Your Business For Less

The cost of opening a new business today is staggering. According to a QuickBooks study, a service business requires as much as $14,000- $50,000+ to get off the ground. A retail space isn’t much better, with an average of $32,000 reported. And the food service industry takes the cake with a whopping $125,000- $275,000 average depending on the size and location.

ft-01_ed.jpgFusion Taste restaurant in Omaha, NE is a study on how to open a business for less. 

A survey put out by reveals that the cost of construction only makes up about 47% of the overall startup cost.  Still, that equates to an average of $72 a square foot or $2,126 a seat. And with an increasing number of people seeking entrepreneurship today,  how does one open a space for themselves without a hefty flow of cash at their disposal?

While we at Studio | BRiNK can’t write your business plan for you, we can certainly help you save money on that 47% that you’ll put towards construction. In fact, we recently helped Omaha based owner and entrepreneur, Sandy Vo, open her first restaurant venture for less. Take a look below for some of our favorite tips for success!

1. Aim for Similar Site Use

FT 03_edFusion Taste is located in a previously existing restaurant space and utilized existing kitchen, dish room and server stations as well as some lighting locations to save on costs. 

Particularly if you know you will not be building new, explore your local developments to identify vacant spaces that had a previous use similar to, if not exactly the same as, your own. The idea here is that the systems you’ll need to support your space, the systems that often cost the most in construction (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) will already be in place. Assuming they are in good working fashion, they may require only minor upgrades, which generally equates to less dollars out of your pocket than paying for entirely new systems.

2. Let the Cost Effective Finishes Do the Work

FT 04_edLarge wall expanses at Fusion Taste are dressed up with cost effective paint and vinyl decals to add interest to the space.

You get a lot of bang for your buck when you make your cost effective materials and finishes do most of the work. One of our favorite ways to implement this is with plain and simple paint. Paint is both extremely cost effective to buy and highly customizable; you can get it in any color you can dream up. And what’s more, the design possibilities are endless. You can use paint to add a lot of interest to your space by introducing patterns, graphics or branding to name a few. Your results are not only one of a kind but cost effective.

3. Craft Your Own 

FT 06A large, locally crafted light cluster provides valuable interest to the Fusion Taste space. 

Sometimes your design desperately needs something to make it sing. And sometimes that thing it needs is in danger of being eliminated because it breaks the bank. In this all too common occurrence, we encourage a lot of research and a little bit of crafting your own.

A great example of this is the lighting solution for our featured Fusion Taste project. The design called for a massive cluster of pendants to add interest to the space. The design intent for what those pendants needed to be stemmed from a costly Italian product. Upon further investigation we were able to source a very similar fixture for only a fraction of the cost.

light compareAnd, as they say, you get what you pay for. The reduced cost fixture only came in one finish, which was not on par with our design. Our final solution was to paint the shades to match the variety of colors in the original fixtures. The design intent could then be met at a very reduced cost.

4. Utilize Your Local Artisans

FT 05_edFusion Taste features custom metal screens, designed by Studio | BRiNK and fabricated locally by a skilled metal artisan. 

Fabricating locally can save you a lot of time and money. Artisans and small shops will typically price out lower than larger manufactures simply due to less overheads costs. There’s the added benefits of be being able to collaborate with someone face to face and saving on the shipping costs and lag time it would take to have your products shipped from across the country. We also find the attention to detail and pride in their craft is much higher and, of course, the opportunities for customization are greatly increased!

Project Team: Design: Studio | BRiNK, MEP: Olsson Associates, Contractor: REF Construction, Photography: Tom Kessler
(c) 2017, Studio | BRiNK


McCamy, L., Ready to Start a Business? Here’s What it Will Cost. QuickBooks Resource Center. Retrieved from:, How Much Does it Cost to Open a Restaurant? Retrieved from:

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