A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing a Restaurant Business Plan

Are you planning to open a restaurant? Are you finally in the position to accomplish something you’ve been thinking about for years?

It doesn’t matter how much time you spent conceptualizing and researching your idea, a restaurant without proper planning will fail.

This is where a restaurant business plan comes in. It guides you in planning and forecasting every aspect of restaurant management and operations, such as menu design, location, financials, employee training, and a lot more, so that you can bring your restaurant ideas to life.

Check out the samples and tips below for everything you need to know about writing a restaurant business plan.

What is the importance of a restaurant business plan?

Putting together a well-thought-out restaurant business plan can be time-consuming and challenging for new restaurateurs. Without a restaurant business plan, you’re shooting in the dark. Your restaurant is unlikely to attract investors without a proper plan. Regardless of how well you plan, regulate, and forecast your restaurant, it will fail.

A restaurant business plan will outline how your restaurant will make money and how it will stand out in a saturated market.

A successful restaurant comes with some pain and time early on, but the reward is worth it in the long run.

Restaurant Business Plan: How to Write One?

Restaurant business plans vary according to their location, style, target market, and target market. You might feel overwhelmed by the idea of creating a business plan if you’re new to the restaurant business. As a starting point, we’ve highlighted a few key elements you should include in a restaurant business plan.

Depending on whom you are presenting your business plan to, you can rearrange the sections in priority order.

Restaurant business plans include the following components

  1. Executive Summary
  2. Company Description
  3. Market Analysis
  4. Menu
  5. Employees
  6. Restaurant Design
  7. Location
  8. Market Overview
  9. Marketing
  10. External help
  11. Financial Analysis

1. Executive Summary

An executive summary should always be included in a restaurant business plan. The executive summary serves as both an introduction and a summary of your business plan.

Your executive summary should draw the reader (often an investor) into the rest of your business plan.

An executive summary usually contains the following elements:

  • Mission statement (learn more about how to write a good mission statement here)
  • Proposed concept
  • Execution
  • A brief look at potential costs
  • Expected return on investments

If you are seeking funding for your project, the executive summary is imperative. The executive summary provides all the information without having to comb through the entire restaurant business plan.

2. Company Description

Here is where you fully introduce your restaurant business plan. Describe the restaurant you are opening, along with its location, contact information, and any other relevant information. Include the owner’s details and a brief description of their experience.

In the second part of the company description, the restaurant’s legal standing and its short- and long-term goals should be described. Briefly explain the trends in the regional food industry and why the restaurant will succeed there.

3. Market Analysis

There are typically three parts to the market analysis section of a restaurant business plan.

3.1 Industry Analysis

Which market are you trying to reach? Are you planning to cater to a specific demographic with your restaurant? This section explains your target market to investors and why you believe guests will choose your restaurant over others.

3.2 Competition Analysis

To succeed, you need to research your competition to ensure that everyone visits your restaurant. In the area, what restaurants have already established a customer base? The restaurant’s interior as well as its prices, hours, and menu design should be taken into account. Explain to your investors how your restaurant will be different.

3.3 Marketing Analysis

Marketing your restaurant will be of interest to your investors. What makes your marketing campaigns different from what others are doing? What are your plans for securing your target market? How will you provide your guests with offers? Ensure that everything is listed.

4. Menu

Menus are key to launching your restaurant. Your restaurant cannot function without it. You probably don’t have a final version yet, but for a restaurant business plan, you should at least have a mock-up.

You can add your logo to the mock-up and choose a design you can envision yourself actually using. There are plenty of resources online if you don’t want to hire a designer or are having trouble designing your menu.

Your sample menu should, however, include pricing. You should price your products based on the cost analysis you have performed for investors. Your restaurant’s target price point will be clearer to them this way. As soon as you begin, you’ll realize how crucial menu engineering is.

5. Employees

In the company description section of the restaurant business plan, the owners are briefly introduced along with some information about each of them. The restaurant management team should be fully described in this section.

Investors don’t expect you to have selected your entire team yet, but you should have at least a couple of people on board. Make use of the talent you’ve chosen so far to highlight everyone’s combined work experience.

6. Restaurant Design

You can really show off your ideas and thoughts to investors in the design section of your restaurant business plan. It’s fine if you don’t have professional mock-ups of your restaurant. Make a mood board instead to convey your vision. Picture a restaurant with an aesthetic similar to yours.

In addition to aesthetics, restaurant design should include everything from restaurant software to kitchen equipment. 

7. Location

Targeting your target market is absolutely crucial when choosing a restaurant location. The location might not be set in stone yet, but you should have a few options.

If you are describing potential restaurant locations to investors, you should include as much information as possible about each location. Include everything from square footage to typical demographics.

8. Market Overview

A restaurant business plan’s market overview is heavily influenced by its market analysis. Provide a detailed description of both the micro and macro conditions in the area where you want to set up your restaurant.

Describe how you will counteract the economic conditions that might make opening a restaurant challenging. List all the restaurants that might compete with you and what you plan to do to distinguish yourself from them.

9. Marketing

As restaurants open left and right, investors will want to know how you will promote your restaurant. In the marketing and publicity section, you should discuss how you plan to market your restaurant both before and after it opens. Additionally, you may want to consider hiring a PR firm to spread the word.

10. External Help

In order for your restaurant to become a reality, you’ll need a lot of assistance. In order to get your restaurant up and running, list any external companies or software you plan to hire. In addition to accountants and designers, there are suppliers who help your restaurant perform better, such as restaurant reservation systems and POS systems. Your investors should understand the importance of each and what they will be doing for your restaurant.

11. Financial Analysis

Restaurant business plans should contain a financial section that is of utmost importance. Due to its importance, we recommend hiring professional help. You will gain a realistic insight into owning a restaurant by hiring a trained accountant to help you get your finances in order.

To make this step easier for the accountant, you should prepare some information beforehand. You will need to tell him/her how many seats your restaurant has, what the check average is per table, and how many guests you plan on seating each day.

Additionally, you can estimate your profit margin per dish by doing rough cost calculations for various menu items. You can easily calculate food costs with a free online calculator.

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