Getting ready to open a restaurant? Congratulations! This is a huge step, whether it’s your first or one in a long line of successful ventures. The one thing that will remain a constant, no matter how many restaurants or projects you have going, will be the need for a business plan. Your business plan is like a map. It contains all of the information and pertinent details you need in order to make your venture work – from geographic location and a survey of the customer base to the type of menu you’ll serve and how much you need to start and grow.
While a business plan is a necessity in any venture, it’s particularly important if you will need to approach a business later on for funding. Here are some of the things you’ll need to include in the plan.
A Summary of Your Experience
You’ll need to write a summary of the experiences of everyone involved in the restaurant. This will be especially important if you are approaching a bank for a loan. If you only have cooking experience, a bank may feel you don’t know how to handle money or the business end; but if you partner with someone who has managed a restaurant before, your business will appear more well-rounded. Be open and honest about the experiences and education of everyone involved.
Describe Your Business
The business, not the concept for the restaurant itself. Get all of the technical stuff out of the way. This includes the legal formation of the company, the name of the business, whether you want to lease or rent a space, and how much money you think you’ll need. This is more of an overview, as each individual item, from the type of dishes you want to the choices you make when you view collection of uniforms, will be broken down later in the business plan.
The concept includes not just the type of food, but a detailed and engaging description of the entire restaurant. Are you opening a diner or a fine dining establishment? What size will it be? What type of decor and atmosphere will you choose? What type of theme will you have for your menu? What makes you different from every other restaurant in the same genre? Be as specific as possible.
An Analysis of the Business Environment
Ugh. This is technical. This section of the business plan will show your potential investors how much you understand your market. What habits do people have when dining out now as opposed to last year, or in the last 5 or 10 years? Who is your target audience? How visible will your location be and what times of the week will be busiest? How well does your competition perform – who are they and where are they?
It’s great that you have a concept, but how will you market it? Online? By word of mouth? In newspapers? On television? What do you need for a marketing budget? Who will do the marketing work? Will you do it yourself, hire internally, or hire outside help?
There are dozens of things that need to go into a strong restaurant business plan and these are just a handful. Talk to a pro, search online, or get help from your school or a friend who runs a restaurant. The stronger your business plan, the greater your odds of success in the future.