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How to write a restaurant business plan

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By Tock Staff

Your restaurant business plan is more than just a document– it’s a tool that helps you articulate your vision, understand the opportunity and investment requirements, and outline your strategies to build a successful establishment. By using this tool, you not only attract investors but also set a clear path for your team’s success. 


Want to learn more about creating a restaurant business plan of your own? Do you need a restaurant business plan including pdf templates to facilitate development of your own plan? You’re in the right place. 

What is a restaurant business plan? 

A restaurant business plan is a comprehensive document that outlines all of the critical aspects required to open a restaurant. It serves as a roadmap by providing a clear and detailed overview of the restaurant’s concept, goals, strategies, financial projections, and operational plans. It can also include design aesthetic, architectural details, the biography of key members, a working menu, details about the market and neighborhood, an operating philosophy, and key success factors.

Your plan should provide a complete overview of your vision by focusing on the details, from branding to design, financials, and marketing plans. It will also identify potential challenges, risks, and opportunities in the market. In addition to selling investors on your restaurant’s idea, your business plan is also a roadmap for team members, guiding them through opening your restaurant.

Why do you need a business plan?

A business plan articulates your restaurant’s concept, goals, and objectives. If you need investors for your restaurant, presenting a well-organized, carefully researched business plan is a crucial first step for establishing your concept as a sustainable business with growth potential. 

A well-structured restaurant business plan is essential for securing funding from investors, attracting potential partners, and guiding restaurant investment, development and growth.


How to create a restaurant business plan

Start with some preliminary brainstorming to get clear on what you serve, who you serve, and what your restaurant’s values are. Once you’re clear on the basics, you can start working through each part of your business plan, section by section.


Part 1: Executive Summary 

The purpose of the executive summary is to provide an overview of the opportunity, including information about the restaurant’s concept, target audience, competitive advantages, and financial projections. It acts as a persuasive snapshot for investors, highlighting the potential for success and return on investment to encourage their financial commitment.


Part 2: Business Description

While the executive summary provides a broad overview, the business description clarifies your restaurant’s missing statement, unique value proposition, including information about service, the location, the menu, and proposed hours of operation.


Part 3: Market opportunity

The market opportunity section of your business plan has two purposes. It allows you to establish yourself as an expert on the dining scene in your area and It provides a chance to outline the reasons your restaurant will thrive within your local market.

Here are the elements you’ll need to include:

  • Market analysis: Your restaurant’s target location with details on population density, foot traffic, and proximity to potential guests, along with market demographics like age, income levels, and dining/cultural preferences
  • Target market: Detailed profiles of your guests, including their needs, motivations, and pain points
  • Competitive analysis: Existing competitors with details on their positioning in market

Part 4: Concept & menu

Use this section to showcase exactly what your restaurant brings to the table. Here are the elements you’ll need to include:

  • Menu: A working menu with descriptions
  • Pricing: Proposed pricing, including how prices work within your overall budget and revenue potential
  • Branding: How your branding reflects the values of your restaurant
  • Restaurant design: How your design choices fit your restaurant concept


Part 5: Go-to-market

The go-to-market section of your business plan will prove that you have the team, know-how, and dedication to launch a business. Here are the elements you’ll need to include:

  • Team: Your core team, including each member’s skills, background, and experience
  • Staffing model: An overview of the positions you will need to fill and the number of employees you expect to hire
  • Technology: The reservation management platform and point of sale system you plan to use


Part 6: Marketing plan

In today’s dining landscape, generating buzz is every bit as important as creating a unique and satisfying experience. Whether or not you plan on working with a marketing agency, having an idea of how to generate conversation around your restaurant will be an important selling point to investors. Here are a couple of key elements to consider including:

  • Email marketing: An outline of your plan to collect email addresses from guests and ideas for how to provide value to those who sign up
  • Social media: An organic and paid social media strategy


Part 7: Financials

A comprehensive financial analysis is perhaps the most critical component of your restaurant business plan. It provides investors and lenders with vital insights into the financial projections for your restaurant business as well as the potential financial risk on their restaurant investment. 

Here are the elements you’ll need to include:

  • Profit & loss statement: Summary based on projections of your restaurant’s revenues, costs, and expenses, along with an analysis of the existing market in the area
  • Break-even analysis: Point at which your restaurant’s total revenue equals its total costs, resulting in zero profit or loss
  • Expected cash flow: Your restaurant’s estimated day-to-day expenses, including inventory, payroll, and other expenses
  • Multi-year projections: How much money your restaurant can expect to make in its first five years and how much investment in necessary to make those profits happen


Next steps

A proper business plan will guide you through challenges and opportunities as you carve your niche in the culinary landscape. To help you make your own, we put together a comprehensive restaurant business plan guide, equipped with 7 free restaurant business plan pdf templates.

Download our free restaurant business plan including pdf templates.

Download the plan

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