The catering business plan is a crucial first step in turning a restaurant idea into a real business. Without it, investors and lenders will have no way of knowing if the business is feasible or when the restaurant becomes profitable. Business plans span tens (if not hundreds) of pages, and due to the challenges inherent in the document and the work required to write it, the process of writing a business plan for a restaurant can threaten to overwhelm. What are the essential elements that make up a restaurant business plan? These 8 sections are fundamental to creating a successful business plan to present to investors and lenders.
The 8 essential sections to include in a restaurant business plan
The summary section provides a 1-2 page overview of the restaurant and its business model. While the details of the restaurant’s success will be explained throughout the business plan, this section will both prove the legitimacy of the restaurant idea while encouraging investors to enthusiastically read the rest of the plan. Some specific topics that might be covered in the executive summary include:
- The name of the restaurant, the type of service and the menu overview.
- A brief mention of why the restaurant leader is positioned to help them succeed.
- A brief overview of the restaurant’s competitive advantages and how they will help the business thrive in its target market.
- Expected breakeven point and sales forecasts for at least the first year.
2. Management team
This section introduces readers to the team that will run the restaurant. Some people who might be worth including here are the restaurant owner (s), other investors, franchise representatives, managers and / or business leaders. Operators can include portraits of the management team to improve the quality of the business plan and put faces to names.
3. Overview of the catering business
This section introduces the reader to the concept of the restaurant. This should paint a picture of what potential customers can expect when they walk through the door, drive to the drive-thru, or place an order on the restaurant’s website.
What is the restaurant’s mission? This section should sum up the purpose of the restaurant’s existence in one or two catchy sentences.
Menu & Cuisine
This section explains what type of food will be sold at the restaurant, from general cuisine type to a few sample dishes.
Does the restaurant offer full service, quick service, drive-thru only, or a combination of these concepts? It should be explained why this concept was chosen and – if unique – how the guest ordering process will work.
4. Industry and market analysis
This section compiles the research that has been done on the industry, the location the restaurant will occupy and those the restaurant will serve. The more detail provided in this section, the more valid the conclusions drawn in the financial section will appear.
The Industry Snapshot serves as a snapshot of the industry and explains why now is the time to open a restaurant (and pursue the chosen restaurant concept). Specific research supporting these claims should be included and cited.
This section gives an overview of the area chosen to house the restaurant. Specifically, an explanation must be given as to why the general area (and if known, the specific location) of the restaurant was chosen. In addition, it must be indicated here whether an existing restaurant is purchased and – if so – whether or not it will be renamed.
Who will be the restaurant’s regular customers – office workers looking for a packed lunch or families of four looking for a meal after a long week? This section should also estimate the size of the target market in the region as well as any known demographic information about people in that market.
This section summarizes an analysis of restaurant competition in the region and how it will be competitive. Supporting documents such as a SWOT analysis, competitive matrix and / or Porter’s five forces analysis can be found here (or in the appendix).
5. Marketing strategy
The marketing strategy The section highlights the marketing channels that will be used to attract the restaurant’s target market. Here are examples of marketing strategies to include and develop:
- Brand positioning
- Public relations strategy
- Social media strategy
- Direct mail strategy
- Website Marketing Strategy
- Community engagement strategy
- Video Marketing Strategy
- Newspaper / Magazine Strategy
- Paid search marketing strategy
- Email Marketing Strategy
6. Operating model
The operating model section helps review the logistics of running the business and show readers that all the parts are in place to efficiently and accurately fulfill orders – while retaining staff, ensuring restaurant safety and breaking even as soon as possible.
The service model is the end-to-end experience of ordering a restaurant in every way possible for a customer (online ordering, in-person dining, etc.). Specifically, the points of contact of staff with guests at the front and rear of the house should be identified.
This section should provide an overview of in-store restaurant technology (such as a point-of-sale system) and any integrated software that helps restaurants be discovered online, such as a website or online ordering program.
In this section, there should be a list of the types of technologies that will be used to streamline operations in the restaurant, along with an explanation of how they will improve the customer experience and with which technology providers the company is working with. ‘associate with.
Here are examples of restoration technologies that could be highlighted in this section:
Staffing and hiring
What measures will be taken to hire, train and integrate a team of restaurant professionals? This section could include recruiting tactics, an overview of the interview process, safety and training procedures, retention games, and the size of target staff when opening.
Kitchen & Backhouse
This section should contain an overview of the restaurant kitchen operating strategy. Inventory management strategy, approach to food suppliers and a list of required kitchen utensils and equipment should be covered.
7. Financial overview and projections
Ultimately, investors need to know when and if the restaurant will be profitable. This section will provide them information.
Overview of opening costs
This section should provide a detailed explanation of the cost of opening the restaurant. It should be comprehensive so that investors know exactly where their money is going. If necessary, a full overview of the opening costs should be provided in the annex.
You should include here a forecast of how much revenue the restaurant is expected to generate. As a reference, this forecast must be provided for the first twelve months of activity and / or until equilibrium is reached. If necessary, a more in-depth sales forecast broken down by month / quarter can be provided in the appendix.
Pro forma income statement
The profit or loss of the business during this first period should be projected with a pro forma income statement. It is important to devote as much work as possible to this document in order to set realistic goals for investors based on research and quotes from vendors. Since the result statement will likely be a single sheet, it may be a good idea to briefly summarize the period and results reflected in the document and attach the full version as an annex.
The projected breakeven point in dollars and number of days should be reported in this section. Try to be as objective as possible in the analysis, as investors will likely pay close attention to the content of this section.
8. Annex and supporting documentation
Finally, all supporting documents referenced in the plan should be included in this section, including (but not limited to):
- Financial statements, charts, tables, charts and / or projections.
- Photos or renderings of the location of the restaurant.
- An example of a menu.
- Photos of the restaurant’s website and / or the online ordering platform.
- Floor plans.
- References from colleagues in the restaurant industry.
How to start
BentoBox has created a restaurant business plan template for future restaurateurs. With section prompts for business plan essentials like financial projections, market analysis, and catering operations overview, this template makes creating a business plan much more manageable. A customizable and professionally designed version of the template on Google Docs is included. Restaurants can download model, make a copy and adapt it to their specific concept.
To learn more about how BentoBox can help your new online restaurant, sign up for a free demo today.