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Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurants


Article by City Lifestyle

Photography by Shutterstock

Sometimes the most sumptuous meals come from the least expected places, not a five-star hotel; neither is it a big, shiny, and glamorous food eatery.

You hardly go to this kind of restaurant for the atmosphere, service or décor. What attracts you is the excellent food they have. Normally, people commonly describe it as a carryout or a walkthrough place. What then is this place? It is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant.

What Is a Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant?

In the United States, a hole-in-the-wall means small and local. It can reside in a somber casual area with little to no aura, where you wouldn't envision a restaurant's presence. The place can either be a weather-beaten shack, old railcar diner, small storefronts, or a room tucked away in an unexpected place.

What are the Characteristics of a Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant?

  • It has to be small
  • Moderately unspectacular but not resembling a legendary restaurant
  • Has an authentic air that feels like a place like no other
  • Has an endless list of fantastic food

What Makes a Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant Unique?

A hole-in-the-wall restaurant is always the best place to eat. Apart from their fantastic food, they offer you an unforgettable experience. Here are some of the reasons why you should try out one of these fabulous restaurants.

It Is Your Secret Eatery

The most attractive theme of dining in a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is that it is your secret place where nobody else knows about it. The restaurant is less crowded, and they serve high-quality food. Eating in this restaurant feels like heaven and is too good to share with others.

The Excitement of Finding an Excellent Unknown Place

There is nothing quite like discovering a hidden restaurant that isn't online or on any social media platforms. When you taste their delicious food, you feel like you found a great surprise. You may have a second guess where you have decided to spend your money on food, but after a single bite, it feels great, and you know you have stricken it lucky.

Affordable Food

The food at a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is always pocket-friendly. Their prices are fair because the restaurant is less crowded, so there is a low demand for food. Another reason is that the restaurants have few to no architectural designs, which wouldn't justify highly priced food. 

It Suddenly Raises Your Cool Factor

Talking to a friend about your new hole-in-the-wall restaurant makes you feel like you own the place and know a lot about food. When you take people to the restaurant, they get impressed by your discovery, and they probably love your taste.

The Food Is Consistently Good

As earlier mentioned, hole-in-the-wall food is delicious to the last bite. The restaurant staff is always consistent with the quality of food brought to the table, and it never disappoints. The chefs ensure that their customers are happy with the food and always come back.

Needless to say, hole-in-the-wall restaurants represent food autonomy globally, no matter how they look. What matters is how pleasant the food is. Therefore, go out, be daring, and who knows—you might discover the next best place just near your office, home, or a corner you least expected.

How to Find a Hole-in-the Wall-Restaurant

How do you find a hole-in-the-wall restaurant?

  • By Chance

How to find hole-in-the-wall restaurants is a commonly asked question. Well, you can accidentally come across a hole-in-the-wall restaurant while taking a walk or window shopping. Enter an anonymous restaurant that looks shabby, read their menu as well as customers' faces. It is the ideal luck you can come across, especially when you find cheap, well-prepared, and delicious meals.

  • Personal Recommendation

You can ask for personal recommendations from locals of an area, especially if you are new to that locality or on a road trip. 

How to Start a Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant

Starting a hole-in-the-wall restaurant is easy but needs proper planning in terms of time, finances, location, and dedication.

1. First, you need to gather enough capital to kick-start your business. You can use the money to pay for your restaurant rent, and extra labor if you cannot manage it solo.

Buy restaurant equipment (chairs, tables, and billing, storage, cooking, and serving equipment), purchase foodstuff and pay utility bills.

2. Do proper research of your municipality and get a health permit before you commence business. Always look for a strategic place to set up your restaurant. It may be a hidden but locatable place in a non-fancy location where people from all walks of life can access and dine.

3. Instead of renting a house, you can opt to buy a food truck or rent one and have a portable hole-in-the-wall restaurant setup.

4. Plan on the hours that you will be able to commit yourself to your restaurant. Note that a hole-in-the-wall restaurant requires seven days a week and at least 12 hours of commitment. For instance, if you plan to concentrate on the barbecue menu purely, you will spend almost the whole day smoking the menu's meat.

5. Ensure that you can produce the amount of food that will satisfy your customers throughout the day. Stock up on fresh foods for everyday use.

6. Perfect the menu and ensure you cook good food consistently to keep return customers and attract new ones.

7. Be ready to experiment with different kinds of recipes to come up with mouthwatering dishes. Keep changing the menu to know which foods people like and which ones work best.

8. Finally, maintain a high level of hygiene in your hole-in-the-wall restaurant. It does not have to be fancy or glamorous with expensive furniture and beautiful designs. Cleanliness is enough to keep your customers comfortable all the time.

What Is the Cost of Starting Up a Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant?

Before jumping into the idea of starting a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, you need to know the necessary costs of creating one. There are numerous regular expenses upcoming restaurants face.

First of all, you need a budget plan to avoid overspending. The typical cost that you will incur include:

Rental Expenses

Although a hole-in-the-wall-restaurant does not have to be in a fancy and fully developed location, you will still incur rental costs or fuel costs, for example, if running it on a truck.

Employee Fee

If you have a handful of customers, you might need an extra workforce. Consider hiring at least one assistant to help you cook or serve guests.

Contingency Costs

It would be best to plan for contingency costs because a new restaurant will not make you rich overnight. You have to plan for slow growth until your restaurant gains traffic. In the first weeks of business, your expenses may exceed your revenue.

Therefore, you need extra cash to keep the restaurant running. 

Equipment Expenses

You need a reasonable budget to stock up equipment such as portable seats and tables if you are running a truck hole-in-the-wall restaurant. If it is in a house or building, you still need furniture and kitchen equipment.

Expenses You Should Avoid When Budgeting for a Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant

  • Avoid spending money on technology and software that might not be useful for your business. Keep the hole-in-the-wall restaurant as simple as possible and focus mainly on the quality and quantity of food. You do not need tech, such as an iPad ordering system for each restaurant table if you only have 12 tables.
  • Avoid overspending on pieces of equipment. It would be best if you had simple pieces of equipment for your hole-in-the-wall restaurant. You can even buy second-hand ones that operate efficiently to save costs.
  • Stay away from expensive furniture for your hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Get second-hand furniture if you can or tables and chairs that you hardly use at home. Customers here don't care much about what is inside but rather how good and cheap your food is. If at all you want to furnish the restaurant, keep it simple and affordable.

The Perfect Description of a Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant

A hole-in-the-wall restaurant consists of a small diner of about 10-35 seats. Its décor looks neglected and unkempt for years.

However, the food here is fantastic and reminds you of homemade food that your mother prepares at home with love. More, the restaurant service is excellent and there are not too many orders.

Most hole-in-the-wall restaurants serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner on given hours. So it is up to you to know when they open or close, lest you miss that delightful and pocket-friendly meal.

There are several hole-in-the-wall restaurants in a locality, but you have to be adventurous to find out which one serves you better in terms of food variety, quality and price. You will find that most of them are simple, with one or two people helping out. They are less crowded since they usually occupy very little space in a building. A hole-in-the-wall restaurant is the kind of restaurant where you take your meal and go back to work.

A Kansas City Hole-in-the-Wall

If you're looking for the high-quality food of a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a bit of a nicer atmosphere and a more modern style, there's a great Mexican food restaurant in Kansas City for you to try.

Zocalo is located in the historic Country Club Plaza and specializes in tequila with a unique house-made blend and many other tequila choices on their list. Their food is absolutely hole-in-the-wall quality, but you can enjoy a more upscale decor and excellent service at the same time.

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