The most compelling reasons to prepare a restaurant business plan are to:

  • Apply for investment funds
  • Gather partners to share the costs and liabilities for your business

To accomplish these goals, you’ll need a persuasive business plan. Investors are in the business of risk, by nature. But, the lower the risk they detect, the better. So, the goal in a persuasive restaurant business plan is to demonstrate that your restaurant idea and circumstances are less risky than those of other applicants.

Clear, well-thought out, researched plans demonstrate lowered risk. Investors will want a clear picture of your restaurant business potential, revenue forecasts, and your strategy for capturing that revenue.

Also remember that investors are busy. This means that the explanations in your business plan need to be brief, not emotional, and fact-based. Concentrate on highlighting the potential of your restaurant, proving the potential with figures from your research, and showing your competence in carrying out a strategy to make it happen.

Five Sections of Your Restaurant Business Plan

There are five vital sections in a persuasive restaurant business plan. Each section builds what’s called, in the marketing world, your “story.” Your story starts with a summary of the whole restaurant business plan, introduces your company, gives a clear picture of the restaurant market in your area, highlights your potential in it, and details your goals and plans to succeed.

These are the five sections of your business plan:

  • Executive Summary: This section gives a summary of the overall goals, objectives, projections, and strategies for your restaurant. A busy investor should be able to see your idea from several angles in just a couple of minutes.
  • Company Description: This section includes information about your restaurant as a company, such as ownership, where you plan to get funding, and the location.
  • Market Analysis and Revenue Potential: This section should provide information about the business market potential for your restaurant. In this section, you’ll use the due diligence information you researched when finding a location, as well as your pricing model, to come up with revenue forecasts.
  • Goals and Objectives: In this section, you’ll describe your 6-month, 1-year, and 2-year goals, based on the information in the Market Analysis section.
  • Strategy and Implementation: This section gives the strategy and implementation plans for reaching your goals and objectives.

Your Plan's Executive Summary

Think of your restaurant business plan like a book in the book store. How do you pick just one from dozens of potentials? You probably read the summary, or the teaser, on the back, first, right? You also likely read several summaries until you find one that interests you.

It’s the same way with investors. Many investors review dozens, even hundreds, of business plans a week, trying to determine where to invest their scarce dollars. And your restaurant business plan’s Executive Summary is just like the little summary on the back of a book. This is the part they’ll look at first to decide if your proposal is interesting to them and to decide if they want to investigate further and read the rest of your plan.

Your Executive Summary should provide, in around one page, a summary of your restaurant’s entire business plan. It’s the mini “story.” Tell your idea, give highlights of the market potential for your restaurant, and then summarize how you’re going to carry it out.

As you tell your mini-story, make references to specific sections in the business plan that back up the claims you make.

Above all, use your Executive Summary section to clearly show a realistic profit potential for your restaurant.

Here are the sections to include in your restaurant business plan’s Executive Summary. Give each section a heading in your Executive Summary:

  1. Introduction
    Introduce your restaurant name, concept, and location. Refer to the “Company Description” section of your business plan for details.
  2. Funding
    Briefly describe the overall startup costs for your restaurant, along with the amount you are already prepared to invest and the amount you are requesting for investment. Refer to the “Company Description” section of your business plan for further details.
  3. Revenue Projections and Goals
    Give brief highlights of the types of customers for your restaurant and the overall revenue projections. Refer to the “Market Analysis” and “Goals and Objectives” sections of your business plan for details.
  4. Implementation Strategy
    Highlight your plans for reaching your business goals for your restaurant. Refer to the “Strategies and Implementation” section of your business plan for further details.

Although the Executive Summary is the first part of your restaurant business plan, I often write it after I’ve written the rest of the plan. This way, I can more easily see the highlights of each section and present them in the most appealing way.

Gathering Information and Making Projections

For your business plan to work, you really need to do your research first. You’ll need to gather and substantiate information such as the types of customers who will frequent your restaurant, the prices you can charge, and how much you can realistically forecast that you’ll make within the first six months, year, or two years.

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