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9 Tips To Write a Restaurant Business Plan
by Brett Farmiloe
November 17, 2023
black restaurant owner in chefs coat and mask presenting a dish

What is one tip for writing an effective restaurant business plan?

To help aspiring restaurateurs write a business plan for their dream restaurant, we asked business professionals and seasoned business owners for their best advice. From detailing your marketing strategy to analyzing your competition, there are several suggestions to include in your business plan that may help you launch a successful food establishment of any kind. 

Here are nine actionable tips for writing restaurant business plans: 

  • Provide an Expert Financial Plan
  • Prepare for the Unexpected
  • Consider the Atmosphere
  • Detail Your Marketing Strategy
  • Analyze the Competition
  • Include Leadership Responsibilities
  • Illustrate Your Design Ideas
  • Know Your Location
  • Factor in Seasonality

Provide an Expert Financial Plan 

When writing a restaurant business plan, you want to make sure you leave an unmistakable mark on your potential investors. To leave that impression, make sure that you have a financial plan curated with expertise. Investors will want to make sure that they are investing in a business that can make returns on that investment. By making sure that your business plan has a finance plan headed by someone with in-depth restaurant experience, you’ll be sure to show that you are thinking about what will ensure the longevity of your business. 
- Sundip Patel, LendThrive

Prepare for the Unexpected 

Many people fail in their restaurant business because they do not have any proper plan for unexpected problems. They are unaware of unpredicted expenses that cause them a financial loss. The best way to avoid these problems is with a proper business plan before opening the restaurant. To write an accurate business plan for a restaurant, you must write the vision behind its formation, its value in the local market, and strategies to strive with your competitors. Start with the general points and then explain how you will succeed in the restaurant industry.
- Jill Sandy, Constant Delights

Consider the Atmosphere

Don't neglect experiential elements, such as sensory elements, including visual experience. The look and feel of materials, kitchen-to-guest visual interaction, washroom aesthetics (a huge opportunity for Instagrammable spaces), and music all matter. Include dayparted music themes, trends, and playlists across different dayparts, such as breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and end of the night. Providing curated playlists on publicly accessible platforms like Spotify or YouTube show your attention to detail, dedication, understanding of your customer base, and intent for the business. Music and soundscapes inform our world, and demonstrating the anticipated vibe through sound will help investors, news media, and influencers rally around your concept before it even exists as a brick-and-mortar.
- Josh Yeager, Bright Brothers Strategy Group

Detail Your Marketing Strategy

The restaurant industry is a competitive one. So think through how you’ll position your restaurant as a unique and noteworthy locale. A solid marketing plan is an element that investors will want to see. Develop a pre-opening marketing strategy to drum up excitement along with a post-opening strategy to keep customers and attract new ones. Ensure your business plan details all aspects of your marketing efforts, from your online outreach to your in-person methods. Remember that your marketing strategy is a key ingredient in a successful restaurant business plan. 
- Claire Routh, Markitors

Analyze the Competition

Being the 10th restaurant on the street offering the same menu is a factor that no financial projection can overcome. Thorough competition research focusing on how customers choose the venue will act as a reality check and uncover the full business picture. It will also differentiate itself from other restaurants by offering unique cuisine or at least a range of dishes that people look for and can't find elsewhere.
- Michael Sena, Senacea

Include Leadership Responsibilities 

A big challenge for businesses is founder dependence. Most founders feel their business is as sacred as a child so letting go of control can be difficult, but it is imperative, especially for a business planning to stand the test of time, to allow partners and employees to take on more responsibility and ownership should the founder need to allocate their time elsewhere for any reason. This should be in the initial business plan. Ensure you build a foundation strong enough to uphold itself no matter changes in hierarchy and leadership which can be an attractor for investors.
- Nik Sharma, Sharma Brands

Illustrate Your Design Ideas  

Including a brand and design concept will help your business plan be more successful in conveying your ideas. As part of your business plan, you describe the concept, menu, service type, etc. The more thought and design you can put into these elements, the more seriously people will take your ideas. Design is not an afterthought. In fact, at this stage, the brand design could be the one factor why landlords or bankers choose your concept over another.
- Tanya Gagnon, Miss Details

Know Your Location

When starting a new restaurant, market analysis is needed. This includes finding the average income in the area, discovering how many cars drive by the location, and researching how many restaurants there are in the area. Also, determine if the location of your restaurant provides parking. By ensuring these factors meet the criteria for a good restaurant location, you boost the chances for a successful eatery.
- Janice Wald, Mostly Blogging Academy

Factor in Seasonality 

When writing your restaurant business plan, be sure to factor in seasonality within your financial forecast. Seasonality will affect your restaurant's turnover and available cash reserves. Capturing this aspect tells the investor how you intend to predict low seasons as well as how you will manage cash flow during the low season.
- Joe Flanagan, VelvetJobs

About the author
Brett Farmiloe
Brett Farmiloe is the Founder & CEO of Terkel, a Q&A site that converts insights from small business owners into high-quality articles for brands. Brett Farmiloe Founder & CEO,
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1165 Herndon Parkway, Suite 100
Herndon, VA 20170

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