Every business requires a lot of planning and strategizing to be successful. Restaurants are no exception. A solid restaurant business plan is key.
Preparing a business plan for your restaurant will help guide you as you continue to operate and grow your business in the future. It will help you understand your competition, your target market, and access better opportunities to be successful in such a competitive industry.
Let’s take a look at why you need a restaurant business plan and how you can write your own.
What is a Business Plan?
Essentially, a business plan is simply a guide for how you plan to run your business and how you will make your business succeed.
A restaurant business plan will include important information, such as:
- The type of restaurant you will run
- Who your competition is
- Who your target audience is
- How you plan to stand out from your competition
- Your finances
- Your funding needs
- And more
A business plan outlines the most important aspects of your business so that you are always prepared for the future.
Why Do You Need a Restaurant Business Plan?
Restaurants need business plans for a number of important reasons, including:
- Finding Your Market: A business plan will help you identify your target audience so that you can cater to your customers’ needs in the area and their specific likes.
- Goals: Your business plan will help you establish future milestones. For example, maybe you’d like to start a food truck in the future to compliment your restaurant, or maybe you would like to open a second location. Your business plan would help you outline this goal.
- Financing: Lenders will often need your business plan before making a decision to approve your application. A solid business plan will help you get the funding you need to grow your restaurant.
- Competition: Your business plan will help you make a plan to stand out against your largest competitors.
As your restaurant continues to grow and accomplish new milestones, you will consistently rely on your business plan to guide your decisions.
Preparing a solid business plan will ensure that you are always prepared for what the future holds for your restaurant.
How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan
Preparing a restaurant business plan is easier than you might think.
Follow these steps to get started on your restaurant business plan today.
1. Executive Summary
Nearly every business plan starts with an executive summary.
This is where you explain:
- What your business is
- What type of restaurant you plan to be (i.e. casual, fine dining, ethnic, etc).
- What type of food you serve
- What services you offer
- Where you operate your restaurant
This section should be brief, but should still give a clear overview of what your restaurant is all about.
2. Restaurant Description
Your restaurant description should essentially be a more in-depth version of your executive summary.
How do you fill a gap in the market? How will your restaurant succeed? Who is your target audience?
You should also discuss your pricing, how your pricing compares to other restaurants, and similar information.
This section should make it clear how your restaurant is different from your competitors.
3. Market Research
Every successful business needs to perform thorough market research, and restaurants are no exception.
In this section, you should outline:
- Who your audience is (a description of your typical customers)
- How you can satisfy your customers’ needs
- Who your competition is (similar restaurants in the area)
- Where your ideal location would be
- Your restaurant’s growth potential
- And more
Essentially, this section should explain the state of the current market in your area, and how your restaurant fills a gap in this market.
Restaurants rely on successful marketing strategies to succeed in such a competitive industry.
The marketing section of your business plan should include:
- Social media marketing strategies
- Restaurant promotions
- Your website
- Your restaurant’s design
- Your menu design
- Other marketing materials
5. Business Operations
This section is where you outline your restaurant’s hours, what days of the year you will be closed, how many employees you currently have and you plan to hire, what equipment you need, and more. You should also go over the benefits that your restaurant offers, such as its convenient location.
This is also where you can mention your relationships with any local vendors that could give you an edge over your competition.
This section allows you to demonstrate to investors that you have a plan in place for your restaurant to operate effectively.
You should explain:
- Who is at the head of the company
- Who the executive chef is
- The management hierarchy
- Who reports to who
- Why each person is important
This section may be fairly brief, depending on the size of your restaurant.
This is where you outline your restaurant’s finances, including:
- Employee wages
- Food costs
- Other expenses
- Projected revenue and profit
- Expansion costs
- Expected sales
This section is particularly important when presenting your business plan to investors or lenders, so be sure to give a thorough overview of your restaurant’s financials.
Most restaurants need funding at some point to acquire new equipment, make renovations, increase the staff or expand to a second location.
In this section, you should go over:
- How much money you need now
- How much money you may need in the future
- What you need funding for
- How funding will contribute to restaurant growth
- How you plan to repay your lenders
Many lenders will need this information before approving your application, so it’s important to be clear about your funding needs when preparing your business plan.
Learn here how to get a business loan for your restaurant.
The appendix is where you can include any supplemental information that may not fit into the other sections of your business plan.
This could include:
- A sample menu
- Branding ideas
- Expansion floor plans
- Pictures of your restaurant
- Other information
These nine steps are a great way to get started on an effective business plan for your restaurant.
Ready to prepare your own business plan? We invite you to use this business plan builder from Bplans.
Consider a Camino Financial to Grow Your Restaurant
One of the most important sections of your business plan is the ‘funding’ section.
This section is where you will identify how much funding you need, what you need the funding for, and how much money you can afford to borrow.
To help you prepare this section, be sure to use Camino Financial’s business loan calculator. This tool will help you determine how much financing you can afford to take out, how much your monthly payments would be, and the total cost of your potential loan.
Once you identify how much funding you need, it’s time to start considering applying for a business loan.
At Camino Financial, we offer small business loans with great terms to help restaurants get the money they need to succeed. Over the years we have specialized in the restaurant industry and we have helped many restaurant business owners like you access the capital they need to grow their businesses. We know the ins and outs of your industry and will make sure to receive the best funding option that matches your needs and goals. We truly believe in our motto “No business left behind” and, as a result, our business loans offer flexible requirements and fast approval times.
When you apply for a business loan with us you don’t even need a restaurant business plan, but remember that having one in place is always a great way to guide your restaurant into the future.
Do you have a food truck? Then check out how to write a food truck business plan.