How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan
A great restaurant business plan provides you with a detailed roadmap to success and an opportunity to find loans and investors. Your business plan is the fundamental starting point for your startup restaurant.
This guide will teach you:
- Each part of a restaurant business plan
- Explain why it’s included in your business plan
- What to include in each section
- How to design your business plan
All restaurant owners need to be able to write a business plan.
What’s in a Restaurant Business Plan?
Your restaurant business plan will consist of these X sections. More information may be included but these are the essential elements of every one.
- Executive Summary
- Company Overview
- Industry Analysis
- Marketing Plan
- Operations Plan
- Financial Plan
Writing a whole business plan can seem like a daunting task. But by tackling each section as a separate project to complete, you can break it into more manageable chunks. As you complete each section you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment driving you forward.
Parts Of a Restaurant Business Plan
The executive summary comes at the front of your business plan. However, it should be written last. As a summary for your readers, it is an overview of everything contained in the business plan.
The executive summary should be concise but detailed enough to highlight the best features of your restaurant. It’s OK to do a bit of boasting to help get investors interested and to articulate your differentiation in the market.
When you’ve completed each of the other sections of your business plan you’ll have the confidence to write your executive summary. You’ll know your business plan inside and out. You’ll know what the strongest message is.
Put your best foot forward and tailor the executive summary to appeal directly to your reader.
In the company overview you describe in detail your restaurant concept. Start with an introduction that summarizes the details about your restaurant concept that you think are most important.
Describe your unique selling proposition and where you fit in the market. Describe the guest experience you want to create. Give details about the thoughts that went into creating the menu items and services you’ll provide.
Give insight into your choice of logo, company colors, interior design and how it appeals to your target guest. What type of company culture do you wish to communicate?
Describe the restaurant’s origins in a homespun rags-to-riches style. Include background bios for each of the restaurant’s owners and investors. Show how you’ve assembled a “super-group” ready to take on the challenges of running this unique restaurant.
In the industry analysis section show that you get the market. That you understand the demand. That you know the needs of your target guest.
Use this section to justify why you’re opening this kind of restaurant and why you’re at the right place at the right time with the right people to score a win. Ultimately, it’s about showing that your restaurant concept is profitable.
Back up your claim of profitability with infographics and charts constructed from industry data, and demographic research.
Include a summary of the market research you’ve done, including:
- Quotes from guest interviews
- Statistic results from test marketing
- Analysis of similar successful restaurants
Really make the case that this is a great business opportunity based on the numbers.
Describe in detail your restaurant’s target customers. Explain why you chose this market segment and how they can drive your success. Include market segment statistics such as median income and population data.
Provide detailed projections of sales based on your research. Back up your projections with with well thought out justifications and good data. Estimate average sale per customer, sales per hour and number of customers served.
Your marketing plan is also very much about your target customer and their preferences. While the industry analysis is about justifying your choice of target guest, your marketing plan is how you’re going to communicate with them.
Provide details about their unique needs, preferences and values to create a thumbnail of their lifestyle. List the specific ways you plan to communicate with your target customers to attract and keep their business.
Importantly explain what media they consume and where you’ll find marketing opportunities. Include the costs associated with the different marketing streams you’re pursuing to reach your targets.
Explain the logic behind your marketing choices and how it will appeal to the target. Include marketing samples in your business plan. Add mockups of billboards, print and online ads if applicable.
Provide reasoning behind the choice to hire a marketing firm, social media manager, PR firm or media consultants. If you’re handling marketing in-house provide justification for the decision.
Quantify your success with marketing and what you predict the cost of the marketing will be. Project how much you anticipate each marketing stream to increase sales. Explain what marketing tools you’ll use to manage your customer relationships.
Give detail on how you’ll determine your marketing budget ROI. Like everything in business, marketing should provide a tangible return on investment.
The operations plan provides detail on how your restaurant operates. It can form the basis of your employee handbook and management training guide.
Describe in detail what your planned operational procedures are, and what your goals are for service and how you plan to get there.
This section includes things like: how employee hiring and training will be completed, the specific skills needed for each team member’s role, and the scope of their responsibilities.
Think about how your front of house and back of house are structured and why. Give specific written policies and procedures about how the guest will be greeted, seated and served. How will the kitchen function during service, during prep, cleaning, and inventory?
Provide information about your supply chain, who your vendors will be and why you are choosing them.
Explain what the benefits are of choosing to run the restaurant this way.
Your restaurant financial plan is where you explain how all this is going to be paid for. And when the startup investors will be paid back.
In this section your readers want to see the cold hard numbers. They want to have their minds put to ease, knowing that you have a clear plan to financial success. Since numbers alone can be misleading and hard to follow, add supporting statistics, graphs, and charts.
Note how much startup capital you have and where it came from. Have any investors committed to making additional capital available if required? Provide a clear breakdown of all your sources of funding.
Also show your projections for the short term and long term financial health of the restaurant. How much profit can investors expect year upon year?
Include your startup budget, where you are spending cash and why. Show that you have a plan estimating future operations costs as well. Write sample financial statements based on your analytical predictions.
Restaurant Business Plan Design
When it comes to restaurant business plans, there is no substitute for good research and clear answers. You’re not going to be able to buffalo your readers with fancy pictures without substance.
You want the look of your business plan to strike a balance between substance and style to put your best foot forward. You should be proud of the hard work that’s gone into your business plan. Don’t neglect the presentation aspect.
If you are sending your plan around to investors and potential partners, you want an attractive document that includes pictures, logos, colors, and graphics that captures the vision of your brand.
To best get your vision across to investors, consider working with a professional designer familiar with designing for business plans. This could give you the final polished edge to get noticed in this competitive industry.
Your business plan is a roadmap to your own success and the primary way to communicate your vision to your partners, investors and the world. It’s a lot of work but if you take it section by section you can make the work more manageable.
Your business plan consists of six primary elements. In the executive summary you provide an overview of your business plan. In the company overview you introduce readers to your team and management structure.
In the industry analysis you show how you understand the market and where your restaurant fills a niche. Your marketing plan describes your brand message and how you will reach customers.
Your operations plan describes the policies and procedures that drive day-to-day operations. And your financial plan shows that you have a clear understanding of the numbers.
Don’t neglect the design of your restaurant business plan. Adding supporting graphics and images helps your hard work to stand out.
This free guide to writing a restaurant business plan is part of the resource library brought to you by Rezku. Rezku was founded in 2012 by veteran restaurant owner Paul Katsch to provide cutting edge management solutions to the food and beverage service industry.
Our services include point of sale with tableside ordering, online reservations, food delivery, loyalty memberships and more. Learn more about Rezku on our homepage and get a free restaurant management technology consultation.