Restaurant Business Plan Basics

All About Writing a Restaurant Business Plan

••• Michael Connors

A business plan is essential for most new businesses seeking any kind of financing. It is absolutely imperative for a prospective restaurateur. By creating a restaurant business plan, you demonstrate to potential investors that you have a clear and concise plan for getting your restaurant up and running, as well as show your understanding of the competition and the local market.

A business plan is especially helpful to those new to the food/restaurant industry. As you research information for your restaurant business plan, you may encounter problems you hadn’t considered previously, such as licensing, health codes and tax laws.

Parts of business plan include:

Executive Summary-Think of this as your general introduction. Make it interesting, to keep your readers attention. You want to give your potential investor the basics of your business idea. What is the style of your new restaurant, the name, the location? Explain why you are well suited for this restaurant venture. Do you have previous cooking experience in restaurants? If not, do you have any experience in the restaurant business? If the answer is no, then you need to demonstrate that you have other talents and experiences that make you ideal to start a new restaurant.

Company Description – Also called a business analysis, the company description explains the basics of your business plan, such as legal name and style of restaurant you want to create. This is where you offer a detailed explanation of your local competition, population base, and other information you have gathered during your research.

Market Analysis- Also known as a marketing strategy. There are three parts to a market analysis, including industry- Who are you going to be serving? The business lunch crowd? Single professionals at dinner? Families with young children? Explain your customer base and why they are going to be regulars at your restaurant, and not at the competition’s.

Competition-Find out as much as you can about your competition, including their menu, hours and prices. Then explain in a paragraph or two how you will compete with the already established businesses.

Marketing- Once you have identified your core audience, how are you going to market toward them? Explain where you will market and advertise- such as through social media sites, traditional print and radio campaigns, or on your website.

Business Operation- This is where you explain the benefits of your establishment for customers, such as its convenient downtown location, or its close proximity to the local interstate exit. This is also a good place to mention any close ties you have to local restaurant vendors, such as food supply companies or local farms that will give you a competitive edge.

Management & Ownership- Who is going to manage your new restaurant? Many new restaurant owners either hire a general dining room manager or a kitchen manager (but usually not both). Explain who is going to do what, including any potential employees whom you feel will be a great benefit to your new restaurant. If you plan to hire either a general manager or a kitchen manager, add in highlights of their resume, as well.

Financing - Here you want to list the projected growth of your new restaurant. You should include a general start-up budget and a profit and loss statement that projects how much are you going to spend vs. how much you are going to make. This is a good time to once again point out all the great aspects of your new restaurant.

Along with a business plan, other documents you should have ready for your initial visit to the bank include three years of personal tax returns, a personal financial statement, a detailed explanation of any criminal record and a recent credit report. If you have anyone cosigning the loan with you, such as a spouse or business partner, they should complete all the above paperwork as well. Read more about getting ready for your bank interview.