Restaurant Business Plan: 8 Must-Haves To Succeed

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Article by Oddle


If you have always wanted to open your very own restaurant or food & beverage business, you first need write a business plan. Not sure how? Don’t worry, we’ve got your back! From Market Analysis to Financials, we have consolidated a list of 8 must-haves to include when creating your restaurant business plan. Learn more about what the outline of your restaurant business plan should be in this article.

A restaurant business plan is crucial for the execution of your business. Firstly, it evaluates the feasibility of your restaurant business and gives you an outline of your business objectives. It serves as a reference tool for everyone in your organisation and a clear roadmap throughout your business operations. Most importantly, it is your golden ticket to financing. Potential investors will go through your business plan to assess the profitability of your restaurant and determine whether they’d want to invest in your business.

1. Executive Summary

Think of this as a general introduction to your restaurant. You want to give your potential investor an idea of what your business is about. The executive summary would be the first thing your investor reads – do remember to keep it interesting and informative. The executive summary should include an overview of all the components of your restaurant business plan. As such, it should be written last after the rest of your business plan is in place.

Check out The Balance’s article to get some useful tips for writing an executive summary here: How to Write the Executive Summary for a Business Plan.

2. Business Description

In this section, you should tell your readers your restaurant name and the concept of your restaurant. Here is where you showcase your restaurant menu and where your restaurant is going to be. Make your menu as realistic and appealing as possible as it could make or break your restaurant’s success! Here, you should research on tips for creating a restaurant menu to convince your readers too. The business description should also include your target market and how your location satisfies your target market by displaying some population demographics of your chosen site. Then, reiterate how your restaurant concept will attract your target customers.

3. Market Analysis

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Explore the F&B and restaurant industry statistics and give a S.W.O.T (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities & threats) assessment of your restaurant’s position in the industry. Research on any consumer trends and statistics that could be relevant to your business and present how you will be incorporating these findings into your restaurant business. For example, in recent years, the F&B industry saw The Rise of Online Food Ordering as more consumers are exploring online ordering and food delivery options while dining in the comfort of their homes. Thus, you should consider how you can hop on the online food ordering bandwagon and cater to your customers’ needs.

Subsequently, you need to discuss the local competition (direct and indirect) your restaurant will face. Research as much as you can about your competitors – their business concept, menu, pricing and operations. Think of how you can overcome them so that your customers will choose to dine at your restaurant and not at theirs.

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4. Marketing Plan

Marketing is the heart of any business’ success, including your restaurant. I know, we have said this countless of times in our articles, but it’s true. Without restaurant marketing, no matter how nice your food taste, how great your customer service is, or how smooth your restaurant operations are, your restaurant is unable to attract customers if you do not promote it. Come up with a detailed marketing plan that is in line with your restaurant branding and include effective restaurant promotion ideas. Your restaurant marketing strategy will help you plan out how you would overcome your competitors, as determined in the previous section – Market Analysis. You must be thinking, I’m just starting out, where do I get the money to roll out my marketing efforts?! Being restaurant owners ourselves, we understand your burning concern. Hence, we have came up with 8 Restaurant Promotion Tactics That Won’t Break Your Bank to help keep your marketing costs as minimal as possible.

Still clueless about how to begin? Take a look at this infographic to get started on your marketing strategy – The Ultimate Guide To Restaurant Marketing.

5. Business Operations

Here, you have to set in place what your restaurant operating hours are going to be. Do bear in mind that your operational hours have to be in line with your target market and your restaurant concept. Also, discuss how your day-to-day operations will be like, from SOPs in the kitchen to customer service at the front end.

Research on the necessary licenses your restaurant would need to open for operations. It could be a Food Shop License, Halal Certification, or even a Liquor License. In addition, map out where your food supply will be coming from and the vendors you will be working with. You should also discuss the complementary products you may need for your restaurant operations. Some possible tools you may need would be a POS System or iPads for customer orders. If you are planning to do food deliveries, you might also want to consider an online ordering system.

Remember, with so many components to your restaurant operations, you may overlook certain areas that may severely cripple your business. Hence, keep in mind the ways to fail at restaurant management and be sure to avoid them.

6. Manpower Management

How many people do you need to employ for your restaurant? You have to establish who you will be hiring, what their roles would be and their respective duties. These are some things you should ponder on when it comes to manpower management. At the same time, you should also devise a staff timetable that lays out how many waiters, cooks, store managers, etc. you need for each day or shift. If you’re reluctant to come up with a timetable for each day manually, you can always research on software that can help you manage your restaurant employees and generate schedules based on their availability automatically.

restaurant business plan

7. Financials

You’ve reached the most important (and probably most daunting) part of your restaurant business plan. This is the moment where you show the investors the profitability of your restaurant. Your potential investors would be scrutinising this section more than anything else. As a rule of thumb, you should have a projected financial statement for the first 3 years of operations, a balance sheet and a cash flow statement. The break-even analysis, return on investments and profit margins should be calculated too. We would also recommend that you include a list of startup costs you would incur before your restaurant even opens for operations. This will help you prepare the funds needed to turn your dreams into reality.

Remember, as much as you’d like to convince your investors, the figures in this component has to be realistically projected.

8. Visuals

Finally, the most fun, yet often neglected, part of a restaurant business plan – visuals. You wouldn’t want to bore out your potential investors with a wordy business plan. Don’t be afraid to add visual aids to any of the sections above to illustrate your ideas better. An example of a visual could be mood boards to show the overall concept of your restaurant. A sample menu could also demonstrate the appeal and X factor your food has. Adding pictures and graphics to your marketing plan will also emphasize and enhance your brand’s visual identity.

Not only do visuals help demonstrate your points better, but they also show investors the professionalism and the efforts that you have put in for this business plan.

Are you up for the challenge?

Opening your own restaurant may sound like a distant dream to you. But if you have read up to here, you are already one step closer to your aspiration of starting a restaurant business! So what are you waiting for?

To find out more about starting a restaurant, download Oddle’s The Complete Restaurant Business Planning Checklist for everything to you need to launch a winning restaurant business plan.