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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan

Sally Lauckner

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

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.

Executive summary

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.

Company overview

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.

Sample menu

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.

Market analysis

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.

Business operations

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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Your business plan will be the roadmap from which your new restaurant develops. No matter how much thought you’ve put into your concept or how many trusted colleagues have assured you of its greatness, you should write a 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.”

What your business plan should cover

The strongest business plans always include all or most of the components described below. Bililies advises that first-time restaurateurs read a bunch of different business plans for other restaurants and technology and retail companies to get a better sense of layout options, writing styles, and clarity of concept. Put the sections that you feel would be most compelling to someone who’s never met you first: the “Management Team” section if you’re coming from high-profile establishments, for example. The goal is for the reader to keep turning the page.

Quick links Branded cover 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.

Describe your restaurant concept and get the reader excited about your idea. 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.

3. 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 first building block to figuring out average check estimations needed to create financial projections for starting costs, and show investors that you’ve done the homework needed to be confident that you’ll be able to sell these items at these prices and operate within your budget.

This section is most relevant for fine-dining concepts, concepts that have a unique service style, or if you have particularly strong feelings about what role service will play in your 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.

5. Management team

Write a brief overview of yourself and the team you have established so far. You want to demonstrate that the work experience you’ve acquired over the course of your career 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 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.

7. 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 be appealing to them.

8. Location

T here 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.

9. 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.

10. Marketing and publicity

The restaurant landscape is only getting more competitive. Discuss your pre- and post-opening marketing plan 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.

11. Specialists and consultants

List any outside contractors you plan to retain, such as:

Briefly explain the services they’ll be providing for you, why you chose them, and any notable accomplishments.

12. 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.” — Charles Bililies.

13. Financials

Let your accountant guide you through this portion of your business plan. It is crucial that whoever you retain to help you with your finances has a wealth of restaurant experience (not just one or two places), as 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 approximately how many seats you’re planning on having, what your average check will be, and approximately how many covers per day you plan to do. Being conservative in these estimations is key as 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:

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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan in 2023 (Step by Step Guide with Templates)

Saif Alnasur

Jan 31, 2023 6:30:00 AM

Have you decided to open a restaurant? Has it been something you've thought of doing for years and are finally in a position to make it happen?

Regardless of how much time you've spent conceptualizing your idea and researching the industry, without proper planning, your restaurant is doomed for failure.

That's where a restaurant business plan comes in. A restaurant business plan is a framework that guides you to plan and forecast every element of restaurant management and operations; from menu design, location, financials, employee training, and a lot more, and helps develop your restaurant ideas into a reality.

Read on for everything you need to know about writing a restaurant business plan along with samples and tips.

how to create a restaurant business plan

Why is a Restaurant Business Plan Important?

Many new restauranteurs fail to put together a well-thought-out restaurant business plan because the process can be a bit difficult and time-consuming. But without a proper restaurant business plan, you're shooting in the dark without an aim. It's unlikely that you would be able to secure an investor to help fund your restaurant dream without a proper plan. And even if you do, the lack of proper planning, regulations, and forecasts will set your restaurant up for failure. 

Your restaurant business plan is what is going to map out how you plan on turning a profit from your business as well as where your restaurant fits into the saturated market and how you plan on standing out.

A little time and pain early on are worth the reward of a successful restaurant in the long run.

11 key steps a restaurant business plan should include

A good business plan varies from restaurant to restaurant and takes into account factors like style of restaurant, target market, location, etc. If you're new to the restaurant game, the idea of creating a business plan can be daunting. To help you get started, we have highlighted the key elements you need to include when writing a restaurant business plan. 

Depending on who you are presenting your business plan to, you can change the order of the sections to reflect priority.

Here are the main components of a restaurant business plan

1. Executive Summary

A restaurant business plan should always begin with an executive summary. An executive summary not only acts as the introduction to your business plan but also 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.

Common elements of an executive summary include:

An executive summary is imperative for those looking to get investors to fund their projects. Instead of having to comb through the entire restaurant business plan to get all the information, they can instead just look through the executive summary.

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 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 restaurant will succeed in this market.

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.

3.2 Competition Analysis

It's easy to assume that everyone will visit your restaurant, 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 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? 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 your 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.

5. Employees

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 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.

Free Restaurant Business Plan Template The only business plan you'll ever need. Download now

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. 

7. Location

The location you end up choosing for your restaurant should definitely be in line with your 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 restaurant. Mention everything from square footage to typical demographics.

8. Market Overview

The market overview section is heavily related to the market 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 restaurants that could prove to be competition and what your strategy is to set yourself apart.

9. Marketing

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 marketing 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 investors 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 financial 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 on 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. 

Restaurant Business Plan Template

Ready to get started? Download our free restaurant business plan template to guide you through the process.

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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan

A restaurant business plan is the foundation when starting a new restaurant , whether you're opening a franchise or a small family-owned restaurant. Your business plan will act as a roadmap for starting your restaurant: it can help you get loans from financial institutions , and it will be a point of reference when forecasting sales. In this article, we'll teach you all of the essential information to include in your restaurant business plan as well as walk you through the process of writing a restaurant business plan.

What Should You Include in a Restaurant Business Plan?

Your business plan will be a guide through the process of starting a new business, but you may also share it with potential investors, so there's a number of useful things that you'll want to include in it. Here are some key ideas to include in your restaurant business plan:

These are some of the topics that you should cover throughout your restaurant business plan. This information will be spread out through the various sections of the document, but having concrete answers to these questions and topics will help your business prepare for the challenges of opening.

Sections in a Restaurant Business Plan

Business plans are typically split it up into multiple sections to keep them organized. There are eight essential sections in restaurant business plans, which are listed below. You can click on the section to learn more about it.

We will detail the contents of each section and how to write them in the sections below.

Restaurant Business Plan Sample Breakdown

Below is an in-depth look at each section of a restaurant business plan, what information you should include, and how to write them.

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is a brief overview of all the information contained in your restaurant business plan. A strong executive summary is essential not only for starting a business, but also for getting funding for your new restaurant, as it is the first section potential investors will read. A business plan executive summary should be between 1 and 4 pages long, and it should contain the most important information about your new restaurant. The goal of an executive summary is to get your foot in the door with investors and banks to procure startup capital.

Here is some of the information that should be included in the executive summary:

Restaurant owners looking at financial data

Think of your executive summary as an elevator pitch to potential investors and banks. It should be a very brief summary of the plan for opening your new restaurant and stress why your restaurant is worth investing in.

Tips for Writing an Executive Summary

Once you have all the information you want to include, here are a few tips for writing a persuasive and concise restaurant executive summary:

2. Company Description

The company description section, also called a company overview, contains all of the same information as the executive summary, but provides greater detail on each part of your business plan. For example, your company description should include more detailed financial projections and any marketing strategies you've designed.

In a restaurant business plan, the executive summary will get readers interested, and then your company overview has more in-depth information that you can give them to give a complete overview of your new restaurant. Additionally, the company overview of your business plan is your chance to explain, in more specific terms, how and why you're opening a restaurant.

When writing a company description, be sure to answer these questions:

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3. Restaurant Concept and Menu

While you may cover your restaurant's concept and menu ideas in other sections of your restaurant business plan, this section allows you get into the finer details. You can divide this section up into three main parts: menu, service, and decor. We'll break down each section below.

Menu Ideas and Design

You can include your sample menu design in this section. If you don't have a full mockup of your restaurant's menu, then list some of the items or recipes that you're planning on using.

Restaurant Service

Are you planning on opening a fine dining restaurant or a fast casual establishment? Will you have a full-time wait staff or just a service counter where customers can order and pick up their food? For many restaurants offering standard service, this section will be fairly short.

Design and Decor

This is the section of your business plan where you can show any branded materials or logos that have already been designed for your new restaurant. Additionally, you can include any design and decor choices you've made, such as your color scheme , furniture choices, or tableware aesthetic.

4. Management and Ownership Structure

Restaurant owner using a POS system

This section of your restaurant business plan is all about the ownership structure of your new business, what type of business ownership you're creating, and how your management team will be set up.

There are several types of ownership structures , each with their own benefits. Here's a brief overview of some of the most popular business ownerships in the restaurant industry:

Management Structure

In addition to listing how your new business will be organized, you need to consider how your new restaurant is going to run on a day-to-day basis and how it's going to be managed. Will you, the restaurant owner, be acting as the manager or are you planning on hiring management staff? Will you have separate managers for the front- and back-of-house areas?

It's best to have these protocols in place when you're writing your restaurant business plan so you can reference them during the process of opening your restaurant.

5. Staffing and Employment

Restaurant owner and kitchen staff

Once you've laid out your restaurant's ownership and management structures, you can get into the finer details of your staffing needs. In this section, you can lay out exactly what your staffing needs are, such as how many servers you'll need, kitchen staff requirements, as well as any employees, such as managers or chefs, that you already have on staff.

Additionally, it will be worth noting in this section if you, the owner, will be working in the restaurant in a management or chef role. You can also list any employee handbooks or wait staff training materials you have prepared.

Be sure to also list any auxiliary employees that are affiliated with your restaurant, such as accountants, lawyers, advertising agencies, or contractors.

6. Market Analysis

Requiring some of the most research, the market analysis section of your restaurant business plan will explain to potential investors how your new business will fit into the existing market. This section can also be broken down further into two main types of analysis: demographic analysis and competitive analysis.

Demographic Analysis

Understanding your target demographic is essential for success when opening a new restaurant. You can detail information about your target demographic in this section of your restaurant business plan. Here is some important information to include:

This information will help you understand your potential customers, what they're interested in, their eating and spending habits, so you can adapt to cater to their wants and needs. When writing this section of your restaurant business plan, you want to make sure that you're in-depth, and you can also use the data to draw conclusions to persuade potential investors.

Competitive Analysis

The other half of market analysis is analyzing the competition in your restaurant's chosen location . Established restaurants will have a loyal customer base, so you need to make sure that your business is targeting a different demographic or has a competitive edge that can entice customers away from your competitors.

Here are some things to think about when compiling competitive analysis:

Once you lay out this information in your restaurant business plan, you can begin to describe your plan for competing with these businesses and gaining a loyal following.

Also consider how close other restaurants have to be to your own to be considered competition. If you're in a city the sphere of competition may only be a few square blocks, but it could be several miles in rural or suburban locations.

7. Marketing and Advertising Strategies

After you've identified your target demographics and competitors in the previous section, you can begin outlining your plan to appeal to those customers and to compete with other businesses in your area in the marketing and advertising strategies section.

There are a number of marketing and advertising tactics that your business can take to get your new restaurant's name out there. Some of the most popular options include hosting opening day events, starting a social media marketing campaign , offering coupons to potential customers, or creating customer loyalty programs.

In this section, you'll want to list all of the marketing and advertising strategies you're planning on implementing, how they'll benefit your business, what exactly is involved in each tactic, and how you're planning to enact them. For example, you can detail how you're going to hire a marketing agency to create a run a social media account for your restaurant to create excitement before it opens.

8. Financial Data

One of the most important sections in your restaurant business plan, the financial data will also require the most significant amount of research and work on your part. To find this financial data you can use experience from previous restaurants you've worked at or operated, use estimates from suppliers, and research available financial information in your specific region.

Financial documents

You should organize the information in your financial section based on the people you're presenting your business plan to. For example, if you're preparing a presentation for the bank to receive a loan, you will want to put information about how long it will take your business to become profitable and a break-even analysis at the beginning of this section.

Regardless of how you organize the data in the financials section of your restaurant business plan, here is some information that you want to make sure you include:

When writing your restaurant business plan, be sure to consider the person that's going to be reading it and the information they're most interested in. But, also keep in mind that your business plan will be a reference for you to follow throughout the process of opening your new restaurant, and fill it will information that is not only helpful to potential investors, but also you and your management team.

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Starting your own bakery is no easy task . Many people have tried and failed to get their business ideas off the ground, or worse, their business flopped within the first year. So what sets a successful bakery apart from the ones that don't make it? A solid bakery business plan that can help you stay organized and obtain the funding you need. We’ll talk you through every major part of a business plan, from creating a basic description of your establishment to offering financial projections to future investors. Why is a Bakery Business Plan Necessary? A bakery business plan can be used to garner interest from potential investors or loans from a bank. Additionally, it is helpful to you as an owner. Creating a bakery business plan allows you t

how to create a restaurant business plan

Restaurant Profit and Loss Statement Explained

While there are several ways to measure and ensure the success of your restaurant, the best way to understand your restaurant’s financial progress is with a restaurant profit and loss statement. Also known as a restaurant P&L statement, this financial tool reflects your sales and costs during a specified period of time. To better understand your business’s growth, see our guide below to create and interpret your own restaurant profit and loss statement. Shop All Money Handling and Bookkeeping Supplies Click any of the profit and loss statement steps below to learn more about it: What Is a Profit and Loss Statement? What is Included in a Profit and Loss Statement? Restaurant Profit and Loss Statement Breakdown Restaurant Profit and Loss

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how to create a restaurant business plan

How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan: Complete Guide

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how to create a restaurant business plan

👇 Check all our resources on restaurants 👇

Whether you’re looking to raise funding from private investors or to get a loan from a bank (like a SBA loan) to open a restaurant , you will need to prepare a solid business plan.

In this article we go through, step-by-step, all the different sections you need in the business plan of your restaurant. Use this template to create a complete, clear and solid business plan that get you funded. Let’s dive in!

1. Restaurant Executive Summary

The executive summary of a business plan gives a sneak peek of the information about your business plan to lenders and/or investors.

If the information you provide here is not concise, informative, and scannable, potential lenders and investors will lose interest.

Though the executive summary is the first and the most important section, it should normally be the last section you write because it will have the summary of different sections included in the entire plan.

Why do you need a business plan for a restaurant?

The purpose of a business plan is to secure funding through one of the following channels:

How to write your restaurant’s executive summary?

Provide a precise and high-level summary of every section that you have included in your business plan. The information and the data you include in this segment should grab the attention of potential investors and lenders immediately.

Also make sure that the executive summary doesn’t exceed 2 pages in total: it’s supposed to be a summary for investors and lenders who don’t have time to scroll through 40-50 pages, so keep it short and brief.

The executive summary usually consists of 5 major sub-sections:

how to create a restaurant business plan

Download the Restaurant financial model

2. Restaurant Business Overview

This is the section where you will provide details about your restaurant and the chosen business model. You must address some important questions that lenders and/or investors generally ask .

Here is a quick list of some of those questions you must address:

a) History of the Project

Any business must have two components:

Passion & experience

You may or may not have prior experience. If you have experience, speak about it and how it will help you to run your business. For instance, you may have been a restaurant manager in a popular restaurant for 6 years, and now you want to start your own restaurant and use your knowledge to run it more efficiently.

However, if you don’t already have experience, that’s fine. You must demonstrate your passion and some industry knowledge (you may have conducted thorough research).

What is your restaurant’s mission?

For example, there may not be any fine dining restaurant in your area where wealthy residents or tourists can enjoy an upscale meal experience in a sophisticated and elegant environment.

But that’s not all: your market must be suitable for your business to thrive.

For instance, if you are planning to open a fine dining restaurant in a low-income area, it is probably not going to attract many customers. Similarly, if the population of the target market has a high percentage of people preferring takeaway/delivery food options because of their busy lifestyle, a fine dining restaurant may not be a good idea.

how to create a restaurant business plan

b) Business Model

This sub-section of the Business Overview will explain your business model. Describe the following points briefly:

What are the different types of restaurants?

There are multiple types of restaurants. Some of them that you may consider include, but are not limited to:

how to create a restaurant business plan

c) Products & Services

Of course, the products you will offer in your restaurant will depend on the type of restaurant you are opening. A Buffet Style restaurant, for example, usually prefer specialty cuisines like Indian, pizza, home cooking, Chinese, etc. Similarly, if you are opting for a Diner, you will most likely offer fried foods (fish & chicken), breakfast items, burgers, etc. at a low cost.

It is a good idea to give a list of food and drinks that you want to sell. Depending on the scale of your operations, you may have too many menu items. It is not possible to list every item on your menu, but make sure that you are listing the most important ones. If you specialize in one or a few specific dishes, mention that, too.

how to create a restaurant business plan

d) Pricing Strategy

In this sub-section, you must explain the pricing strategy of your restaurant. If you have multiple competitors (in the same niche) in the vicinity, you cannot have huge pricing variation, especially for the similar food items. Pricing will, of course, depend on the type of restaurant you are opening, and the food items you are offering.

For example, if you are sourcing the raw materials only from organic farms that do not use fertilizers and pesticides, your menu items will have a higher price tag.

Similarly, you cannot expect to charge expensive Fine Dining-like prices if you are opening a Casual Dining restaurant instead.

Create a pricing table and ensure to provide an average price range for your products. You don’t need to provide exact pricing for each product. Use price ranges instead.

Offering a pricing table is important because your pricing strategy will allow investors to tie your pricing strategy with your financial projections .

e) Legal Structure

Finally, your business overview section should specify what type of business structure you want. Is this a corporation or a partnership (LLC)? Who are the investors? How much equity percentage do they own? Is there a Board of Directors? If so, whom? Do they have experience in the industry?

3. Restaurant Market Overview

A complete understanding of the market where you want to operate is important for the success of your business.

For example, if your intentions are to open a classy Fine Dining restaurant in a low-income area, you will not attract enough customers. Similarly, if you want to open a fast-food restaurant in a place where family dining is more popular, it will be a disaster.

Therefore, you must cover here 3 important areas:

a) Restaurant Industry Status Quo

How big is the restaurant industry in the us.

According to Finance Online , there were over 1 million restaurants (all types combined) in the US in 2021. The industry recovered post a 60% drop in sales in April 2020 due to the pandemic, and recorded an annualised market size of over $1 trillion dollars in July 2022 ($1,033 billion)..!

how to create a restaurant business plan

How big is the restaurant industry in your area?

Once you provide the overall picture of the US, divert your attention to the area where you want to operate. It might not be possible to find region or area-specific studies, and hence, you must estimate the market size .

For example, if there are 1,000,000 restaurants in the country with total annual revenue of $1 trillion, the average annual revenue for each establishment is around $1 million.

Therefore, if the area where you want to open your restaurant has 30 restaurants, you can safely assume that the restaurant industry in your area is worth approximately $30 million.

How fast is the restaurant industry growing in the area?

You must show the expected growth rate of the restaurant industry in your area. This information may not be available via online research papers. However, assessing the growth rate will not be difficult as you can use metrics such as the number of competitors in your area.

For instance, if there were 25 restaurants in 2018 and 30 restaurants in 2022, the average annual growth rate would be 5%.

how to create a restaurant business plan

What are the current restaurant market trends in your area?

It is vital to understand the trends of the restaurant industry in your area. Understanding trends will allow you to devise marketing strategies.

Understanding trends won’t be easy. You must conduct research and talk with your target audience. Additionally, you must also study your competitors to understand their target audience, the products they sell, etc.

Some common questions you may ask the target audience include:

You can ask as many questions as you need to understand the evolving trends.

b) Competition Overview

Studying your competitors’ business models is vital. You need to understand what makes them successful or why they fail. A clear understanding of their food offerings, marketing strategies, etc., will allow you to provide a better service.

If your competitors are offering nearly the same products & services, then what is their market share and how do they market their products & services to attract new customers?

It is always a good idea to do some research (if necessary, physically visit your competitors without revealing your business intentions) and create a comparative table summarizing their product & service offerings, marketing strategies, target audience, etc.

Here is a sample table that you can use:

The table you will create will depend on what information you need and want to include based on your proposed business model.

Restaurant SWOT Analysis

Try to provide a SWOT analysis. It must be crisp and highly focused. SWOT stands for Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats.

Here is a sample that you can use as a reference:

A clear understanding of your strengths and weakness along with opportunities and threats in the real market can help you to design your marketing strategy. It also helps potential investors to assess the risk and reward profile of your business.

how to create a restaurant business plan

c) Customer Analysis

This is the sub-section where you will provide a detailed analysis of your target audience.

Some important points that you must include in your customer analysis include:

You can add as many data points as required to validate your business decision. The idea here is to display your deep understanding of the target audience and their needs, preferences, and expectations. This knowledge can help you to tailor your products & services to attract new customers and increase sales .

how to create a restaurant business plan

4. Sales & Marketing Strategy

This is the segment where you outline your customer acquisition strategy. Try to answer the following questions:

Let’s expand a bit on a few questions below:

What marketing channels do restaurants use?

A few marketing channels that restaurants typically use are:

It is not necessary to use all channels. You can start by focusing on a few of them and include other marketing strategies later instead.

how to create a restaurant business plan

What is your unique selling proposition?

In other words, how do you differentiate yourself vs. competitors? This is very important as you might need to win customers from competitors.

A few examples of USPs can be:

how to create a restaurant business plan

5. Management & People

You must address 2 things here:

a) Management

Small businesses often fail because of managerial weaknesses. Thus, having a strong management team is vital. Highlight the experience and education of senior managers that you intend to hire to oversee your restaurant business.

Describe their duties, responsibilities, and roles. Also, highlight their previous experience and explain how they succeeded in their previous roles.

It is also important that you explain how their experiences and qualifications help you in implementing the restaurant you are proposing. If they have specialized training, achievement, and experience (such as a degree in hospitality management, 3 Michelin stars, experience in developing menus for 5-star hotels, etc.), add that information.

b) Organization Structure

Even if you haven’t already hired a restaurant manager, server, chef, head cook, busser, cashier, bartenders, and other relevant staff members, you must provide here a chart of the organizational structure defining the hierarchy of reporting.

how to create a restaurant business plan

6. Financial Plan

The financial plan is perhaps, with the executive summary, the most important section of any business plan for a restaurant.

Indeed, a solid financial plan tells lenders that your business is viable and can repay the loan you need from them. If you’re looking to raise equity from private investors, a solid financial plan will prove them your restaurant is an attractive investment.

There should be 2 sections to your financial plan section:

a) Startup Costs

Before we expand on 5-year financial projections in the following section, it’s always best practice to start with listing the startup costs of your restaurant . For a restaurant, startup costs are all the expenses you incur before you open your restaurant and start making sales. These expenses typically are:

Of course, the startup costs depend on a number of factors, like the size of your restaurant, its location, the facilities, the menu, etc.

On average, it costs $484,000 to $685,000 to open a casual restaurant with 150 seats (2,500 sq. ft.) in the US.

Note that these costs are for illustrative purposes and may not be fully relevant for your business. For more information on how much it costs to open and run a restaurant, read our article here .

b) Financial Projections

In addition to startup costs, you will now need to build a solid 5-year financial model for your restaurant.

Your financial projections should be built using a spreadsheet (e.g. Excel or Google Sheets) and presented in the form of tables and charts in the business plan of your restaurant.

As usual, keep it concise here and save details (for example detailed financial statements, financial metrics, key assumptions used for the projections) for the appendix instead.

Your financial projections should answer at least the following questions:

You should include here your 3 financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement). This means you must forecast:

When projecting your revenue, make sure to sensitize pricing, cost of raw materials (food supplies) and your sales volume. Indeed, a small change in these assumptions may have a significant impact on your revenues and profits.

how to create a restaurant business plan

7. Use of Funds

This is the last section of the business plan of your restaurant. Now that we have explained what your restaurant’s business model and concept are, what is your menu, your marketing strategy, etc., this section must now answer the following questions:

If you raise debt:

If you raise equity

Use of Funds

Any restaurant business plan should include a clear use of funds section. This is where you explain how the money will be spent.

Will you spend most of the loan / investment in paying your employees’ salaries? Or will it cover mostly the cost for the lease deposit and the renovation?

Those are very important questions you should be able to answer in the blink of an eye. Don’t worry, this should come straight from your financial projections. If you’ve built solid projections like in our restaurant financial model template , you won’t have any issues answering these questions.

For the use of funds, we also recommend using a pie chart like the one we have in our financial model template where we outline the main expenses categories as shown below.

How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan: Pro Tips for Restaurant Business Writing

By Dana Krook

Restaurant owner writing business plan

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 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.

Two women reviewing a restaurant business plan.

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.

Restaurant Business Plan Template

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:

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:

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:

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: 

7. Appendix

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:

Ready to get started? Grab the template!

Man reviewing business plans in a restaurant.

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.

Photo of Dana Krook

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 Start a Restaurant

Ready to make your dream of opening a restaurant a reality? This guide offers everything you need to know about starting a successful restaurant!

A checklist for starting a restaurant

Here are 10 steps you should take before you open a restaurant :

1. Define your restaurant concept.

Your restaurant concept should be woven into every aspect of your business, from the food itself to your style of customer service. Your concept should also be reflected in the name of your restaurant, the design of your collateral, and your decor.

2. Create a business plan for your restaurant.

Your business plan should lay out the foundation of your operations. Be sure to include an executive summary, company description, industry analysis, geographic analysis, target market analysis, food safety plan, sample menu, marketing plan, management strategy, and financial plan.

3. Research funding options for your restaurant.

Assess how much it will cost to open your restaurant , as well as operational costs, to determine how to fund your restaurant. There are a number of options to consider, from taking on an investor to applying for a small business loan. Be sure to calculate your break-even point and create a financial analysis as well, to get a better understanding of your predictive cash flow.

4. Obtain licenses and permits needed to open a restaurant.

Aside from the standard business licenses and permits needed to open up shop, there are other licenses you need to get if you run a restaurant, from a liquor license to food handler’s permits that may vary state to state. Be sure to do your research on food safety regulations and create a list of standards you have to adhere to.

5. Register your business.

You need to register your business with the IRS to receive your Employer Identification Number, which you need to file taxes. (You can sign up for one here .) You might think about trademarking your restaurant’s name, too (to stop people from copying you and capitalizing on your restaurant’s success).

6. Select the right location.

A restaurant’s location can make or break it. Visibility and foot traffic are two important factors to consider during the selection process for a commerical space. You also want to evaluate the size and interior shape to decide if it’s the best fit for your restaurant floor plan.

7. Order restaurant equipment.

Restaurant equipment can get pricey so you want to be strategic when selecting what to buy or lease. List out everything that you absolutely need — which depends on your menu — versus what you want, from kitchen equipment to decor for the dining room. You can save money by buying some gently used items. Make decisions based on your budget and your financial analysis.

8. Hire the right staff.

Make a list of how much staff you need to run your front of house and back of house efficiently. Then get to hiring. While you’re doing that, you should also decide if you want to process payroll yourself or use payroll software . Just keep in mind that restaurant payroll can get quite complex, especially with varying state/federal/local laws and regulations around wages and tips.

9. Create a menu.

Your menu is the centerpiece of your restaurant and should reflect your concept and brand. But it’s also a marketing tool that can help convince new customers to try your restaurant. Your descriptions should be concise but appeal to your audience.

10. Create a marketing plan.

Before you open a restaurant, it’s important to develop a marketing plan that drives awareness, brings in new customers, and creates a loyal following. Marketing tactics you might use include everything from social media to hosting a soft opening that drives hype.

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Restaurant industry segments

Recognizing where a restaurant fits in the industry can help you understand the competitive landscape and better strategize your entry to market and your food costs when opening a restaurant. Establishments can be loosely broken down into various segments, from your basic fast food joint to a prestigious three-star Michelin dining experience:

Fast food restaurants , also called quick service restaurants (QSRs), specialize in quick preparation and casual service. Seating is limited since most customers order at the register and take their food to go.

Fast-casual establishments mirror fast food service since they do not often provide sit-down service, but they typically offer freshly prepared food with wholesome quality. As a result, their food prices tend to be higher than QSRs. Another differentiator from QSRs is that fast-casual places often provide nondisposable utensils and plates.

Casual dining offers a full-service, sit-down experience for customers at an affordable price. With a relaxed ambiance, consumers can come in, sit down, and enjoy a meal without breaking the bank.

Family dining follows a similar format to casual dining, but most establishments don’t serve alcohol. Family dining usually offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options, making them open for more hours.

Fine dining restaurants provide customers with an elegant and upscale dining experience. While these restaurants have higher price points, customer are paying for top-quality food and the best service the industry can provide.

An overview of restaurant safety and food handling

Before diving into the steps of starting a restaurant, it’s important to understand the restaurant industry as a whole. Restaurant safety and food handling protocols are top priorities for the industry, so you should understand the ins and outs before you open a restaurant.

To keep guests safe and prevent food-borne illnesses, the restaurant industry is heavily regulated at city, state, and federal levels. Several federal agencies play a crucial role in the industry, some of which include:

City and state regulations vary depending on where you decide to open a restaurant. If you are considering multiple locations, each restaurant could have a different set of compliance obligations. Be sure to check out your restaurant state guidelines in addition to keeping up with federal agency recommendations and new educational resources published by these agencies.

There are several inspections a restaurant may be subject to in order to verify restaurant safety and operational compliance. An initial restaurant inspection may cover a variety of food safety protocols and grade a restaurant’s ability in food handling, food storage, employee hygiene, and operational excellence. Subsequent inspections throughout the year are normal, so you’ll want to come up with best practices for food safety and restaurant sanitation.

By familiarizing themselves with regulations, obtaining specific industry-related licenses, and adhering to the basic food safety procedures, restaurant owners can keep their reputation intact and customers out of harm’s way.

The cost of starting a restaurant

Most people who consider opening a restaurant want to know, how much does it cost to open a restaurant? It seems like a simple question but the truth is there’s no one-size-fits-all answer for how much it costs to start a restaurant. Restaurant start up costs are dependent on various factors including:

Starting a restaurant is usually a spendy proposition, and incorrect forecasts and budgeting are a major reason why restaurants fail. Avoid these situations by learning what costs you can expect and how to keep costs low so you can forecast a realistic budget.

After long hours of computing numbers and hashing out prices, you may realize that you don’t have the capital to front these costs initially. Don’t worry, there are plenty of financing options restaurant owners can consider.

And remember, even if you don’t need a loan to start your business , you may need a loan for future costs you can expect to pay, like purchasing inventory or new equipment, renovations, or hiring.

Taking payments from customers

Understanding the restaurant industry and mapping out a restaurant costs are the initial ingredients for success, and now it’s time to focus on taking payments from customers.

Making your first sale is an exciting milestone when you first start a restaurant and it should be a seamless experience that first time, and every time after. To do that, you need to choose a payments processor and point-of-sale (POS) software.

A payments processor handles credit and debit card transactions for your business. You want to look for a payments processor that accepts all major credit cards, has one consistent rate (with no hidden fees), and quick deposit times.

An intuitive point-of-sale system lets you get started taking payments quickly, and it can also grow with your restaurant (and help it grow). An integrated restaurant point of sale not only lets you accept all types of payments — including magstripe, EMV chip , and NFC (mobile payments) — but also it can help you run your entire restaurant more efficiently.

A restaurant POS system can help you with:

Outdated, slow POS systems can really hurt your sales, so it’s important to invest in capabilities that are quick for your customers, easy to use for your employees, and efficient for your restaurant overall . An integrated POS puts all your information — from sales and inventory to employee timecards — in one view, significantly improving organization and the ability to make better decisions.

Also consider a plan for online orders: Square Future of Commerce data found that an average of 36% of  restaurants’ revenue currently comes from orders placed through online or app-based ordering channels.

Visit our Square for Restaurants POS Demo page to see how we make running a restaurant easier.

Building a brand for a restaurant

How can you compete with more established restaurants to capture consumers’ attention and build loyalty? You need to build a brand.

Branding your business is an integral part of opening a restaurant, and it can play a major role in your future expansion and growth. Your brand is what distinguishes you from your competition. And it’s what makes your restaurant stand out and can often be the deciding factor for diners in an environment with endless options.

Here’s a crash course to get started branding your restaurant:

Start with positioning.

Evaluate your restaurant’s product, placement, promotion, and price to determine where your restaurant sits among the competition and to identify your unique selling proposition for your target customers.

Define your concept and location.

Your concept and location should play into how you position your restaurant. From the type of food to the interior design and even the staff selection, your concept dictates many of these decisions moving forward. Neighborhood stereotypes, location accessibility, and local competitors are location factors that affect your positioning.

Craft a mission statement.

Your mission statement defines what you do, who you are, and why you’re doing it. It should be your restaurant’s north star and decisions should align with it to create a consistent experience.

Be consistent in the details.

You communicate your brand through every part of your business. So to create a clear and memorable brand, you need to look at every detail for consistency. That means looking at the visual elements of your restaurant — your name and logo, menus, decor, uniforms, etc. — and the written elements (or your brand voice) — your website and other marketing channels like social channels — to make sure they support your mission.

Once you’ve established your brand, you need to create awareness of it amongst prospective customers. Here are a few ways to get started:

Hold a soft opening.

The exclusivity of a soft opening intrigues a crowd and gets people talking about your restaurant, and building hype is important. Additionally, the soft opening gives your staff a practice run and helps you further hash out menu items and get feedback before anything is solidified. Brainstorm soft opening launch ideas that blow your competition out of the water and give you a leg up when it’s time to open your doors.


Market your restaurant.

There are many channels you can use to market a restaurant. Traditional channels like TV tend to be pricey but reach a lot of people. Digital channels like social media, content marketing , and email are often low cost and do a better job of engaging (and building relationships with) prospective customers. You should test these channels to see what works for you (it may be a mix of both), but regardless of the media, you should use your brand visuals and voice in all your marketing.

Build a loyal following.

A customer loyalty program , in which you reward customers for repeat visits, can be a powerful tool. It can turn a first-time customer into a regular customer into a brand advocate. And advocates have huge value to your business because they tell their friends about your restaurant. And word of mouth is powerful: One study by Nielsen found that customers value referrals from friends and family more than any other type of marketing.

Restaurant trends to watch

Restaurant owners are responsible for staying ahead of trends in the restaurant industry, but that doesn’t just entail the latest food fads . Technology helps restaurants provide the ultimate customer experience and is becoming a more prominent part of the industry. Here are a few emerging restaurant trends to take into consideration.

Immediate customer feedback

Incorporating feedback into the dining experience allows customers to rate their experience through their digital receipt, which gives your restaurant the real-time data needed for continuous improvement. Feedback is one of several customer engagement features that allow restaurant owners to get a better understanding of what their customers want.

Accepting mobile wallets

Mobile wallets like Apple Pay have become increasingly popular and are shaping the future of payments. Some of the key benefits of accepting mobile wallets include increased security, speed, and convenience.

Delivery services

To reach a wider customer base, many restaurants have begun exploring food delivery services . This taps into an entirely new market potential for your restaurant and can help your restaurant stay competitive with others using the services.

Self-serve ordering

As the restaurant industry continues to explore automation, there’s a spike in interest around tableside contact-free ordering. The QR codes allows diners to scan to order food and drinks as well as pay for their meal without interacting with a server.

How to build a successful restaurant: Tips from 3 restaurateurs

The million-dollar question every aspiring restaurant owner asks: Will my restaurant be successful?

Starting a restaurant is an intricate process that requires dedication and commitment, and questioning your decision to embark on this rigorous journey is completely normal. Here are three tips from experienced owners that you can use when first starting out.

1. Stay resilient

Tod Wilson, the owner of the prosperous Mr. Tod’s Pie Factory in New Jersey, will be the first to tell you that this process isn’t always easy. Tod was the first winner on Shark Tank in 2009, but he faced much adversity along the way when he was trying to get his business up and running. What advice does Tod offer about success? He stresses the need for resiliency. “Keep fighting. Every time I find myself in a tough position, I think about that. You have to just get up after you get knocked down,” said Tod. “Whether it’s a product recall, not getting an order in, or losing a new hire, you have to be able to bounce back.”

2. Make a great first impression

The owner of Atlanta’s Monday Night Brewing emphasizes the first-time experience for a customer. You essentially have one time to get it right and make an impression on a first-time customer. If guests have one bad experience, “odds are they’ll never try it again.”

3. Stay true to your brand

Young Han is the head of community outreach at Philz Coffee and believes you should “never forget why you started. Always circle back to that and stay true to your core.”

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How to write a restaurant business plan [with sample].

D. J. Costantino

By D. J. Costantino

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You can't start a restaurant without a plan. A restaurant business plan is one of the most (if not the most) essential elements in getting a new restaurant off the ground. There are a few reasons for this:

Although it's an essential step in starting a restaurant , creating a business plan can be challenging for an aspiring restaurateur. But it doesn't have to be overwhelming. There are a few key sections that should be included...

Table of Contents

Section 7: Appendix

What is a restaurant business plan, and why do you need one?

A restaurant business plan is a document that outlines the various aspects of your restaurant business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or keep track of your progress as you develop your business. A business plan should include information on your target market, competition, business model, marketing strategy, and financial projections.

A business plan is commonly associated with investors—it's what they will look to for a better understanding of a business, its concept, and its competitive advantage. It will also show how you plan to create a successful restaurant.

Restaurant investor Lauren Fernandez at Full Course keeps it simple: “It's to convince someone to give you money.”

“If you seek investment, it tells the story of the venture to potential investors and/or banks. For the business owner, it sets parameters as well as goals for both the pre and post-opening period. A good operator looks back on their Business Plan on a monthly or quarterly basis to gauge where they are in terms,” says Mark Moeller, president, and owner of The Recipe of Success , a national restaurant consulting firm.

That being said, a business plan doesn't have to be extensive. “Be detailed but not overly so,” says Moeller. “When a plan is too wordy, it tends to turn off the reader and can actually prevent them from finishing,” Lauren Fernandez adds that the business plan should be more akin to a sales document, not an A-to-Z tactical roadmap. At the end of the day, the main goal is to convince a lender or investor to give you money.

how to create a restaurant business plan

Restaurant Business Plan Template

Start creating you restaurant business plan with our free PDF template

The key ingredients of a great restaurant business plan

Section 1: cover page and executive summary.

This is the “elevator pitch.” An effective executive summary quickly tells the reader who you are and leaves them wanting more. Include items like:

Section 2: Company description

This section gives a high-level overview of the business you're looking to start: tell investors what your restaurant is all about, who your team is, and how you're going to serve the market.

Restaurant concept

What type of restaurant are you looking to open? Here is where you'll want to give investors an overview of your business. Speak to what sets you apart from the pack, what food you'll serve, the service style (fast-food, fast casual, fine dining, etc.) you'll use, and what makes your new business special. Check out these successful restaurant ideas .

Mission Statement

Your restaurant's mission statement should boil down the essence of why you're starting this new venture in just a few words.

Some mission statements are short and to the point, like Ninety Nine's (“A Passion to Serve”). If you can't simplify your mission in just four words, there's no harm in elaborating. Here is Union Square Hospitality Group 's mission statement: At Union Square Hospitality Group, our mission is to enrich lives through the power of Enlightened Hospitality. This unique approach puts our employees first because we believe that attracting, hiring, and nurturing the right people is what sets our businesses apart. We aim to find “51%ers”, individuals who embody our Family Values of Excellence, Hospitality, Entrepreneurial Spirit, and Integrity. While much longer, it clearly speaks to the company's unique position and goals for the industry.

Management team

Tell potential investors who you already have on your team. It works in your favor to show strong connections to the restaurant industry. “Are they an island, or do they have good connections? The more people they have around them, there's something about that; there's an indicator of success that I can't put my finger on.” says Lauren Fernandez. Investors want to see that you have good people around you. If you have a great GM on board, introduce them here. An award-winning chef in the kitchen? Tell investors about them. Include a headshot, quick bio, and list of relevant experience.

Sample Menu

You don't, by any means, have to have a menu ready to go. But give an idea of some dishes or drinks with projected price points. A sample menu can go a long way in helping a potential investor imagine themselves eating at your restaurant. It also shows that you've done your research given the market, suppliers, and have an idea on menu design.

Section 3: Conduct a market analysis

This covers the customer base you're hoping to appeal to, your position in said market, and what you'll do to catch people's eyes. Describe the current restaurant market where you want to open:

Target market and demographics

Who is your target customer? Here's where you'll explain the tactics you took in conducting your market research and the results of those findings.

You'll want to highlight the most relevant statistics you found about your restaurant business. For example, if you're starting a coffee shop , you may cover that your primary research concluded that 24-36 year-olds make up 40% of your area's population. Research from other outlets suggested that coffee consumption for millennials continues to rise.

This would lead to a convincing, research-based conclusion that the coffee shop could be a realistic and profitable endeavor for the area.

Location analysis

You don't have to have a specific restaurant location or address in mind when you create a business plan. Set your focus on the city or the general neighborhood you want open in, and why you're looking at that area.

Give an overview of the market conditions in your area. Talk about things like foot traffic, day-parts, local events, and what that part of the city looks like in the future. Is there a new stadium or highrise on the way? Outline it in this section.

Your location choice should align well with the market you intend to target. For example, if you're hoping that young professionals will make up a large portion of your business, ensure your chosen location has that density of people.

Competitive analysis

Explain how your restaurant will stand out in a sea of competition. A good idea is to include SWOT analysis for your restaurant, outlining the internal strengths and weaknesses you believe your new business would have, as well as any external opportunities and threats you'd face as an entrepreneur.

Here are examples of each:

In your SWOT analysis, you should identify how you intend to overcome the weaknesses and threats your restaurant will face to reassure investors they won't be the downfalls of your business.

Section 4: Marketing strategy

How will you reach your target audience? Sticking with the above example of a coffee shop, you may want to talk about your restaurant advertising ideas for millennials, like using TikTok marketing to promote your menu items and an app-based loyalty program.

Marketing plan and channels

Talk about what marketing channels you plan to use to get butts in seats. Detail your plans for using social media, local advertising, promotions, and how you're going to reach your target audience.


You'll also want to take a stance on how you'd like to position your restaurant's brand and how you'd like it to be perceived. 65% of consumers feel an emotional connection to brands, so the stronger your emphasis on yours, the more likely your target market will notice and identify with it.

Grand opening plan

You can't have a restaurant without a grand opening .

“Budget at least 2-3% build cost for Grand Opening marketing. You have ONE shot at making a splash in the market, and you must get the grand opening right,” says Lauren Fernandez.“Grand opening should be a week-long celebration, not just one day. Give loyal fans a reason to come back daily. The grand opening ramp-up should begin ~90 days to open, working the market and creating excitement,”

Recommended Reading: Simple Restaurant Marketing Plan + PDF Template

Section 5: An overview of operations

Some investors want to see how all the moving pieces will mesh daily with a detailed operations plan. This section should encompass your staffing strategies, what tech you'll use, and what your restaurant layout may be.

Hiring is routinely one of the most difficult tasks in food service. Recent statistics showed that the number of people working in restaurants is declining. Add to that rising restaurant labor cost and high staff turnover . Investors want to know your hiring and retention tactics, such as retention and engagement strategies.

Back of the house

Talk about the details of the back-of-house in your restaurant, such as the commercial kitchen equipment your cooks and chefs will be wielding during their shifts and what the kitchen layout and workflow will be. If you have mock-ups - such as a kitchen floor plan - you can include them here.

Here is also a good time to discuss processes you plan to adhere to in the back of the house, such as food cost control methods and who your inventory suppliers are.

Restaurant technology

Tell investors what technology you plan on using to run your business—and not just the POS (point of sale). Restaurants have access to a bevy of software to run their business efficiently, and investors want to see that you are a savvy operator. You may want to list out:

Section 6: The financials

Don't be offended if you see investors skip straight to this section. After all, a business comes down to making money.

So before you finalize this plan, quadruple check these projections, look over your graphs and tables, and consider running them by a hired financial professional in your area.

Startup costs

Any good investor will want to know what his or her money will be going to. Disclose how much money you'll need to get this project off the ground, identify the biggest expenses, and don't be afraid to put a line item in for working capital - which is a reserve fund for your first few (likely slower) months of operation. Also, disclose if there are any planned restaurant business loans .

Sales forecast

It can be hard to create an accurate forecast without a business. But a conservative yet confident restaurant sales forecast can show investors that you're doing the research and considering the right things. You should base this forecast on a few criteria: capacity, target market, delivery/takeout options, month-over-month growth expectations, hours of operation, and menu prices.

Projected Profit & Loss Statement

Use a projected (or pro forma) P&L statement to show investors how much money you expect to have made - or lost - by the end of your first year. This should be based on your sales forecast and your projected restaurant costs (both for opening the restaurant and operating it throughout the year).

Recommended Reading: Free Restaurant Profit and Loss Statement Template

Break-Even Analysis

It's an unforgettable day for a restaurant owner when the business becomes profitable - and you can determine that point in time with a break-even analysis . Calculating break-even will project the threshold to reach in time and sales to pay back investments and startup costs, thus reaching profitability.

Show investors how you reached your break-even point with a break-even calculation. You can reach this number by dividing total fixed costs by the difference between average revenue per guest and average variable cost per guest.

Alternatively, plug those projections in this formula to produce break-even dollars:

Break Even Point = Total Fixed Costs ÷ (Avg. revenue per guest - Avg. variable cost per guest)

You can then compare this number to your sales forecast to determine a timeline for the break-even point in days to let investors know what day they'll start seeing an ROI.

Recommended Reading: 15 Restaurant Metrics to Know and How To Use Them

The appendix and its contents are all optional, but this section could contain charts, plans, graphics, imagery, or any other material investors may find useful.

Floor Plans

As mentioned earlier, the appendix is the perfect place to include any mockups of your restaurant floor plans. These plans give readers an idea of how guests and employees will be able to maneuver through and interact with each other in the space.

Additional Financial Charts

Got supporting financial documents, like projected cash flow and a projected income statement? Awesome. Place them in here to show investors you really know your numbers.

Design Mockups

If you’ve worked with a building renovator and/or interior designer, include any graphic mockups of what the space would look like. Again, this section is completely optional, but it helps investors visualize the project you’re so passionate about and proves to them that you’ve gone the extra mile in your business research and preparation.

Use this sample template to help you build your restaurant business plan. Feel free to copy and paste this entire section into a Microsoft Word file or download the outline sample in Google Docs . Then replace the explanations for each section with information about your restaurant business.

Other Resources for Your Restaurant Business Plan

No great business plan is written in a vacuum. Use whatever you have at your disposal, from industry contacts to other entrepreneurs, and read up on more best practices. Here are a few resources that you can use to help you write a successful restaurant business plan.

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how to create a restaurant business plan

Restaurant Business Plan

Restaurant Business Plan: What To Include, Plus 8 Examples

Do you want to ensure the success of your new foodservice endeavor? Write a restaurant business plan.

In this article, the experts at Sling tell you why a business plan is vital for both new and existing businesses and give you tips on what to include.

Table Of Contents

What Is A Restaurant Business Plan?

Why is a restaurant business plan important, questions to ask first, what to include in an effective restaurant business plan, how to format a restaurant business plan, efficient workforce management is essential for success.

Man looking at charts on a wall for his restaurant business plan

At its most basic, a restaurant business plan is a written document that describes your restaurant’s goals and the steps you will take to make those goals a reality.

This business plan also describes the nature of the business itself, financial projections, background information, and organizational strategies  that govern the day-to-day activity of your restaurant.

Empty fine-dining restaurant

A restaurant business plan is vital for the success of your endeavor because, without one, it is very difficult — sometimes even impossible — to obtain funding from an investor or a bank.

Without that all-important starting or operational capital, you may not be able to keep your doors open for long, if at all.

Even if funding isn’t a primary concern, a business plan provides you — the business owner or manager — with clear direction on how to translate general strategies into actionable plans  for reaching your goals.

The plan can help solidify everything from the boots-on-the-ground functional strategy  to the mid-level business strategy  all the way up to the driving-force corporate strategy .

Think of this plan as a roadmap that guides your way when things are going smoothly and, more importantly, when they aren’t.

If you want to give your restaurant the best chance for success, start by writing a business plan.

Man on laptop writing a restaurant business plan

Sitting down to write a restaurant business plan can be a daunting task.

As you’ll see in the What To Include In An Effective Restaurant Business Plan section below, you’ll need a lot of information and detail to ensure that the final document is both complete and effective.

Instead of starting with word one, it is hugely beneficial to answer a number of general questions first.

These questions will help you narrow down the information to include in your plan so the composition process feels less difficult.

The questions are:

Depending on your business, some of these questions may not apply or you may not have applicable answers.

Nevertheless, it helps to think about, and try to provide details for, the whole list so your finished restaurant business plan is as complete as possible.

Once you’ve answered the questions for your business, you can transfer a large portion of that information to the business plan itself.

We’ll discuss exactly what to include in the next section.

Man mapping out a restaurant business plan

In this section, we’ll show you what to include in an effective restaurant business plan and provide a brief example of each component.

1) Executive Summary

You should always start any business plan with an executive summary. This gives the reader a brief introduction into common elements, such as:

This portion of your plan should pique the reader’s interest and make them want to read more.

Fanty & Mingo’s is a 50-seat fine-dining restaurant that will focus on Sweruvian (Swedish/Peruvian) fusion fare.

We will keep overhead and labor costs low thanks to simple but elegant decor , highly skilled food-prep staff, and well-trained servers.

Because of the location and surrounding booming economy, we estimate ROI at 20 percent per annum.

2) Mission Statement

A mission statement is a short description of what your business does for its customers, employees, and owners.

This is in contrast to your business’s vision statement which is a declaration of objectives that guide internal decision-making.

While the two are closely related and can be hard to distinguish, it often helps to think in terms of who, what, why, and where.

The vision statement is the where of your business — where you want your business to be and where you want your customers and community to be as a result.

The mission statement is the who , what , and why of your business — it’s an action plan that makes the vision statement a reality

Here’s an example of a mission statement for our fictional company:

Fanty and Mingo’s takes pride in making the best Sweruvian food, providing fast, friendly, and accurate service. It is our goal to be the employer of choice and offer team members opportunities for growth, advancement, and a rewarding career in a fun and safe working environment.

3) Company Description

Taking notes on restaurant business plan

In this section of your restaurant business plan, you fully introduce your company to the reader. Every business’s company description will be different and include its own pertinent information.

Useful details to include are:

Again, you don’t have to include all of this information in your company description. Choose the ones that are most relevant to your business and make the most sense to communicate to your readers.

Fanty & Mingo’s will start out as an LLC, owned and operated by founders Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne. Mr. Reynolds will serve as managing partner and Ms. Washburne as general manager.

We will combine atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and menu variety to create a unique experience for our diners and to reach our goal of high value in the fusion food niche.

Our gross margin is higher than industry average, but we plan to spend more on payroll to attract the best team.

We estimate moderate growth for the first two years while word-of-mouth about our restaurant spreads through the area.

4) Market Analysis

A market analysis is a combination of three different views of the niche you want to enter:

This section should be a brief introduction to these concepts. You can expand on them in other sections of your restaurant business plan.

The restaurant industry in our chosen location is wide open thanks in large part to the revitalization of the city’s center.

A few restaurants have already staked their claim there, but most are bars and non-family-friendly offerings.

Fanty & Mingo’s will focus on both tourist and local restaurant clientele. We want to bring in people that have a desire for delicious food and an exotic atmosphere.

We break down our market into five distinct categories:

We will target those markets to grow our restaurant  by up to 17 percent per year.

restaurant menu board

Every restaurant needs a good menu, and this is the section within your restaurant business plan that you describe the food you’ll serve in as much detail as possible.

You may not have your menu design complete, but you’ll likely have at least a handful of dishes that serve as the foundation of your offerings.

It’s also essential to discuss pricing and how it reflects your overall goals and operating model. This will give potential investors and partners a better understanding of your business’s target price point and profit strategy.

We don’t have room to describe a sample menu in this article, but for more information on menu engineering, menu pricing, and even a menu template, check out these helpful articles from the Sling blog:

6) Location

In this section, describe your potential location (or locations) so that you and your investors have a clear image of what the restaurant will look like.

Include plenty of information about the location — square footage, floor plan , design , demographics of the area, parking, etc. — to make it feel as real as possible.

We will locate Fanty & Mingo’s in the booming and rapidly expanding downtown sector of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Ideally, we will secure at least 2,000 square feet of space with a large, open-plan dining room and rich color scheme near the newly built baseball stadium to capitalize on the pre- and post-game traffic and to appeal to the young urban professionals that live in the area.

Parking will be available along side streets and in the 1,000-vehicle parking garage two blocks away.

7) Marketing

Chef working in a restaurant

The marketing section of your restaurant business plan is where you should elaborate on the information you introduced in the Market Analysis section.

Go into detail about the plans you have to introduce your restaurant to the public and keep it at the top of their mind.

Fanty & Mingo’s will employ three distinct marketing tactics to increase and maintain customer awareness:

We will direct each tactic at a different segment of our potential clientele in order to maximize coverage.

In the process of marketing to our target audience, we will endeavor to harness the reach of direct mail and broadcast media, the exclusivity of the VIP party, and the elegance of a highly trained sommelier and wait staff.

8) Financials

Even though the Financials section is further down in your restaurant business plan, it is one of the most important components for securing investors and bank funding.

We recommend hiring a trained accountant  to help you prepare this section so that it will be as accurate and informative as possible.

Fanty & Mingo’s needs $250,000 of capital investment over the next year and a half for the following:

Projected profit and loss won’t jump drastically in the first year, but, over time, Fanty & Mingo’s will develop its reputation and client base. This will lead to more rapid growth toward the third and fourth years of business.

working on restaurant business plan

Most entrepreneurs starting a new business find it valuable to have multiple formats of their business plan.

The information, data, and details remain the same, but the length and how you present them will change to fit a specific set of circumstances.

Below we discuss the four most common business plan formats to cover a multitude of potential situations.

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short summary of your restaurant business plan’s executive summary.

Rather than being packed full of details, the elevator pitch is a quick teaser of sorts that you use on a short elevator ride (hence the name) to stimulate interest in potential customers, partners, and investors

As such, an effective elevator pitch is between 30 and 60 seconds and hits the high points of your restaurant business plan.

A pitch deck is a slide show and oral presentation that is designed to stimulate discussion and motivate interested parties to investigate deeper into your stakeholder plan (more on that below).

Most pitch decks are designed to cover the executive summary and include key graphs that illustrate market trends and benchmarks you used (and will use) to make decisions about your business.

Some entrepreneurs even include time and space in their pitch deck to demonstrate new products coming down the pipeline.

This won’t necessarily apply to a restaurant business plan, but, if logistics permit, you could distribute small samples of your current fare or tasting portions of new dishes you’re developing.

Stakeholder Plan (External)

A stakeholder plan is the standard written presentation that business owners use to describe the details of their business model to customers, partners, and potential investors.

The stakeholder plan can be as long as is necessary to communicate the current and future state of your business, but it must be well-written, well-formatted, and targeted at those looking at your business from the outside in.

Think of your stakeholder plan as a tool to convince others that they should get involved in making your business a reality. Write it in such a way that readers will want to partner with you to help your business grow.

Management Plan (Internal)

A management plan is a form of your restaurant business plan that describes the details that the owners and managers need to make the business run smoothly.

While the stakeholder plan is an external document, the management plan is an internal document.

Most of the details in the management plan will be of little or no interest to external stakeholders so you can write it with a higher degree of candor and informality.

Sling app for managing a restaurant business plan

After you’ve created your restaurant business plan, it’s time to take steps to make it a reality.

One of the biggest challenges in ensuring that your business runs smoothly and successfully is managing  and optimizing  your team. The Sling  app can help.

Sling not only includes powerful and intuitive artificial-intelligence-based scheduling tools but also many other features to help make your workforce management more efficient, including:

Sling's scheduling feature

With Sling, you can schedule faster, communicate better, and organize and manage your work from a single, integrated platform. And when you use Sling for all of your scheduling  needs, you’ll have more time to focus on bringing your restaurant business plan to life.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit  today.

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Colorado is a great state for opening a restaurant business . Starting a restaurant business can be an exciting and rewarding experience. The importance of the restaurant business can be seen in its contribution to the economy.

How to Open a Restaurant Business in Colorado

How to Open a Restaurant Business in Colorado

The type of restaurant you want to open in colorado.

Find a Location to Open a Restaurant Business in Colorado

There are some important factors to remember for choosing a location for your restaurant business. The main step is to find what type of restaurant you want to open. Once you know the type of restaurant you want to open, you can begin narrowing down your search for the perfect location. Some other important factors to consider when choosing a location include the following:

1. Proximity to other businesses and attractions – Proximity to other businesses and attractions. You want your restaurant to be in a busy area with high foot traffic. You want your restaurant to be conveniently located for your target customers. For example, if you’re aiming for a lunch crowd, you’ll want to be near office buildings or shopping areas. If you’re targeting tourists, you’ll want to be near hotels or popular attractions.

2. Parking availability and accessibility – In Colorado, street parking can be scarce, so it’s important to ensure your customers have somewhere to park when they visit your restaurant. If you’re located in a busy area, you may need to provide valet parking or offer discounts for customers who use public transportation or ride-sharing services.

3. Zoning regulations – Ensure you know all zoning regulations in the area before choosing a location. Before choosing a location, ensure it complies with all local zoning regulations. You don’t want to invest in a property only to find out later that you can’t operate a restaurant there.

In case you missed it: How to Start a Recycling Business in Colorado: Business Plan, Setup Cost, Profit, and License/Profit

Restaurant Kitchen Management

Create a Restaurant Business Plan in Colorado

Requirements to Open a Restaurant Business in Colorado

1. Decide on a concept and menu – This is probably the most important step in opening a restaurant. You need to decide what type of food you will serve and what atmosphere you want to create. The menu should offer a variety of items that appeal to a wide range of customers.

In case you missed it: How to Start a Catering Business in Colorado: Business Ideas, Setup Cost, Requirements, and License/Permit

Vintage Restaurant Design

2. Find the perfect location – The location of your restaurant can make or break your business, so choose wisely. Consider foot traffic, parking availability, and competition when selecting a spot. You must also ensure the building is up to code and accommodates your needs. The right location can help attract customers and make your restaurant more successful.

3. Obtain the licenses and permits – You must obtain state and local licenses and permits before opening your doors. These can vary depending on the type of food you plan to serve, so be sure to research beforehand.

4. Determine the type of restaurant – This will impact the space size you need and the type of equipment required. Once you know the concept, you can look for spaces that fit your budget and needs. It is important to remember that commercial rental rates can vary greatly depending on location, so be sure to shop around.

5. Purchase or lease all necessary equipment – This includes items such as ovens, refrigerators, dishwashers, and small wares. Again, prices will vary depending on quality and brand, so research before making any major purchases. Additionally, many cities and counties require restaurants to have certain licenses and permit before they can open their doors to the public.

5. Hire a great staff – One of the keys to success in the restaurant business is having a great team behind you. Start by hiring an experienced head chef and front-of-house manager. And finally, the staffing of your restaurant should be carefully considered to ensure that you have the right team in place to provide excellent service and create a positive dining experience for your customers.

In case you missed it: How to Start a Landscaping or Lawn Care Business in Colorado: Business Plan, Setup Cost, Profit, and License/Permit

Restaurant Vegetable Processing Area

Cost to Open a Restaurant Business in Colorado

A restaurant business setup costs in Colorado can vary depending on what type of restaurant you want to open. Setting up a restaurant costs between $10,000 to $100,000.

Hire and Train Your Staff to Open a Restaurant Business in Colorado

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Indoor Resturant

Is Restaurant Business Profitable in Colorado

Yes, the restaurant business is profitable in Colorado. The state’s strong economy and diverse population provide a solid foundation for restaurants to thrive.

What are the Legal Requirements for Opening a Restaurant Business in Colorado?

Licenses and Permits to Open a Restaurant Business in Colorado

To open a restaurant in Colorado, you must obtain licenses and permits from the state and local governments. The Colorado Department of Revenue’s Business Licensing Unit is responsible for issuing most state business licenses, and you can apply for your license online . You’ll also need a liquor license from the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division for alcohol-serving establishments.

In case you missed it: Top 10 Profitable Small Business Ideas in California: Low Investment and High Profits

Modern Restaurant

Depending on your location and type of restaurant, you may need to obtain other permits, such as a health permit from your local county department of public health or a food handler’s permit from your local city or county government. The licenses you’ll need to open a restaurant in Colorado include the following:

Marketing Your Restaurant Business in Colorado

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Food Serving in a Restaurant

The restaurant business is one of the most important businesses in the world. It is responsible for providing food and drink to people away from home , whether traveling or working. The restaurant business’s scope is vast, covering all types of establishments, from fast-food chains to five-star restaurants.

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Writing or updating your restaurant business plan? Here’s what you should include

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Writing or updating your restaurant business plan? Here’s what you should include Are you considering opening a new restaurant, adding a virtual restaurant , or pivoting your restaurant’s business strategy to adapt to the industry’s “new normal” after the pandemic? Make sure you take the time to build a restaurant business plan. Why?

Some 26% of restaurants fail within a year of opening, and failure to plan is one of the primary reasons those restaurants close. Create a business plan, and you’re setting yourself up to be on the right side of that statistic.

Here’s how to do it.

What is a restaurant business plan?

Before you learn how to write a business plan , it’s crucial to understand what a business plan is — and what it isn’t.

The goal of a business plan is to create a guide that helps you navigate each stage of launching and running your business. That plan should also be comprehensive and articulate enough that a total stranger, for instance an investor, could read through it and easily understand your vision, your goals, and how you intend to turn your restaurant dream into a reality.

Business plans come in a variety of structures and they can be as short as a single page or long enough to bind into a booklet. You may want to start with a lean startup plan that focuses on a high-level take on your strategy, then follow up with a more detailed plan that elaborates on key points and offers investors more information.

In short, your business plan should communicate everything you have and plan to put into your restaurant to ensure ongoing success.

7 elements every restaurant business plan should include

Your restaurant and mission statement should be unique to your business and your vision, but that doesn’t mean you have to start completely from scratch. There are plenty of restaurant business plan examples on the internet, or you can use a free template from the Small Business Association (SBA) as your starting point. However you write it, your finalized business plan should include seven key sections.

1. Executive summary

This is a brief summary of your company, why it’s something the community wants or needs, and why it will be successful. Many different types of restaurants speak to various demographics, and it’s important to know  what kind of restaurant you want to run . Are you opening a quick-service deli focused on takeout sandwiches and ready-to-eat salads? Or are you going to be the first tapas restaurant in a city eager for more variety?

If you’re using your business plan to ask for financing, the SBA recommends including financial information and high-level growth plans in your executive summary, too.

Think of your summary as your opportunity to capture your reader’s attention. Many investors will make a split-second decision based on the executive summary alone — if this section is all they’re going to read, make every word count.

2. Restaurant description

Now it’s time to launch into a more detailed description of the company, including its  vital differentiator(s) , target audience, and any other factors that could sway investors like experts you’ve brought on board as advisors or a location you’ve already scouted or secured.

You’ll want to include the legal structure of the business, explaining whether you’re a sole proprietorship, LLC, etc., and list out existing management and their roles (including your own).

Now comes the fun part: Writing out a description of your concept. This is where you can let your creative side come out, showcasing your passion for what you hope to create and using plenty of adjectives to engage your readers and give your concept life. You’ve already decided what  type of restaurant  you’re opening, now flesh out all the other details:

3. Sample menu

If you’re a new restaurant, including a sample menu is the only way investors will know what you plan on serving. It’s not enough to say you’re going for “rustic Italian,” as that could mean different things to different people. Chances are your menu is your key differentiator, or at least part of it — otherwise, why will customers choose you over tried-and-true competitors already offering similar dishes?

Collaborate with your chef and keep the core tenets of  great menu design  in mind:

4. Target market analysis

Detail your target market, using buyer personas to indicate who you see being your primary customer and what their dining habits might look like. These personas should include information on where target customers live, their income levels, their pain points (do they hate long waits or want restaurants that are open later?), and how often they dine out or order in.

5. Marketing plans and competitor analysis

Bolster your business plan with an overview of the industry.  This should include competitive research that offers insight into how other restaurants in your niche are doing, what successes they’ve had, and where they’ve faltered so you can learn from those mistakes. Refer again to your key differentiators, this time explaining how your restaurant will address the current market and exceed customer expectations.

This is an excellent place to include your marketing plan , too. For example, how will you be promoting your restaurant? Will marketing be handled in-house or outsourced?

Promotional events, social media, and paid ads are just some ways you can help get your restaurant off the ground, and investors will be very interested to hear what you have planned.

6. Organizational management

While you’ve touched on your organizational structure and management earlier on in your business plan, now you’ll explain  your business structure  and share a more comprehensive look at your team. An organizational chart can be helpful, as is a summary of your collective experience. Some people include a bullet list of the team’s top achievements that’s easy to scan and digest.

In addition to listing out co-founders, managers, servers, etc., you can attach resumes from your executive team or critical players like a well-known mixologist that’s helping you develop your cocktail program.

7. Financial projections

Finally, it’s time to address the financial side of your business, especially if you’re using your business plan to acquire startup funds or additional capital after you’re already operational.

If you’re pre-launch, your projections are just that: guesses. But these guesses should be based on market research, actual expenses, and projected income, culminating in a five-year look at everything from estimated revenue to capital expenditure budgets.

If your business is up and running, you’ll include actual financial records such as cash flow statements and your P&Ls, ideally for the last five years. Use colorful charts and graphs to highlight financial wins and make it easier for investors to gauge your company’s financial health quickly.

pie chart from Honeybee Burger restaurant business plan

If you’re asking for funding, specify how those funds will be used and whether you have collateral you’re able to put up to secure a loan.

Strengthen business plan by strategizing how you’ll capture new customers through takeout and delivery

COVID-19 has drastically changed the hospitality industry, but many restaurants like  Pig & Khoa  and  The Council Cafe  have found ways to revamp their restaurant models to support not only on-premise dining but expanded delivery and takeout orders as well.

In 2020, some  1.2 billion people  worldwide used online food ordering. In addition, surveys found that  68% of consumers  are more likely to grab takeout from a restaurant now than pre-pandemic, and 53% say takeout and delivery play an essential role in their way of life.

Platforms like Grubhub Marketplace can make it easier than ever to capture the attention of new customers and reinvigorate relationships with existing customers by offering quick-click access to ordering and stress-free pickup or delivery.

Ready to reach millions of hungry customers? Sign up for  Grubhub for Restaurants  today!

Join Grubhub for Restaurants today

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How To Write A Restaurant Business Plan

Running a restaurant is tough..

Tight profit margins and heavy competition make this a challenging industry to thrive in, especially if you're not prepared.

Far too many entrepreneurs rush into things. They get caught up in the emotion and romance of the restaurant industry and forget that they need to focus, first and foremost, on running a successful business .

And that's when they get into trouble financially.

But the good news is that you have a great chance of operating a successful restaurant if you have a well–written business plan.

The trick is ensuring your plan provides the information your lender needs to see (if you're applying for a loan) while also giving you a growth–focused roadmap for the future.

All business plans follow the same basic structure, no matter the industry. This includes:

But when writing a restaurant business plan, there are certain chapters you should pay particular attention to. Especially if you want to increase your chances of getting funding.

5 key sections of a restaurant business plan

1) Your vision & concept

Just think about how diverse the restaurant industry is. There are countless different types of establishments that cater to every imaginable taste and style preference.

So to be successful, it's important to have a clear (and documented) vision for your restaurant. This will give you more focus as you plan other aspects of your business.

Start by by documenting:

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How LivePlan can help:

You get a step–by–step process for entering this type of information into your business plan and examples to follow if you get stuck. Plus the LivePlan Pitch Builder gives you an easy way to communicate your vision to anyone in 60 seconds.

2) Target Market

Far too many restaurants try to appeal to everyone.

But with ever–evolving tastes and a growing number of food options available, aiming to please all types of customers is often a recipe for failure. Instead, you should focus on catering to patrons who are most likely to appreciate your unique concept and vision.

This part often requires some research. Start by documenting:

Considering these and other factors will help you provide a restaurant experience that will have patrons thinking ‘hey, this is my kind of place!’.

When you work on the ‘Market Size & Segments’ section of your business plan, you get detailed examples to guide you. You can also find sample plans from the restaurant industry that can be used as inspiration when describing your own target market.

3) Competitive Advantage

How many restaurants do people have to choose from in your town or city?

Probably quite a few. So to stand out, you'll need to have some type of competitive advantage – or differentiator – that resonates with your ideal patrons.

First, start by identifying your competition. Think of indirect competitors as well, such as restaurants that are outside your niche but could be focused on your same target market.

Next, document what makes your restaurant better than the competition. Here are a few examples:

Your plan comes with a Competitive Landscape section that makes it easy to add competitors and document your advantages over them. That way, you can get a better idea of the overall market and how to position your establishment for maximum growth. You can also run reports with Industry Benchmarks to see how your restaurant stacks up to the competition.

4) Marketing Plan

Strong marketing is essential for success in any food service industry.

From direct mail to online advertising and sponsorships, you need to have a plan for building awareness about your restaurant.

But exactly which channels you focus on the most depends on your target audience. When outlining your marketing plan, first start by detailing key components such as:

Creating a detailed marketing plan is a big job. But by using the LivePlan Pitch Builder, you get a simple way to document your marketing activities and sales channels. It helps you get your ideas out quickly first, so you can update or elaborate on this information as your business grows.

5) Sales Forecast

A sales forecasts is simply what you expect to sell over the next few years. And it's an especially important component of your business plan.

Because restaurants often face low profit margins, strategically managing costs is essential for success. One of the main reasons why many new establishments fail is because they didn't take the time to build proper financial projections.

A well–thought-out forecast sets the standard for expenses, profits, and growth. Here are three things to consider when creating yours:

Creating sales forecasts – and other parts of your financial plan – can feel overwhelming. This is especially true if you're not used to doing the calculations. That's why LivePlan includes an Automatic Financials feature that crunches the numbers for you. Just answer a series of questions and the software handles the math.

Ongoing planning brings success

Far too many entrepreneurs write a business plan to get a loan and then never look at the document again.

That's a mistake in any industry. But in the ultra–competitive restaurant business, it's absolutely vital to have a way to track your progress and then make decisions on how best to grow.

Once your business plan is written, it provides a compass you can continually look back on for guidance. That way, you can make sure your restaurant is heading in the right financial direction.

It all comes down to monitoring your progress, examining the numbers and then making adjustments to boost your profit. Do this and you will have a much better chance of earning the success you want.

LivePlan is the easiest way to write a restaurant business plan!

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Step-by-Step Guide to Starting a Fine Dining Restaurant Business


Starting a fine dining restaurant business can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it takes much more than just an idea to get the business up and running. It requires research, planning, financing, and a dedicated team to make it happen.

The restaurant industry is booming. According to the National Restaurant Association, the United States restaurant industry made sales of over $799 billion in 2019, with projections of reaching $818 billion in 2020.

If you’re looking to launch a fine dining restaurant business of your own, you need to be prepared. Here is a simple checklist that you can follow to make the process of getting your restaurant up and running as smooth as possible.

Conduct Research And Create A Business Plan

A business plan is the foundation of any successful restaurant. To create a successful business plan , you must first conduct research. The primary focus of the research should be on the local market, the competition, and the customer’s needs. Here are a few tips and tricks to consider while conducting research:

Once the research is complete, the next step is to create a business plan. The plan should include the restaurant concept, a detailed budget, a marketing plan, and an operational plan. Here are a few tips to consider while creating the business plan:

Estimate Startup Costs And Create A Financial Model

Opening a fine dining restaurant requires significant upfront capital. To estimate your startup costs, you must first consider your overall budget. To do this, you’ll need to think about the size, location, and type of restaurant you plan to open. For example, if you are opening a high-end restaurant, you’ll likely need more money than if you were opening a more casual eatery. Other factors to consider include lease costs, insurance, furniture, and equipment.

Once you have a good idea of the costs of opening and running your restaurant, you’ll need to create a financial model. This model should include all of your estimated costs and revenues. You should also include any additional costs, such as taxes, licenses, and permits. Additionally, your financial model should include a timeline of when you expect to receive payments and when you will need to make payments.

To create an accurate financial model , it is helpful to consult a financial advisor who can provide guidance on the best way to structure your restaurant’s finances. A financial advisor can also help you create a budget, which will help keep your costs under control. Additionally, a financial advisor can help you identify any potential funding sources, such as loans, grants, and investors.

Finally, it is important to create a contingency plan in case something goes wrong. This could include a plan for how you would cover any unexpected costs or changes in revenue. Having a contingency plan in place will help ensure that your restaurant remains profitable in the long run.

Secure Funding

Funding is one of the most important elements for launching your fine dining restaurant business. To open a restaurant, you need to secure enough funds to cover the initial setup costs, as well as ongoing costs such as staff wages, rent, and utilities. There are several different options you can explore to secure the funds you need.

Personal Funds

You may choose to use your own savings, investments, or other personal funds to finance your restaurant. This is a low-risk option, but it can be challenging to come up with the necessary funds. Additionally, if you are unable to generate enough revenue to cover your costs, you may find yourself in financial difficulty.

Loans & Grants

Banks and other financial institutions may offer loans for the startup costs for your restaurant. Additionally, you can look into grants and other funding programs offered by local, state, and federal governments. It is important to carefully research the terms and conditions of any loan or grant you are considering.

Angel Investors & Crowdfunding

Angel investors and crowdfunding can also be viable options for securing funds for your restaurant. Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals who are willing to invest in startups for a potential return on their investment. Crowdfunding is another option, which involves soliciting small contributions from a large number of people. This can be an effective way to raise funds, but can also be time-consuming.

Tips & Tricks

Choose A Prime Location

When opening a fine dining restaurant, it is important to choose a prime location . The right location will help to attract customers, create a strong brand identity, and generate revenue. Here are some tips to help you find the best spot for your new restaurant:

Apply For Necessary Licenses And Permits

Opening a fine dining restaurant requires obtaining various licenses and permits before you can begin operation. Depending on the area you are operating in, there will be different licenses and permits that you need to secure. The most common licenses and permits required are:

It is important to ensure that you have obtained all of the necessary licenses and permits prior to opening your restaurant. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines and even closure of your restaurant. The best way to ensure that you are properly licensed is to contact your local government agency, such as the county clerk’s office, and inquire about the licenses and permits you will need for your particular business.

In addition to the licenses and permits required by the local government, you will also need to obtain any necessary insurance for your business. This includes liability insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation insurance. This is an important step to protect your business from any potential risks or liabilities in the future.

Finally, once you have all of the necessary licenses and permits in place, it is important to keep them up to date. You should check with your local government agency regularly to ensure that your licenses and permits are still valid. This will help to ensure that your restaurant is compliant with all of the necessary laws and regulations.

Hiring the right staff for your fine dining restaurant is essential for success. The right team will create a positive guest experience and ensure food quality, customer service, and operational excellence. Here are tips for hiring the right staff for your restaurant:

Hiring the right staff should be a top priority when launching a fine dining restaurant. Investing time and effort into the hiring process will help you create a team that is passionate, knowledgeable and committed to providing your guests with an exceptional dining experience.

Set Up POS System And Other Operational Tools

Setting up a POS system and other operational tools for a fine dining restaurant is of utmost importance for smooth business operations. It is a crucial part of the process and must be done right. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get started:

Create A Menu

Creating a menu is an important step when starting a fine dining restaurant. It is essential to have a creative and well-planned menu to draw in customers. Here are some tips to help you create a delicious and memorable menu.

Design The Interior Layout

Designing the interior layout of your fine dining restaurant is an essential part of establishing a successful business. It can help to set the atmosphere of the restaurant, create a unique experience for customers, and even influence their food choices. Here are some tips and tricks to help you design the interior layout of your restaurant:

Source/Order Equipment

Equipment can be the difference between success and failure of a fine dining restaurant. As such, it is essential to source the right equipment that is both reliable and within budget. Here are some tips to help you source and order the right equipment for your fine dining restaurant.

Develop Marketing Plan

Marketing is an essential part of launching a successful fine dining restaurant. A comprehensive marketing plan will draw customers to your business and help you promote your products and services. Here are tips and tricks to help you develop an effective marketing plan for your new restaurant:

Launch Restaurant

Launching a fine dining restaurant is a significant milestone, and you want to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible. The following tips and tricks will help you launch your restaurant with style.

Set Up an Opening Event

Organizing a grand opening event is a great way to officially launch your restaurant. Invite friends, family, and local influencers to the event and introduce them to your restaurant. This will help you get the word out about your business and create some initial buzz.

Develop a Social Media Presence

Establishing a presence on social media is essential for any business today. Create accounts on all the major social media platforms and start engaging with your followers. Post regular updates about your restaurant and share mouth-watering photos of your dishes.

Optimize for Local SEO

Make sure your restaurant is easy to find by local customers. Optimize your website for local SEO by including your address, business hours, and other relevant information. You might also want to consider setting up a Google My Business page. This will help customers find your restaurant more easily.

Introduce a Loyalty Program

Reward your best customers with a loyalty program. This will encourage them to come back and order more dishes. You can use loyalty points or discounts to make your customers feel appreciated and valued.

Advertise Your Restaurant

If you want to get the word out about your restaurant, you need to advertise. Consider running online ads, print ads, and radio ads to reach more people. You can also host food-tasting events or collaborate with influencers to increase your visibility.

Opening a fine dining restaurant business is no simple task. It requires dedication, passion, and a lot of hard work. With this 12-step checklist, you can ensure that the process is streamlined and you are well on your way to starting a successful restaurant business.

From conducting research and creating a business plan to sourcing equipment, developing a menu and hiring staff, opening a fine dining restaurant business is a complex and detailed endeavor. But, with the right attitude and preparation, you can be sure that your restaurant will be a success.

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how to create a restaurant business plan

79 Innovative Strategies for Your Restaurant Business Plan

how to create a restaurant business plan

Spanning across diverse cultures and many nations, food is a universal source of joy and comfort. Who doesn’t appreciate a good meal? We all do!

No wonder the food business is one of the biggest in the world . And that makes investing in the catering and hospitality industry a lucrative venture.

However, in such a hot market, competition is fierce . With everyone bringing their A-game onboard, how do you make sure your restaurant business is competitive?

After all, it all boils down to which restaurant serves the best food at the best price and at the best location possible. Your creativity and resourcefulness are key to making your restaurant business stand out from the crowd as the BEST .

Whether you are just about to start your food business venture or want to improve your existing business, besides your passion , a well thought out business plan is essential for success in such a competitive industry.


Create the Perfect Ambience

Restaurant Menu Secrets

Tips to retain your customers (for good), ace your digital marketing game, keep track of your finances, keeping an eye on your supplies, hitting your green initiative goals, watching your waste.

Set the benchmark in the catering industry by taking care of the basic things that your customers effortlessly notice; quality food, presentable staff, sparkling clean washrooms, meticulous floor care, and the quality of your linen among other factors.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve put together an excellent list of great ideas that will help you when starting up and managing a sustainable restaurant business.

Let’s see exactly how you can increase your profits and potentially turn your restaurant into an integral establishment in your local community.

So, let’s get down to business…

exterior view of a restaurant

1. Find the Right Spot for Your Restaurant

For your restaurant business to succeed, you must first choose a strategic location . Be sure to look out for the following factors for an ideal restaurant establishment:

GPS map locator

“Place is usually thought of as how the end user accesses the product, including concerns over the businesses geographic location. If your business sells products directly to customers, is a service industry or you regularly entertain clients on site, then it’s clear that being in the right location is essential.” – Joel Payne of Business Relocations Ltd.

As it turns out, a good location for your business might be the most important starting factor to the success of your business. Of course, you’ll need other to meet other factors but opening your restaurant at the right spot will get you one step ahead in the right direction.

2. Plan for Furnishings and Design

Michael Shen , restaurant reviewer and food photographer of ImStillHungry shares that service and décor are important factors in your customers’ minds . While both come second to food quality, it’s these two aspects that can really seal the deal when it comes to making a memorable experience.

This is how Michael Shen rates restaurants .

fancy restaurant with deem light

Experience a different style of Japanese dining in the heart of Auckland at MASU restaurant’s clean and natural-inspired interiors .

In case you need professional help with the design and decor for your restaurant, Alexandra Morris , a Sydney-based Commercial Interior Designer, adds that it’s important to always appoint a great designer that has a portfolio of hospitality projects .

“Not only will they maximise the best use of your space, they will guide you through the procedures involved with council regulations as well as making sure the overall design meets Australian Standards and food codes.” Alexandra Morris

Fit Outs and Buying Equipment: Before you plan your kitchen and the equipment that you require to fit it out, make sure you have a design and cost analysis of your menu and the style of food you’re offering.

Peter Giannakis of said:

“I often see new business owners who were sold equipment they just didn’t end up fully utilising. The style of food will also dictate the layout and workflow when designing your kitchen.”   3. Get Instagram-Worthy Tableware and Table Linens

For a fact, customers love sharing their food on social media, thus an excellent food presentation, creative napkin and serviette foldings, and fantastic centrepieces are more likely to get posted on Instagram or Facebook.

“4 REASONS WHY INSTAGRAM WORKS – It’s easy to use – It’s affordable – other than your time, it’s free – There are no barriers to entry – You can talk directly with customers and influencers” – Nadene Hall, thisNZlife

elegant white and black themed open window restaurant with green hanging plants

Grace the table with good quality tableware, serviettes, napkins and accenting linen tablecloths to create a picture-perfect presentation of your dishes.

Aside from influencing the food tastes, nice tableware and table setting will also encourage customers to talk about you. Simply serve dishes that will excite your customers and they’ll be more than happy to share their experiences with their entire social networks.

white glass wipes with blue stripes

4. Manage your Space Constraints

Got limited restaurant space? It’s okay. Even an available seating space of under 10 is still a great way to cut costs on your fit out, and also on the long-term costs of running your restaurant.

Design your restaurant space to give it a stunning and welcoming atmosphere. Make up for the space constraints by offering a “takeaway” service . This will help you spend less on staff and reduce the need for table service and clean up.

Optimize Your Space: Observe and evaluate the areas of inefficiency in your space to identify where you need to make changes or renovations. Even small changes in your space can lead to a reduction in the number of staff members you need per shift without affecting the service speed or food quality.

restaurant kitchen floor plan

Julia Gouye of recently wrote about a concept called the “kitchen work triangle” . It combines design, functionality and efficiency, making it easier for restaurant owners to determine their kitchen layout.

Consider making your kitchen an ergonomic work area to reduce the distance and effort required for your staff to work effectively.

Put up a Service Well: This works best if you have a long bar. Having a service well on both sides will help servers get drinks easily.

Re-organize the Kitchen: Ensure that your kitchen is laid out in a way that your staff can work efficiently and even multi-task – e.g. working on the fish station and the fryer at the same time.

5. Apply the Psychology of Colours

illustration of the psychology of colours

Niccolo Borgonovo of Protech Hospitality also shares a great business plan tip on using colours in a restaurant.

Colours play an important role in generating a hospitable environment in cafés or restaurants. The colour that is rarely seen in cafes is blue and the reason behind that lies in its ability to distract one’s mind away from food. On the other hand, colours like orange, red and green stimulate the appetite and increase cravings. This is why the right colour combination will not only help you maximise hospitability but will also generate customer satisfaction.

6. Improve Your Lighting

According to Alexandra Morris of Morris Selvatico Interior Design, lighting is often overlooked by restaurant business owners – especially if they are on a budget.

Don’t make this mistake as it’s one of the most important elements when designing a restaurant/café.

“Lighting sets the overall mood and atmospheres so don’t leave it to the last minute. Remember that less is more and this is certainly true when it comes to lighting – remember to always put lights on dimmers so that you have control over lighting levels through the day and night.” – Alexandra Morris of Morris Selvatico

black and brown combo themed restaurant

7. Get Stylish and Functional Chairs and Tables

Mary Todd of Ke-zu Furniture shares her insights on the best chairs to use in a restaurant.

colourful and well designed dining area

Maintain High Standards of Safety & Hygiene – To Your Customer’s Happiness

8. power wash and prettify your exteriors.

commercial power washing details

A restaurant that looks clean outside gives customers a good impression of what’s inside. Keep the outside area of your restaurant clean as it’ll make a serious impact on passers-by.

The best way to get rid of dirt from walkways, pathways and exterior walls is to blast them clean with a power/pressure washer. Don’t forget to clean exterior doors and repaint them if they look worn out.

9. Rent your Staff and Chef Uniforms to Ensure They are Clean and Hygienic

Customers notice how your staff presents themselves. Make sure your members of staff are at all times neatly dressed in smart hygienic antibacterial chef clothing and chef aprons . Well-maintained chef uniforms, chef jackets, chef pants and even custom aprons can help improve morale, self-image, performance and customer service.

A well-maintained uniforms can help improve morale, self-image, performance and customer service.

kitchen staff wearing neat and clean uniform

10. Maintain a Regular Cleaning Schedule

Make sure you’ve got a regular cleaning schedule . Also, encourage each employee to never leave their assigned station in the kitchen dirty. For best results, you might want to consider hiring Alsco’s Food and Beverage linen service to deliver clean and hygienic restaurant linen, kitchen towels and tea towels for you every single day. We understand cleaning and will get the job done right.

According to Mark Collins – Auckland’s food service consultant from article entitled ‘Shut down food businesses that fail food safety’ – expert,

“It’s within everyone’s grasp to get an A. It’s not like getting in the top 25 restaurant list, which is really subjective. Food safety is a bloody pre-requisite for selling food and you should be able to get an A.” “It’s just good business practice to be able to guarantee that the food you serve is safe. It shouldn’t be like taking a lottery ticket as to whether it is safe or not.”   11. Steam Clean the Cooker Hood

Grease and bacteria build up on the cooker hood over time. The best way to keep it clean and hygienic is through a steam cleaning method. Keep in mind that the wires mesh underneath should be cleaned with warm, soapy water.

You can also use the same cleaning method for extractor fans that have a removable mesh.

For those extraction fans that use paper filters to soak up grease and grime, the best thing to do is to clean the mesh and replace the old filter.

Don’t forget to soak and scrub all washable items with non-abrasive brushes to avoid damaging the material.

12. Encourage Correct and Regular Hand Washing Method

Make regular hand washing a habit in your restaurant. Employees should understand 100%, the importance of keeping their hands clean and sanitised at all times.

Put up reminder posters in the kitchen on when they need to have clean hands:

white soap dispenser

Or maybe also put up reminders on how to properly wash hands, in case they forget.

13. Clean the Fridge and Freezer Regularly

When cleaning:

14. Keep Stockroom and Storage Organised

Regularly check your stockroom shelves to see if items have reached or are nearing their expiration dates, if containers are worn out, or have cracked lids, and broken labelling.

15. Clean Surfaces and Utensils

After use, all utensils and kitchen surfaces should be thoroughly cleaned. Use hot, soapy water and disposable paper towels to clean up spills. If you’ll use cloths on other surfaces, make sure they are washed using a hot cycle on a washing machine.

16. Sanitise Smaller Kitchen Items and Utensils

Consider investing in a commercial dishwasher that will help you sanitise utensils and other small kitchen items. When it comes to eliminating bacteria, high temperatures are necessary.

Polish All Stainless Steel Surfaces: Avoid damaging stainless steel exteriors by using microfiber wiper cloths when cleaning and polishing. It is best to use high-quality commercial cleaning products for a better finish.

Here’s a handy guide to cleaning stainless steel surfaces from Hospitality Design.

17. Adhere to HACCP Principles

Make sure that everyone in your restaurant is aware of the HACCP food safety management system principles and the practices in keeping and preparing food to prevent the growth and spreading of bacteria.

Not only will these practices help ensure that the food you serve is kept sanitary, they will also minimise the risk of spoilage and cross-contamination of food while in the storage, or during preparation and cooking.

white first aid kit with supplies

18. Cleaning Commercial Kitchen Floors

Grime and bacteria mostly build up on kitchen floors. That’s why you should make sure that all the kitchen floors are mopped regularly. While mopping the floors regularly, you might want to apply non-slip mats or wet area mats to prevent staff from slipping when moving about.

19. Keep Carpets, Curtains, and Linens Clean and Stain-free

Always check your carpets, curtains, anti-slip mats and restaurant linens for obvious and unsightly wear and tear .

Alsco offers managed floor mat rental services for your restaurants so you don’t get to worry about cleaning dirty kitchen mats. Mats are cleaned and maintained regularly.

From branded restaurant kitchen mats to customised welcome mats and entrance mats, ensure you make the impression you need to get results. Here are their key features:

20. Upgrade Your ‘Mat Game’

personalise floor mats for business offices and establishments

Maybe even get personalised welcome mats or entrance mats that will promote your restaurant better or one that sends a personalised message!

Check out your benefits for upgrading your mat game:

Alsco’s Anti-Fatigue mats are designed to offer your people the utmost in comfort and safety.

black anti fatigue mat on the kitchen floor

21. Consistently Clean Restrooms

Did you know that dirty bathrooms lead to lost business? And on the contrary, beautiful, fresh smelling and well-maintained washrooms positively impact a facility’s perception.

Interestingly, customers remember restaurants with clean washrooms and make a point of not forgetting those that aren’t.

You definitely would want them to remember yours as one that is up to par with hygiene standards . Wouldn’t you?

How to Achieve Your Restroom Cleanliness Goals:

– Any fixture or fitting that people touch, including on and off buttons of hand dryers, should be thoroughly cleaned with disposable disinfectant wipes to avoid further spreading the germs around.

– Also check fixtures, taps, and toilet seats for damages that may need repairs or replacement.

– Get rid of those loose toilet seats as they are considered as health hazards, fix broken door locks, brush the grout between tiles with a hard-bristle grout brush, and do something about those cracked mirrors and tiles as they can house thousands of germs too.

– Chemicals and practices are environmentally-friendly

– Cleans all surfaces thoroughly

– Removes even the most deeply-encrusted dirt and microbes

– Gets rid of mould, mildew and fungi

– Sanitises even the most awkward spots (e.g. tap corners)

person deep cleaning the toilet seat

22. Keep a Balanced Menu

Analyse each item on your menu to figure out your major food costs and how you can make cuts. Make sure your menu has a balance of both low and high-cost items . Adjust these to meet food cost targets. As much as possible, avoid high food cost items on slow months.

Here are some tips from HowCast on how to design a menu

How to Trim Down Your Menu

Make sure that you are portioning everything in your meals at the proper weight . This makes sure you are ordering the right quantities , keeping costs down, and reduces the need to raise prices and potentially turn your business into a really profitable one .

23. Make a Delicious Menu Design

Your menu is an express reflection of your restaurant . It’s fonts, colours and layout should match your restaurant’s concept, location, and theme.

Always mention the major ingredients in each dish. If they fit, use ethnic names as they add an authentic flair to the menu description.

menu tips message poster

iChef ’s Kirsty and Matthew Krueger also shares the following ideas when designing a menu:

Another great tip for your restaurant business plan from Murray Wright of is to make sure your menus can be read and understood .

With in-house printing, we can squeeze a lot on an A4 paper – but in the evening with lights low, and the more mature customer having forgotten their reading glasses, (or not wanting to show they need them) things get hard. Make sure the typeface is big enough. With descriptions, be careful of technical terms – if people don’t understand, they won’t ask and just order the steak or schnitzel. Ask yourself why the term is needed – is it to genuinely inform the customer or make myself feel good?   24. Position your Menu Items Smartly

Smart positioning items on your menu can persuade your customer to buy more .

Murray Wright and Associates shares that people tend to remember the first and last items more easily when they read a list .

So make sure to put the dishes you want to sell the most (highest $ margin) first and last on the lists.

Here are tips and tricks for making the most of your restaurant menu by Buzztime Business .

25. Offer a Variety of Healthy Food Options

An emerging important factor, when it comes to a customers’ restaurant choice, is the availability of healthy food . Therefore, purpose to have a variety of healthy menu options.

Offering meals with whole grains, vegetables, and fresh seafood on your menu is a great way to impress your customers with your varied range of dishes.

You don’t necessarily have to remove items from your menu. However, you may want to consider adding low-fat, low-carb, low-calorie options such as lean meats, poultry and fish. Smaller meal portions at lower prices are also a great way to cut the calories and the costs for your clients.

special and salads menu

Vanessa Cullen of Forward Thinking Design has some great insights to share on healthy food offerings:

“Wholefoods plant-based clean eating is in and here to stay, even with non-vegan or non-vegetarian consumers who are just seeking lighter, healthier and/or more sophisticated meals. Leading futurists forecast this as the top trend in the immediate and foreseeable future of food and it is being embraced by both the best chefs globally and small start-up ‘fast’ food companies popping up ahead of the curve.”

Vanessa also shared a few examples of healthy dishes :

father's day drinks promotion ads

Having more options like these will add variety to your menu and appeal to a wider array of customers .

26. Create Meaningful Menus on Special Occasions

You can put together a unique menu for special events, holidays or occasions.

This will allow you to keep control on your costs, inventory and also expand your meal selection.

27. Rate Your Sold Dishes

Another great idea from iChef is to rate each of your dishes and keep a tally.

This will give you the pros and cons of their suitability for the menu.

28. Offer FREE and Fast Wi-Fi Connection

Lately, diners hardly dine without engaging with their smartphones, tablets, or computers . Providing them with free Wi-Fi will help them conveniently use their gadgets while they eat – especially those who are waiting for important work-related emails and notifications.

And as a business, you’ll also benefit. Here is how:

Woman in a cafe smiling while holding her mobile phone

29. Master the Art of Quick Service

Nothing irks customers more than slow service . Make sure your staff provides not only a personalised service but also quick and quality services.

Improving operational efficiency in every part of your business. You cannot be price competitive and profitable without developing world-class operational efficiency …even in a small business. – Donald Cooper   30. Go the Extra Mile for Single Diners

Make sure single diners don’t feel uncomfortable dining alone at your restaurant. It doesn’t cost much to try and give single diners a little more TLC .

Be particularly welcoming to such customers. Also, avoid asking them if they’re waiting for someone else and never act surprised that they aren’t. This can make solo diners uncomfortable.

Japanese woman dining in front of a stuffed animal

A good way to make them feel a little more welcome and special is by adding small thoughtful extras. For example:

31. Be Aware Of Your Business Score

Frequently check sites such as TripAdvisor or The Fork. These and other similar sites are where both satisfied and unsatisfied customers leave their feedback on restaurants they’ve previously dined in.

Being aware of your business score on these sites will help you determine whether your prices match the quality of service you’re offering .

group of people lifting their wine glass

Check the “ Value for money ” section. It’s where restaurants generally get good scores.

If you have a bad score, then it means customers have not been completely satisfied with their dining experience and may even feel like they have been ripped off .

This is a sign that you might need to adjust your prices.

My scoring system is really tailored to what I value in a restaurant. Some may value the food even more, or the service, or some other intangible aspect. Scores are in the end just numbers, and shouldn’t be too heavily-relied upon. In the end, it’s really a way to help me categorise and rank the many places I visit. I think any consumer should reasonably expect at a first – good food, followed by service. Any interesting ambience/décor aspect is tertiary and should not outweigh what matters most. In other words, a fancy fitout won’t save a restaurant serving mediocre food or providing subpar service. – Michael Shen, the restaurant reviewer of   32. Do a Satisfaction Survey

survey form of Crocodile Rock Cafe

It’s important to understand your restaurant’s weaknesses . Don’t worry; every restaurant – at one point or another – experiences these.

That’s why conducting customer satisfaction surveys help. You will learn what your customers focus on most .

Wondering what questions to include in your survey? Check out this guide.

Once you understand these concerns, you’ll know exactly where and when to improve . Here are more ways you’ll benefit from conducting customer surveys:

Fazolis guest experience survey form

You can send a satisfaction survey to customers via email after they leave the restaurant – or, perhaps send them out through your monthly email campaigns .

33. Inquire About Your Customers Dining Experience

Another way you can get feedback from your customers is by asking them directly about their dining experience . You can do this through a natural and non-commercial conversation .

You can also give away cards or flyers with a list of websites that they can leave their reviews of your restaurant.

screenshot of fine dining restaurants in different places

Online reviews are a critical factor for your customers. If your restaurant has a lot of good reviews, then you have a greater chance to attract new customers – customers who may not have even heard of you before.

Check your customers’ reviews on a daily basis on the internet, Facebook, social networking accounts and more so on specialised sites.

Stay active on these listing websites and keep building a good online reputation. Respond to negative reviews constructively and encourage positive reviews. Show them that their feedback matters to you, and they’re far more likely to trust and respect your business.

34. Create a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

how to create a restaurant business plan

Shared by Eric Cacciatore of Restaurant Unstoppable, come up with a unique selling proposition or what Seth Godin calls a “Purple Cow”. Something that is truly unique and special that you have to offer your local community.

The best brands create USPs that are intangible; things like relatable core values , missions and visions. Appeal to the consumer’s mind and heart. Ask, “How will this make the guest feel?” or “how will the customer think they are being perceived by society when they align themselves with your restaurant’s brand?”

35. Stand Out from the ‘Crowd’

When consumers choose one restaurant over another, it’s usually because that restaurant has something unique to offer . Be the restaurant that consumers are going to choose every time:

A unique offering, a lot of hype build-up (I’m a sucker for following trends), or restaurants whose cuisines are aligned with my preferences (e.g. Japanese) – Michael Shen of

the cat lounge facebook page

Make sure that guests leave the restaurant with a memorable dining experience. This will not only keep them coming back but will also give you a competitive edge over your rivals.

Get to know your competitors and look at their approaches. This way, you’ll discover exactly how to learn from them and, more importantly, differentiate yourself as a business.

Another great tip on standing out from Murray Wright is to come up with a signature item. It can be a dish, drink, décor, service approach, uniforms or a combination of all of these things.

Be famous for one thing that gets people so excited that they talk about it to their friends and recommend you or if they see it being served in the restaurant they want to order it. (If a dish makes it a high dollar contribution item!)

36. Maximize Internet Use (to Your Advantage)

Today, people turn to the Internet for nearly everything – including looking for great eating spots. Taking advantage of that is near-essential for your restaurant business.

So, now’s the right time to make the most of all that the Internet has to offer.

37. Create Your Restaurant’s Website

Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How would you find a good restaurant online? ‘Google it’ has become synonymous with finding, well, nearly anything. If you don’t have a website, you are guaranteed to miss out on a large number of potential customers.

Set up a website for your restaurant to help you convince customers to visit .

list of restaurant website important details

Clueless on how or where to start in building your restaurant’s website? Here’s a simple guide to learning what important things your customers need to see on your website.

There are many free website templates available on the Internet that are tailored for restaurants. You can also get a virtual assistant to create for you a customised website.

38. Spruce up Your Mobile Image

Millennials are an influential customer demographic . Technology is a constant part of their lives. When it comes to something as simple as where to eat, the information millennials find online will greatly influence their choice. Be it Facebook , Twitter , or Instagram , have a presence on the platforms they visit .

39. Work with Influencers

Work with “ Influencers ” such as bloggers, Instagrammers, and Youtubers. Those with large followings on social media can serve as a great channel to reach your target customers . Come up with creative ways to get these “digital celebrities” to talk about you and your business on their social media channels.

Kochie’s Business Builders tips to keep in mind when working with influencers to get customers are:

40. Be On Social Media Networks

Restaurant businesses can’t afford to skip being on social media . Period.

Make sure that you engage with your customers and staff. You can share your staff’s photos at work, your special dishes, or any important event happening in your restaurant. Focus on appealing content that adds value.

On your behalf, social media agencies can take care of engaging with your customers on your social media platforms. However, there’s a risk of losing authenticity in case customers find out they’ve been talking to strangers all along rather than the business owners.

Here are a few helpful things to consider when joining social media:

young woman checking her mobile phone

41. Create an Email Marketing Campaign

Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools you can use to attract and retain customers. The quicker you become established, the better – your competitors as well, are picking up and applying the same email marketing techniques.

Here are the basic things you need to run an ideal email marketing campaign for your restaurant:

restaurant GPS map

42. Start a Food/Recipe Blog

Blogging about your restaurant is a great way to spread the word and attract more customers.

There are loads of ideas for blog posts. Recipes, events or stories about how you started, your staff, or behind the scenes in your restaurant are great starting points.

You can mix it up however you like. Give your blog an authentic voice that matches your brand personality and it’ll do wonders for marketing your business.

If you are too busy, with hardly any time to spare (which is very likely) consider enlisting a certified copywriter to handle your blog section so that you can attend to other business matters.

43. Promote Your Business on Facebook

According to Carlos, Facebook is a great tool for highly targeted marketing. You can define your offer with variables such as age group, area, behaviour, and time that people are online.

Dennys Restaurants New Zealand Facebook page

Particularly powerful is the fact that Facebook allows you to segment your marketing and open areas of your business up to other customers without damaging your core business.

The founder of, James Eling reminds us that:

“Remember, Facebook marketing for restaurants is not about how many Likes you have, it is about having the right objectives , and that is usually finding more new customers and turning them into repeat customers .”   44. Organise Food and Lifestyle Blogger Events

Bloggers – potentially those with large online followings – can help you create a buzz about your business .

Got a new menu? Set up a menu launch and have food and lifestyle bloggers over to try your new offerings.

New Zealand food bloggers association Facebook page

Aside from coming and experiencing your new menu, these bloggers would write about the whole experience on their blogs, share photos of the place and food on their Instagrams, or even tweet about your restaurant and your new menu.

screenshot of a twitter post

The goal is to stay in your customers’ minds .

Come up with creative ways to get customers to give their email addresses (like having a birthday club or setting up a blog)

You can use this email list to update customers on your latest menu additions, promos, blog posts, upcoming events, holiday specials, and a whole lot more.

46. Grow Your Audience – The SEO Way

Carlos Swinton-Lee of Bar & Restaurant Consultants shared that using SEO and digital marketing are still the most effective ways of growing your audience.

Claiming your Google places page early and keeping your site updated with fresh, relevant content will always help you rise to the top. Responding to and encouraging reviews from Zomato, Tripadvisor and other 3rd-party platforms will also keep you more current in the e-world of food. Likewise, using SEO tools on your website to target local searches will help you gain exposure on Google.

“Converting your audience to paying customers is a little trickier and cannot be done with marketing alone, reputation will always spread far and wide so concentrating on a quality experience with great service and a fantastic product is paramount.” – Carlos Swinton-Lee   47. Facilitate Online Orders and Bookings

Customers who are too busy to go out prefer ordering online .

“The Free Restaurant Online Ordering system is completely free for restaurants to use. We have taken thousands of orders and most importantly saved Restaurants thousands of dollars in commission.” – James Eling, founder of

Add a booking button to your website so that visitors can easily make reservations in just a few clicks. Unless you are open 24/7, then it’s best that you have an online booking system .

dine for free on your birthday ads

Having an online booking system will make everything easy , practical , and fast for your customers. Give them that kind of convenience and they’re definitely going to remember you.

48. Get Listed on Popular Food Guides

It’ll make it easier for your customers to find you, especially those who haven’t heard of you before.

Reference guides such as TheFork or TripAdvisor are just some of the websites customers run to when they need to find a good restaurant.

different image of delicious foods on a plate

Here, they can search by location, price range, type of food, and the service offered. The key here is exposure .

49. Update Your Free and Paid Directory Listings

Aside from social media, don’t forget to regularly update your listings on free and paid directories regularly. Directory listings like Zomato (UrbanSpoon), TripAdvisor, Yelp, AGFG, TrueLocal, FourSquare, TimeOut, PartyStar, Venuetohire, VenueMob, and TheHappiestHour help people when searching for a restaurant or café, making these an easy, low-effort way to attract more customers.

keep the old employee illustration

50. Reward Your Loyal Customers

Rewards give your customers a good reason to keep coming back to your restaurant. Come up with a loyalty program installed on your Point of Sales (POS) System that will record what customers purchase so they can collect points and rewards.

If your customers know that they will get something in return for always eating at your place, they’ll not only keep coming back, they might invite their friends to visit your place, too.

In winning loyal customers, Nicole Kelly of the Restaurant & Catering Industry Association, says we can make guests feel special by remembering their birthdays (via Facebook) or their favourite dish or wine style – this will drive loyalty and repeat visitation.

A recent survey was made on 2000 businesses with different loyalty programs. 14 million visits from 1 million customers were recorded. According to the study, loyal customers (those who visited at least 10 times) only make up 20% of the total customers. However, that 20% drives a whopping 80% of the total revenue and 72% of total visits.

young boy surrounded by cheerful restaurant staff

51. Track Your Inventory and Food Costs

Keep track of food costs on a daily basis so as to know their standings each day. For instance, if you start noticing that food costs are higher by 5%, then you’ll know that you’ve had a soft month and that you’ve been selling too much of this or probably not much of the other.

It also helps to look at what menu items are not selling well, and decide if you’ll need to make adjustments on orders, dishes, and the menu to compensate for food costs.

52. Itemised Sales Report

This report tells you what your customers like. It will be very useful for your chefs and kitchen managers because it allows them to plan better daily specials and prepare only popular best-selling dishes.

This is also the best way to find out what you need to place on your menu to increase sales. Thus, directly influencing what customers want to order and how much they are going to spend.

Here’s a sample of a Restaurant Weekly Sales and Labor Report from Restaurant Resource Group.

53. Hourly Staff Labour Report

Having an hourly labour report will improve your work scheduling. Keep track of the total hours a staff has worked, the category of his/her tasks, and part of the day. Since labour is one of the biggest costs in running a restaurant, having an hourly labour report will give you an idea when you will go over the budget of hours and if a staff member will have to go over his scheduled hours and work overtime hours.

54. Go Easy on the Discounts

Giving up on discounting will have an immediate effect on your bottom line. If you always offer discounts, what’s the point of having a regular retail price?

Discounting costs you money and it gives people the impression that your normal prices are a rip-off .

Discounts will devalue your product.

special events restaurant discount ads

Think about rug retailers that are always advertising massive discount sales on TV. How often do they say, for example, “up to 80% discount on all floor stocks! Final clearance sale! The old stock has to be sold ASAP!”

Trouble is, people, become oblivious to all these sales when they become the status quo. They cease having an impact. They are no longer believable.

Rather than discounting, simply offer add-on value. You could consider something like “buy a coffee – get a free slice”, “Spend over $10 and get a free coffee”.

Freebies are far more tangible and effective than a hard-to-prove discount.

“Selling is not about price. It’s all about value”

create restaurant business partners message poster

55. Analyse – Make Or Buy?

Consider your kitchen workload and come up with a thorough make-or-buy analysis . Make a list of which items you can make from scratch and the ones you can purchase ready to use. Besides cutting costs, this move can also contribute to better food quality for your customers.

56. Order Wisely

This is the best way to control food costs. Keep an inventory with details of supplied items and quantities. Assessing your expenses to manage food costs is a key strategy to boost your bottom line. For items used in large quantities, make bulk orders.

Upon delivery, always count and weigh the delivered supplies to confirm that you are getting exactly what you paid for.

57. Be Kitchen Intelligent – Understand How and where Money Is Spent

Kirsty and Matthew Krueger of iChef share a few restaurant business plan tips on ‘kitchen intelligence’:

58. Directly Shop From Local Farms

display for different kind of vegetables and fruits

Products purchased directly from local farmers are fresher and often cheaper because there are no middle-men suppliers. Find a local farmer close to you via the

59. Negotiate with your Suppliers

Communicating with your suppliers will help you get the best deals for your business. Don’t be shy to discuss with your suppliers about reducing your costs. It’s also okay to let them know that you are getting quotes from competitors.

Building Your Own A-Team

60. keep your employees healthy.

You are more likely to lose a lot of money if you have most of your employees taking sick leave. But, you can dramatically reduce this illness cases amongst your employees.

But how? Keep your staff healthy by ensuring that they work in a clean and germ-free environment .

Also, keep your commercial kitchen clean and sanitized at all times with the Alsco clean and hygienic tea towels, kitchen towels and other linen .

different colour and design of Alsco tea towels

Moreover, have your staff wear properly cleaned catering workwear and make sure they know how to determine proper fit. Provide them with sufficient hand sanitizers in the washrooms and kitchen to help keep their hands germ-free before and after handling food.

Innovative Strategies for your washroom

61. Lead by Example

Frankly, actions speak louder than words, anywhere, anytime. As the leader of your business, you’d definitely want to lead by example. To set the right precedents.

Here are some useful points to help you lead better by example:

“Keep in mind that nothing and no one is below you. As their leader, you wouldn’t ask them to do something you wouldn’t do. The standard you walk past is the standard you set “– Matt Gimpel   62. Manage Unwell Employees

You can’t force sick employees to work. You’d be risking their health and your business. In case a member of your staff is showing signs of sickness such as diarrhoea, vomiting, or fever, immediately send them home to get rest.

Never attempt to assign them to tasks that involve being in direct contact with food . Remind your employees that it’s essential to report to management whenever they feel sick.

63. Hand Pick Loyal Employees

When hiring, look for candidates who have loyal work histories. Loyal employees are more likely to stick around longer. It will be worth investing time and money on then they are less likely to leave prematurely.

“Many marketers view employee relations as a job solely for human resources—they see employees as tools. But employees—happy, rewarded employees—can work wonders for the company’s marketing efforts. There is no better spokesperson for a company, product, and brand than someone who is happy with his job and respected by his employer and peers. A happy employee will in turn, make customers happy. [Source: TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE (Kaplan, 2006) Website Source: Brand Autopsy

how to create a restaurant business plan

64. Go for Experienced Candidates

Donald Cooper , an international management speaker and business coach says:

“Not hiring the right people carries a huge cost in missed opportunity, wasted training costs, inefficiency, destroyed morale, frustration and wasted time. And getting rid of ‘bad hires’ is costly and disruptive.”

Consider a candidate’s work experience when hiring. Experienced employees will need less training . The time that could have been spent on training an inexperienced new employee can be better spent by focusing on guests and other important concerns.

65. Focus on Training and Development

The key to a successful business is to surround yourself and work with brilliant and talented people.

Any under-performing employee, new or a veteran will cost you time and money. And the best solution is to improve these employees’ skills through training.

“Give them the training, resources and encouragement to do their job well and then empower them to do it. When we don’t train our staff properly, we’re telling them that how they perform isn’t important. And, if we don’t think it’s important, why should they? “ – Donald Cooper

Ben Carroll of Applejack Hospitality also shares that while recruitment strategies are important, it is working on culture, training, and development that guarantees staff retention, and staff retention means less time and money spent on recruitment .

“On the training side of things we run a group internal cocktail competition, the 6 finalist battle it out at an event held at one of our venues with great prizes up for grabs (Trips to Melbourne, Booze etc). The cocktail bartenders work with the group’s bars manager (Lachlan Sturrock) to help create the perfectly balanced drink whilst also having to name it and price it to ensure it has the correct GP. We run these comps quarterly and have invite down industry celebrity to assist with the judging. The benefits of this competition are fantastic . So good, in fact, that we are looking at starting up something similar for our chefs, like a ‘mystery box’ competition. From the roots up there are training and development strategies in place for every position in our company.”

Business Consultant Dean Dalton of DaltonPlan shares a flow chart that they’ve been using to effectively get staff to follow instructions and perform tasks the best way possible.

66. Involve Your Staff in Your Green Initiatives

Making your business eco-friendly and achieving your green initiatives requires teamwork. An excellent approach is to promote to your staff, efficient business methods proven to preserve the environment.

According to Amy Hamilton Chadwick of Westpac,

Westpac NZ Facebook page

“A greener, more sustainable business isn’t just a nice idea, it’s a win-win-win: people, profits and the planet. What was once seen as a premium positioning tool is becoming an expectation among consumers – unsustainable practices can seriously tarnish your brand.”

For a start, have all your staff involved by:

Get inspiration on how your restaurants can ‘go green’ from Concrete Playground’s list of sustainable restaurants and bars .

unique garden themed bar

67. Switch to ‘Energy Efficient’ Everything

Energy efficient appliances may cost you more but they definitely consume less . In just a year or two, the appliance pays for itself through all the energy savings.

Paul Kuck of shares that:

It’s great to purchase Energy Star rated equipment that will reduce the long-term cost of your restaurant. Items like refrigeration, ice machines and ovens can be found for the same up-front cost as standard efficiency units.

Let’s have a look at an example:

Switching to Energy Efficient Lighting: When you make the big switch to energy efficient lighting options in your restaurant, you can save up to $22 per bulb per year . Plus, this wise move will drastically reduce your electricity bills.

photo of different types of energy efficient light bulbs

EECA’s energy efficient light bulbs tool will help you estimate how much money you could save by changing to energy efficient light bulbs.

68. Don’t Need Lights Yet? Keep Them Off

Keeping lights off when not in use is a great energy saving habit. You may also incorporate intelligent lighting options that automatically turn lights off when an area is naturally well illuminated and doesn’t need artificial lighting.

69. Use Water Sparingly

drop of water

Another great green initiative is to avoid water wastage . You’ll not only save water but will also cut your bill costs. Encourage simple habit changes such as:

All these can help you cut down on water, soap and energy costs – saving your business money.

illustration of Chatters cafe and Restaurant case study

70. Rid Of Plastics

Sea Shepherd Sydney help the environment Facebook post

It is high time to stop using plastic materials in restaurants. The good news is that many restaurants are doing the same – and for a good reason. This ‘green’ move not only saves the environment, but it also helps restaurants save big on garbage expenses .

Paul Kuck of shares a great way to use silverware instead of plastic :

“Actually something I used to do with our local Alsco services is collect the silverware that gets into the bags of dirty linens and sorted out at your laundry sites. We would pull out our silverware, and then use the rest on festivals where we had a booth so we used reusable silverware rather than plastic. I’ve also sent several people to Alsco and linen services when they’ve wanted to get reusable silverware at their schools. Donating silverware to schools, soup kitchens or the like would be an awesome program for you to start company-wide. Over the years we collected buckets and buckets – many hundreds of pounds of silverware from one single site. Before we collected it, the silverware was kept a while, then thrown out because none of the restaurants came to sort through and collect theirs.”

illustration of the total number of plastic wastes in the ocean

71. Conduct Regular Energy Audits

Do regular checks on all electrical appliances, including those that use gas or other fuel. An energy audit will clearly point out areas where you are spending overspending . That report will then enable you to make necessary adjustments to lower your overall expenses.

72. Wood-Burning Stove, Maybe?

You’ll be spending a sizeable amount of your energy bill on heating during the colder season. Going for a wood-burning stove might just work wonders for your business. They are cost-efficient; they will give your restaurant a cosy look and feel that customers will love.

73. Switch to Glassware

Instead of using disposable plates, cups, and utensils, why don’t you consider investing in glass kitchenware and serve ware? It lasts longer, makes a better impression, and helps preserve the environment.

fancy restaurant bar

74. Invest in an Efficient HVAC System

Make a smart investment by getting an efficient heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system. Thanks to its efficiency, it will consume less energy to heat or cool down a room. And as a result, you’ll save on your operational budget, and you wouldn’t have to disappoint customers by not being able to cool the room due to energy budgets.

Here’s a video from with different energy saving HVAC solutions that you can consider for your restaurants.

75. Turn Down the Thermostat

During the colder months, turning your thermostat down by a degree or two can make a big difference on your energy costs. If going from 72 to 70 degrees is still comfortable, then why not turn down the thermostat?

You can also control the heating with a thermostat timer that will warm the place up just in time for opening, and cool down on closing time.

76. Upgrade Your Refrigerator

Newer refrigerator models use less energy compared to older models. So, a fridge upgrade could easily save you money in the long run.

Knowing how to maintain your commercial refrigerators will keep them running efficiently both now – and in the years to come. Thus, saving you unnecessary repair costs and downtime.

illustration table of how much it cost to run a fridge

77. Just Cool Drinks, Not Frozen

Your restaurant kitchen will evidently need refrigerators to keep food and beverages cool. Use your fridge efficiently by just keeping the drinks cool. They don’t really need to be frozen .

78. Manage Kitchen Waste and Spoilage

Too much waste in the kitchen means higher food costs. That’s why it’s important to always remind your employees of the common practices that prevent food waste:

What can we do about food waste? Fresh facts for restaurant, catering and hospitality staff.

Train and monitor your kitchen staff. Pay attention to what is in the kitchen trash cans to know what’s being wasted. This will help you keep your food costs under control.

79. Be Creative with the Scraps

Educate your employees on the importance of not wasting food and encourage them to use as much of each ingredient as possible. There are also lots of great ways to use up food scraps.

food waste discussion

Start Making Smart Moves

Now you are ready to come up with a strong business plan for your restaurant . With these carefully picked tips and ideas, making your restaurant’s business plan shouldn’t feel like a burden anymore!

Remember with creativity , resourcefulness , and being wise with every decision you make, you’ll be set to create a great business plan for your restaurant. And ultimately turn your restaurant into an integral establishment in your local community .

One wise way of doing things smarter is to save time and money by partnering with Alsco for their restaurant linen , uniform , floor care , first aid and hygiene supplies . Trusted by thousands of New Zealand businesses, you can’t go wrong with Alsco’s expert services.

Get in touch with Alsco today for their carefully honed rental services that are efficient, timely and cost-effective – no matter what. It couldn’t be easier.

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how to create a restaurant business plan

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Here at Alsco, we offer practical, cost-effective rental services to businesses like yours. We believe you shouldn’t have to worry about coordinating dozens of different services, which is why we offer rentals from commercial linen to washroom hygiene and everything in between.

Get a quote from us today and find out how quick, easy, and economical it is to service your business with Alsco.

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Businesses » Getting Started in San José

Phase 1: Begin your start-up or expansion in San José

How to effectively use the “open or expand your restaurant” flowchart.

Review the “ open or expand your restaurant ” flowchart before meeting with your City of San José business coach. Use the flowchart to learn more about starting, growing or sustaining your San José restaurant. Being informed and prepared with questions will help you save time.

Where to find out more? 

To review the steps and the resources common to all business, click on the links below:

How to reach your coach?

If you are starting or expanding a manufacturing company or an auto repair business in San José, you will want to contact your City of San José business coach . Your coach can guide you through the business process steps specific to your industry.

Visit “ At a Glance ” an overview of the three phases of opening or expanding your business in San José.

Where to find out more?

Your retail establishment

If you are starting or expanding a specialty business in the City of San José, you will want to contact your City of San José business coach . Specialty businesses include tattoo artistry, health and beauty, and other specialty establishments. Your coach can guide you through the business process steps specific to your industry.

Visit “ At a Glance ” an overview of the three phases of  opening or expanding your business in San José.

Continue to Phase 2 >>

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how to create a restaurant business plan


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  21. Phase 1: Begin your start-up or expansion in San José

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    This is an excellent business opportunity to run as Pizza restaurant business OR Can also be convert to a Beer bar & Grill or any any other ethnic fast food... $198,000. Business for Sale - Ice Cream Shop in Eastridge Mall. San Jose, CA. Ice cream/dessert store for sale In San Jose CA, in the desired area in Eastridge mall. Shop located in ...

  23. PDF Commercial Plan Requirements Tenant Improvements

    Specific plan requirements will depend largely upon the extent, nature and complexity of the work to be done. Some items listed below may not be required for your specific project. BE SURE TO INCLUDE ALL OF THE PERTINENT INFORMATION AND DRAWINGS. 1. PLAN REQUIREMENTS: Plan Size: Prepare plans on paper that is at least 22 inches x 17 inches in size.