Writing a Business Plan for your Restaurant

Writing a Business Plan for your Restaurant

A good restaurant serves great food, has a well-run kitchen, and provides excellent customer service. When you put it that way, it doesn’t sound too complicated. But if you’re planning on opening your own restaurant (or even if you’ve seen one or two episodes of Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares), you’ll know there is a lot that can go wrong with the running of a restaurant. You’ve probably considered all the pros and cons but ultimately decided that you’re passionate and driven enough to make your new venture work. But where should you start?

Despite the best efforts of the owners, unfortunately, some restaurants can face significant obstacles when trying to get off the ground, with a few even going into liquidation. In some cases, this can be put down to bad planning during the initial stages of setting up the business. However, a well-thought-out business plan can put you on the right track, so take a look at our tips below to make sure success is on the menu at your new restaurant.

Executive Summary
An executive summary is an overview of your business that should pique your reader’s interest. Be sure to include facts and figures relevant to your plan, as well as financial projections, and a summary of your target audience and the research you have completed on the local area.

Your Restaurant Concept
Assuming you’re not buying a franchise as part of an existing restaurant chain, your restaurant will already have one advantage – that it’s completely unique. Or at least, it should be. What is it that makes your restaurant not only different but a cut above the rest? Are you the only tapas restaurant in town, or is your Argentine steak cooked to perfection like no other? What about your price range – will your target market want gourmet food or cheap eats? Your knowledge of the local area will come into play here, as well as some competitor research and an explanation of your USPs (unique selling points).

Research the Market
Comprehensive research is essential when planning your new restaurant. Before anything else, you need to know whether the target market exists in your area for the type of restaurant you are offering. What is the demographic of people living in the area, and what other restaurants and businesses are nearby? Will your restaurant be well-situated for a lot of passing trade? Who are your competitors, and who is their target market? This is all important information that needs to be in your business plan.

Your Personal Profile
Your restaurant’s business plan should show that you understand what is involved in running a restaurant and that you’re the right person for the job. It’s, therefore, important to include a personal profile which outlines your qualifications and experience.

Your Restaurant’s Finances
There are many costs involved with running a restaurant, including ongoing costs such as ingredients, staff wages, and insurance. But there are also upfront costs to consider, such as the cost of equipment. Will your menu prices cover all these essential outgoings and turn you a profit?

You will also need to decide whether you are going to rent or buy the building. If you are purchasing a building there will be upfront property costs involved with this, and you will need to outline the timeframe for paying off this debt.

Remember to plan for a rainy day – business doesn’t always run smoothly, so your business plan should show that you have a safety net in place to account for any unforeseen financial difficulties.

Marketing Your Restaurant
How will you spread the word about your new restaurant? For businesses serving the local community, traditional advertising such as in local newspapers may be a good idea, but a web presence is also essential, and websites such as Facebook and TripAdvisor are the lifeblood of restaurant owners. Make sure you mention how you intend to get the word out in your business plan.

Restaurant Licences and Legislation
There are also other important things to consider such as legislation you will need to adhere to, good hygiene standards, and any relevant licences such as an alcohol licence.

This list touches on some of the aspects of a restaurant business plan, but there are many different things to consider, some of which will be unique to your specific needs. If writing it all up sounds a little daunting, we’re here to help.

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