How to create a good Business Plan for a restaurant?


Not every person who wants to open a business needs to create a Business Plan. If you know what you want to do, have a full plan in your head, and have the funds or industry experience to do it - a business plan will just help you organize your thoughts, planned costs, and next steps. It will also allow you to look at the idea from a different perspective. Unfortunately, there are many times when something seems interesting in our head, but when put down on paper or spoken out loud it completely loses any charm.

Business plan is essential if you are not able to finance all the costs of opening a business yourself and you want to apply for grants, credit or enter into a partnership with some investor. However, creating a business plan for a beginning restaurateur is crucial and I strongly advise it. It allows you to assess the feasibility of the venture, calculate costs and check your chances in a highly competitive market.

Business plan should be described in as much detail as possible, but also in simple terms so that every person can fully understand your idea. It is a good idea to divide it into paragraphs and create a table of contents so that you can easily find specific points. Before you start working on your business plan, you need to pre-plan the look of your restaurant, menu, hours of operation, number of people employed, etc. First of all, you need to answer the question of what you want to stand out, why you have the opportunity to be better than others in the market. Business plan can be divided into 10 steps.

1. Description of the planned business - describe the business idea, branding, market operations and indicate the planned offerings. This description should take from 1 to even 4 pages. You need to include many components but most of all lead the person reading this description to believe in the success of the restaurant. The first point of the business plan should be concise, interesting and contain the most important information.

In this first point you should describe:

  • why you have decided to open a given business,
  • why you have decided to open a given business
  • how much knowledge you have about the indicated industry,
  • what will distinguish your premises,
  • why do you want to open a business?
  • what goal do you want to achieve by opening a restaurant,

2. Market and competition analysis - check the competition, location, preferences of the target group you want to reach, price analysis on the market.

In this step, you should describe the market situation and prove that your restaurant can fit into current trends and have a chance to operate profitably. Answer the following questions:

  • What customer group do you want to reach? Can you find enough people from your target group in the area?
  • Does your planned location have convenient access? Will there be parking spaces? Is there a lot of traffic next to the venue?
  • Are there other establishments in the area of your restaurant? Does anyone on the local market have a similar offer to yours? If so, how do you want to stand out from the competition?

3. Cost analysis - indicating the initial costs, i.e. investment costs but also later, monthly costs resulting from running the business.

Opening a restaurant involves costs:

  • investment costs:
    • how much money do you need for formalities related to the opening of the restaurant?
    • what are the costs of kitchen equipment, furniture, tableware and decorations that you need to buy?
    • how much will marketing and promotional materials cost (flyers, advertising on the Internet or in newspapers, menus, costumes for staff)?
    • If you plan to set up a website or online ordering system, how much will you spend on it?
    • If you plan to make deliveries, do you need to buy a car to deliver food to customers' homes? Or maybe you have a car and it will be enough to have your restaurant logo pasted on it?
  • Monthly:
    • calculate the approximate cost of monthly bills for rent, electricity, gas, water, rent?
    • estimate the cost of your Social Security, health insurance and necessary taxes,
    • how many employees will you hire and what costs will you incur as a result?
    • calculate the amount of your monthly food purchases,

4. Financial forecast - indicate your own budget and the possible possibility of obtaining grants, taking a loan or cooperating with investors.

Describe how much money you have at your disposal (e.g. I have 30 thousand set aside for this purpose) and how much you lack to realize all your plans (e.g. I lack 25 thousand). What kind of grant or financial support are you thinking about? How will you give the money back if the restaurant's profits are unsatisfactory? What will you do to prevent this from happening and to be able to pay back the loan? Also, think about how much margin you will make on each product and what monthly income you would need to make to cover all costs and still make a profit?

5. Sensitivity analysis - ideas for solving later problems.

Opening a business, pursuing dreams and plans we have positive thoughts, but you need to have a plan B, C and maybe even D and E. What will you do if suddenly 2 employees become redundant? What will you do if a competitor opens next door and your revenue drops by 20%? What do you do if unflattering reviews or rumors start circulating about your establishment? Think about all the bad things that can happen and try to find a solution.

6. SWOT Analysis - a very simple technique used to analyze information about the company and its environment by learning about strengths, weaknesses but also opportunities and threats that may arise.

This analysis helps to clearly identify the strengths and weaknesses as well as opportunities and threats to our premises in the future. It allows you to look at all these parameters and determine which dominate.  What will be the pluses of your restaurant, what will make it stand out? What disadvantages do you see, what would you like to change but cannot? How do you realistically plan to grow your business? What could spoil your plans and lead to lower and lower revenues? Do the restaurant's strengths outweigh the weaknesses?

7. Planned Employment - indicate how many people you want to hire, what salary you can offer and what requirements you have for future employees.

Kitchen staff has the greatest impact on the quality of the dishes. Do you want to bet on experienced employees or young, creative cooks? Remember that waiters and waitresses have the most contact with customers. Even the most delicious food won't bring in many guests if the service is rude and the restaurant is dirty. Do you want to hire students or older, more responsible people? Do you care about experience or do you prefer to train new employees? What kind of payment are you able to provide them with?

8. Marketing plan - determining what channels and how you want to not only reach customers, but also encourage them to order.

Today, just BEING and COOKING is not enough in the catering market. Marketing efforts are needed to increase the number of customers, retain the regulars and encourage them to order more. Restaurant marketing can be done by yourself, outsourced to a manager or an external company (these are additional costs). So you should think about the following marketing activities:

  • investment in an individual online ordering system thanks to which the restaurant builds its customer base, to which, thanks to marketing consent, it is possible to generate encouraging SMS and e-mail contents,
  • various discount systems, promotions, loyalty program, competitions with prizes,
  • collaboration with other venues or companies and mutual referrals,
  • investment in Facebook ads or Adwords,

9. Description of the further development of the enterprise - indicating what vision we have for the development of the business.

What are your plans for future business development? How do you see your restaurant a year from now versus 5 years from now? What over the years would you like to improve, change? Do you want to invest in courses, more delivery options, more employees or maybe you would like to change the location for a bigger one? Or maybe you are dreaming of more restaurants?

10. Summary - coolly analyze the previous points and draw specific conclusions.

After writing all the previous points, read them soberly (you can also ask a trusted person to do it) and describe the conclusions drawn. They must be solid, realistic but also encouraging to believe in the success of this venture.

After you have written all the previous points, read them soberly (you can also ask someone you trust to do so) and describe your conclusions.

Izabela Praska

Editor of, passionate about gastromarketing and good cuisine, marketer. product specialist.

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