It seems like a new restaurant opens every day in Lubbock and I have four tips that may save you some grief.

Of course, the big boys know all these rules going in, but if all you have is THE BEST FOOD EVER it's still not enough if you don't know the rules. I have some things you may not have thought about.

I guess I need to back up. I went to a restaurant/bar "college" when my partner and I opened The Freaky Tiki Tavern. We had to learn a lot about food service, health requirements and so much more. I talked to so many departments in the City Of Lubbock that I didn't even know existed (the good news is, everyone was really kind and helpful). Here are some things to keep in mind.

Grease Traps

You're going to have to have a grease trap. This is a BIG FREAKING DEAL. If the property you are looking at doesn't already have one, then get ready for a shock and some big expenses. Grease traps are typically connected to a sewer line outside of the restaurant, so excavation and equipment purchases are involved. If you are not cooking and are instead "assembling" (like deli sandwiches) you might just get away with some testing of your line, but don't count on it.


No one ever thinks this one through. How many people can you serve at one time and is that enough cash to make ends meet? You will have to work with the person in charge of "assemblies" at the Fire Department to determine the capacity of your restaurant. You will also have to have clear lanes toward the fire exits and more. Your overflow guests will not even be allowed to "wait inside" if you are bumping up against that occupancy number.


The TABC is another agency full of rules you haven't even thought of. Looking back, I'm thankful for many of them, but I can see how a new business owner can get frustrated. For instance, do you know you have to fill out a report after a fight? The real reason this is included here though is, that you'll have a hard time convincing anyone in Lubbock of coming to your restaurant if they can't get a beer or wine with their meal. Sorry, that's just how it is.


I'm in the advertising business, but that's not why I'm listing this here. If you have to make flyers at the office store and pass them out then that's fine, but you HAVE to advertise. Thinking "if you build it, they will come" has been the doom of so many restaurants. Advertising is an ongoing expense and needs to be budgeted for. We have had tons of nation chains (who should know better) come to town and be successful for a couple of months then skulk out of Lubbock with their tail between their legs.

I hope these things will help you plan a little better if you're planning on opening a place here in the Hub City.

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Grease trap




The average startup costs of opening a restaurant range from $275,000 if you’re renting your restaurant space to $425,000 (

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