As the saying goes, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. This concept couldn’t be more true for the brave souls to dare set foot into tide-ridden waters of the foodservice arena. A thorough business not only lays out the blueprint for your restaurant and its feasibility, but it’s the window through which investors, lenders, and other potential partners can take an in-depth look at your company background, business needs, operational plans, and financial expectations to be used in evaluating the risk of working with you. Learning how to make a restaurant business plan can take time, as they require much research-that being stated soliciting assistance from experienced advisers is strongly recommended to both new and seasoned restaurateurs.
Every item within your plan needs to drive home the point that you’re worth the risk. Your due diligence when creating a plan will be rewarded with potential partners who value a business prospect who’s plan has been well thought-out and executed, as oppose to one created on ambiguous assumptions and imaginative figures with no practical calculation.
Let’s look at the key items to include in your restaurant’s business plan.
Your executive summary gives a succinct overview of your business plan and its entirety. Its purpose is to prove answers to following. Who you are? What are you asking for? How do you intend to executive your plan? This brief overview allows readers to get a quick rundown of your business goals and strategies. Find ways to make your summary stand out and peek curiosity with potential partners-give them a reason to want to continue with reading your plans. Try answering the question: What makes me different?
In this section provide details relating your background as it relates to business experience such as management positions, scholastic degrees/certificates held, specific foodservice experience, and other qualifications that may illustrate your familiarity with business environments and the restaurant industry. You’ll also want include any resources that you have available for your business such as savings, assets, and other capital. Be sure to include any notable contributions to previous employers and rewards received. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and highlight your accomplishments and capabilities.
Here’s where you really get to sell your idea. This section will include your business concept and overall vision for your restaurant. Highlight any specific items that you feel will stand out with your restaurant such as special services or menu items, creative design themes, new-age marketing ideas, competitive advantages, etc.
As stated previously, failing to plan is planning to fail. The goal of a feasibility analysis (also known as a “Market Analysis”) is to provide a research-based determination on the practicality of your business idea and the potential for its success. Creating a feasibility study for your business concept includes assessing various factors, which potential partners will then review and use as criteria to measure the practicality of your business plan.
Such criteria include:
- Existing Competition
- Spending Patterns
- Cuisine Demands
- Menu Pricing
- Revenue/Financial Expectations
Financial planning should be included in an over-arching project plan for your startup. Start by creating a list of objectives or goal to meet, then set up deliverables and milestones along with any potential risks that may interfere with these plans. Map out your financial forecasts for the next 4-5 years, including forecast break downs by quarter (at least the first year) including revenues, budgets, overhead, startup/operating expenses, etc. Break down how the capital that you’re requesting will be utilized, what timeframe you anticipate breaking even (and paying back loan), and what alternate plans you have in the event that you don’t meet your financial goals. Creditors want to feel confident that you’re not planning with rose-colored glasses on, and that you’ve considered the possibility of unexpected business interruptions and/or losses.
How will you get customers? An effectively implemented marketing strategy is one that will consist of ongoing activities, be appropriate for your restaurant, and be measurable in its ability to bring in the business. What mediums will you use to get the word out to customers? Once you have customers, what’s your growth strategy? How much money and what resources will be used to promote your restaurant? List all sales activities, advertising campaigns, and communications efforts both online and offline. Also, be sure to include time frames for each activity to illustrate a dedication to the continuous promotion of your business.
Management & Operational Plan
By now you should have your business entity company structure outlined and set up within your local. Go over the organizational structure and describe who will be in charge of every major aspect of your business, and what ownership percentages other owners (or majority shareholders) have in your operation. Provide relevant details about their backgrounds and work history as it relates to their roles. This section is your opportunity to that you have assembled an “A-Team” that is more than capable of running your restaurant efficiently.
Additional Supporting Documents:
- Financial Statements of current businesses or forecasts for potential business
- Letters of Intent or other 3rd party agreements
- Graphs illustrating organization pyramids, financial forecasts, feasibility study, etc.
- Business Registrations, Certifications of Incorporation
- Loan Approval Documentation
Getting Assistance With Writing A Plan
- Small Business Administration in your area
- Local Chamber of Commerce
- State restaurant association office
- Secretary of State Office business offices
- Local Universities and Community Colleges
There’s also a wealth of information available online on how to develop solid business plans. Preparing the plan for your food establishment can take a considerable amount of time and research considering all of the moving pieces involved in the planning process-but it’ll be well worth it!