How to write a restaurant business plan (2023)

A comprehensive business plan is the foundation of any successful restaurant. You need a business plan before you start doing anything related to opening your business. A proper business plan is a guide that will help you take your idea from concept to reality.

When you start looking for professional and financial support for your new business, your business plan will be the main reference document to describe your idea, market and profit potential. You need a business plan for investors, lenders, advisors, partners and other team members to help you realize your dream of opening a restaurant.

In this article, we'll walk you through each part of how to write a restaurant business plan, explain what each section does, and provide an example you can use as a starting point.

Before writing your business plan: Questions to answer

Before you start writing your business plan, you should consider a few important things. Knowing the answers to these questions will make writing your business plan and communicating your vision a hundred times easier. Keep the answers to these questions in mind as you write your business plan.

Who is your business plan for?

Are you approaching investors and creditors, or is your plan tailored to you and your team? You will need to tailor your writing for different types of audiences and perhaps emphasize certain sections over others depending on your primary audience.

Where will your restaurant be located?

If you haven't yetlocation of your restaurant, you should at least know in which neighborhood your restaurant will be located. The location of your restaurant will determine important elements of your business plan, such as competitive analysis, availability of ingredients, type of location, etc. , you probably don't know its exact address, but getting it as close as possible will guide you in your writing.

What is your location type?

You must have a clear ideawhat kind of restaurant are you opening?, whether it's an intimate cafe, a craft microbrewery or a gourmet food truck. If you are not sure, you should decide before you write your business plan. You should know exactly what your site will look like as you work through the details of a business plan.

What are your goals?

Do you want to open a food truck and then grow to open a sister restaurant, or do you want to open a full-service restaurant and grow to operate a fleet of food trucks? Do you want to open a cafe with a constant flow of customers? Or maybe you want to be the go-to place for special occasions. Be as specific as possible in your vision and clarify exactly what you want to achieve.

What are your credentials?

Have you worked in the catering industry before? Do you know the market well? Do you need extra skills before opening your restaurant? If you're sure you have the skills, feel free to get started. But if you've never spent time in a kitchen or in the food industry, you might want to get some hands-on experience so you know what you're getting into.

5 Tips for Writing a Restaurant Business Plan

Before you start writing your business plan, here are some tips to make the process easier.

  1. Collect material that is relevant, such as links, articles, quotes and information that can benefit you as you write, and use them as inspiration or include them in the appropriate sections of your business plan.
  2. Taking something from idea to creation can be difficult, but try to put everything you see in your imagination into as precise words as possible. Review the business plan template first and take lots of notes on each section, then come back to it later and develop your ideas further.
  3. If a section leaves you puzzled, note it and go ahead and review it later when you have more information or clarity. Refine and re-edit. Be sure to add any new developments that happen, and when you're sure you've said everything you can for a section, go back and edit and work again until you're satisfied.
  4. Use graphics and images to clarify your message where appropriate. Consider creating Pinterest boards to inspire you and help you source graphics. So when writing your business plan, go back to the boards for visuals that convey your idea better than words.
  5. Just like Rome wasn't built in a day, know that your business plan will take time. It can take weeks to months or years to get a solid understanding of what you're creating. As time passes and you continue to work on it, you will adjust your message and have a clear plan.

Are you confident in your vision, clear on your goals and comfortable with your skills? Ready to get started?

Restaurant business plan template


Your restaurant business plan will be a long document. Depending on the nature of your restaurant, your business plan can be anywhere from 10 to 50 pages – so your readers should find the sections easily. This is where the pointer comes in. More or less it will be like this:

  • Summary – page 3
  • Business overview – page. 5
  • Business description – page. 7
  • The Market – p. 12
  • Marketing – p. 20
  • Commercial Activities – page. 25
  • Economics – p. 30
  • Business Plan Summary p. 37

After you finish writing your restaurant business plan, be sure to read the table of contents so that the page numbers are accurate.

Summary of highlights

While the executive summary may be at the beginning of your business plan, it is the last thing you will write. An executive summary is a one-page summary of each section of your business plan so readers can get a one-page overview of your entire plan. Remember to keep this section short but punchy.

Business overview

Your business overview is simple: it's a list of basic information about your business, such as company name, business type, business number, etc. This list is for quick reference and especially important if you are looking for bank loans or approaching investors:

  • legal company name
  • Company Name (Doing Business As)
  • Business address or potential business address
  • current mailing address
  • Phone number
  • e-mail
  • Internet site
  • social media handles
  • business structure
  • Date of establishment of the company
  • nature of the business
  • Bank details (branch and bank name)

Quick tip: Many of the details in your business overview will be filled in as your business takes shape. fill in what you can as you go. If any of this information is unfamiliar, don't let it discourage you.

Job description

Your business description is where your restaurant comes to life. Here you will describe, in detail, what your business will look like, where it will be and what kind of atmosphere it will have. Your business description answers all the questions related to your vision and goals. Be as detailed as you want here – go into as much detail as possible and don't be afraid to use graphics!
Here's what to include in your business description.


Will your business be a sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation? Who is involved and what is their role? This can be a short paragraph.


Your restaurant concept is your concept. Take the time to describe why your business is special and talk about what you will do differently compared to other restaurants. Why should people choose your restaurant over another? What kind of experience will you offer customers?

Mission statement

Your mission statementis a phrase that describes what your restaurant will achieve. Think about your ultimate goal, the ultimate driving force behind your business. Your mission statement should be something that can appear in marketing materials and should tell people what your business is about.

Short and long term goals

Here you will want to list any relevant personal goals and then list your short and long term goals. Think about where you're going and what you hope to be doing in a few years.
Your short-term goals describe your first year as a restaurant owner. Long-term goals are bigger, like how you plan to grow your business and how you expect to grow. Be descriptive in this section, but also remember to stay realistic and within the scope of your projections in the financial section.

menu and services

Include a sample menu or menus and discuss the details of each, such as the times of day they are offered and the inspiration or rationale for each. If you are going to offer catering, delivery or other services, list them here. Describe anything else you will sell, such as prepackaged foods, canned or bottled beverages, or retail items such as t-shirts and hats.


You probably won't have secured a location or negotiated a lease at this point, so list the neighborhoods you're considering for your location. Answer the following questions here:
What characteristics of the neighborhood will affect your business?
What other businesses are in the area?
What types of people live, work or visit the neighborhood?
Consider and document all the effects the location will have on your business, such as access to parking, public transportation, walk scores, etc.


Take the time to describe your idea in as much visual detail as possible. Express why these details are important (hint: they must be relevant to your brand). If you work with a design agency or interior design specialist, mention them and show your proposals or mock-ups.
Summary of business description
Finally, briefly summarize everything in this section. Your business description tends to be a long section, so you'll need a summary that provides an overview of what you will achieve with your business.

The market

This section is where you will describe the current market situation for your business. The most important thing to remember about this section is that you should remain honest and authentic. You won't be doing yourself or anyone else any favors by painting an unrealistic picture of the market and how your business fits into it. This section requires a lot of research and critical thinking skills.

Visit your direct competitor and get some insight into their customer experience and menu. Ask people in your potential neighborhood about how businesses in the area are doing. By gathering as much information as possible, your market assessment will be clear and grounded in reality.

Market segment

This section will give you a quick overview of the size of your customer base. What are the demographics, psychographics and segments of your target market?


You need to know your target customers. Who will frequent your restaurant and what characteristics do they share?list of statisticsyou have gathered about your market and any other relevant information about your potential customers. Note any customer segments within your target audience that have specific needs over others.

You will want both quantitative and qualitative research to complete this unit. Make sure you talk to people in your target market to get a clear understanding of their needs and how you can meet them. You will also discover other valuable insights through these discussions.

Market trends

This is where you want to list relevant statistics about past and current trends in your market. Include anything related to your business demand, social or economic factors and trends that have affected similar businesses. If you have done research or hired a company to do it for you, report all the results of that research here.


So you know other restaurants are your competition, but you have to be specific. Analyze your potential neighborhood and make a list of all your competitors, from small to large. Use a critical eye to determine how they differ from your store.
Categorize your competitors into 'direct' and 'indirect'. Your direct competitors are those restaurants that offer similar customer experiences and cuisines, while indirect competitors may be different from your restaurant but still compete for the attention and spending of your target market.


Now that you've analyzed the competition, you should be able to determine how to stand out. What will your restaurant do that no one else does? What are your differences that will make the market notice your business?


Once you've identified your differentiators, you'll know how your restaurant can fill potential gaps in the market or offer customers a better choice. From menus to hours, whatever your restaurant can do best, list it here.


Now for the other side of the coin: what your restaurant might not be able to do better than the competition. Take the time to list them as challenges, justify why your restaurant will face these obstacles and how you will overcome them once you open. Don't be afraid of honesty here. an honest description of the challenges you will face will show readers that you are self-aware and ready to overcome problems with practical solutions.

market summary

Concisely summarize everything you've said in this section, reiterating your target market's demographics, benefits, and opportunities.


You can be an amazing chef and create great dishes, but without customers and sales, you don't have much business. You need a marketing strategy to keep people coming and going again.
In this section on how to write a restaurant business plan, we'll cover your strategy: how you'll price your meals, how you'll position yourself to attract your target customers, and how you'll promote your business so customers know you exist


Describe how you will attract your target customers and where you will place yourself in the customer's mind. Use your differentiators in the previous section to guide your positioning strategy. How will you communicate your differentiators in your market? What will you offer to the market that your customers can't find anywhere else?


Describe your pricing and how it compares to similar companies. Provide approximate prices for different menu items and list typical prices for your type of business. List your competitors' prices and explain why yours would be higher or lower. Be sure to align this section with your finances so that feed and labor ratios are considered when creating this section.

online promotion

If you plan to create and maintain social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, explain how you will use them to promote your business. Describe the main elements of your website, the design style and who will build it. List here all paid digital promotions, such as Google ads, paid social media ads, and any companies you will work with to develop and execute all digital marketing initiatives.

traditional promotion

Will you be holding an event, issuing a press release or running a print ad?

marketing summary

Briefly summarize your overall marketing strategy and what you will focus on the most: digital, traditional, PR, etc. Let readers know why you think your marketing strategy will work for your type of restaurant.

business functions

You have described your vision, the market and how you plan to promote your business. But how will you actually execute your plans? Who will run your business on a day-to-day basis? Here you can find out the basic details of your business operations.

Oh time

View everyone on your payroll. List your qualifications, special skills and job description, emphasizing how they will help you achieve your goals and the tasks you will do every day. Categorize each team member to other owners, chefs, managers, waiters, bartenders, etc.

Relations with suppliers

List your suppliers by type: food, payment, alcohol, cleaning, each vendor meets your restaurant's needsand state your credit and payment terms. List all suppliers for the following:

  • food
  • Liqueur
  • waste removal
  • Restaurant supplies such as dinnerware and glassware
  • paper products
  • payroll service
  • Cleaning service
  • Plants or landscaping
  • bed linen service
  • Entertainment
  • marketing and advertising
  • Technology, such as POS hardware and software, mobile delivery apps, loyalty apps and ISP


Your restaurant will need insurance coverage. Do some research to determine compulsory insurance and special coverage and start comparing costs between insurers. List every type of insurance your restaurant will need and what it covers.


What kind of license does your restaurant need?List all necessary licenses and permitsfor your restaurant and staff here. Check your local authority website for details and anything else you may need to get in your area.

Business summary

Briefly summarize everything you talked about in the Business Operations section.


Now you've reached the most important – and scariest – part of your restaurant business plan. This is where you prove that your idea is actually a profitable business.
Complete a financial forecastthat takes your idea and translates it into numbers. This exercise is the most important part of your business plan, as investors and lenders will look at these numbers before reading anything else.

the collapse

Your forecast will be divided into four main parts:

  • Revenue: sales forecasts
  • Controllable costs: food and beverage costs as well as labor costs
  • Expenses: Marketing, rent, supplies, utilities, etc.
  • Startup Costs: How much it costs you to open, plus things like capital improvements and training.

We've created a downloadable forecast example that shows what to do. Our example is Joe’s Burgers, a small, 1,000-square-foot, non-alcoholic, quick-service restaurant. Once you understand the forecasting example, we've included a blank forecasting worksheet where you can add your own numbers to project how profitable you'll be.
Notes on the forecasting worksheet

  • Take the blank forecast and "save as" so that if you make a mistake, you can go back to the original spreadsheet and start over.
  • There are pre-programmed formulas in the worksheet cells.
  • If you plan to open a restaurant that will serve alcohol, you will need to calculate the sales mix for the various beverages: bottled beer, draft beer, liquor, and wine, and the costs associated with each. For example, if the cost of bottled beer is 28% and the cost of wine is 40%, you have an average beverage cost of 34% to add to your forecast.
  • If you are going to offer catering or other services, you can create another revenue stream that covers events held, average spend, revenue, cost of goods sold, and labor costs from this source.

Business plan summary

Your business plan summary should bring the entire message together. Use this section to highlight how different you are and what you offer by reiterating the most important points of your restaurant.

The modules that will be included are:

  • Why you'll succeed: In a few short sentences, reiterate how you're different and why your business will work.
  • What you need: If you're asking for money, repeat the order here.
  • A Thank You: A quick thank you at the end reminds people that you appreciate their time and contribution.

How to write a restaurant business plan (1)

by Silvia Valencia

Silvia is a former digital marketing director at TouchBistro. During her time at TouchBistro, she managed and moderated content for the RestoHub blog.


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