How much time and money does it take to open a restaurant in NYC? 

And why Nimbus’s shared commercial kitchen rentals are the solution you need.

Opening a restaurant in New York City is a dream for many, but it comes with its own set of challenges. From navigating complex regulations to managing costs effectively, the process can be daunting. In this guide, we’ll break down the key timing and expenses involved in launching a restaurant in NYC and explore how operating at Nimbus can streamline the process.

Time to open a traditional restaurant

The time involved in opening a traditional restaurant is often underestimated. On average, it takes about 6-12 months for a restaurant to open its doors, if everything runs smoothly. The timeline is often as follows:

Design process 4-6 weeks: Architects and engineers will create drawings and blueprints for how you want the restaurant to look and where everything will go. To do this, you often must have a location secured.

Permit process 3-6 months: Depending on your business, different permits will be required from FDNY, DOB, and more. The time it takes for approval depends on these agency’s backlogs.

Bidding process 4-6 weeks:  This involves getting several quotes from general contractors and subcontractors and value engineering.

Buildout 2- 4 months: After everything has been approved and planned, you can finally start construction on your restaurant. 

**Note that this doesn’t include raw material and equipment lead time delays, as well as the time it takes to find and negotiate a lease on a new location.

 Costs involved with opening a traditional restaurant:

In general, costs range from $300,000 for a small, comfortable eatery to a staggering $10 million for a prestigious four-star establishment. Let’s delve into the major expenses:


The location, size, and condition of your chosen property significantly impact the rent. In Manhattan, the average cost is around $120 per square foot per year, translating to at least $240,000 annually for a 2,000-square-foot space. 


Factors such as restaurant type, design, and layout contribute to construction costs. The average construction expense for a no-frills establishment is approximately $200 per square foot, totaling $400,000 for a 2,000-square-foot space.


Equipping your restaurant involves costs for kitchen equipment, furniture, fixtures, and POS systems. On average, this can amount to $100,000.


Establishing a presence in the competitive NYC market requires a marketing budget, averaging around $50,000. This includes expenses for website design, social media, advertising, and PR.

An alternative approach with Nimbus co-cooking facilities:

Operating at Nimbus can offer a more cost-effective and time-efficient solution compared to building your own restaurant space. New members can get started as quickly as 2 weeks with costs starting at $500. Here are some compelling reasons to consider Nimbus:

Flexible and affordable kitchen rentals:

Nimbus is an innovative shared kitchen company that combines hourly and long-term kitchen rentals with events programming. This allows businesses to launch their concepts, scale production, and nurture relationships with their customers with little risk and minimal capital commitment. Members can book a few hours of kitchen space per day or rent out a long-term private kitchen depending on their needs. 

All-inclusive services:

Nimbus offers everything you need to run your food business, from state-of-the-art equipment to professional sanitization, storage, and event spaces. Additionally, we handle the nitty gritty details of operating a commercial kitchen space such as pest control, fire safety, inspections, hood and HVAC maintenance and more. Say goodbye to the hassle of building, maintaining, or upgrading your own space.

Network and marketing support:

With locations in Midtown, SoHo, Lower East Side, and Downtown Brooklyn, and by working with leading brands including DoorDash, noma, Netflix, Fuku, and Jersey Mike’s, Nimbus has established itself as the preeminent shared kitchen in New York City.

Co-cooking at Nimbus connects you to a network of experts, mentors, and partners who can offer guidance, advice, and resources to grow your food business. Nimbus also provides support on social media marketing through collaborative posts and member feature videos, enhancing your online presence and engagement.

The sky is the limit

Culinary entrepreneurship isn’t limited to traditional restaurants. Nimbus’s offerings open doors for all kinds of innovative food businesses. Whether it is hosting pop-ups or cooking classes, offering meal prep or catering services, selling a new packaged good, or for well-known restaurants to scale their delivery radius in a low-cost way, Nimbus provides a unique opportunity for aspiring culinary entrepreneurs to save time and money. Nimbus members can enjoy convenience, quality, and growth opportunities and focus on what they do best. If you’re considering starting or expanding your food business in NYC, exploring Nimbus’s services and membership options could be a game-changer. Click here to book a call and learn more about how you can get started.