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Restaurant Business Plan: What To Include, Plus 8 Examples
- Business Growth & Management , Templates & Guides
Do you want to ensure the success of your new foodservice endeavor? Write a restaurant business plan.
In this article, the experts at Sling tell you why a business plan is vital for both new and existing businesses and give you tips on what to include.
Table Of Contents
What Is A Restaurant Business Plan?
Why is a restaurant business plan important, questions to ask first, what to include in an effective restaurant business plan, how to format a restaurant business plan, efficient workforce management is essential for success.
At its most basic, a restaurant business plan is a written document that describes your restaurant’s goals and the steps you will take to make those goals a reality.
This business plan also describes the nature of the business itself, financial projections, background information, and organizational strategies that govern the day-to-day activity of your restaurant.
A restaurant business plan is vital for the success of your endeavor because, without one, it is very difficult — sometimes even impossible — to obtain funding from an investor or a bank.
Without that all-important starting or operational capital, you may not be able to keep your doors open for long, if at all.
Even if funding isn’t a primary concern, a business plan provides you — the business owner or manager — with clear direction on how to translate general strategies into actionable plans for reaching your goals.
The plan can help solidify everything from the boots-on-the-ground functional strategy to the mid-level business strategy all the way up to the driving-force corporate strategy .
Think of this plan as a roadmap that guides your way when things are going smoothly and, more importantly, when they aren’t.
If you want to give your restaurant the best chance for success, start by writing a business plan.
Sitting down to write a restaurant business plan can be a daunting task.
As you’ll see in the What To Include In An Effective Restaurant Business Plan section below, you’ll need a lot of information and detail to ensure that the final document is both complete and effective.
Instead of starting with word one, it is hugely beneficial to answer a number of general questions first.
These questions will help you narrow down the information to include in your plan so the composition process feels less difficult.
The questions are:
- What problem does the business’s product or service solve?
- What niche will the business fill?
- What is the business’s solution to the problem?
- Who are the business’s customers?
- How will the business market and sell its products to them?
- What is the size of the market for this solution?
- What is the business model for the business?
- How will the business make money?
- Who are the competitors?
- How will the business maintain a competitive advantage?
- How does the business plan to manage growth?
- Who will run the business?
- What makes those individuals qualified to do so?
- What are the risks and threats confronting the business?
- What can you do to mitigate those risks and threats?
- What are the business’s capital and resource requirements?
- What are the business’s historical and projected financial statements?
Depending on your business, some of these questions may not apply or you may not have applicable answers.
Nevertheless, it helps to think about, and try to provide details for, the whole list so your finished restaurant business plan is as complete as possible.
Once you’ve answered the questions for your business, you can transfer a large portion of that information to the business plan itself.
We’ll discuss exactly what to include in the next section.
In this section, we’ll show you what to include in an effective restaurant business plan and provide a brief example of each component.
1) Executive Summary
You should always start any business plan with an executive summary. This gives the reader a brief introduction into common elements, such as:
- Mission statement
- Overhead costs
- Labor costs
- Return on investment (ROI)
This portion of your plan should pique the reader’s interest and make them want to read more.
Fanty & Mingo’s is a 50-seat fine-dining restaurant that will focus on Sweruvian (Swedish/Peruvian) fusion fare.
We will keep overhead and labor costs low thanks to simple but elegant decor , highly skilled food-prep staff, and well-trained servers.
Because of the location and surrounding booming economy, we estimate ROI at 20 percent per annum.
2) Mission Statement
A mission statement is a short description of what your business does for its customers, employees, and owners.
This is in contrast to your business’s vision statement which is a declaration of objectives that guide internal decision-making.
While the two are closely related and can be hard to distinguish, it often helps to think in terms of who, what, why, and where.
The vision statement is the where of your business — where you want your business to be and where you want your customers and community to be as a result.
The mission statement is the who , what , and why of your business — it’s an action plan that makes the vision statement a reality
Here’s an example of a mission statement for our fictional company:
Fanty and Mingo’s takes pride in making the best Sweruvian food, providing fast, friendly, and accurate service. It is our goal to be the employer of choice and offer team members opportunities for growth, advancement, and a rewarding career in a fun and safe working environment.
3) Company Description
In this section of your restaurant business plan, you fully introduce your company to the reader. Every business’s company description will be different and include its own pertinent information.
Useful details to include are:
- Owner’s details
- Brief description of their experience
- Legal standing
- Short-term goals
- Long-term goals
- Brief market study
- An understanding of the trends in your niche
- Why your business will succeed in these market conditions
Again, you don’t have to include all of this information in your company description. Choose the ones that are most relevant to your business and make the most sense to communicate to your readers.
Fanty & Mingo’s will start out as an LLC, owned and operated by founders Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne. Mr. Reynolds will serve as managing partner and Ms. Washburne as general manager.
We will combine atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and menu variety to create a unique experience for our diners and to reach our goal of high value in the fusion food niche.
Our gross margin is higher than industry average, but we plan to spend more on payroll to attract the best team.
We estimate moderate growth for the first two years while word-of-mouth about our restaurant spreads through the area.
4) Market Analysis
A market analysis is a combination of three different views of the niche you want to enter:
- The industry as a whole
- The competition your restaurant will face
- The marketing you’ll execute to bring in customers
This section should be a brief introduction to these concepts. You can expand on them in other sections of your restaurant business plan.
The restaurant industry in our chosen location is wide open thanks in large part to the revitalization of the city’s center.
A few restaurants have already staked their claim there, but most are bars and non-family-friendly offerings.
Fanty & Mingo’s will focus on both tourist and local restaurant clientele. We want to bring in people that have a desire for delicious food and an exotic atmosphere.
We break down our market into five distinct categories:
- High-end singles
- Businessmen and businesswomen
We will target those markets to grow our restaurant by up to 17 percent per year.
Every restaurant needs a good menu, and this is the section within your restaurant business plan that you describe the food you’ll serve in as much detail as possible.
You may not have your menu design complete, but you’ll likely have at least a handful of dishes that serve as the foundation of your offerings.
It’s also essential to discuss pricing and how it reflects your overall goals and operating model. This will give potential investors and partners a better understanding of your business’s target price point and profit strategy.
We don’t have room to describe a sample menu in this article, but for more information on menu engineering, menu pricing, and even a menu template, check out these helpful articles from the Sling blog:
- Menu Engineering: What It Is And How It Can Increase Profits
- Restaurant Menu Pricing: 7 Tips To Maximize Profitability
- How To Design Your Menu | Free Restaurant Menu Template
In this section, describe your potential location (or locations) so that you and your investors have a clear image of what the restaurant will look like.
Include plenty of information about the location — square footage, floor plan , design , demographics of the area, parking, etc. — to make it feel as real as possible.
We will locate Fanty & Mingo’s in the booming and rapidly expanding downtown sector of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Ideally, we will secure at least 2,000 square feet of space with a large, open-plan dining room and rich color scheme near the newly built baseball stadium to capitalize on the pre- and post-game traffic and to appeal to the young urban professionals that live in the area.
Parking will be available along side streets and in the 1,000-vehicle parking garage two blocks away.
The marketing section of your restaurant business plan is where you should elaborate on the information you introduced in the Market Analysis section.
Go into detail about the plans you have to introduce your restaurant to the public and keep it at the top of their mind.
Fanty & Mingo’s will employ three distinct marketing tactics to increase and maintain customer awareness:
- Word-of-mouth/in-restaurant marketing
- Partnering with other local businesses
- Media exposure
We will direct each tactic at a different segment of our potential clientele in order to maximize coverage.
In the process of marketing to our target audience, we will endeavor to harness the reach of direct mail and broadcast media, the exclusivity of the VIP party, and the elegance of a highly trained sommelier and wait staff.
Even though the Financials section is further down in your restaurant business plan, it is one of the most important components for securing investors and bank funding.
We recommend hiring a trained accountant to help you prepare this section so that it will be as accurate and informative as possible.
Fanty & Mingo’s needs $250,000 of capital investment over the next year and a half for the following:
- Renovations to leased space
- Dining room furniture
- Kitchen and food-prep equipment
- Liquor license
Projected profit and loss won’t jump drastically in the first year, but, over time, Fanty & Mingo’s will develop its reputation and client base. This will lead to more rapid growth toward the third and fourth years of business.
Most entrepreneurs starting a new business find it valuable to have multiple formats of their business plan.
The information, data, and details remain the same, but the length and how you present them will change to fit a specific set of circumstances.
Below we discuss the four most common business plan formats to cover a multitude of potential situations.
An elevator pitch is a short summary of your restaurant business plan’s executive summary.
Rather than being packed full of details, the elevator pitch is a quick teaser of sorts that you use on a short elevator ride (hence the name) to stimulate interest in potential customers, partners, and investors
As such, an effective elevator pitch is between 30 and 60 seconds and hits the high points of your restaurant business plan.
A pitch deck is a slide show and oral presentation that is designed to stimulate discussion and motivate interested parties to investigate deeper into your stakeholder plan (more on that below).
Most pitch decks are designed to cover the executive summary and include key graphs that illustrate market trends and benchmarks you used (and will use) to make decisions about your business.
Some entrepreneurs even include time and space in their pitch deck to demonstrate new products coming down the pipeline.
This won’t necessarily apply to a restaurant business plan, but, if logistics permit, you could distribute small samples of your current fare or tasting portions of new dishes you’re developing.
Stakeholder Plan (External)
A stakeholder plan is the standard written presentation that business owners use to describe the details of their business model to customers, partners, and potential investors.
The stakeholder plan can be as long as is necessary to communicate the current and future state of your business, but it must be well-written, well-formatted, and targeted at those looking at your business from the outside in.
Think of your stakeholder plan as a tool to convince others that they should get involved in making your business a reality. Write it in such a way that readers will want to partner with you to help your business grow.
Management Plan (Internal)
A management plan is a form of your restaurant business plan that describes the details that the owners and managers need to make the business run smoothly.
While the stakeholder plan is an external document, the management plan is an internal document.
Most of the details in the management plan will be of little or no interest to external stakeholders so you can write it with a higher degree of candor and informality.
After you’ve created your restaurant business plan, it’s time to take steps to make it a reality.
One of the biggest challenges in ensuring that your business runs smoothly and successfully is managing and optimizing your team. The Sling app can help.
Sling not only includes powerful and intuitive artificial-intelligence-based scheduling tools but also many other features to help make your workforce management more efficient, including:
- Time and attendance tracking
- Built-in time clock
- Labor cost optimization
- Data analysis and reporting
- Messaging and communication
- And much more…
With Sling, you can schedule faster, communicate better, and organize and manage your work from a single, integrated platform. And when you use Sling for all of your scheduling needs, you’ll have more time to focus on bringing your restaurant business plan to life.
For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com today.
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This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.
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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan in 2023 (Step by Step Guide with Templates)
A comprehensive restaurant business plan is a framework that guides you to plan and forecast every element of restaurant management and operations.
This includes anything from your restaurant's menu design, location, financials, employee training, and a lot more.
Crafting a solid business plan is important, as it helps:
- Transform your restaurant ideas into reality.
- Boosts entrepreneurial success by 16% (Harvard Business Study) .
- Equips you to navigate challenges before they arise.
- Attracts potential investors.
“You have to show any potential investor that you have an actual plan, you know what you’re talking about, it looks professional, and you’re not just screwing around.” - Charles Bililies, owner of Souvla
Planning is key to restaurant success. Without a plan, you're more likely to join the 26% of restaurants that fail within a year.
Create a business plan to set yourself up for success.
Here's how to get started.
A step-by-step guide to writing a restaurant business plan
Embarking on a restaurant venture is an exciting prospect filled with endless possibilities.
However, the key to transforming your culinary dreams into reality lies in the foundation of a well-crafted restaurant business plan.
This guide will walk you through creating a winning restaurant business plan , from defining your niche to seeking expert advice.
So, are you ready to cook up some success? Let's get started.
- How to write a business plan for a fine dining restaurant
Essential components of a restaurant business plan
A well-structured restaurant business plan typically consists of the following key components:
- Executive Summary
- Market Analysis
- Restaurant Design
- Market Overview
- External help
- Financial Analysis
Delving into each section
Now, let's take a closer look at each section of your restaurant business plan and explore the key elements to consider:
1. Executive summary
A restaurant business plan should always begin with an executive summary. Why?
- 80% of venture capitalists say they read the executive summary first.
- 62% of investors say they would not continue reading a business plan if the executive summary did not capture their interest.
- A strong executive summary can increase the likelihood of securing funding by up to 40%.
An executive summary not only acts as the introduction to your restaurant business plan samples but also as a summary of the entire idea.
The main aim of an executive summary is to draw the reader (oftentimes an investor) into the rest of your business plan.
The executive summary also helps you envision the identity of your restaurant which essentially shapes the customer experience and sets you apart from competitors.
To establish a distinct identity, you need to focus on c ommon elements of an executive summary, including:
- A mission statement
- Proposed concept development
- Cuisine selection
- The overall execution
- The potential costs
- Expected return on investments (ROI)
Let's take a more in-depth look at the concept development, cuisine selection, and mission statement.
- How to write a restaurant executive summary
Selecting the type of restaurant, service style, and atmosphere is the first step towards creating a unique dining experience. Whether you envision a sample menu for a:
- cozy, intimate bistro
- bustling quick-service deli
- fast-casual restaurant
- fine dining establishment
Your concept should reflect your passion and expertise in the industry.
With a broad range of options, it’s critical to scrutinize your target market and pinpoint the most suitable choice considering their preferences and your capabilities.
When planning your restaurant design, keep in mind that it should effectively complement your chosen theme and cuisine.
Additionally, consider the potential for patio seating and the involvement of your management team in making these critical decisions.
A well-thought-out concept will not only set the stage for an unforgettable dining experience but also pique the interest of potential investors.
The cuisine you select for your restaurant can significantly influence its success.
Choosing the appropriate cuisine is vital for distinguishing your establishment from competitors and attracting your target market.
To make an informed decision, consider factors such as:
- Market demand
- Expertise and passion
- Ingredient availability
- Cultural fit
Dietary restrictions and trends
In the highly competitive restaurant industry, keeping track of current and emerging cuisine trends can be a significant advantage.
From regional delicacies to innovative fusion dishes, understanding what’s popular and in demand can help you tailor your offerings to the desires of your target audience.
By thoroughly analyzing the market and adapting to evolving tastes, your restaurant can remain relevant and successful in the long run.
Crafting a mission statement
A well-constructed mission statement communicates the purpose, values, and goals of your restaurant to potential investors and customers alike.
A mission statement serves as a guiding light for decision-makers and employees, fueling their efforts to achieve your restaurant’s objectives.
To create an impactful mission statement, consider the following steps:
- Identify the purpose of the restaurant.
- Contemplate the brand’s image.
- Account for the target audience.
- Incorporate company values.
- Ensure brevity and comprehensiveness.
Related content: How to Write a Restaurant Mission Statement
Remember, your mission statement should not only differentiate your restaurant from competitors but also resonate with your target market.
By articulating your restaurant’s unique values and vision, you’ll create a strong foundation upon which to build a thriving and successful business.
2. Company description
This is the part of the restaurant business plan where you fully introduce the company.
Start this section with the name of the restaurant you are opening along with the location, contacts, and other relevant information.
Also, include the owner’s details and a brief overview or description of their experience.
The second part of the company description should highlight the legal standing of the restaurant and outline the restaurant’s short and long-term goals.
Provide a brief market study showing that you understand the trends in the regional food industry and why the most independent restaurant investors will succeed in this market.
Here's an example of the page layout:
Restaurant Name: [Restaurant Name]
Location: [Restaurant Address]
Contact: [Restaurant Phone Number] | [Restaurant Email Address]
Owner: [Owner Name]
Experience: [Owner Name] has over [Number] years of experience in the restaurant industry. They have worked in various roles, including [List of Roles]. They are passionate about food and creating a memorable dining experience for their guests.
Legal Standing: [Restaurant Name] is a [Type of Legal Entity] registered in [State/Province].
- Generate [Amount] in revenue within the first year of operation.
- Achieve a [Percentage] customer satisfaction rating within the first six months of operation.
- Expand to a second location within five years.
- Become a recognized leader in the regional food industry.
The regional food industry is experiencing a number of trends, including:
- An increasing demand for fresh, local ingredients.
- A growing interest in ethnic cuisine.
- A preference for casual dining experiences.
3. Market analysis
The market analysis portion of the restaurant business plan is typically divided into three parts.
3.1 Industry analysis
What is your target market? What demographics will your restaurant cater to?
This section aims to explain your target market to investors and why you believe guests will choose your restaurant over others.
Comprehending your target market is key to customizing your restaurant offerings to their preferences and needs.
By diving into demographics, preferences, dining habits, and trends, you can fine-tune your concept and marketing strategy to reach and appeal to your target audience effectively.
An example of analyzing your target market
Comprehending your target market is key to customizing your restaurant offerings to their preferences and needs.
Demographics and preferences
Identifying your primary target market involves considering factors such as:
For example, a neighborhood with a high concentration of families might prefer a family-friendly restaurant with a diverse menu catering to various age groups and dietary preferences.
Conversely, a trendy urban area with a predominantly young and affluent population may gravitate towards upscale dining experiences and innovative cuisine.
Cultural and ethnic backgrounds also have a significant impact on restaurant preferences, with people from different backgrounds having distinctive tastes and customs that influence their dining choices.
By thoroughly understanding the demographics and preferences of your target market, you’ll be better equipped to create a restaurant concept that resonates with them and ultimately drives success.
Dining habits and trends
As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, staying informed about dining habits and trends is crucial for adapting your offerings and attracting customers.
For example, the rise of online ordering and delivery services has significantly influenced dining habits, with many consumers seeking the convenience of having their meals delivered to their doorstep.
Health trends have also had an impact on dining habits, with an increasing number of individuals seeking healthier options when dining out.
By staying abreast of current habits and trends, you can anticipate the needs and desires of your target market and tailor your restaurant’s offerings accordingly.
This forward-thinking approach will not only help you stay competitive but also foster long-term success in the ever-changing restaurant landscape.
- How to find your restaurant's target market
3.2 Competition analysis
It's easy to assume that everyone will visit your new restaurant first, so it is important to research your competition to make this a reality.
What restaurants have already established a customer base in the area?
Take note of everything from their prices, hours, and service style to menu design to the restaurant interior.
Then explain to your investors how your restaurant will be different.
3.3 Marketing analysis
Your investors are going to want to know how you plan to market your restaurant. How will your marketing campaigns differ from what is already being done by others in the restaurant industry?
How do you plan on securing your target market? What kind of offers will you provide your guests? Make sure to list everything.
The most important element to launching a successful restaurant is the menu . Without it, your restaurant has nothing to serve.
At this point, you probably don’t have a final version, but for a restaurant business plan, you should at least try to have a mock-up.
Add your logo to the mock-up and choose a design that you can see yourself actually using. If you are having trouble coming up with a menu design or don’t want to pay a designer, there are plenty of resources online to help.
The key element of your sample menu though should be pricing. Your prices should reflect the cost analysis you’ve done for investors. This will give them a better understanding of your restaurant’s target price point. You'll quickly see how important menu engineering can be, even early on.
The company description section of the restaurant business plan briefly introduces the owners of the restaurant with some information about each. This section should fully flesh out the restaurant's business plan and management team.
The investors don’t expect you to have your entire team selected at this point, but you should at least have a couple of people on board. Use the talent you have chosen thus far to highlight the combined work experience everyone is bringing to the table.
6. Restaurant design
The design portion of your restaurant business plan is where you can really show off your thoughts and ideas to the investors. If you don’t have professional mock-ups of your restaurant rendered, that’s fine.
Instead, put together a mood board to get your vision across. Find pictures of a similar aesthetic to what you are looking for in your restaurant.
The restaurant design extends beyond aesthetics alone and should include everything from restaurant software to kitchen equipment.
The location you end up choosing for your restaurant should definitely be in line with your business plans and target market.
At this point, you might not have a precise location set aside, but you should have a few to choose from.
When describing potential locations to your investors, you want to include as much information as possible about each one and why it would be perfect for your own restaurant concept.
Mention everything from square footage to typical demographics.
Example for choosing an ideal location
Choosing the ideal location for your restaurant is a pivotal decision that can greatly influence your success.
To make the best choice, consider factors such as foot traffic, accessibility, and neighborhood demographics.
By carefully evaluating these factors, you’ll be better equipped to maximize visibility and attract your target market.
Foot traffic and accessibility
Foot traffic and accessibility are essential factors in selecting a location that will attract customers and ensure convenience.
A high-traffic area with ample parking and public transportation options can greatly increase the likelihood of drawing in potential customers.
Additionally, making your restaurant accessible to individuals with disabilities can further broaden your customer base and promote inclusivity.
It’s also important to consider the competition in the area and assess whether your restaurant can stand out among existing establishments.
By choosing a location with strong foot traffic and accessibility, you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving restaurant that appeals to your target market.
Analyzing neighborhood demographics can help you determine if your restaurant’s concept and cuisine will appeal to the local population.
Factors such as income levels, family structures, and cultural diversity can all influence dining preferences and habits.
By understanding the unique characteristics of the neighborhood, you can tailor your offerings and marketing efforts to resonate with the local community.
Conducting a market analysis can be a valuable step in this process.
To gather demographic data for a particular neighborhood, you can utilize resources such as the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and reference maps.
Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions about your restaurant’s concept, menu, and pricing, ensuring that your establishment is well-positioned for success within the community.
Conducting market research will further strengthen your understanding of the local demographic.
8. Market overview
The market overview section is heavily related to the market research and analysis portion of the restaurant business plan. In this section, go into detail about both the micro and macro conditions in the area you want to set up your restaurant.
Discuss the current economic conditions that could make opening a restaurant difficult, and how you aim to counteract that. Mention all the other restaurants that could prove to be competition and what your strategy is to set yourself apart.
With restaurants opening left and ride nowadays, investors are going to want to know how you will get word of your restaurant to the world.
The next marketing strategy and publicity section should go into detail on how you plan to market your restaurant before and after opening. As well as any plans you may have to bring a PR company on board to help spread the word.
Read more: How to write a restaurant marketing plan from scratch
10. External help
To make your restaurant a reality, you are going to need a lot of help. List any external companies or software you plan on hiring to get your restaurant up and running.
This includes everything from accountants and designers to suppliers that help your restaurant perform better, like POS systems and restaurant reservation systems .
Explain to your other potential investors about the importance of each and what they will be doing for your restaurant.
11. Financial analysis
The most important part of your restaurant business plan is the financial section . We would recommend hiring professional help for this given its importance.
Hiring a trained accountant will not only help you get your own financial projections and estimates in order but also give you a realistic insight into owning a restaurant.
You should have some information prepared to make this step easier for the accountant.
He/she will want to know how many seats your restaurant has, what the check average per table will be, and how many guests you plan on seating per day.
In addition to this, doing rough food cost calculations for various menu items can help estimate your profit margin per dish. This can be achieved easily with a free food cost calculator.
- Important restaurant metrics to track
A well-crafted restaurant business plan serves as a roadmap to success, guiding every aspect of the venture from menu design to employee training.
By carefully considering each component of the plan, aspiring restaurateurs can increase their chances of securing funding, attracting customers, and achieving their long-term goals.
Remember, a restaurant business plan is not just a document to satisfy investors; it is a living tool that should be revisited and updated regularly as the business grows and evolves.
By staying committed to the plan and adapting it as needed, restaurateurs can ensure that their culinary dreams have a solid foundation for success.
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Saif Alnasur used to work in his family restaurant, but now he is a food influencer and writes about the restaurant industry for Eat App.
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How to write a restaurant business plan.
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A small restaurant business plan is the roadmap you use to open a successful spot. As a first step to creating yours, ask your friends and colleagues to share restaurant business plan examples. Their restaurant business plan samples can inspire yours.
Once you’ve studied those examples, it’s time to start writing your own. No matter how much thought you’ve put into your concept or how many trusted colleagues have assured you of its greatness, you must write a restaurant business plan. It will prove the viability of your concept to potential investors and provide them with a clear and engaging answer to the question: “Why does the world need this restaurant?”
“The point of a business plan is to show that you’ve done your homework,” says Charles Bililies, owner of Souvla , a fine casual Greek restaurant in San Francisco that has received national acclaim since opening in the spring of 2014.
“You have to show any potential investor that you have an actual plan, you know what you’re talking about, it looks professional, and you’re not just screwing around.”
Quick links Branded cover Table of contents Concept Sample menu Service Management team Design Target market Location Market overview Marketing and publicity Specialists and consultants Business structure Financials
1. Branded cover
Include your logo (even if it’s not finalized), the date, and your name.
2. Table of contents
A table of contents in a restaurant business plan provides an organized overview of the document’s structure and content. It typically appears at the beginning of the plan and lists the major sections and subsections with their corresponding page numbers.
The table of contents is important for several reasons. Firstly, it allows readers to quickly navigate through the plan, enabling easy access to specific sections of interest. Secondly, it helps in presenting a professional and well-structured document, showing that you have carefully organized your thoughts and ideas. It also improves readability and comprehension, as readers can easily locate and refer back to relevant information
A restaurant owner contemplates the design of a new space as part of their business plan. | Credit: Getty Images
3. Restaurant concept
Describe your restaurant concept and get the reader excited about your idea. Specify whether the restaurant will be fine dining or more casual. Include an executive summary and go into detail about the food you’ll be serving, inspiration behind your concept, and an overview of service style.
Define clearly what will be unique about your restaurant and include your mission statement. This section should include a market analysis that shows how your restaurant will be similar and different from competing restaurants.
4. Sample menu
The menu is the most important touchpoint of any restaurant’s brand, so this should be more than just a simple list of items. Incorporate your logo and mock up a formatted menu design (tap a designer for help if needed).
Your sample menu should also include prices that are based on a detailed cost analysis. This will:
- Give investors a clear understanding of your targeted price point
- Provide the info needed to estimate check averages
- Show the numbers used create financial projections for starting costs
- Show investors that you’ve done the homework
- Prove you can stay within a budget
This section is most relevant for:
- Fine-dining concepts
- Concepts that have a unique service style
- Owners who have particularly strong feelings about what role service will play in their restaurant.
It can be a powerful way of conveying your approach to hospitality to investors by explaining the details of the guest’s service experience.
Will your restaurant have counter service and restaurant hostess software designed to get guests on their way as quickly as possible, or will it look more like a theater, with captains putting plates in front of guests simultaneously?
If an extensive wine program is an integral part of what you’re doing, will you have a sommelier? If you don’t feel that service is a noteworthy component of your operation, address it briefly in the concept section.
Two restaurant workers review finances for a new restaurant as part of their business plan. | Credit: Getty Images
6. Management team
Write a brief overview of yourself and the team you have established so far. You want to show that your experience has provided you with the necessary skills to run a successful restaurant and act as a restaurant business owner.
Ideally, once you have described the strong suit of every member of your team, you’ll be presenting a full pitch deck. Most independent restaurant investors are in this for more than just money, so giving some indication of what you value and who you are outside of work may also be helpful.
Incorporate some visuals. Create a mood board that shows images related to the design and feeling of your restaurant.
Whether you’re planning to cook in a wood-burning oven or are designing an eclectic front-of-house, be sure to include those ideas. Photos of materials and snippets of other restaurants that you love that are similar to the brand you’re building are also helpful.
8. Target market
Who is going to eat at your restaurant? What do they do for a living, how old are they, and what’s their average income? Once you’ve described them in detail, reiterate why your specific concept will appeal to them.
Two restaurant workers discuss a business plan. | Credit: Getty Images
There should be a natural and very clear connection between the information you present in the “Target Market” section and this one. You probably won’t have a specific site identified at this point in the process, but you should talk about viable neighborhoods.
Don’t assume that potential investors will be familiar with the areas you’re discussing and who works or lives there—make the connections clear. You want readers to be confident that your restaurant’s “ideal” diner intersects with the neighborhood(s) you’re proposing as often as possible.
If you don’t have a site , this is a good place to discuss what you’re looking for in terms of square footage, foot traffic, parking, freeway accessibility, outdoor seating , and other important details.
10. Market overview
Address the micro and macro market conditions in your area and how they relate to licenses and permits. At a macro level, what are the local and regional economic conditions?
If restaurants are doing poorly, explain why yours won’t; if restaurants are doing well, explain how you’ll be able to compete in an already booming restaurant climate. At a micro level, discuss who your direct competitors are. Talk about what types of restaurants share your target market and how you’ll differentiate yourself.
11. Marketing and publicity
The restaurant landscape is only getting more competitive. Discuss your pre- and post-opening marketing plans to show investors how you plan to gain traction leading up to opening day, as well as how you’ll keep the momentum going.
If you’re going to retain a PR/marketing company, introduce them and explain why you’ve chosen them over other companies (including some of their best-known clients helps). If not, convey that you have a solid plan in place to generate attention on your own through social media, your website , and media connections.
Using technology, like these two restaurant workers, can streamline discussions about a business plan. | Credit: Getty Images
12. Specialists and consultants
List any outside contractors you plan to retain, such as:
- General contractor
- PR and marketing
Briefly explain the services they’ll be providing for you, why you chose them, and any notable accomplishments.
13. Business structure
This section should be short and sweet. What type of business structure have you set up and why did you make that specific decision? You will need to work with an attorney to help you determine what business structure is best for you.
“Step one: write a business plan. Step two: hire a good attorney. In addition to helping me build a smart, sustainable business structure, my attorney was also a great resource for reviewing my business plan because she’s read thousands of them. She was a very helpful, experienced outside perspective for more than just legal matters,” says Charles Bililies.
14. Financial projections
Let your accountant guide you through this portion of your business plan. It is crucial that whoever you hire to help you with your finances has a wealth of restaurant experience (not just one or two places). They should be familiar with the financial specifics of starting a restaurant and know what questions to ask you.
Before creating realistic financial projections, your accountant will want to know:
- How many seats the restaurant will have
- What your average check will be
- How many covers per day you plan to do
Being conservative in these estimations is key. These three data points will be used as the basis for figuring out whether your concept is financially feasible.
Lou Guerrero, Principal at Kross, Baumgarten, Kniss & Guerrero, emphasizes, “You’ll get a lot of accountants that tell you that they’ve done a couple of restaurants, but you have to choose someone that has a deep expertise in what you’re doing. There’s nothing to gain from going with someone that doesn’t have a very restaurant-centric practice.”
A well-vetted accountant with restaurant experience will know exactly what you’ll need to have prepared to show investors.
The key projections you can expect to work on are:
- Pro forma profit and loss statement for the first three to five years of operation
- Break even analysis
- Capital requirements budget
Writing a comprehensive restaurant business plan is a crucial step towards opening a successful establishment. By seeking inspiration from examples, demonstrating your expertise, and addressing all the essential components, you can prove the viability of your concept to potential investors.
Remember, a well-prepared business plan demonstrates professionalism and a clear understanding of your goals, increasing your chances of achieving long-term success in the competitive restaurant industry.
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Sample Restaurant Business Plans For a New Business Owner
Writing a business plan is an essential part of starting a restaurant. Not only does it provide a roadmap for the future but it also helps to create funding opportunities and attract potential investors. For new business owners, having access to sample restaurant business plans can be especially helpful in providing direction and insights into how to write a restaurant business plan on their own.
Download our Ultimate Restaurant Business Plan Template
Having a comprehensive business plan in place is vital for any successful restaurant venture. It will serve as the foundation for your operations, setting out the goals and objectives that will help guide your decisions and actions. A well-written business plan can also give you clarity on realistic financial projections and help you secure financing from lenders or investors. Examples of restaurant business plans are great resources to draw upon when creating your own plan to ensure that all the key elements are included in your document.
Below is an example restaurant business plan to help you see what one should look like. It is not however nearly as comprehensive and successful in raising capital for your restaurant as Growthink’s Ultimate Restaurant Business Plan Template , but it can help you write a business plan for your restaurant.
Restaurant Business Plan Example #1 – Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant
Table of contents.
Industry analysis, customer analysis, competitive analysis, marketing plan, operations plan, management team, financial plan.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant is a high-end seafood restaurant located in the heart of the historic district in New Orleans, LA. The restaurant will serve fresh seafood dishes with a modern twist and provide an unforgettable culinary experience for its guests.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant is seeking to raise $200,000 in startup capital from a group of private investors. The funds will be used to cover the costs of building out the restaurant’s specific location, purchasing equipment and supplies, and hiring staff.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant has a projected annual revenue of $1,200,000 and is expected to be profitable within its first year of operation. The restaurant’s target market is affluent diners who are looking for an exquisite seafood dining experience.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant offers a unique and innovative menu that features fresh seafood dishes with a modern twist. The restaurant’s menu includes items such as:
- Blackened salmon with shrimp and grits
- Fried catfish po’ boy with remoulade sauce
- Grilled Louisiana shrimp skewers
- Crawfish etouffee
- Shrimp gumbo
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant also offers a wide selection of wine and beer to complement its menu.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant is owned and operated by John Doe. Mr. Doe has over 10 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. He has worked as a chef at several renowned restaurants in New Orleans and has also owned and operated his own catering business.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will be located at 123 Main Street in New Orleans, LA. The restaurant will occupy a 3,000-square-foot space that was formerly occupied by a pizzeria. The location is in close proximity to several hotels and tourist attractions, which will generate significant foot traffic for the business. It is also located within walking distance of the Central Business District attracting local office workers and residents.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will have a seating capacity of 60 guests. The restaurant will also have a full-service bar that will serve beer, wine, and cocktails.
The seafood restaurant industry is one of the fastest-growing segments of the food service industry. Over the past five years, the industry has experienced strong growth due to an increase in the popularity of seafood as a healthy dietary choice.
The seafood restaurant industry is expected to continue to grow over the next five years as consumers’ preference for healthy and delicious food continues to rise. In addition, the industry will benefit from an increase in per capita disposable income, which will allow consumers to spend more on dining out.
Other Industry Analysis Points
- The seafood restaurant industry is regulated by the FDA
- Changes in government policies could impact the industry
- The seafood restaurant industry is sensitive to changes in the economy
- An economic downturn could lead to a decline in revenue and profit margins
- The seafood restaurant industry is influenced by consumer trends and preferences
- Health-conscious consumers are increasingly seeking out seafood as a healthy dietary choice
- The seafood restaurant industry is impacted by advances in food technology
- New cooking techniques and equipment can help to improve the quality of dishes served
- The seafood restaurant industry is subject to food safety and sanitation regulations
- Changes in the law could impact the way that restaurants operate
- The seafood restaurant industry is impacted by changes in the environment
- The quality of seafood dishes can be impacted by pollution and other environmental factors
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will target two primary customer market segments: tourists and local residents.
The tourist market segment consists of individuals who are visiting New Orleans for leisure or business purposes. This market segment is significant for the business as it represents a large portion of the city’s population. New Orleans is a major tourist destination, with over 16 million visitors per year.
The local resident market segment consists of individuals who live and work in New Orleans. This market segment is significant for the business as it represents a stable source of income. Local residents are more likely to visit the restaurant on a regular basis and recommend it to friends and family.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will compete in the seafood restaurant industry. Through our competitive research, the restaurant’s closest direct competitors will be Red Fish Grill, Bourbon House, and GW Fins.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will compete in the seafood restaurant industry. The restaurant’s closest competitors will be Red Fish Grill, Bourbon House, and GW Fins.
Red Fish Grill is a seafood restaurant located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The restaurant offers a casual dining experience with a menu that features fresh seafood dishes.
Bourbon House is a seafood restaurant located in the French Quarter of New Orleans. The restaurant offers a more upscale dining experience with a menu that features fresh seafood and steak dishes.
GW Fins is a seafood restaurant located in the Warehouse District of New Orleans. The restaurant offers an upscale dining experience with a menu that features fresh seafood dishes.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will differentiate itself from its competitors by offering a more innovative and modern menu with fresh seafood dishes that are prepared using unique cooking techniques. In addition, the restaurant will provide a superior level of customer service and create an unforgettable dining experience for its guests.
Our competitive advantages include:
- Unique menu with fresh seafood dishes that are prepared using unique cooking techniques
- Superior level of customer service
Products : The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will serve a variety of fresh seafood dishes that are prepared using unique cooking techniques.
Price : The price of menu items will be competitive with other seafood restaurants in the area.
Promotion : The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will use a combination of marketing strategies to promote the business and attract customers.
- Develop a website and create social media accounts to reach a wider audience
- Develop a promotional video to generate interest in the restaurant
- Participate in local food festivals and events to generate awareness
- Launch a targeted advertising campaign in local publications and on radio and television
- Develop relationships with local tour operators to promote the restaurant to visitors
- Offer discounts and special promotions to generate repeat business
Place : The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will be located in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The restaurant will be closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will source seafood from local suppliers and growers to ensure the freshest ingredients are used in dishes.
The restaurant will use a point-of-sale system to manage inventory and track sales.
The restaurant will seat up to 100 guests at a time. Reservations will be accepted for parties of eight or more. Walk-in guests will be accommodated on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will have a staff of 20 employees, including a head chef, sous chefs, kitchen staff, servers, and hostesses.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will be owned and operated by John and Jane Doe.
John Doe has over 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry. He has worked as a chef, manager, and consultant for a variety of restaurants.
Jane Doe has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry. She has worked as a hotel manager, event planner, and marketing consultant.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant will have start-up costs of $500,000. The majority of the start-up costs will be for leasing and outfitting the restaurant space. Other start-up costs include purchasing kitchen equipment, hiring staff, and marketing the business.
The Black Pearl Seafood Restaurant is projected to generate $1.5 million in sales in the first year of operation. The restaurant is expected to have net profits of $250,000 in the first year.
- Jumbo shrimp cocktail
- Oysters Rockefeller
Soups and salads:
- Seafood bisque
- Caesar salad with grilled shrimp
- House salad with tuna steak
- Spinach salad with scallops
- Shrimp scampi
- Surf and turf (filet mignon and lobster tail)
- Grilled salmon with roasted vegetables
- Blackened redfish
- Bread pudding with rum sauce
- Bananas Foster
- Cheesecake with berry sauce
- Key lime pie
- Soda, coffee, tea, milk
- Beer, wine, cocktails
[insert financial statement]
Cash flow statement, restaurant business plan example #2 – la cocina de el paso: home of authentic mexican cuisine.
La Cocina de El Paso is a restaurant that specializes in serving authentic Mexican cuisine. The owners, John and Jane Doe, have over 30 years of combined experience in the hospitality and restaurant industry. This wealth of experience will ensure the success and longevity of the business.
Located in the heart of El Paso, La Cocina de El Paso will offer a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Guests can expect to be served freshly made dishes, prepared with only the freshest ingredients. The restaurant will also serve a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
La Cocina de El Paso will cater to both locals and tourists alike. To promote the business, the owners plan to launch an aggressive marketing campaign that will include print ads, radio spots, and social media. In addition, the restaurant will partner with local businesses to offer discounts and promotional offers.
The owners have estimated start-up costs of $500,000. The majority of this amount will be used to lease and outfit the restaurant space. Income is projected to reach $1.75 million within the first year of operations, with net profits of $350,000.
La Cocina de El Paso is an upcoming restaurant that will offer authentic Mexican cuisine. The restaurant will be located in downtown El Paso, Texas, and will feature a relaxed atmosphere with seating for up to 150 guests.
The restaurant will utilize only the freshest ingredients in its dishes and offer a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails. The menu will feature appetizers, soups and salads, entrees, desserts, and drinks.
The restaurant industry is highly competitive. In particular, Mexican cuisine has gained popularity in recent years. To succeed, La Cocina de El Paso must differentiate itself from other restaurants in the area.
The restaurant will focus on offering fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine with a welcoming atmosphere. The owners plan to partner with local businesses and offer discounts and promotional offers. In addition, the owners plan to launch an aggressive marketing campaign that will include print ads, radio spots, and social media.
The target market for La Cocina de El Paso will be both locals and tourists. The restaurant is located in a tourist area and is close to several attractions. As such, it will be well-positioned to attract customers from out of town as well as local residents.
The restaurant will serve a variety of customers, including young adults and families. To appeal to this demographic, the restaurant will offer an inviting atmosphere with comfortable seating and a selection of entertainment options. Additionally, the menu will feature authentic Mexican dishes that are sure to please all tastes.
Ideal Customer Demographics:
- Young adults: ages 18-34
- Local residents
- Adventurous eaters
- Value conscious
- Seeking authentic experiences
There are several other restaurants in El Paso that specialize in Mexican cuisine. Main competitors include El Paso’s Best, El Taco Loco, and Casa Azul.
El Paso’s Best is the area’s premier Mexican restaurant. The food is of high quality and the atmosphere is casual yet upscale. Prices are slightly higher than La Cocina de El Paso, but the quality of the food makes it worth the price.
El Taco Loco is a fast-food Mexican restaurant. The food is inexpensive, but the quality is not as high as La Cocina de El Paso.
Casa Azul is a family-style Mexican restaurant with more of a casual atmosphere. Prices are slightly lower than La Cocina de El Paso and the menu features traditional Mexican dishes.
To differentiate itself, La Cocina de El Paso will focus on fresh ingredients and authentic Mexican dishes. The restaurant will also offer a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails, as well as discounts and promotional offers. Finally, the owners plan to launch an aggressive marketing campaign that will help spread the word about La Cocina de El Paso.
To attract customers, La Cocina de El Paso will focus on marketing its fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine.
Below is a sample menu for La Cocina de El Paso, featuring traditional Mexican dishes and a selection of beer, wine, and cocktails.
- Guacamole and Chips
- Stuffed Jalapenos
- Queso fundido, taquitos
Soups & Salads:
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Caldo de Res (Beef Soup)
- Taco Salad with Ground Beef or Grilled Chicken
- Ensalada de la Casa (House Salad)
- Ensalada Fresca (Fresh Salad)
- Tacos al Carbon (Grilled Steak Tacos)
- Fajitas (Steak, Chicken, or Vegetarian)
- Chiles Rellenos (Stuffed Peppers)
- Carne Asada con Papas
- Camarones a la Diabla
- Enchiladas Verdes
- Churros con Chocolate
- Tres Leches Cake
- Flan Napolitano
- Beer & Wine
The restaurant will offer promotional discounts and specials. For example, customers who purchase two entrees may receive a complimentary appetizer or dessert. The owners plan to partner with local businesses to offer additional discounts and promotional offers.
La Cocina de El Paso will offer competitive pricing. Prices will be slightly lower than El Paso’s Best, but higher than El Taco Loco and Casa Azul.
The restaurant will be located in downtown El Paso, close to several attractions and tourist sites. The owners hope that the convenient location will help bring in both tourists and local residents.
To reach its target customers, La Cocina de El Paso will use a combination of traditional marketing strategies such as print ads, radio spots, and TV commercials, as well as digital marketing tactics such as content marketing, social media campaigns, email newsletters, and online advertising.
- Print Advertising : The owners plan to run print ads in local newspapers and magazines that target young adults and families.
- Radio & TV Spots : The restaurant will also air radio spots and TV commercials that feature its menu items and promotional offers.
- Content Marketing : La Cocina de El Paso will create content that highlights the freshness of its ingredients and the authenticity of its Mexican dishes. The content will be shared on social media, in email newsletters, and on the restaurant’s website.
- Social Media Campaigns : The restaurant will run campaigns on Facebook and Instagram that feature customer reviews, contests, and giveaways.
- Online Advertising : The owners plan to use Google Ads and other online platforms to reach potential customers.
The owners of La Cocina de El Paso are confident that their marketing strategy will help the restaurant stand out from its competitors and attract customers. With its fresh and authentic Mexican cuisine, competitive prices, convenient location, and aggressive marketing campaigns, La Cocina de El Paso is sure to be a success.
Collaborative Promotion: The owners of La Cocina de El Paso plan to partner with local businesses in order to create mutually beneficial promotional offers. For example, the restaurant may offer discounts to customers who use services from one of its partners. The owners believe that this type of collaborative promotion will help draw in more customers and generate additional revenue for the business.
Events: La Cocina de El Paso plans to host events such as cooking classes and live music performances in order to build relationships with customers and increase brand awareness. The restaurant will also use these events to showcase the freshness of its ingredients, its Mexican cuisine, and the quality of its drinks (margaritas, beer & wine, cocktails).
These strategies are designed to help La Cocina de El Paso build a strong customer base and become a popular destination in downtown El Paso. The owners are confident that these tactics will help the restaurant stand out and create a positive impact on the local community.
La Cocina de El Paso will have a skilled team of servers, cooks, and bartenders who are knowledgeable about the restaurant’s Mexican cuisine. The owners plan to focus on delivering high-quality customer service in order to ensure customers have a great experience. The owners also plan to invest in modern kitchen equipment that can help streamline the cooking process.
The restaurant will be open from 11 am to 10 pm on weekdays and from 11 am to 11 pm on weekends. The owners plan to hire additional staff during peak hours in order to handle the influx of customers. The owners also plan to use advanced reservation systems and delivery services to accommodate customers who would prefer not to wait in line.
The owners of La Cocina de El Paso have extensive experience in the restaurant industry. They plan to hire a team of experienced managers who can handle day-to-day operations and ensure that the restaurant runs smoothly. The management team will also be responsible for developing marketing strategies, overseeing staff training programs, and creating promotional offers.
The job description for the management team includes:
- Overseeing day-to-day operations
- Developing marketing strategies and managing promotional campaigns
- Creating training programs for staff members
- Handling customer inquiries and complaints
- Ensuring that food safety standards are met
- Analyzing data to identify areas for improvement.
The total start-up cost of La Cocina de El Paso is estimated at $500,000.
- $100,000 for lease deposits and renovations costs;
- $200,000 for furniture and fixtures;
- $50,000 for marketing and advertising;
- $50,000 for kitchen equipment;
- $100,000 for the salary of the management team.
The owners plan to finance the start-up costs through a combination of their personal savings and bank loans. They also plan to generate additional revenue by offering catering services and hosting special events at the restaurant.
The financial forecast for La Cocina de El Paso is optimistic. The owners expect to break even in the first year of operations and reach profitability within five years.
Free Restaurant Business Plan Example PDF
Download our restaurant business plan pdf here. This is a free restaurant business plan example to help you get started on your own restaurant plan.
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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan (with Samples)
Table of Contents
What Should a Restaurant Business Plan Include?
Sample restaurant business plans.
- Better Market Your Restaurant
If you’ve made the decision to start your own restaurant, congratulations! Running your own business is incredibly exciting, and can be rewarding as well. Yet having a great idea is just the first step in the process – you’ll need to put in a lot of work to make your dream a reality.
To start, you will need a concrete, detailed business plan. Not only will this plan serve as a blueprint for how you will run your restaurant, it is also necessary to secure funding. But, knowing that you need a solid restaurant business plan is different from actually writing one.
Below, we outline what you should cover in a business plan for your restaurant. This guide is meant to help you get started as you begin the process of opening up your own place. If you’re ready to move to the next level, reach out to Budget Branders for a quote on custom branded disposable products for your restaurant . Our custom printed disposables are the most cost-effective advertising your restaurant could invest in.
A business plan isn’t something that you should just slap together to check it off of your to-do list. A well-drafted business plan will demonstrate the viability of your concept to potential investors and show that you have done your homework.
A strong business plan should contain a number of components to ensure that it covers most or all of the questions that investors may have. It should also be professionally printed and bound, with a branded cover that includes your logo and/or slogan . The business plan should start with an executive summary, which should include a brief overview of what is contained in the entire document.
Read on to learn more about what should be contained in a restaurant business plan.
When you decided to open a restaurant, you probably did so on the basis of a great concept or idea. Your concept is what makes your restaurant unique – and what will bring customers in the door.
Spend some time fleshing out your concept, describing your inspiration, the type of food that you will be serving, and an overview of how your restaurant will be run. Make sure that you explain what makes your concept unique.
For example, after a health scare, you decided to focus on a more plant-based diet. You noticed that few restaurants in the area offer vegetarian or vegan options, and decided to open a restaurant that offers a fresh take on healthy, mostly vegetarian foods. In your restaurant plan, you can describe why you decided to go this route, what type of food you plan to serve, and how this concept sets you apart from other restaurants in the region.
The menu is one of the most important elements of any successful restaurant. After all, you can have the best concept and the most amazing location, but if your food is bland and uninspired, no one will want to patronize your establishment. For this reason, a sample menu is a critical component of a restaurant business plan.
The sample menu shouldn’t just be a list of what you plan to serve. Instead, you should mock up a menu that looks like it could be handed out to diners. It should also include prices for each option that are based on a detailed cost analysis. Including these prices will demonstrate to potential investors that you have done the necessary work to make your business successful.
An attractive, pleasing design is critical to the success of any restaurant. Studies show that we use all five senses when eating, so that things such as the color of tableware can affect how a person feels about a meal. Having a good design concept can also help to lure in customers who want to take pictures – and share them on social media.
As part of your business plan, be sure to include elements of your proposed design. Include swatches of color, pictures of your inspiration, and anything else that may be relevant. For example, if you plan to cook food in a wood-burning oven, sending delicious, smoky scents wafting throughout the restaurant, describe that element in your business plan. If you want to include a wall of plants to attract Instagram Influencers, be sure to include that information as well.
Although you may not have identified a specific location yet, it is important to include some details about where you plan to operate, as this will affect profitability. For example, if your goal is to provide to-go breakfast and lunch meals for workers, specify that you want to find a space near large office buildings or in a downtown area.
If you haven’t picked out a site for your restaurant, list the criteria that you will use to select a place. This may include information such as parking, square footage, availability of outdoor dining, accessibility to major highways, and foot traffic.
Before anyone can know that your restaurant is a good investment, they have to know about the market. This section should include both micro and macro economic factors that influence profitability – everything from COVID-19 restrictions (macro) to direct competitors in your area. Describe each of these in detail, and address how you plan to overcome any challenges or differentiate yourself from other restaurants.
In this section, you will describe who you think will eat at your restaurant. Will they be young or older? What is their average income? Talk in detail about who you think will patronize your restaurant – and why you think that your concept will appeal to them. For example, if you’re trying to appeal to a young crowd/ Gen Z , you may talk about how you plan to offer healthy choices, vegetarian options, and convenient delivery.
We have moved beyond the basic restaurant service options of fast food and fine dining. There are a lot of different types of restaurant services now, from take-out only to fast casual to pop-ups. If there is anything unique about your planned service style, it should be included as part of your business plan.
One of the most critical elements of a successful business is the people who are running it. If you want investors to take a chance on your restaurant concept, you will need to show that you have the experience necessary to turn a profit.
In this section of the business plan, introduce each member of the management team. Describe their work experience, both in the industry and in business generally. This will give potential investors a good idea of the likelihood of making money.
Before you open for business, you will need to establish some type of business structure – such as a partnership, an LLC, or even a corporation. Explain what business structure you have chosen and why you selected it.
Behind every successful business owner is a team of specialists. No matter how good you may be at running a restaurant, you can’t go it alone. You will likely need a team of consultants – such as a lawyer, accountant, general contractor, or marketing agency – to truly succeed.
Investors want to know that you understand your limitations, and have planned accordingly. Listing your outside consultants shows that you have considered all of the various aspects of running a business. Be sure to explain the services that they will provide, why you selected them, and how much they charge for their services.
The success of any business is dependent in part on branding and marketing. You can have the most delicious food at the best prices around, and if people don’t know about your restaurant, they won’t patronize it. In this section, describe what you plan to do to market your business – such as developing a website, retaining a marketing company, establishing social media accounts, and even using branded paper bags for your takeout items.
Finally, it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty. How much is this going to cost?
Most entrepreneurs will need the help of a financial professional to draft this section of the business plan. You will need to incorporate data points, such as labor cost percentages , average check amount, and how many meals you plan to serve each day, to determine whether your concept is financially viable.
An accountant can also help you make financial projections that should be included in your business plan. This may include a projected budget for capital, a break even analysis, and a pro forma profit and loss statement for the first 3 to 5 years of operation.
Feeling overwhelmed? This may seem like a lot, but each of these elements is necessary if you want a solid business plan that will attract investors. Fortunately, there are a number of sample restaurant business plans available online for you to review:
- Specialty restaurant and bakery business plans
- Basic restaurant business plan template
- Small restaurant business plan
- Pizza shop business plan
- Fast food business plan
- Steak house business plan
- Café business plan
- Traditional restaurant business plan
- Fast-casual restaurant business plan
These samples can help you get a good idea of what you should – and should not be – including in your business plan. If you are concerned about your ability to draft this type of document, consider reaching out for help. There are many writers and business professionals who have significant experience making business plans. Hiring one as a consultant can help make the process easier and less stressful for you.
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If you’d like to learn more or to request a quote, contact us today by pressing the live chat button, or sending us a message online.
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How to write a comprehensive restaurant business plan
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Are you considering opening a new restaurant , adding a virtual restaurant , or pivoting your restaurant’s business strategy to adapt to the shifting restaurant industry? Make sure you take the time to build a restaurant business plan. Why?
- Business plans are like professional road maps — they literally lead the way to success
- They’re critical if you’re looking for investors and need to outline your restaurant’s current wins and future revenue potential
- They help you foresee challenges before they arise, so you can sidestep some catastrophes and be better prepared for the others
Some 26% of restaurants fail within a year of opening, and failure to plan is one of the primary reasons those restaurants close. Create a business plan, and you’re setting yourself up to be on the right side of that statistic.
Here’s how to do it.
What is a restaurant business plan?
Before you learn how to write a business plan , it’s crucial to understand what a business plan is — and what it isn’t.
The goal of a business plan is to create a guide that helps you navigate each stage of launching and running your business. That plan should also be comprehensive and articulate enough that a total stranger, for instance an investor, could read through it and easily understand your vision, your goals, and how you intend to turn your restaurant dream into a reality.
Business plans come in a variety of structures and they can be as short as a single page or long enough to bind into a booklet. You may want to start with a lean startup plan that focuses on a high-level take on your strategy, then follow up with a more detailed plan that elaborates on key points and offers investors more information.
In short, your business plan should communicate everything you have and plan to put into your restaurant to ensure ongoing success.
11 elements every restaurant business plan should include
Your restaurant and mission statement should be unique to your business and your vision, but that doesn’t mean you have to start completely from scratch. Crafted by industry experts and packed with insider knowledge, the Grubhub Restaurant Business Plan template is your step-by-step guide to whipping up a winning business strategy. Take a look at our editable business plan template to start planning your restaurant. However you write it, your finalized business plan should include seven key sections.
1. Executive summary
This is a brief summary of your company, why it’s something the community wants or needs, and why it will be successful. Many different types of restaurants speak to various demographics, and it’s important to know what kind of restaurant you want to run . Are you opening a quick-service deli focused on takeout sandwiches and ready-to-eat salads? Or are you going to be the first tapas restaurant in a city eager for more variety?
If you’re using your business plan to ask for financing, the SBA recommends including financial information and high-level growth plans in your executive summary, too. Your executive summary should include:
- Mission statement: A concise description of your restaurant’s purpose
- Proposed concept: The summary or outline of the restaurant idea
- Execution: How you plan to make this proposed concept work
- Potential costs: A brief overview of expected exprenses
- Anticipated ROI: How much the restaurant is expected to make
Think of your summary as your opportunity to capture your reader’s attention. Many investors will make a split-second decision based on the executive summary alone — if this section is all they’re going to read, make every word count.
2. Company description
Now it’s time to launch into a more detailed description of the company, including its vital differentiator(s) , target audience, and any other factors that could sway investors like experts you’ve brought on board as advisors or a location you’ve already scouted or secured.
You’ll want to include the legal structure of the business, explaining whether you’re a sole proprietorship, LLC, etc., and list out existing management and their roles (including your own).
Now comes the fun part: Writing out a description of your concept. This is where you can let your creative side come out, showcasing your passion for what you hope to create and using plenty of adjectives to engage your readers and give your concept life. You’ve already decided what type of restaurant you’re opening, now flesh out all the other details:
- Service style (counter vs. sit-down, casual vs. fine dining, etc.)
- Restaurant size and seating capacity
- General ambiance, including décor and music
- Options for styles of seating, lighting, and other fixtures
- Operating hours
- Style of cuisine
- Peripheral service offerings such as retail products, delivery/takeout, and catering
- Unique selling points such as using produce grown on an adjacent farm or a 30-minute lunch guarantee to serve the area’s office workers better
3. Target market analysis
Detail your target market, using buyer personas to indicate who you see being your primary customer and what their dining habits might look like. These personas should include information on where target customers live, their income levels, their pain points (do they hate long waits or want restaurants that are open later?), and how often they dine out or order in.
The more specific you are during this step of the process, the easier it will be to create marketing to reach them.
4. Sample menu
If you’re a new restaurant, including a sample menu is the only way investors will know what you plan on serving. It’s not enough to say you’re going for “rustic Italian,” as that could mean different things to different people. Chances are your menu is your key differentiator, or at least part of it — otherwise, why will customers choose you over tried-and-true competitors already offering similar dishes?
Collaborate with your chef and keep the core tenets of great menu design in mind:
- Know your audience and tailor your design and descriptions to your target customer base — a college crowd eager for drink deals and shareable eats will be more interested in pictures and flashy pricing than diners looking for a white tablecloth experience
- Menu descriptions should be short but evocative — choose words that help customers understand exactly what they’ll be eating and get them excited about trying it (for example, say “succulent tea-smoked duck with anise-scented plum sauce” rather than “duck with plum sauce”)
- Refer to menu psychology when determining and placing pricing, sticking to simple numerals (no dollar signs) placed to the right of the menu item with no dots or dashes in between
- Use that same psychology to guide customers through your offerings, using call-out boxes and bold text to highlight more profitable items
- View your menu as an extension of your restaurant branding , using the same colors, design elements, and fonts
5. Organizational management
While you’ve touched on your organizational structure and management earlier on in your business plan, now you’ll explain your business structure and share a more comprehensive look at your team. An organizational chart can be helpful, as is a summary of your collective experience. Some people include a bullet list of the team’s top achievements that’s easy to scan and digest. This section should include any employe positions you will need to fill and a plan for how you will train these employees .
In addition to listing out co-founders, managers, servers, etc., you can attach resumes from your executive team or critical players like a well-known mixologist that’s helping you develop your cocktail program.
6. Restaurant design
Restaurant interior design is crucial for your customer’s experience. The ambiance and floor plan impact how they perceive your business and whether it’s a good enough place to eat at. In fact, even the color of the walls and types of flooring can impact people’s moods and how they feel while in your restaurant.
Come up with a restaurant design that matches your theme and cuisine. This is also the time to plan out any patio seating , and decide on how many tables can you can serve.
You may already have a specific location picked out or even have a building purchased. If so, this section is less of a concern for you. It’s important to ensure that your location is going to benefit you rather than hurt your business. If you still need to find the right space to host your business, the location you end up choosing should be in line with your target market and be an easily accessible place for them to eat.
Before you sign a lease, it’s a good idea to check out the other competition in your area. If you found the perfect building for your pizzeria but it’s next to another popular pizza shop, it may be hard to convert customers to your cheesy creations. You want to enter a market where you can grab diner’s attention with new offerings rather than rival existing ones.
8. Marketing plan
With so many restaurants vying for customers’ attention, marketing is extremely important for getting diners through the door (or onto your website). Crafting a marketing plan for your restaurant gives you a blueprint for all potential advertising and outreach. Promotional events, social media, and paid ads are just some ways you can help get your restaurant off the ground, and investors will be very interested to hear what you have planned.
9. Takeout and delivery
Having reliable delivery and takeout services is pretty important for most target audiences. In fact, 51% of consumers said if they cannot order delivery or takeout from a restaurant, they probably won’t visit them for dine-in as often. Offering off-premise dining options will increase your order volume and customer base.
If you’re hoping to have takeout and delivery capabilities at your restaurant, Grubhub makes it easy . Whether you want to use your own drivers or our professional fleet, we offer :
- Grubhub Delivery: Our fleet of Grubhub Drivers pick up and deliver orders to your customers’ doors. We coordinate and pay the delivery drivers — all you have to do is provide the food.
- Supplemental Delivery: Utilize our delivery fleet of 300,000 drivers to widen your customer base.
- Self Delivery: Use your own drivers to deliver Grubhub orders to diners. You have full control over delivery and fees, but benefit from Grubhub online ordering.
- Pickup: Set up a Grubhub account to accept pickup and deliver orders from your customers, letting you reach new customers and increase sales.
10. External providers
To make your restaurant a reality, you’ll likely need a bit of help. Make a list of any external companies or software you plan to use or hire to get your restaurant up off the ground. This could be accountants who you wish to balance your books or designers who can help make your design dreams a reality. This list may also include outside suppliers for your food and beverages. Who is it that you want to partner with when it comes to receiving your raw ingredients and materials? Do you want to source locally or use a distant distributor? Whoever it is that you want to potentially work with, write them down!
Luckily, when you join Grubhub you not only do have your food delivery and pickup service partner chosen, you can also simplify your order and menu management using Grubhub for Restaurants’ easy technology integration . Our tech integrations allow orders to come from the Grubhub app or Grubhub.com directly to your kitchen. Plus, you can create a customized online ordering site with Direct . Encourage customers to place a commission-free order right from your restaurant’s website.
11. Customer service policies and procedures
As a business owner, you want to give your customers a five-star experience at your restaurant. Creating customer service policies and procedures will help ensure that your staff create a great dining experience for your customers. Have a blueprint for how certain situations will be handled and what you’ll do if problems arise. For example, if a customer has an issue with the food, your entire staff should know how to handle the circumstance and what to say to the diner. Then, ensure that your staff is all on the same page about your expectations for them and consistently utilize the same guidelines and approach.
12. Financial projections
Finally, it’s time to address the financial side of your business, especially if you’re using your business plan to acquire startup funds or additional capital after you’re already operational.
If you’re pre-launch, your projections are just that: guesses. But these guesses should be based on market research, actual expenses, and projected income, culminating in a five-year look at everything from estimated revenue to capital expenditure budgets.
If your business is up and running, you’ll include actual financial records such as cash flow statements and your P&Ls, ideally for the last five years. Use colorful charts and graphs to highlight financial wins and make it easier for investors to gauge your company’s financial health quickly.
If you’re asking for funding, specify how those funds will be used and whether you have collateral you’re able to put up to secure a loan.
Start writing your own restaurant business plan
Now that you understand the various steps for creating a strategic restaurant business plan , it’s time for you to create your own. Download our Restaurant Business Plan template to draft your restaurants’ operational foundation. Use this as a playbook for you to refer back to whenever you make business decisions.
Once you get your business plan off the ground, consider partnering with Grubhub. Platforms like Marketplace can make it easier than ever to capture the attention of new customers and reinvigorate relationships with existing customers by offering quick-click access to ordering and stress-free pickup or delivery.
Ready to reach millions of hungry customers? Sign up for Grubhub for Restaurants today!
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You’re a professional chef in the making. You have delicious recipes, a killer drink menu, and even a delicious secret sauce all ready to go, but what about your business plan? You can have the best food and dining experience in the world, but without a good business plan in place, your restaurant may be out of business before you ever fire up the oven.
Check out our library of sample restaurant business plans to be sure you have everything in order to confidently take your first order.
If you’re looking to develop a more modern business plan, we recommend you try LivePlan . It contains the same templates and information you see here, but with additional guidance to help you develop the perfect plan.
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