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Here’s how to start a restaurant-business plan

If you’re planning to start a restaurant, you must be wise and write out a business plan. It’s one of the most crucial actions you can take to help get your business idea solidified and launched. Just a few reasons for a restaurant business plan’s importance are the following:

  • It can act as a reference document, which you can look back upon when opening your restaurant and when challenges arise.
  • It helps prove to others that you plan on being a serious player in your space.
  • It’s one of the first documents that investors will want to see, and thus, is vital if you are planning to raise financing.

Now, you may not know how to start a restaurant business plan. That’s okay. Most entrepreneurs are a bit leery about writing one, regardless of the industry they’re in. However, putting one together isn’t as hard as you may think. Below, we’ll talk about how to start a restaurant business plan and the major elements to include.

Young professionals talk about business plan

Why do you need to have a restaurant business plan?

Well, there are some obvious benefits to having a restaurant business plan, such as those we listed above. With that said, here are other reasons to consider.

First, your business plan acts as an outline that plots the development and progression of your business from the concept stage up to (typically) three years down the road. It makes your plans clear to any potential partners and provides you with a roadmap and milestones for which to aim.

A restaurant business plan takes thought and effort to create. It’s not something you should sit down and slap on a piece of paper overnight. If you rush it and do a shoddy job, what’s to say you won’t rush through the creation of your entire business? Nobody wants to put money into a half-baked idea or a company that may not have a solid financial beginning (or prospects).

What should you include in your restaurant business plan?

If you’ve never taken a look at a working business plan, you should make an effort. You can see a sample restaurant business plan over at Now, don’t make the mistake of copying everything you see. However, the broad outline can be used as a template to customize your own business plan document.

The Overall Concept

Most articles will start off talking about the Executive Summary. Every business plan has one, and it’s the first section of the document. However, it’s also the last section you should actually write. You can’t have a summary without something to summarize. Therefore, in this article, we’re skipping on down to discussing your concept first.

In this section, you have the chance to get everyone who reads your business plan excited about what you have in mind. In fact, the entire purpose of the section is to get them so excited that people like investors and potential partners (maybe even opening staff) want to sign on to or finance your business project. You want them to go on your adventure with you, and this is your chance to sell them on the voyage.

Part of the pitch is explaining precisely what kind of restaurant you plan to open. For example, are you planning on an American family diner or an Italian bistro? Include your mission statement here and explain what systems and technology will help your company be successful. If you’re considering a range of options, be honest about that.

Remember that images are worth a thousand words. Plus, they help to break up text-heavy sections. Include relevant images if possible to help fire the reader’s imagination.

Provide a sample menu

Speaking of firing up the reader’s imagination, you should include a sample menu in your restaurant business plan. You should highlight both drink and food options. Obviously, food is what you’re selling, so don’t skimp on this section. People want to know what you’re selling, why it’s amazing and delicious, and at what price point you plan to offer your dishes.

Try to make the sample menu as close to the real thing as you can get, if at all possible. Ensure that the design is attractive. Hire a graphic designer and get some help. No rule says you must craft every element of your business plan alone.

Busy waitress in restaurant

Highlight your team and more

In the end, there’s a lot that needs to be included in your restaurant business plan. In this article’s limited space, we can’t go into depth on it all. However, here’s a list of other things you would be wise to include:

  • Highlight your team (outline how many people you plan to hire and detail any management staff and partners you may have).
  • Talk about your target customers (do your due diligence and include results of any market research you’ve conducted).
  • Lay out your financials (spend some extra time on this section and make sure your numbers are accurate and make sense. Remember that money people will want to know where, how, and why money is being spent).

Finally, recall that no matter what type of restaurant you plan to open, a business plan is your map to get there. Take the time to properly write one. You’ll be glad you did.

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