For someone who has never ever been in the foodservice industry, and not knowing what is all involved yet, there is so much you need to learn there is little doubt you will find it so overwhelming even if you were given the full amount of money needed for start-up that it would still be a tough decision. (or at least it should be )
Your first step should be to receive an education and certificate in proper food-handling & sanitation techniques through a "Serv-Safe" course which is endorsed by the NRA (National Restaurant Association)
Then I would visit your county health department's website, and download the county food-code, and see what is required for licensing and the fees required.
Then you should probably speak to the county zoning office to see what is involved there. things like ADA compliant restrooms can bite you in the butt if you were not expecting it and be a deal breaker for many possible locations.
My next few words may seem very rude, I do apologize ahead of time, but I feel you should know the cold hard truth of the business from someone who has been involved in the restaurant industry for 25+ years. (Me)
The husband & Wife team of operating a restaurant is usually very short-lived, Neither of you realize what is all involved, and how stressful the job is, and I predict a separation and/or a divorce before you get 6 months under your belt.
Even though the wife may be able to put a good meal on the table for a few people most of the week, the volumes required to meet your daily break-even point would probably put her into shock.
Maybe looking at the numbers would be better. Chew on this for a little while, for every $1.00 that you get to put in that cash register, you may get to only keep $0.04-$0.07 of that to call your profit.
So how many dollar bills will you need to stuff into that register to meet only your fixed expenses such as rent, insurance, licensing, loan payments, Etc Etc Etc?
before spending a dime on any restaurant or food venture, go work at a place first. You will only be qualified to wash dishes or mop the floor at first, but then you may be able to work your way up to "fryer Cook" from there and if you succeed at that, you may be given more responsibilities as you progress.
I incorporated our catering-only business 4 years ago, we are trying to expand to meet demand of our product. And it is overwhelming for me. It only seems easy for you right now because you are not aware of what is all involved.
I "had" (emphasis on the word HAD) a friend who decided after 30+ years in the automotive industry, he decided that he and his wife were going to open a restaurant for themselves. I nicely asked what made him think he could handle a restaurant and his reply kinda shocked me, he told me that he has seen me cater events of 350 and larger with only one other cook, and 5-6 servers, that if i can do that so easily, there is no reason that he cannot have a breakfast & lunch place with just him and his wife as the employee's. And that she is a great cook, and he always wanted to wait tables because it looked fun.
The bank would not loan him a penny even though they had great credit, but the loan officer saw he was destined to fail and tried to save him.
I could not talk him out of this foolishness, So I offered to help in any way that I can. He was already pissed off at me because I tried to talk him out of this venture so he didn't want any help at all. he got financing through another bank but they wanted 100% collateral through his home, cars. retirement savings, and everything else not in that restaurant building.
He purchased the building, they wrote a menu, then placed their first food order before getting the proper permits, so they got shut down, paid the fines, and lost their inventory! They are already in the hole now. after getting permits, and the inspector letting him work on a promise to get his serv-safe training, he ok'd them to open.
the menu was priced by using the "This seems about right" pricing method instead of using the standard food-cost percentage pricing strategy.
Then he could not understand how they lost money after their first full month, I showed up at the restaurant unexpectedly just to wish him well and see the operation, and I almost filled my shorts when I saw his menu pricing because I knew he was heading for disaster even quicker than expected.
I took a copy of the menu home, looked up what my costs would have been through my suppliers, and re-priced his menu showing my costs so he could compare to his pricing and show an acceptable profit if he had the clients to feed. I also gave him typical cost-ratio percentages to use for pricing, with explanations of how & why. He threw it all in the garbage and said "This is what I want my prices at, and I priced it that way for a reason!"
another month goes by, him and the wife are living in different places now and she is working at her old job to try and save their investment, he is now trying to both cook and serve! And instead of firing that large griddle in the kitchen to cook with, he bought a little hamilton beach griddle from wal-mart to try and save money on utilities. I offered to work for free to try and get him past the hump, he refused help again. I sat him down and told him I was trying to help, that is it. I just do not want to see him lose everything. He still refused help.
4 months!!, that is all it took for them to lose everything. When they were in bankruptcy proceedings, they were lucky enough to have adult children with great jobs, the kids had to jump in to save the house & cars. But he lost everything else that he had worked to have over those 30 years in the automotive industry.
they are now screwed! Just because they thought a restaurant was so easy to do from what they saw when they went out to eat.
Q: what is the easiest way to make a small fortune by owning a restaurant?
A: Start with a large fortune!
It is not easy, even though some people make it look easy. Some people just get lucky, most fail. even with interest rates being so low, I know it is tempting, just please research everything before spending a dime. I would learn as much as you can, work in the industry and maybe look at opening a place again 1 year from now and see how it looks then.