Hours: Mon - Friday 9:30AM - 5:30PM EST

How to Write a Business Plan for Your Restaurant in 8 Steps

Portrait of a smiling businessman in restaurant talking on smart phone. August 14, 2023

If you are considering opening a restaurant, you must balance your love of culinary arts with the day-to-day practicalities of running a business. And, of course, it all starts with a plan -- precisely, a business plan. A thoughtful and comprehensive business plan can help you define your concept, understand your target market, and map the financials. But how do you write a business plan

In this article, we will cover the benefits of creating a business plan, key elements to include, and tips for success. Whether you are a seasoned chef or an entrepreneur with no restaurant experience, you will learn how to craft a plan to help you achieve your goals.


What is a Business Plan? 

A business plan is a comprehensive document outlining a company's strategy, goals, and operations. It typically includes information on the company’s market analysis, organizational structure, financial projections, and marketing and sales strategies. Essentially, a business plan is a roadmap for a company’s success.

It provides a clear understanding of the business objectives and how they will be achieved, making it an essential tool for entrepreneurs seeking financing or investors and for established businesses looking to grow or pivot.

A well-written business plan is not only crucial for securing funding (more on this later) but also for guiding day-to-day decision-making and keeping the company focused on its objectives.


Benefits of Creating a Business Plan 

A business plan is essential for any successful entrepreneur looking to start, grow, or sustain their enterprise. While some might consider creating a business plan a waste of time, the benefits far outweigh the effort put into developing one. Here are some reasons why having a business plan is advantageous:

- Clearly defines your business goals and objectives.

- Provides a clear roadmap for achieving business success by outlining the pathways to follow.

- Identify potential obstacles that may hinder growth and prepare for them.

- Helps entrepreneurs secure funding from investors and financial institutions by presenting a clear picture of the business.

- Serves as an essential tool for soliciting partnerships and collaborations with other business entities.

- Effectively monitor progress, track results, and make data-driven decisions.

- Communicate your ideas effectively with potential employees, suppliers, and customers.

- Provides a sense of direction and purpose, which helps you maintain focus and stay motivated. 


Now, with the many benefits in mind, let’s explore how to write a business plan.


Elements of a Restaurant Business Plan 

Understanding how to write a business plan is simpler when you can break down the elements that should be included. In this section, we will break down the elements you should include in your business plan to ensure a complete pathway forward.

  • Executive Summary - The executive summary overviews the restaurant and its goals. It is the first impression your potential investors will have of your business.
  • Concept & Goals - The concept and goals section goes deeper into what your restaurant aims to achieve. It outlines your mission statement, concept, and overall goals.
  • Market Analysis - A market analysis determines your target audience, competition, and the unique selling point of your restaurant.
  • Organization & Management - Organization and management address your restaurant's structure and employees' roles.
  • Services and Menu - This section talks about how the restaurant will provide excellent customer service and what innovative menus they will offer.
  • Financial Plan - Here, you will include the budget required to launch the restaurant and ensure profitability by tracking revenue streams, expenses, and targets. 


How to Write a Business Plan for a Restaurant in 8 Steps 

  1. Outline Your Concept

Before opening a restaurant, it is essential to take the time to outline your concept. Doing so will help clarify your ideas and give you a clear direction. Your concept should include your target audience, type of cuisine, atmosphere, and unique selling point.

Once you have a solid concept in place, you can start building the rest of your business plan. The more detail you can put into your concept, the easier it will be to create a menu, design the interior, and hire staff. Do not rush this step; take the time to flesh out your vision. A well-thought-out concept is the foundation of a successful restaurant.


  1. Research the Market

The next step in creating a business plan is researching the market, which involves determining the target audience, understanding industry trends, analyzing the competition, and identifying gaps in the market. Market research aims to determine the feasibility of your restaurant business idea, including if it is sustainable and has the potential for profitability.

By conducting research, you can better understand the restaurant industry, customers’ preferences, and the competition. This information is vital in formulating a successful business plan and can assist you in making informed decisions about marketing, pricing, menu design, and other critical business elements.

Ultimately, the more thorough your market research, the better positioned you will be to launch a successful and sustainable restaurant business.


  1. Set Goals and Objectives

Setting goals and objectives is a crucial third step in creating a comprehensive business plan for a restaurant. Defining clear and measurable targets helps ensure your team stays focused on what matters most in growing your business.

Whether you aim to increase your restaurant’s revenue, expand your customer base, or establish a solid social media presence, well-articulated goals will help guide your decision-making and ensure that all team members work towards the same vision.

Setting and achieving these objectives is beneficial for your restaurant’s growth and can instill a sense of purpose and motivation in your employees.


  1. Create Your Menu

One of the most important aspects of any restaurant business plan is the creation of a menu. This step requires careful consideration and planning because your menu represents your brand and affects your profitability.

In this step, your market research will play a significant role in understanding your target audience’s preferences. Think about the type of cuisine you want to offer and the cost of ingredients. Additionally, consider creating a unique selling point for your menu, whether it is a signature dish or a specific cooking technique, and consider the culinary trends of the current market and factor them into your menu.

The menu should be dynamic, adapt to customer needs and deliver on your brand's promises. Creating a menu is more than just compiling a list of items – it is creating a culinary experience that reflects your vision and the needs of your audience.


  1. Outline Financial Projections

Once you have determined your menu, target audience, and marketing strategy, it is time to outline your financial projections in the fourth step of creating your restaurant business plan. It is essential to estimate your costs, profits, and revenue.

Consider things like lease costs, inventory expenses, staffing costs, and marketing expenses. From there, you can project your estimated income, profit margins, and cash flow statements.


  1. Create a Marketing Plan

When creating a business plan for a restaurant, having a well-rounded marketing plan is a must since it is a detailed strategy for promoting and advertising your business. Without it, you risk not reaching your target audience and potentially losing customers.

One effective way to create a marketing plan is by identifying your target market, analyzing your competition, and determining which marketing channels are best suited to connect with your audience. Social media, email marketing, and print advertising are just a few options. Moreover, setting measurable marketing goals and regularly evaluating your plan’s effectiveness can help ensure success and make necessary adjustments to reach your goals. A strong marketing plan can make all the difference in attracting and retaining customers, driving sales, and, ultimately, building a successful and profitable restaurant business.


  1. Set Up Financing

The success of a restaurant business largely depends on the financial strategy you establish. You cannot overlook this essential step when creating a business plan. There are many ways to finance a restaurant, such as finding investors, applying for small business loans, using personal savings, or leveraging zero-interest business credit.

Finding investors may be a viable option, but you need to be willing to give up some equity in your business. Applying for small business loans may take longer and come with high-interest rates, but it gives you complete control of your business. Personal savings can save you from borrowing money, but it may limit your ability to invest in growth opportunities, and you could lose all your savings if the business does not go as planned.

Zero-interest business credit cards are a viable option that incorporates all the best parts of these options without the downsides. This type of funding is readily available for entrepreneurs from all industries and can be used for any expense, including marketing spend, equipment, machinery, inventory, POS systems, and more. Click here to learn more about how to access business credit and use it in your restaurant business.


  1. Put Together Your Team

Building your dream team is paramount when creating a solid business plan for a restaurant. Your team members can help bring your vision to life, provide crucial insights, and contribute unique perspectives.

To assemble the right group, first, identify the roles and responsibilities needed to run and manage your restaurant, including positions such as chefs, servers, bartenders, and managers. Once these roles are determined, you can start to source potential candidates through job postings, referrals, or professional associations. During the hiring process, evaluating the candidate’s qualifications, experience, and personality is vital to ensure they fit your restaurant’s needs.

Finally, once your team is in place, prioritize fostering an environment of teamwork and effective communication, and continue to provide support and education to ensure success and growth for your business and employees.


Your Recipe for Success 

The recipe for success in the restaurant industry starts with understanding how to write a business plan that is well-crafted. It sets the foundation for your operations, marketing, financials, and overall strategy. It is not an easy feat, but taking the time and effort to create one is crucial.

Remember that a business plan is not a static document; it is a living and breathing guide for your restaurant’s growth and evolution. Be open to feedback, embrace change, and keep improving your plan as your restaurant evolves. With a clear and comprehensive business plan, the possibilities are endless, and your restaurant’s success is within reach.

I take tremendous pride in building positive and lasting relationships in my businesses and personal life. Every member of my team is committed to helping our clients get the maximum amount of funding possible and achieve their highest growth potential.

have a question?

Our business experts are available to answer questions Monday - Friday from 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. EST

Call Us:

(800) 996-0270

Email Us:


Watch our business credit webinar:

Obtain $250,000 Business Credit