How To Write a Restaurant Business Plan in

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A restaurant business plan is absolutely vital for your new restaurant business. It’s important for you to write out a thorough business plan detailing its structure, financials, target demographics, and more to keep your new business on track from the beginning.

A business plan is necessary for any new business, and restaurants especially can stand to gain from thorough planning. Restaurants can be notoriously hard to run and keep profitable, so it’s important to do your homework ahead of time.

A business plan is needed to help set your restaurant up for success, as well as attract investors and provide information for licensing applications. 

What is a Business Plan? 


A business plan is a written description of a business’ goals and how they plan to achieve them. It’s essentially a road map for your business. Business plans can be used to set benchmarks for your restaurant, and they can help when applying for funding from investors or applying for the various licenses that restaurants need to legally operate. 


What To Include in a Restaurant Business Plan


Business plans can include different elements. A standard business plan typically includes the following: 

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Market Analysis and Competitive Analysis
  • Business Operations
  • Management and Ownership
  • Financial Analysis


Every business plan looks slightly different, however, so there is more or less that you can choose to include. When writing a restaurant business plan, often things like a sample menu, restaurant design, location, and more are included. What sections you add will depend on your restaurant, goals, and more. 

Business plans often include a marketing section as well. This could be brief or long and detailed, but regardless of what you put in your main business plan, you should have a restaurant marketing plan as well. 

Business plans are typically between 10 and 20 pages long. What you include may influence the length. Be thorough, but succinct and to the point so that it doesn’t drag on for too long. 

How To Create a Restaurant Business Plan 


If you’re still figuring out how to open a restaurant, starting a business plan is an early step in the process. You may not have every detail figured out yet, but it can help you see where you need to flesh out those details. 

Let’s look at the main components of a business plan and what information you should include as you start crafting your restaurant’s business plan.


Executive Summary


All business plans begin with an executive summary. This section is both an introduction and a high-level summary that looks at the big picture of your business plan. 

An executive summary should include your restaurant mission statement as well as the overall concept of your restaurant business. Consider branding and what makes your restaurant stand out, as well as the type of food, type of service, and general aesthetic you’re aiming for. 

Since a business plan is also used for investors, this section should sell the reader on why your restaurant is a good investment, a unique business that will succeed, and expected ROI. 

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Typically, an executive summary is about one page long. 


Company Description


The company description is where you can go more in depth about key information for your restaurant. Include its official name, contact information, and location. You should also provide the owner’s name and some history on the business or the owner’s relevant experience in the industry. 

The description should also briefly cover the restaurant’s goals, short and long term. Briefly discuss the target customer demographic as well. You may also mention things like business structure and your restaurant’s current legal standing in terms of licenses acquired. 

Keep this section brief and high-level – you’ll get further into the details in later sections. 


Market Analysis and Competitive Analysis


The market and competitive analysis can be broken into two sections or written together. They cover similar topics, so it’s up to you whether you combine or separate them.

A market analysis looks at your restaurant’s target market and who your customer base will be. Consider who your target demographic is and why they’ll choose your restaurant over others. You should discuss the restaurant industry and market in your area, and how you think your restaurant fits into that market. Use statistics or data to make projections or comment on things like average income of your target customers. 

A competitor analysis should look at other restaurants in the area and how your restaurant will compete. Are there other restaurants similar to your concept, or will yours be totally unique in the local area? What prices are the other restaurants charging? What market do they cater to? You should aim to prove how your restaurant will stand out and out-perform the competition. 

The market analysis section can also include a marketing plan. This is a good place to explain how you’ll reach and appeal to your target market. Discuss restaurant promotion plans to bring in customers, marketing campaign strategies, and more. You may also choose to have a detailed marketing plan later in your business plan. 


Business Operations or Services


This section is also sometimes labeled “Products and Services”. Here, you should state what services your restaurant provides. Some elements you may want to mention include: 

  • Hours of operation
  • Number of employees
  • Type of service offered (sit down, fast food, quick serve, upscale, etc.)
  • Legal needs (licenses acquired or needed)
  • Vendors or suppliers


The business operations section may cover some logistics as well as how your business will benefit customers or the area. Make it clear what need your business meets in the community. 


Management and Ownership


Here, you can dive further into the business structure. If you’re writing the business plan, you’re very likely the restaurant owner. Explain what you, as the owner, will be responsible for. 

From here, you can explain the rest of the management team and who will be responsible for what duties. If you have partners or other managers hired, explain their roles and experience that will make them successful. If you haven’t hired your management team yet, simply explain the different positions and what they’ll be responsible for. 

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It’s important to have a clear structure that shows who is responsible for what and who reports to who. This sets up your business for successful communication and shows investors that your business will run as a well-oiled machine. What structure you choose will depend on your unique business – what’s important is that you have a plan for it that investors can clearly understand. 

If you have other professionals hired, you may want to mention that here as well. If you have an accomplished head chef on board, investors will be interested in that information. Even contracted or consulting professionals on hand will be helpful to mention – for example, lawyers, accountants, contractors or interior designers, or even a PR or marketing firm. 


Financial Analysis


This is probably the most important section, since investors will be looking primarily at the numbers. We recommend hiring an accountant to help pull this information together – ideally one with experience in restaurant finances. This will help both investors and yourself better understand the reality of the financial side of your restaurant business. 

To put together financial projections, you’ll need to know the average bill at your restaurant, the number of people you can serve in a day, and how many seats you expect to fill per day. Factor in operational costs, labor costs, and food costs, as well as the profit margins for your menu items. 

This section should cover start up costs, a profits and loss statement, a break even analysis, and projections for the first 3 to 5 years of your restaurant’s operations. 




While a menu is not a part of a standard business plan, it should be included in a restaurant business plan. Your menu does not have to be set in stone – this information is more about the type of food you’ll serve and the standard cost per dish. 

Providing a menu helps solidify financial information, and makes it clear that you’re well on your way towards starting a restaurant. Use a food cost calculator to ensure that menu items are properly priced. You can also provide the menu in the style that you plan to use at the restaurant for branding purposes. Include your restaurant’s logo if it has been created. 

A sample menu can be its own section in your business plan, or you could add it to the business operations or services section of your plan. 




General location information should be covered in the market analysis. You may want to add further location information in this section, or add more thorough information in a separate location section. 

At this stage in the process of opening a restaurant, you probably don’t have a site chosen and rented yet. You should provide research about the neighborhood or neighborhoods you’re looking at, however, and show that your restaurant would succeed there. Look at the demographics about who lives, works, and dines there to show that your target market is present. 

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You can also mention what you’re looking for in a location in terms of square footage, design and layout ideas for the restaurant, local foot traffic, parking, accessibility from different areas, and more. 


Restaurant Business Plan Examples


While every restaurant business plan will look unique, it can be helpful to check out examples. Guidance is always helpful, especially if it’s your first time writing a business plan. 

Check out Bplans’ restaurant business plan samples. They provide examples for various types of restaurants, so you can find a business similar to your own to compare to. These examples are free, so use this resource to help as you begin writing your own! 


Why Your Restaurant Needs a Business Plan 


If you’ve made it this far, it should be clear why your restaurant needs a business plan. Even if you’re funding the restaurant all on your own or you already have funding, a business plan is essential to detail the important factors that go into owning and operating a restaurant business. 

Aside from investors, business plans can be shared with licensing committees when applying for business licenses, food service licenses, zoning licenses, liquor licenses, and more. You may also need a business plan to attract a partner or another important member of your restaurant staff, like the chef. 

Even if your restaurant business plan is for no one but yourself, you should create one. This plan is a road map for your business, especially early in the startup process. The financial projections are absolutely necessary to understand the costs of running your business as well, so that part of the plan is the most essential for owners. 


Final Thoughts 


As Benjamin Franklin said, “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail”. Starting a restaurant business is challenging and can be risky without proper planning. Start working on your restaurant business plan today to bring your dream of owning a restaurant to reality. 

Do you have a business plan, but need help coming up with marketing? Contact Restaurant Clicks for more information about our restaurant marketing services. 

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