11 Surprising Perks of Owning a Restaurant 

There really is such a thing as a Free Lunch

So what’s it really like to own a restaurant? You often hear the downside of being a restaurant owner but there are many unlikely perks that may surprise you. Depending on the type of restaurant you own, the list can vary widely. When we owned a breakfast restaurant there were many unexpected perks that we loved. Here are a few of our top picks but there are many, many more. Be sure to comment and add yours to the list!


  1. Raiding the cooler for groceries for home – this one is more handy than you could ever imagine. Especially when feeding a family. It’s like having a grocery store at your fingertips right when you are too tired to go to the grocery store.
  2. Prep work is done – want something made for party? Need some peppers and onions for fajitas? You have a team that can do the prep work for you. Simply take home and prepare. 
  3. Access to better quality produce – this one surprises a lot of people but restaurant suppliers often get first dibs on the produce coming in which means you get the best quality
  4. No need to pack a lunch  - you can eat at the restaurant which saves time and money. 
  5. Product samples – prepare to get schmoozed. Sales reps from wine companies, coffee companies, and everything else you buy are going to want your business. This means trials and samples. Wine was my favorite.
  6. Being hosted – many vendors love to take you out to thank you for your patronage. You may get concert tickets, hockey tickets, golf tournament entries and more. 
  7. Gift Card Trade – other businesses often want prizes and awards for their staff (or themselves) and you can trade your product for theirs. Movie passes, other restaurants, spas, hair salons, even golf passes – reach out to other owners and managers and you will be surprised how many are thrilled to trade.
  8. Tax Write-offs – of course you are aware of the usual costs but check into writing off groceries, restaurant “research” or “tours” for competitive reasons or ideas, and of course your car for all of your running around. You can likely write off entertainment for frequent clients and staff too. 
  9. Loyalty program perks – many of your expenses can be paid by credit card and if you pick a good card you can get cash back, travel miles or other perks. These can add up quick so ask every single vendor if they take credit card. Some vendors also run incentives to buy “x” and receive “y”. Always fun to get the “y”.
  10. Costco Rebates – this gets its own spot on the list. Their Executive Membership gives you a percentage back of your yearly spend you can spend in their store. It comes right before Christmas. That one was always one we looked forward to the most. (And when you pay with your credit card, you get those perks too! Double dipping!)
  11.  Street cred – this one is kind of odd to mention but it is fun being able to tell people you own a restaurant and, as long as they love the restaurant, you can get some valuable street cred. It makes for good conversations (everyone has an opinion on restaurants) and it’s kind of nice to own a business people can relate to – much more so than the IT Programming we used to do. 


Have any perks you love about owning a restaurant that surprise you? Maybe there’s some ways you have benefitted from being an owner you never anticipated? Share them in the comments below. And, be sure to sign up for our Free Membership to be able to find the restaurant of your dreams or sell your restaurant using our free automatic 30 day trial. Click here to get started.