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Restaurant Business Plan: What To Include, Plus 5 Examples

Busy bar area of a restaurant

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.

What Is A Restaurant Business Plan?

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.

Why Is A Restaurant Business Plan Important?

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.

What To Include In An Effective Restaurant Business Plan

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.

Example

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) Market Analysis

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

  • The industry as a whole
  • The competition your restaurant will face
  • The marketing you’ll execute to bring in customers

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

Example

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:

  • High-end singles
  • Families
  • Businessmen and businesswomen
  • Couples
  • Tourists

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

3) 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.

Example

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.

4) 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.

Example

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

  1. Word-of-mouth/in-restaurant marketing
  2. Partnering with other local businesses
  3. Media exposure

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.

5) 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.

Example

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

  • Renovations to leased space
  • Dining room furniture
  • Kitchen and food-prep equipment
  • Liquor license
  • Supplies
  • Legal fees
  • Marketing
  • Staff

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.

Efficient Workforce Management Is Essential For Success

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 GetSling.com today.

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