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Best Restaurant Business Loans of 2024

By Randa Kriss
Last updated on March 15, 2024
Edited bySally Lauckner
Fact checked and reviewed
Restaurant business loans from banks and online lenders can be used for a range of purposes from small supply purchases to large investments in equipment.

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Restaurant loans are designed to meet the specific goals of restaurants, cafes and other businesses in the food and beverage industry. These small-business loans can be used for a variety of everyday, short- and long-term funding needs.
Restaurant business loans are available from bank, SBA and online lenders. The right financing for your business will typically be wherever you qualify for the most competitive rates and terms.
Below, compare some of the best options and learn more about how to get a business loan for your restaurant.

How much do you need?

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We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Here are 7 restaurant business loans

LenderNerdWallet RatingMax loan amountMin. credit scoreNext steps

SBA 7(a) loan

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Best for SBA restaurant loans

$5,000,000650

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Triton Capital - Equipment financing

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4.0/5

Best for Restaurant equipment loans

$250,000575

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Fora Financial - Online term loan

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4.5/5

Best for Restaurant loans for bad credit

$1,500,000570

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Bluevine - Line of credit

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5.0/5

Best for Fast restaurant loans

$250,000625

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Funding Circle - Online term loan

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4.5/5

Best for Business loans for established restaurants

$500,000660

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Fundbox - Line of credit

5.0/5

Best for Startup restaurant business loans

$150,000600
Read Review

OnDeck - Online term loan

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5.0/5

Best for Short-term restaurant loans

$250,000625

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Here are 7 restaurant business loans

Best for SBA restaurant loans

U.S. Small Business Administration

Max Amount

$5,000,000

Min. Credit Score

650

Best for Restaurant equipment loans

Triton Capital

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

575

Best for Restaurant loans for bad credit

Fora Financial

Max Amount

$1,500,000

Min. Credit Score

570

Best for Fast restaurant loans

Bluevine

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

625

Best for Business loans for established restaurants

Funding Circle

Max Amount

$500,000

Min. Credit Score

660

Best for Startup restaurant business loans

Fundbox

Max Amount

$150,000

Min. Credit Score

600

Best for Short-term restaurant loans

OnDeck

Max Amount

$250,000

Min. Credit Score

625

I'M INTERESTED IN:

Our pick for

SBA restaurant loans

SBA 7(a) loan

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Max Loan Amount
$5,000,000
Min. credit score
650
Est. APR
11.50-15.00%
7(a) loans are issued by private lenders and backed by the SBA. They offer long repayment terms and low interest rates.
Lowest interest rate

Max loan

$5,000,000

Min. Credit score

650

Apr range

11.50-15.00%

7(a) loans are issued by private lenders and backed by the SBA. They offer long repayment terms and low interest rates.
Read Review

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Our pick for

Restaurant equipment loans

Triton Capital - Equipment financing

4.0
NerdWallet rating 

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
575
Est. APR
5.99-34.99%
Triton Capital offers fast equipment loans up to $250,000 for businesses in a range of industries.
4.0
NerdWallet rating 

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

575

Apr range

5.99-34.99%

Triton Capital offers fast equipment loans up to $250,000 for businesses in a range of industries.

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Our pick for

Restaurant loans for bad credit

Fora Financial - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$1,500,000
Min. credit score
570
Fora Financial can be a good fit for borrowers who may fall short of qualifying for traditional bank financing or young but established small businesses looking for speedy financing.

Max loan

$1,500,000

Min. Credit score

570

Fora Financial can be a good fit for borrowers who may fall short of qualifying for traditional bank financing or young but established small businesses looking for speedy financing.
Read Review

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Our pick for

Fast restaurant loans

Bluevine - Line of credit

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
625
Est. APR
20.00-50.00%
Bluevine's 26-week line of credit provides fast working capital for short-term borrowing needs.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

625

Apr range

20.00-50.00%

Bluevine's 26-week line of credit provides fast working capital for short-term borrowing needs.
Read Review

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Our pick for

Business loans for established restaurants

Funding Circle - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$500,000
Min. credit score
660
Est. APR
15.22-45.00%
Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$500,000

Min. Credit score

660

Apr range

15.22-45.00%

Funding Circle is an option for established businesses that are financing an expansion or refinancing debt.
Read Review

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Our pick for

Startup restaurant business loans

Fundbox - Line of credit

Max Loan Amount
$150,000
Min. credit score
600
Est. APR
36.00-99.00%
Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$150,000

Min. Credit score

600

Apr range

36.00-99.00%

Fundbox offers a business line of credit to fill a cash flow gap, and qualifying is easier than with other lenders.

Our pick for

Short-term restaurant loans

OnDeck - Online term loan

Read Review

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Max Loan Amount
$250,000
Min. credit score
625
Est. APR
27.20-99.90%
OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.
May fund quickly

Max loan

$250,000

Min. Credit score

625

Apr range

27.20-99.90%

OnDeck offers a fast term loan for small-business owners with less-than-stellar credit who want to expand.
Read Review

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How Much Do You Need?

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What is a restaurant business loan?

A restaurant business loan, typically offered by traditional banks or alternative lenders, can provide you with the cash you need for large purchases, everyday operations or a variety of other purposes. Generally, your financing options will include term loans, lines of credit, online loans, asset-based financing and merchant cash advances.
The interest rate, loan term, fees and repayment schedule will vary based on the lender you select and factors such as your time in business, credit score and business revenue.

What are restaurant loans used for?

Restaurant business loans can be used for a range of purposes, including:
  • Opening a new location.
  • Remodeling, making repairs or expanding an existing location.
  • Covering everyday expenses, such as rent, utilities and software subscriptions.
  • Purchasing or upgrading equipment.
  • Buying inventory and supplies.
  • Paying your employees and/or hiring new workers.
  • Managing cash flow gaps during seasonal slows.
  • Other working capital needs.

Types of restaurant business loans

Restaurant owners can use many different types of business loans to get access to the capital they need. The best choice for you will vary based on why you need financing and your business’s qualifications, among other factors.
Here are some of the most common types of restaurant loans.

Bank loans 

Bank business loans will typically offer the most competitive interest rates and repayment terms. However, to qualify, you’ll likely need a few years in business, strong credit and solid revenue. 
Also some banks may be hesitant to lend to restaurants, as they perceive the food and beverage industry to be risky to finance.

Business lines of credit 

Lines of credit are available from both banks and online lenders. Online lenders will have more flexible qualifications, but higher rates than traditional lenders.
Business lines of credit can be a good option for getting working capital for your restaurant — or serving as an emergency fund.

SBA loans 

These loans are issued by banks, credit unions and other specialized lenders that are SBA-certified. SBA loans are partially guaranteed by the U.S. Small Business Administration and tend to have long repayment terms and competitive interest rates.
The most popular type of loan, the SBA 7(a) loan, can be used for a variety of restaurant purposes. Although these loans may be slightly easier to get than bank loans, you’ll still need good credit and strong finances to qualify.

Online term loans

If you can’t qualify for a bank or SBA loan — or you need faster funding — online loans can be a good alternative to finance your restaurant. Online lenders generally have flexible qualifications and some are willing to work with startups or businesses with bad credit. 
You may be able to get an online restaurant loan in as little as 24 hours, but interest rates will be higher than traditional loan options. Online loans can be used for a range of needs. Working capital loans, for example, can provide short-term financing to help run your day-to-day restaurant operations.

Asset-based financing 

With asset-based financing, you take out a loan or line of credit and the assets you buy or currently own serve as collateral on the loan. Equipment, inventory and accounts receivable are some common business assets used as collateral for loans.
Restaurant equipment financing, a common type of asset-based financing, can be used to purchase large items like an oven or dishwasher. Similarly, inventory financing can be used to buy local produce, meats and other supplies for your restaurant.
Because the assets purchased often serve as collateral, asset-based financing can be easier to qualify for than traditional business loans.

Merchant cash advance 

With a merchant cash advance (MCA) you receive an upfront sum of cash and repay it using a percentage of your debit and credit card sales, plus a fee. This type of financing is often popular among restaurants that accept credit card payments.
However, compared to other business loans, MCAs are one of the most expensive funding options, with annual percentage rates — or APRs — that can reach triple digits. You should consider all other options before turning to a merchant cash advance.

How to get a restaurant loan

To get a loan for your restaurant, you can follow these steps.

1. Decide which type of funding you need

You’ll want to determine which type of financing will best meet your business needs. If you’re looking to buy a new refrigerator, for example, an equipment loan may be the right option.
You should also consider how much capital you need, how fast you need it and how much debt you can afford.

2. Evaluate your business’s qualifications

Most small-business lenders will use your time in business, annual revenue and credit score to evaluate your eligibility. They may also consider your cash flow, sales projections, debit and credit cards sales and available collateral.
You’ll want to review your financial statements and credit reports ahead of time so you know where you stand with potential lenders.

3. Compare and research lenders

Once you have an understanding of your funding needs and business qualifications, you can narrow down your lender search accordingly. If you have fair credit and need fast working capital, a line of credit from an online lender such as Bluevine or Fundbox might be a good option.
You’ll want to research and compare multiple lenders to find the right fit for your restaurant.

4. Gather documentation and submit your application

Restaurant loan application requirements will vary based on the lender and type of financing. In general, you’ll need to provide some if not all of the following:
  • Basic information about you and your business.
  • Business and personal bank statements.
  • Business and personal tax returns.
  • Business financial statements.
  • Collateral information.
If you’re applying for an equipment or inventory loan, you’ll likely need to provide details and pricing information about those assets.
Funding times will also vary based on financing type and lender. Bank and SBA loans can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to fund, whereas online lenders may be able to offer same-day loans.

How to get a restaurant loan to open a business

Getting a startup loan from a traditional lender can be a challenge for an entrepreneur who wants to open a restaurant. Banks often require multiple years in business and excellent credit.
However, microloans, including SBA microloans — with loan amounts generally up to $50,000 — can be easier to qualify for than a bank loan and may be an option to help fund a new restaurant. Also, using an SBA 7(a) loan to buy an existing business could be an alternative if your plan is to take over an existing restaurant.
Other forms of startup funding you may want to consider include alternative lenders, investors, crowdfunding and business grants.

Find the right business loan

The best business loan is generally the one with the lowest rates and most ideal terms. But other factors — like time to fund and your business’s qualifications — can help determine which option you should choose. NerdWallet recommends comparing small-business loans to find the right fit for your business.
Last updated on March 15, 2024

Methodology

NerdWallet’s review process evaluates and rates small-business loan products from traditional banks and online lenders. We collect over 30 data points on each lender using company websites and public documents. We may also go through a lender’s initial application flow and reach out to company representatives. NerdWallet writers and editors conduct a full fact check and update annually, but also make updates throughout the year as necessary.
Our star ratings award points to lenders that offer small-business friendly features, including: transparency of rates and terms, flexible payment options, fast funding times, accessible customer service, reporting of payments to business credit bureaus and responsible lending practices. We weigh these factors based on our assessment of which are the most important to small-business owners and how meaningfully they impact borrowers’ experiences.
NerdWallet does not receive compensation for our star ratings. Read more about our ratings methodology for small-business loans and our editorial guidelines.

Wondering if you qualify?

It’s possible to get a business loan even if you have bad credit. Bad-credit business loans are available from alternative sources, like online or nonprofit lenders.

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions