Launching a new business: For the passionate entrepreneur, it’s like giving birth to a child. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of imagining your restaurant concept and the fabulous dishes that will make your menu unique, but sooner or later you have to come back down to earth and ground yourself in the rigorous reality of creating a business plan for your restaurant.
Crafting a thorough business plan will help you not only attract and entice potential investors and lenders but also give you a clear look at what you need to make your restaurant a success. Consider this soup-to-nuts guide to writing up a restaurant business plan that can get your venture started off on the right foot.
Describe Your Restaurant
In this section of your restaurant business plan, describe what your eatery is all about. Is it fine dining, fast casual, a coffee shop, or pizza joint? Who’s your target demographic? The downtown professional lunch crowd? Young singles? Bargain-seeking retirees? Families? List all the pertinent details about your target market, from age, income, and household size, head of household status, and more.
Also detail what will make your restaurant distinct and attractive, such as:
- Ambience, decor, furnishings, and music
- Menu theme
- Hours of operation
- Seating capacity
- Related services (catering, delivery, etc.)
Remember the plan just isn’t for your use, but also to intrigue potential investors. Include a sample menu, chock full of mouth-watering dish descriptions or photos, if you have them.
Market Research: Do Your Homework
As a potential restaurateur, you need to do your due diligence in investigating the local restaurant industry and existing competition. In this part of your restaurant business plan, identify the other eateries you’ll be going head-to-head with, including the food and prices on their menu, when they’re open, and anything else that’s relevant. Now explain how, exactly, you plan to compete and differentiate your business from these established players and attract a loyal customer base.
Also include your marketing strategy. How will you spread the word about your new restaurant? Television, print media, radio, social media, digital ads? Draw up media budget projections that are realistic for a new venture. Describe promotions to get customers through your doors in the early days.
Nuts and Bolts: Your Restaurant Operations
Here’s where you outline the core of your business idea. Create a list of your planned expenses, such as:
- Kitchen equipment
- Business systems and technology
- Inventory — fresh foods, shelf-stable products, etc.
Also include whether you plan to lease any of these items or purchase them outright. Your restaurant business plan should list potential suppliers you’ve identified, from local farmers to equipment vendors to beverage distributors, along with the rates and fees for each.
Labor: Identify Your Headcount
Finally, your restaurant business plan should include the workforce you envision. List how many servers and kitchen staff you’ll need and whether you plan to hire a general manager or similar professional to oversee operations. Lay out your labor costs including salaries, benefits, and any training expenses.
In this section, take a moment to describe your role in the business. Are you the executive chef or will you be managing the day-in and day-out? Let investors know how you’ll invest your time in day-to-day operations.
The executive summary probably is the easiest part of a restaurant business plan. Once you’ve finished the overall plan, go back and draft an engaging, high-level statement at the beginning that sums up the entire document in a nutshell. Keep the executive summary to less than three pages but make sure that your audience gets the gist of what they need to know just from reading the summary.
With this primer in hand, you have a helpful guide to create a winning restaurant business plan that can excite investors and translate your venture from concept to reality.