Restaurant Business Plan Template
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Updated January 09, 2023
A restaurant business plan defines the concept, operational strategy, and business goals of a restaurant. The plan can serve as both a blueprint for day-to-day internal activities and a pitch for potential funding sources. Typically, a restaurant business plan should include:
- Mission and vision
- Legal structure
- Hours of operation
- Management structure and key personnel
- Industry analysis and competitor research
- Marketing strategy
- Funding needs and financial projections
Maintaining an updated business plan benefits restaurants by formalizing the business identity, outlining a roadmap for the future, and keeping all interested parties aligned.
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Restaurant Business Plan Template
Download our template and start creating your restaurant business plan.
Updated September 22, 2023 Reviewed by Brooke Davis
Your restaurant business plan is an outline of your future success. A well-formulated plan helps put the big picture together no matter how good your restaurant ideas are.
A business plan helps prove the viability of your thoughts and can provide investors with the information they need to sign on to your project. Investors need to know how you will run your restaurant in a competitive market and how you will overcome any challenges.
Your business plan lets you provide a framework for yourself and others to get your restaurant off the ground. Lack of preparation and a proper plan is one of the leading reasons new restaurants fail within their first year.
Learn how to write a restaurant business plan and avoid many common pitfalls of new business owners. Legal Templates has a free restaurant business plan template to help you get started.
Why You Need a Business Plan for Your Restaurant Business
How to write a business plan for a restaurant, restaurant business plan example.
Too many new restaurant owners fail to put together a business plan. You may think you don’t need one because you know what you want to do. Without a proper business plan, however, you’re moving into a difficult process without a strong framework for success.
When you want people to invest in your business, you need to be able to demonstrate future success. A concrete and carefully detailed business plan is a must. A well-crafted plan increases the likelihood that you will secure investors.
A business plan aims to help you achieve your goals at each stage of your business development and operation. The program will cover operational details, regulatory compliance, hiring practices, and other essential details.
A business plan can also help you turn your vision into tangible goals others can see. With this in a detailed plan, you will be more likely to create a successful and long-lasting restaurant.
Many people don’t know how to start a restaurant business plan without help. A good plan hits the essential details and outlines your vision for the restaurant’s future. However, you don’t have to do this from scratch. A restaurant business plan example can help you get started and know what to include in your plan.
1. Executive Summary
An executive summary is a brief overview of your company. It will outline why the community wants your food and needs your restaurant. This summary section will focus on your intended reader, whether that person is yourself or a potential investor.
An executive summary is a place for brief details rather than an in-depth and fact-heavy outline. Many people consider this the essential part of the plan, as it will outline why the restaurant will succeed.
The executive summary is your chance to capture the reader’s attention. Many people will decide whether to keep reading your plan, so getting off on the right foot is essential. Your executive summary will include information like:
- How will your restaurant be competitive
- The type of food you will serve and a menu
- The target demographics for the restaurant
- An implementation plan
- Outline of competition you will face
- Who the owners and staff will be
- The organizational structure of your restaurant
- Marketing and sales strategies
Many of these details will receive an in-depth treatment later in your plan. They should provide just the key points you want to make to summarize the rest of your business plan.
2. Management Team
Your restaurant business plan should include a section that presents your management team. Here, you detail the responsibilities of each owner, manager, and staff member. You lay out expectations for who will do what in getting the business started. These details also help show investors you are serious and know how to handle the day-to-day operation of a restaurant business.
The management team section should include essential details about the ownership of the restaurant, including:
- Legal names of each owner
- How the restaurant will be legally structured (corporation, limited liability company (LLC), etc.)
- Types of Ownership
- Percentage of ownership for each owner
- Ownership agreement among the parties
Your business plan should also include details about those running the restaurant daily. While there may be some overlap — especially in small restaurants — management responsibilities should be clearly outlined. This information should include the following:
- Full names of any management team member
- Education and background
- Past restaurant or management experience
- Title and summary of job responsibilities
- Any food industry training
- Salary and benefits information
3. Products and Services
Investors want to know what you will be serving and how you know customers will like it. This is where you can get specific and show why people flock to your restaurant. A robust opening menu shows you are prepared and know how to attract potential customers. The products and services section will include your sample menu and any other services your restaurant will provide.
This section should also address other questions about how you will handle your products:
- How will you order the necessary supplies?
- What are the costs of products and the sales price?
- How will you measure sales success?
- Why will customers choose your food over competitors’?
- How will your menu change over time?
Too many new restaurant owners have a great vision and food but don’t know how to execute a successful business. Investors want to know that your food will be good and that you fully understand how to run a restaurant. A restaurant business plan template can help you create a successful plan.
4. Customers and Marketing
You need to know who your customers are going to be. Any successful restaurant understands its key demographics and how it will market its business to these potential customers. Your business plan must outline important information about your customers and provide detailed data about the availability of these customers in your area.
Market research is often helpful in demonstrating that the type of customer you are looking for is readily available in your local marketplace. Supporting information must be available here to show investors you have customers to keep your restaurant long-term.
Marketing strategies and an ongoing plan are essential to the success of a new business — especially a restaurant. It would be best to show how you would make people aware of your new restaurant and engage customers in the future. Your restaurant business plan can include marketing details such as:
- Where will your restaurant be located?
- Will you offer delivery, and what is the range?
- Will you advertise on social media, your website, or other digital marketing?
- Will you use billboards, flyers, or other complex media advertising?
- What is your advertising budget?
These crucial details demonstrate you have a real plan for your restaurant’s success.
5. SWOT Analysis
A SWOT analysis for your new restaurant will focus on four key areas:
A SWOT analysis addresses difficult questions in an easy-to-read format. It is a business tool that helps to analyze how your restaurant will perform against your competition. It will look at internal and external factors that may help or hurt your future business.
This data is based on real-world facts rather than ideal conditions or best hopes.
The financials section details the key areas of financial performance for your business. This includes information about start-up costs and break-even points. It also shows how and when the company can profit and see a return on investment.
The financial section should include the following:
- Monthly expenses — supplies, payroll, rent, etc.
- Price points for all products
- Projected revenue
- Mathematical projections for the restaurant
- Variable costs of the business
- Financial records and cash flow statements
Your restaurant business plan must address how your restaurant will run. While this includes details about products and services, it will also cover other critical operational details such as:
- Employment requirements
- Business hours
- Licensing and food inspection requirements
- Cleaning procedures
- Restaurant design
- Mission statement
- Restaurant location
Investors want to see precisely how you will run your business and how you will do it successfully. People often hesitate to invest in a restaurant, as many eateries fail within the first year.
However, a strong business plan showing you understand your specific operational issues will go a long way to alleviate these concerns and get you started on the right foot.
The appendix section allows you to include other valuable documents and information at the end of the business plan. This may be information that does not fit well into different sections or is supporting documentation for the information in the primary areas. An appendix might include, but is not limited to:
- Letters of reference
- Legal permits and licensing
- Customer reviews of food and services
- Pictures of people enjoying your food
- Restaurant design sketches
- Photos of a proposed restaurant location
- Market research
The appendix lets you end on a good note. You can provide additional information to bolster the rest of your business plan.
Your restaurant business plan should be comprehensive and easy to understand. The prospect of putting one together can feel daunting without some help. A restaurant business plan sample can help you start and tell you what to include.
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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan
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When starting a business—no matter what type of business that may be—a business plan is essential to map out your intentions and direction. That’s the same for a restaurant business plan, which will help you figure out where you fit in the landscape, how you’re going to differ from other establishments around you, how you’ll market your business, and even what you’re going to serve. A business plan for your restaurant can also help you later if you choose to apply for a business loan .
While opening a restaurant isn’t as risky as you’ve likely heard, you still want to ensure that you’re putting thought and research into your business venture to set it up for success. And that’s where a restaurant business plan comes in.
We’ll go through how to create a business plan for a restaurant and a few reasons why it’s so important. After you review the categories and the restaurant business plan examples, you can use the categories to make a restaurant business plan template and start your journey.
Why you shouldn’t skip a restaurant business plan
First-time restaurateurs and industry veterans alike all need to create a business plan when opening a new restaurant . That’s because, even if you deeply understand your business and its nuances (say, seasonal menu planning or how to order correct quantities), a restaurant is more than its operations. There’s marketing, financing, the competitive landscape, and more—and each of these things is unique to each door you open.
That’s why it’s so crucial to understand how to create a business plan for a restaurant. All of these things and more will be addressed in the document—which should run about 20 or 30 pages—so you’ll not only have a go-to-market strategy, but you’ll also likely figure out some things about your business that you haven’t even thought of yet.
Additionally, if you’re planning to apply for business funding down the line, some loans—including the highly desirable SBA loan —actually require you to submit your business plan to gain approval. In other words: Don’t skip this step!
How to write a restaurant business plan: Step by step
There’s no absolute format for a restaurant business plan that you can’t stray from—some of these sections might be more important than others, for example, or you might find that there’s a logical order that makes more sense than the one in the restaurant business plan example below. However, this business plan outline will serve as a good foundation, and you can use it as a restaurant business plan template for when you write your own.
Your executive summary is one to two pages that kick off your business plan and explain your vision. Even though this might seem like an introduction that no one will read, that isn’t the case. In fact, some investors only ask for the executive summary. So, you’ll want to spend a lot of time perfecting it.
Your restaurant business plan executive summary should include information on:
Mission statement: Your goals and objectives
General company information: Include your founding date, team roles (i.e. executive chef, sous chefs, sommeliers), and locations
Category and offerings: What category your restaurant fits into, what you’re planning to serve (i.e. farm-to-table or Korean), and why
Context for success: Any past success you’ve had, or any current financial data that’ll support that you are on the path to success
Financial requests: If you’re searching for investment or financing, include your plans and goals here and any financing you’ve raised or borrowed thus far
Future plans: Your vision for where you’re going in the next year, three years, and five years
When you’re done with your executive summary, you should feel like you’ve provided a bird’s eye view of your entire business plan. In fact, even though this section is first, you will likely write it last so you can take the highlights from each of the subsequent sections.
And once you’re done, read it on its own: Does it give a comprehensive, high-level overview of your restaurant, its current state, and your vision for the future? Remember, this may be the only part of your business plan potential investors or partners will read, so it should be able to stand on its own and be interesting enough to make them want to read the rest of your plan.
This is where you’ll dive into the specifics of your company, detailing the kind of restaurant you’re looking to create, who’s helping you do it, and how you’re prepared to accomplish it.
Your restaurant business plan company overview should include:
Purpose: The type of restaurant you’re opening (fine dining, fast-casual, pop-up, etc.), type of food you’re serving, goals you have, and the niche you hope to fill in the market
Area: Information on the area in which you’re opening
Customers: Whom you’re hoping to target, their demographic information
Legal structure: Your business entity (i.e. LLC, LLP, etc.) and how many owners you have
Similar to your executive summary, you won’t be going into major detail here as the sections below will get into the nitty-gritty. You’ll want to look at this as an extended tear sheet that gives someone a good grip on your restaurant or concept, where it fits into the market, and why you’re starting it.
Team and management
Barely anything is as important for a restaurant as the team that runs it. You’ll want to create a section dedicated to the members of your staff—even the ones that aren’t yet hired. This will provide a sense of who is taking care of what, and how you need to structure and build out the team to get your restaurant operating at full steam.
Your restaurant business plan team and management section should have:
Management overview: Who is running the restaurant, what their experience and qualifications are, and what duties they’ll be responsible for
Staff: Other employees you’ve brought on and their bios, as well as other spots you anticipate needing to hire for
Ownership percentage: Which individuals own what percentage of the restaurant, or if you are an employee-owned establishment
Be sure to update this section with more information as your business changes and you continue to share this business plan—especially because who is on your team will change both your business and the way people look at it.
You’ll also want to include a sample menu in your restaurant business plan so readers have a sense of what they can expect from your operations, as well as what your diners can expect from you when they sit down. This will also force you to consider exactly what you want to serve your diners and how your menu will stand out from similar restaurants in the area. Although a sample menu is in some ways self-explanatory, consider the following:
Service : If your brunch is as important as your dinner, provide both menus; you also might want to consider including both a-la-carte and prix fixe menus if you plan to offer them.
Beverage/wine service: If you’ll have an emphasis on specialty beverages or wine, a separate drinks list could be important.
Seasonality: If you’re a highly seasonal restaurant, you might want to consider providing menus for multiple seasons to demonstrate how your dishes (and subsequent purchasing) will change.
This is where you’ll begin to dive deeper. Although you’ve likely mentioned your market and the whitespace you hope to address, the market analysis section will enable you to prove your hypotheses.
Your restaurant business plan market analysis should include:
Industry information: Include a description of the restaurant industry, its size, growth trends, and other trends regarding things such as tastes, trends, demographics, structures, etc.
Target market: Zoom in on the area and neighborhood in which you’re opening your restaurant as well as the type of cuisine you’re serving.
Target market characteristics: Describe your customers and their needs, how/if their needs are currently being served, other important pieces about your specific location and customers.
Target market size and growth: Include a data-driven section on the size of your market, trends in its growth, how your target market fits into the industry as a whole, projected growth of your market, etc.
Market share potential: Share how much potential there is in the market, how much your presence will change the market, and how much your specific restaurant or restaurant locations can own of the open market; also touch on any barriers to growth or entry you might see.
Market pricing: Explain how you’ll be pricing your menu and where you’ll fall relative to your competitors or other restaurants in the market.
Competitive research: Include research on your closest competitors, how they are both succeeding and failing, how customers view them, etc.
If this section seems like it might be long, it should—it’s going to outline one of the most important parts of your strategy, and should feel comprehensive. Lack of demand is the number one reason why new businesses fail, so the goal of this section should be to prove that there is demand for your restaurant and show how you’ll capitalize on it.
Additionally, if market research isn’t your forte, don’t be shy to reach out to market research experts to help you compile the data, or at least read deeply on how to conduct effective research.
Marketing and sales
Your marketing and sales section should feel like a logical extension of your market analysis section, since all of the decisions you’ll make in this section should follow the data of the prior section.
The marketing and sales sections of your restaurant business plan should include:
Positioning: How you’ll describe your restaurant to potential customers, the brand identity and visuals you’ll use to do it, and how you’ll stand out in the market based on the brand you’re building
Promotion: The tools, tactics, and platforms you’ll use to market your business
Sales: How you’ll convert on certain items, and who/how you will facilitate any additional revenue streams (i.e. catering)
It’s likely that you’ll only have concepts for some of these elements, especially if you’re not yet open. Still, get to paper all of the ideas you have, and you can (and should) always update them later as your restaurant business becomes more fully formed.
The business operations section should get to the heart of how you plan to run your business. It will highlight both internal factors as well as external forces that will dictate how you run the ship.
The business operations section should include:
Management team: Your management structure and hierarchy, and who is responsible for what
Hours: Your hours and days of operation
Location: What’s special about your location that will get people through the door
Relationships: Any advantageous relationships you have with fellow restaurateurs, places for sourcing and buying, business organizations, or consultants on your team
Add here anything you think could be helpful for illustrating how you’re going to do business and what will affect it.
Here, you’ll detail the current state of your business finances and project where you hope to be in a year, three years, and five years. You’ll want to detail what you’ve spent, what you will spend, where you’ll get the money, costs you might incur, and returns you’ll hope to see—including when you can expect to break even and turn a profit.
Financial statements: If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, include existing financial statements (i.e. profit and loss, balance sheet, cash flow, etc.)
Budget: Your current budget or a general startup budget
Projections: Include revenue, cash flow, projected profit and loss, and other costs
Debt: Include liabilities if the business has any outstanding debt or loans
Funding request: If you’re requesting a loan or an investment, lay out how much capital you’re looking for, your company’s valuation (if applicable), and the purpose of the funding
Above all, as you’re putting your financials together, be realistic—even conservative. You want to give any potential investors a realistic picture of your business.
Feel like there are other important components but they don't quite fit in any of the other categories (or make them run too long)? That’s what the restaurant business plan appendix section is for. And although in, say, a book, an appendix can feel like an afterthought, don’t ignore it—this is another opportunity for you to include crucial information that can give anyone reading your plan some context. You may include additional data, graphs, marketing collateral (like logo mockups), and more.
The bottom line
Whether you’re writing a restaurant business plan for investors, lenders, or simply for yourself and your team, the most important thing to do is make sure your document is comprehensive. A good business plan for a restaurant will take time—and maybe a little sweat—to complete fully and correctly.
One other crucial thing to remember: a business plan is not a document set in stone. You should often look to it to make sure you’re keeping your vision and mission on track, but you should also feel prepared to update its components as you learn more about your business and individual restaurant.
This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.
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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan [Free Template]
Start creating your restaurant’s business plan with BentoBox’s free business plan template.
The restaurant business plan is a crucial first step in turning an idea for a restaurant into an actual business. Without it, investors and lenders will have no way of knowing if the business is feasible or when the restaurant will become profitable. Business plans span dozens (or even hundreds) of pages, and due to the stakes that lie within the document and the work required to write it, the process of writing a restaurant business plan can threaten to overwhelm.
That’s why BentoBox has created a restaurant business plan template for aspiring restaurant owners. With section prompts for business plan essentials like financial projections, market analysis and a restaurant operations overview, this template makes creating a business plan significantly more manageable.
Included is a professionally designed, customizable version of the template on Google Docs. Restaurants can download the template below, make a copy and tailor it to their specific concept. For design inspiration, download here .
Restaurant Business Plan Template
Download the Free Restaurant Business Plan Template from BentoBox
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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: Free Template & Tips
By Dana Krook
If you want to open a restaurant, the first thing you need to do is create a restaurant business plan. This essential document serves as a blueprint for your vision and details all the different steps you’ll need to take in order to turn your business dreams into reality.
However, if you’ve never written a business plan before, the process can seem a little intimidating. So to help you get started, we’ve put together a complete guide to writing a business plan for your restaurant. In this guide, we’ll cover:
- What is a business plan?
- How and when to write a restaurant business plan
- The 7 sections of every business plan
- A free restaurant business plan template
What is a Restaurant Business Plan?
A restaurant business plan is a written document that outlines your business goals and how you will go about achieving those objectives. Put simply, a business plan acts as a written roadmap for a new restaurant from a financial, operational, and marketing perspective. Additionally, a restaurant business plan is also an important document for attracting outside financial investments – especially if you do not have an existing track record.
Though the length of a business plan varies from business to business, this type of document usually spans 15 to 20 pages. All business plans also tend to have the same basic elements, including an executive summary, a detailed description of the business, its services, and its products, a market analysis, an operations plan, and a financial analysis.
Why You Need a Business Plan
As mentioned above, a restaurant’s business plan is a very important document, because it serves as a step-by-step guide for bringing your new business to life. By putting all the necessary information in your business plan, you’ll be able to clearly navigate each stage of the journey – from construction to daily operations.
Your business plan is also essential for raising money from investors. Opening a restaurant is expensive and often you’ll need capital from outside investors. Your business plan can help to convince investors to provide you with funding by showing them that you have a well-throughout plan for success and a sound financial strategy.
Download this customizable restaurant business plan template to create a professional business plan for your new venture.
How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan: The 7 Sections Your Business Plan Template Should Include
While no two business plans are alike, they all include a few common elements. Below, we’ll explain the process of writing a restaurant’s business plan, including the seven key sections to include and what to write in each. You can also follow along and start filling out your own business plan – digitally or on paper – by downloading our restaurant business plan template .
1. Executive Summary
Look at any restaurant business plan example and you’ll see that it starts with an executive summary. The executive summary for a restaurant business plan introduces your new business and serves as a summary for your vision. The goal of this section is to provide an overview of what will be discussed in your business plan and to entice readers (likely investors) to want to know more.
In your executive summary, be sure to touch on your restaurant mission statement , your proposed concept, and how you’ll execute your business plan. You should also list any business partners and, if you’re targeting investors, detail the funding requirements.
And while this section is important, remember to keep it concise. Aim for 600 words max to encourage your reader to dive further into your business plan.
2. Business Description
A business description section should follow your executive summary. The purpose of this section is to provide your reader with a high-level overview of your restaurant idea and to answer key questions that investors may have, such as the business concept, service model, and ownership structure.
Describe your restaurant concept in detail by providing information on the following:
- Business structure: Is your restaurant a sole proprietorship, partnership, or something else?
- Concept: Define your concept and what makes it unique compared to other restaurants. Be clear on the defining theme for your restaurant and what type of cuisine you will serve. Do you have any restaurant names in mind? Include them here.
- Service Model: Explain what level of service you will offer – whether that’s limited service, full service, or something in between.
- Menu: Include a small sample menu in your business plan and explain the inspiration behind the menu.
- Design and Layout: Provide an overview of your restaurant interior design and layout. Touch on key elements such as plateware, lighting, uniforms, and more.
- Management and Ownership: Provide more information about yourself and the management team you’ve assembled for your new restaurant, highlighting any relevant experience that will aid in your success.
Keep in mind that this section can easily come across as a bit dry and mundane – especially for investors who have read dozens of business plans. Think about how you can make your business idea stand out with passionate language and unique details.
3. Target Market and Market Analysis
Whether you’re buying or leasing , this section is where you describe the specific location of your new restaurant and the current market conditions. In addition to general information about your target market, you also want to explain your unique positioning in the market, your ideal customer profile, and how you’ll make your restaurant stand out.
In this section, you’ll clearly define:
- Location: Explain the location (or prospective location) of your new restaurant and why you chose that specific area.
- Target Audience: Include both demographics and psychographics.
- Market Need: Describe the market need your restaurant will satisfy. Maybe you’re a coffee shop appealing to millennials who crave immersive coffee experiences.
- Positioning and Strategy: Descibe how you’ll meet your market need. Using the coffee shop example, you may choose to provide guided tours of your roastery or host workshops on making coffee.
- Competition and Opportunities: This includes both direct and indirect competition. Research the market by visiting your competition, seeing how they do things, and pinpointing what you can do better. You can then lay all this information out for investors by sketching out a SWOT analysis .
- Competitive Advantage: List your competitive advantage. Start by looking at your competition and see where you fit in.
- Market Trends: Find statistics to prove there’s demand for your concept. For example, a simple Google search for coffee demand in the U.S. yields ample results.
4. Marketing Plan
Your marketing plan section details the restaurant marketing ideas , strategies, and tactics you’ll employ to get the word out about your restaurant. This section should go into detail about how you plan to market your restaurant, and after you open.
For instance, you might want to hire a PR team to drum up excitement ahead of your grand opening. And then after you open, you might want to leverage local food influencers to grow your social media presence.
5. Operations Plan
Your operations section is where you get into the nitty gritty of how your restaurant will operate once you’re up and running.
In this section, include details about:
- Your Team: Who will be working at your restaurant? If you haven’t filled any positions yet, simply list the roles that need filling.
- Supplier Relationships: List your suppliers across various categories like food, alcohol, cleaning services, and more.
- Technology: What’s the best restaurant POS system for your venue? Will you be using third-party food delivery apps or a direct online ordering system ?
- Insurance: Ensure you follow mandatory restaurant insurance requirements and research any other special coverage you may need.
- Licensing: Licenses you’ll probably require include a business license, liquor license , music license, sign permit, and food handler’s permit.
6. Financial Analysis and Growth Plan
Your financial analysis is one of the last sections of your business plan, but it’s also one of the most important sections. In fact, many investors may skip straight to this section to determine how viable your idea is and whether your business is an attractive investment (or not).
Make sure you complete a financial forecast that includes the following:
- Pre-opening or startup costs (you may need to get some restaurant startup quotes )
- Financing, loans, and other funding
- An investment plan and budget (using a restaurant budget template may be helpful)
- A sales forecast
- A projected profit and loss (P&L) statement
- A break-even analysis
- Expenses and expected cash flow
Adding an appendix section is optional, but highly recommended. This section is a great place to include charts, plans, graphics, pictures, a detailed budget, or any other material investors may find useful.
In your appendix, you may want to include:
- A sample menu
- Blueprints or pictures of your restaurant floor plan
- Additional financial charts and figures
- Design mockups
Ready to get started? Grab the template!
9 Tips for Writing a Great Plan
Now that you understand what key elements to include in your restaurant’s business plan, let’s look at 9 tips for writing yours.
1. Use a Business Plan Template
Before writers start writing, they usually have a basic outline that acts as a template – a starting point – for their idea. By following the same approach when writing your business plan, the entire process will be much smoother. And lucky for you, we have a free restaurant business plan template available to help you get started.
2. Create a Detailed Outline
Using our template, create an even more detailed outline. Make your way through all the sections of your business plan and jot down key points under each section.
3. Embrace the “Good Enough” Mindset
As you move through the sections of your plan, you may get stuck and have nothing to say. If this happens, make a note to come back to it later and move on. You can always include more detail after you’ve done more research.
4. Research to Find Statistics and Inspiration
You will need to research to find statistics to back up your arguments, with specific sections requiring more research than others (i.e. the “Market Analysis” section). You may even want to find a sample restaurant business plan that will spark your creativity and give you ideas on how to better present yours.
5. View Your Plan as a Work in Progress
Writing a business plan takes time as you get a grip on the details and fine-tune your message. The key is to embrace this process and view your business plan as an ever-evolving document you can add to over time.
Ready to kickstart your restaurant business plans?
6. know who your audience is.
Who are you writing for? Investors? Just you and your staff? Your audience will dictate the contents of your plan, the level of detail, and what language you’ll use.
If you’re writing for investors, your plan will need to be more detailed than if you’re writing for internal stakeholders. And because investors may have limited knowledge of restaurant terminology, avoid industry jargon and instead use plain English. It’s helpful to look at another restaurant business plan example to see how these types of documents are written.
7. Use Visuals, Charts, and Tables
Use images, graphics, tables, and charts to explain complex ideas, add color to your document – both literally and figuratively – and present specific information.
8. Summarize Each Part of Your Business Plan
After you’ve completed a section of the plan, write a short summary that highlights the critical details and key takeaways of that section.
9. Write Your Executive Summary Last
An executive summary for a restaurant business plan summarizes your entire document so you should try to write it last – after you’ve covered all the details.
The Importance of Business Plans in the Restaurant Industry
Writing a restaurant business plan is essential – even if you already own a restaurant. A business plan acts as a blueprint you can follow, reduces stress, and boosts investor confidence. And when you start with a restaurant business plan template , the process moves that much faster.
Dana is the former Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro, sharing tips for and stories of restaurateurs turning their passion into success. She loves homemade hot sauce, deep fried pickles and finding excuses to consume real maple syrup.
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How to write a restaurant business plan.
Listen to this article
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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Restaurant Business Plan Template
Written by Dave Lavinsky
If you want to start a restaurant or expand your current one, you need a business plan.
Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 5,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their restaurants. On this page, we will first give you some background information with regards to the importance of business planning. We will then go through a restaurant business plan step-by-step so you can create your restaurant’s business plan today.
Download our Restaurant Business Plan Template here >
What Is a Restaurant Business Plan?
A restaurant business plan provides a snapshot of your restaurant business as it stands today, and lays out your projected growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research, information about your target market, and a sample menu to support your winning restaurant business plan.
Why You Need a Restaurant Business Plan
If you’re looking to start a restaurant or grow the existing restaurant you need a business plan. A restaurant business plan will help you secure funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your restaurant in order to improve your chances of success. Your restaurant business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your company grows and changes.
Sources of Funding for Restaurants
With regards to funding, the main sources of funding for a restaurant are bank loans and angel investors. With regards to bank loans, banks will want to review your restaurant business plan and gain confidence that you will be able to repay your loan and interest.
To acquire this confidence, the loan officer will not only want to confirm that your financials are reasonable. But they will want to see a professional restaurant business plan. Such a plan will give them the confidence that you can successfully and professionally operate a business.
The second most common form of funding for a restaurant is angel investors. Angel investors are wealthy individuals who will write you a check. They will either take equity in return for their funding or, like a bank, they will give you a loan. Private equity groups are also a good source of funding for restaurant chains looking to expand further.
Finish Your Business Plan Today!
How to write a restaurant business plan.
Use the following restaurant business plan template which includes the 10 key elements for how to write a restaurant business plan that will help you start, grow, and/or secure funding for your business.
Your executive summary provides an introduction to your restaurant business plan, but it is normally the last section you write because it provides a summary of each key section of your business plan.
The goal of your Executive Summary is to quickly engage the reader. Explain to them the type of restaurant business you are operating and the status; for example, are you a startup, do you have a restaurant that you would like to grow, or are you operating a chain of restaurants?
Next, provide an overview of each of the subsequent sections of your business plan. For example, give a brief overview of the restaurant industry. Discuss the type of restaurant you are operating. Detail your direct competitors. Give an overview of your target customers. Provide a snapshot of your marketing plan. Identify the key members of your team. And offer a financial analysis of your business.
In your company analysis, you will provide a brief description of the type of restaurant you are operating.
For example, are you writing a small restaurant business plan or a business plan for a restaurant franchise. Further, you might operate one of the following types:
- Fine Dining : characterized by the fancy decor, a dress code, and high prices
- Casual Dining : offers waiter/waitress service in a nice (but not overly fancy) atmosphere with moderate prices
- Fast Casual : characterized by quality food (close to the quality of casual dining) but no waiter/waitress service in an accessible atmosphere
- Fast Food : quick service style provided at the counter or via a drive-through. Lowest quality food and lowest prices
- Steak Restaurant : focuses on steak entrees and is usually a higher priced and fancier restaurant
- Buffet Restaurant : may or may not offer waiter/waitress service. Patrons serve themselves from buffet food selection
- Ethnic Restaurant : focuses on a specific ethnic cuisine such as Indian food, Mexican food, or Moroccan cuisine.
Within these types of restaurants, there are also ethnic food specialties such as American, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, etc.
In addition to explaining the type of restaurant you operate, the Company Analysis section of your restaurant business plan needs to provide background on the business.
Include answers to questions such as:
- When and why did you start the business?
- Your mission statement and how it connects to your restaurant’s brand.
- What milestones have you achieved to date? Milestones could include sales goals you’ve reached, new restaurant openings, etc.
- Your legal business structure. Are you incorporated as an S-Corp? An LLC? A sole proprietorship? Explain your legal structure here.
In your industry analysis, also called a Market Analysis, you need to provide a market overview and an overview of the industry.
While this may seem unnecessary, it serves multiple purposes.
First, researching the restaurant industry educates you. It helps you understand the target market in which you are operating.
Secondly, research can improve your strategy particularly if your research identifies market trends. For example, if there was a trend towards speedy restaurant services, it would be helpful to ensure your business plan calls for take-out or other quick-service options.
The third reason for market research is to prove to readers that you are an expert in your industry. By conducting the research and presenting it in your business plan, you achieve just that.
The following questions should be answered in the industry analysis section of your restaurant business plan:
- How big is the restaurant business (in dollars)?
- Is the market declining or increasing?
- Who are the key competitors in the market?
- Who are the key suppliers in the market?
- What trends are affecting the industry?
- What is the industry’s growth forecast over the next 5 – 10 years?
- What is the relevant market size? That is, how big is the potential market for your restaurant? You can extrapolate such a figure by assessing the size of the market in the entire country and then applying that figure to your local population.
The customer analysis section of your restaurant business plan must detail the customer base or target market you serve and/or expect to serve.
The following are examples of customer segments: business executives, college students, sports enthusiasts, soccer moms, techies, teens, baby boomers, etc.
As you can imagine, the customer segment(s) you choose will have a great impact on the type of restaurant you operate. Clearly, baby boomers would want a different atmosphere, pricing and sample menu options, and would respond to different marketing promotions than teens.
Try to break out your customers in terms of their demographic and psychographic profiles. With regards to diner demographics, include a discussion of the ages, genders, locations, and average income levels of the new customers you seek to serve. Because most restaurants primarily serve customers living in the same city or town, such demographic information is easy to find on government websites.
Psychographic profiles explain the wants and needs of your target customers. This should also include how your customers choose where they should eat, their dining habits, and how much they are willing to spend on a meal.
The answers to the following questions should be included in your customer analysis:
- Who is your target market?
- What are their needs and wants?
- How do they make dining decisions?
- What motivates them to choose one restaurant over another?
The more you can understand and define these needs, the better you will do in attracting and building customer loyalty.
This competitive research should help you identify the direct and indirect competitors that your business faces and then focus on the latter.
Direct competitors are other restaurants.
Indirect competitors are other options that customers have to purchase from you that aren’t directly competing. This includes restaurants, supermarkets, and customers preparing dishes for themselves at home. You need to mention such competition to show you understand that not everyone frequents a restaurant each day.
With regards to direct competition, you want to detail the other restaurants with which you compete. Your greatest competitors will be restaurants located very close to your specific location, who are of the same type (e.g., fine dining, casual dining, etc.) and who offer the same cuisine (Japanese, Italian, etc.).
For each such competitor, provide an overview of the other businesses and document their strengths and weaknesses. Unless you once worked at your competitors’ businesses, it will be impossible to know everything about them. But you should be able to find out key things about them such as:
- What types of repeat customers do they serve?
- What menu items do they offer?
- What is their pricing (premium, low, etc.)?
- What are they good at?
- What are their weaknesses?
With regards to the last two questions, think about your answers from the existing customers’ perspective. And don’t hesitate to find out this information from customers by reviewing your competitors’ Yelp listings and other review pages.
The final part of this section is to document your areas of competitive advantage. For example:
- Will you provide superior food items?
- Will you provide menu items that your competitors don’t offer?
- Will you make it easier or faster for customers to acquire your meals?
- Will you provide better customer service?
- Will you offer better pricing?
Think about your unique selling points that will help you outperform your competition and document them in this section of your business plan.
Traditionally, a marketing plan includes the four P’s: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. For a restaurant business plan, your marketing plan should include the following:
Product : in the product section you should reiterate the type of restaurant that you documented in your Company Analysis. Then, detail the specific menu items you offer/will offer.
Price : Document the prices. Essentially in the product and price sub-sections of your marketing plan, you are presenting the menu items you offer and their prices.
Place : Place refers to the location of your restaurant. Perform a location analysis and mention how the location will impact your success. For example, is your restaurant located next to a heavily populated office building, or gym? Discuss how your location might provide a steady stream of customers. Also, if you operate or plan to operate food trucks, detail the locations where the trucks will operate.
Promotions : the final part of your restaurant marketing plan is the promotions section. Here you will document how you will drive customers to your location(s). The following are some promotional methods you might consider:
- Making your restaurant’s front store extra appealing to attract passing customers
- Search engine marketing and optimization
- Social media posting/advertising
- Advertising in local papers and magazines
- Reaching out to local bloggers and websites
- Local radio advertising
- Banner ads at local venues
While the earlier sections of your restaurant business plan explained your goals, your operational plan describes how you will meet them.
This section of your restaurant business plan should have two key elements as follows:
- Everyday short-term processes include all of the tasks involved in running your restaurant such as serving customers, procuring supplies, keeping the restaurant clean, etc.
- Long-term goals are the milestones you hope to achieve. These could include the dates when you expect to serve your 1,000th customer, or when you hope to reach $X in sales. It could also be when you expect to hire your Xth employee or launch a new location.
To demonstrate your restaurant’s ability to succeed as a business, a strong management team is essential. Highlight your key players’ backgrounds, emphasizing those skills and experiences that prove their ability to grow a company.
Ideally, you and/or your team members have direct experience in the restaurant business. If so, highlight this experience and expertise. But also highlight any experience that you think will help your business succeed.
If your team is lacking, consider assembling an advisory board. An advisory board would include 2 to 8 individuals who would act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and provide strategic guidance. If needed, look for advisory board members with experience operating restaurants and/or successfully running small businesses.
Your financial plan should include your 5-year financial statement broken out both monthly or quarterly for the first year and then annually. Your financial statements include your income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statements.
Pro-Forma Profit & Loss Statement / Income Statement
An income statement is more commonly called a Profit and Loss statement or P&L. It shows how much revenue you expect to earn or have earned, and then subtracts your costs to show your actual or projected profit.
In developing your income statement, you need to devise assumptions. For example, will you serve 100 customers per day or 200? And will sales grow by 2% or 10% per year? As you can imagine, your choice of assumptions will greatly impact the financial forecasts for your business. As much as possible, conduct research to try to root your assumptions in reality.
Pro-Forma Balance Sheets
While balance sheets include much information, to simplify them to the key items you need to know about, balance sheets show your assets and liabilities.
For instance, if you spend $250,000 on building out your restaurant, that will not give you immediate profits. Rather it is an asset that will hopefully help you generate profits for years to come. Likewise, if a bank writes you a check for $100.000, you don’t need to pay it back immediately. Rather, that is a liability you will pay back over time.
Pro-Forma Cash Flow Statement
Your cash flow statement will help determine how much money you need to start or grow your business and make sure you never run out of money. What most entrepreneurs and business owners don’t realize is that you can turn a profit but run out of money and go bankrupt.
For example, let’s say a company approached you with a massive $100,000 catering contract, that would cost you $50,000 to fulfill. Well, in most cases, you would have to pay that $50,000 now for ingredients, supplies, equipment rentals, employee salaries, etc. But let’s say the company didn’t pay you for 180 days. During that 180-day period, you could run out of money.
In developing your Income Statement and Balance Sheets be sure to include several of the key costs needed in starting or growing a restaurant:
- Location build-out including design fees, construction, etc.
- Cost of equipment like stoves, refrigerators, blenders
- Cost of ingredients and maintaining an adequate amount of supplies
- Payroll or salaries paid to staff
- Business insurance
- Taxes and permits
- Legal expenses
Attach your full financial projections, detailed cost analysis and/or break-even analysis in the appendix of your business plan along with any supporting documents that make your plan more compelling. For example, you might include your store design blueprint, location lease, or initial menu design.
Taking the time to write your own restaurant business plan for your business is a worthwhile endeavor. It will help you communicate your ideas and provide potential investors with the information they need to make an informed decision about investing in your restaurant.
A well-crafted business plan will also give you a road map for growing your business and achieving your long-term goals. So, while it may take some time to put together, it will be well worth the effort in the end.
If you follow the restaurant business plan template above, by the time you are done, you will truly be an expert. You will really understand the restaurant business, your competition, and your existing customers. You will have developed a marketing plan and will really understand what it takes to launch and grow a successful restaurant concept.
Want more tips? Check out our related articles:
- How to Start a Restaurant
- Restaurant Startup Costs: How Much Does It Cost To Start a Restaurant?
- How To Write a Restaurant Marketing Plan + Template & Examples
- How To Get Funding To Start and/or Grow Your Restaurant
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Restaurant Business Plan Template FAQs
What is the easiest way to complete my restaurant business plan.
Growthink’s Ultimate Restaurant Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your restaurant business plan.
Where Can I Download a Free Restaurant Business Plan PDF?
You can download our restaurant business plan PDF template here . This is a restaurant business plan template you can use in PDF format.
Where Can I Find a Small Restaurant Business Plan PDF?
Our small restaurant business plan PDF is a free resource to to help you get started on your own small restaurant business plan.
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Ways to Improve Your Restaurant Business Plan
- Improve your restaurant’s design and its appeal. Everything from your restaurant’s exterior, the pattern of your wallpaper, the uniform of your staff, and even the design of your restaurant’s menu will greatly affect just how many customers you’ll be bringing in. You should hire a well-known and experienced interior designer to help you make the most of your restaurant’s space. It has to both look good and be functional.
- You also have to remember that your exterior is just as important as the interior. Customers are going to take a look at how your restaurant looks on the outside before checking what’s inside, so be sure that it looks great. Having well-designed menus and great staff uniforms can play an important role when it comes to the dining experience of your customers. So make sure that they look great to help ensure that your customers come back for more.
- Ensure that your business plan contains an efficient organizational workflow chart . The preparation of food and the time it’s served is a very sensitive matter in the restaurant industry. If the food takes too long, then customers won’t want to come back. This is the reason why your restaurant is going to need excellent organization and workflow.
- Another good way to ensure that productivity in your restaurant increases in your company is careful reservation and organization. The organization will also include cleverly chosen menu items. Your menu should have healthy options for customers such as vegans, and you should also get rid of menu items that haven’t exactly been selling well. Revise your menu after a certain period and make sure that every revision is better than the last.
- Try to put in as much effort as you can in promoting your restaurant. One of the firsts steps in your marketing campaign is creating your restaurant’s website. Then you’re going to need excellent social media profiles that are both active and responsive to any concerns or suggestions that your customers may want to offer. You should also think of the possibility of including online reservations or taking food orders through your restaurant’s website .
- You’re going to have to make sure that your restaurant’s good name is spread to your potential customers. This can be easily achieved by working closely with those who have a strong influence on social media or creating events that will get people interested in your restaurant. With the help of these people, you may just get the positive reviews your restaurant needs to help it rise to the top.
- Make sure that your restaurant keeps up with hygienic standards. Your restaurant has to be spotless. That includes your kitchen, offices, utensils, interiors, exteriors, and just about everything that can and should be cleaned. One of the most important things that you’re going to have to pay extra attention to is your restaurant’s washroom. If you have a dirty washroom, then your customers are going to feel disgusted and make their way over to your competition. Just remember that having a clean restaurant will make your customers feel safer.
General faqs, 1. what is a restaurant business plan, 2. what is in a business plan, 3. what are the elements of any business plan.
- An executive summary
- Company description
- Market analysis
- Know your competition
- Management and operations
- Marketing and sales management financial summary like budget, statements, etc.
4. What is the purpose of using a Restaurant Business Plan?
5. what should a restaurant business plan cover.
- Brand of your food place
- Concept and the type of cuisine served
- Menu, service, and management
- Design of your restaurant
- Your target audience
- Location and pricing of the dishes, etc. so to get your reader excited about your idea.
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Restaurant business plan template
Download this restaurant business plan template in PDF or Word format, or tailor it to your project directly in our business plan software.
Discover our restaurant business plan template
Not accustomed to writing business plans? Our restaurant business template will turn a typically challenging process into a total breeze.
Modelled on a complete business plan of a restaurant in Normandy, our template features both the financial forecast and the written part that presents the project, its team, the local market and the business strategy implemented by the management.
Cast your eyes on this template to achieve a better understanding of what your bank and investors would like to see, so that you can create a business plan that meets their expectations.
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Available in pdf.
Just after a little inspiration? Download the business plan template in PDF to print and have a read over it.
Download in Word format
Want to edit your plan on Word? Simply export the restaurant business plan template to MS Word (.dox) format.
Tailor it to your own project
Adapt this template to your personal project by changing the written part or the financial forecast in our online business plan software .
Restaurant business plan template content
This template includes a complete business plan, with a financial forecast and the following sections:
- Executive summary: The executive summary gives the reader a clear and concise overview of your business idea
- Company: This section lays out the structure of your business, including its location, management team and legal form
- Products and services: Here, you'll give an overview of the services or products offered by the company
- Market analysis: The market analysis is where you’ll demonstrate that there is a strong demand for your products and services through a thorough assessment of the industry and local market (customer profile, hot trends, regulation, competition, etc.)
- Strategy: This section highlights the company's game plan when it comes to pricing, marketing and mitigating risks along the way
- Operations: This step lays out the company's operational organisation, including the recruitment plan
- Financial plan: The financial plan includes a table of sources & uses (initial funding plan), and complete financial statements (P&L, balance sheet and cash flow statements).
- Appendices: This part provides the opportunity to include multiple financial appendices generated by our software (debt maturity profile, monthly financial statements, financial analysis, etc.).
Template only available to paying subscribers of our online software. Get a 7-day trial for free
Restaurant business plan template extract
Executive summary, business overview.
Chez Paul Ltd. will be a new French restaurant located on the busy Restaurant Road in North London.
The restaurant will be managed by Mr Paul Cunningham and Mr David Jones. Paul and David share a passion for French food and tremendous experience in the restaurant industry having both worked many years in similar businesses. They have worked together for the last 3 years at the gastro-pub The Old Tree and have a complimentary skill-set.
Paul's past experiences include sales and marketing as well as acting as manager of The Old Tree while David has spent most of his career in the kitchen.
Ms Sarah James, a friend of David and Paul, will be investing in the venture alongside Paul.
The local market, defined as the square mile around the restaurant has been estimated at £7.4m. Traffic count surveys carried out by an independent consultant in Restaurant Road estimate the daily footfall at around 6,550 people per day.
There are 2 other restaurants located in the street, they offer Italian and Asian cuisine and experience a healthy occupancy rate. Their main clients are business employees during the week at lunch time and local families and shoppers during the evening and the weekend.
The projected sales for FY13 are expected to be £509,700 and we anticipate them to grow to £581,400 in FY15.
Based on the current plan the EBITDA should grow fro £16,041in FY13 (with a 3.15% margin) to £51,811(with a 8.91% margin). The improvement in EBITDA over the plan is mainly related to the sales ramp-up in the course of year 1 resulting in better fixed cost absorption in FY14 and FY15. Due to a high level of D&A a loss is forecasted for FY13.
The net operating cash flow is expected to remain positive throughout the plan reaching £47,405in FY15
The total funding requirements for the business have been estimated at £278,000 out of which £115,000 (41%) will come from the two shareholders.
The purpose of this business plan is to obtain the remaining £163,000 in the form of bank loans.
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Open your own creperie by having a look at our business plan template.
How to open a restaurant?
Read our guide if you would like to open your own restaurant.
How to do a financial forecast for a restaurant?
Follow our advice to do the financial forecast for a restaurant.
Get funding for a restaurant
Want to Get funding for a restaurant? Check out our article to find out what to do.
How to do a market research for a restaurant?
Check out our guide on how to do market research for a restaurant.
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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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