The three most important things you need to start a restaurant are passion, the ability to take criticism and a solid plan.
The tech industry is full of dreamers. People who graduated from college with little or no experience created huge startups like Google and Facebook. They forged their own paths and did things that no one has done before.
Venture capitalists fund young entrepreneurs based less on their experience and more on their passion – and passion is necessary not only for success, but also for responding to criticism and adversity.
What do your friends think of your cooking? No, what theyReallythink about your food? If they never reviewed, you never heard the whole story. If you've heard criticism but never accepted it, then you'll have a hard time growing, innovating and competing in the restaurant game.
As you know, opening a restaurant is much more than having a passion for cooking and creating a menu. It takes very careful planning.
writing a business planit does more than attract investors. It helps you think critically about your business. It also forces you to look ahead and think about all the details you'll need to sort out before you start.
Drafting a traditional business plan
A traditional business plan will help you organize your business and provide a road map for the future of your restaurant. And it is probably necessary if you intend to pursue funding. Your restaurant business plan should include the following sections.
Summary of highlights
This is where you will talk about the business details of your restaurant. What is your favorite location? What sets it apart from similar restaurants in the area?
Give oneMission statementhere. It should be simple and clear – just one or two sentences to describe your restaurant. Try to do something that resonates with you on a personal level. don't use vague corporate language.
Here you should also include financial and personnel information. Think about how much the business will cost and how much you will charge to survive. add this information to your plan.
Give some information about everyone who will be involved in your business and what their roles will be. It's safe to assume you'll hire people as you go. Make sure you plan your wages.
Also mention people you already know who will be directly involved. For example, if your friend Susan will be doing business and accounting, mention her. And if Jeff, your Le Cordon Bleu trained chef friend, plans meals, mention him too.
This section is for more day-to-day details about your business. This is your chance to brag a little and share your passion. What kind of food will you offer? What will your vibe be? Will you be formal or informal? How about comfortable or stylish?
Here you will also share your competitive advantage. how amazingisJeff the chef? Will feng shui captivate and delight customers? How will you succeed when so many have failed?
This section is where the ability to take criticism and adapt comes into play. You need to make sure that lots of people will love your food and give you five star reviews on Yelp. You need to analyze your market.
Many cities have kitchens for rent. You can use these kitchens and a Craigslist ad to get as many people as possible to try your dishes.
Make lists of recipes to prepare and questions to ask. Be sure not to ask basic questions like, "How good was it?" Ask questions you may be afraid to answer, such as: "On a scale of one to five – one is not enough, three is just right and five is very – how sour was it?"
Find out what people think about the taste, texture and presentation. Make sure that the items you are going to combine complement each other well.
Gather as much information as you can and analyze it. Don't be afraid to go back to the drawing board and try again if things don't go as planned. Doing so can demonstrate dedication to creating a great dining experience.
Once you have great data, share your analysis in this section.
Organization and management plan
Now it's time to talk about how to organize your restaurant staff. How many chefs, cooks and dishwashers will you have? How many servers, receptionists and doormen?
Also talk about how you will manage your business. Will you have someone dedicated to administration and accounting? Or will you take care of it yourself when the restaurant is closed?
Discuss the legal structure. What kind of business will you be setting up – or will you be a sole trader? Here's a tip: always look for a company to legally protect yourself.
It would be a good idea to add an organizational chart to illustrate your team structure. You might even want to collect the resumes of people you know will be on your team (but you'll share them in the appendix, as you'll see a little later).
Marketing and sales plan
Marketing is a huge field that has changed a lot in the last 20 years. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
First, think about who you want to serve. What kind of people are they? Do they eat for prestige, comfort or experience? What will they talk about when they eat? What will keep them coming back? Find your people and establish your restaurant as the place where they will eat.
Then build a strategy, not a tactic. Placing an ad in the newspaper is a tactic. Giving people free shakes when they share food photos with your hashtag is a tactic. You have to combine several tactics that work together as a unified strategy.
Seth Godinthis is marketingis a fantastic resource to help you think like a marketer. Once you have determined your strategy, provide the details and include the cost analysis here.
If you need help financing your restaurant, this is where you'll share how badly you need it, why you need it, and what you need it for. Aim for a five-year view. Think very carefully about how much everything will cost and do some research.
See all previous sections for guidance on how to calculate costs. Consider staffing, referral fees, licensing, credit card processing, marketing, etc. Also, consider the cost of renting a space and the renovations needed to turn it into a restaurant. You also need to consider the equipment, decor and seating.
Also plan for worst case scenarios. What will you do if everyone gets food poisoning one night from a bad chicken? How will you handle an inspection that finds mice?
Finally, think about the future. How do you plan to pay off your debt? Will you be expanding to multiple locations? Will you need to renew sometime in the near future?
Here you can show how your business will be a safe investment. Make multiple projections of reasonable estimated revenue. For example, make a view based on collected data about similar restaurants.
Then provide bullish and bearish alternatives based on a margin of error of 25%. It's a good sign if you can show that you will continue to be successful even with an extremely small margin of error.
Show your estimated income month by month for the first two years, quarterly for the third year and annually thereafter. Add any collateral or additional funds needed to support your restaurant. Show how your income data correlates with your finances and debt payments. Use charts and graphs to tell the story of your business growth.
This is where you'll include your collected resumes and CVs, as well as any legal documents. If you have already obtained licenses, incorporation documents or contracts, please share them here.
And, of course, be sure to share amazing photos of your food and the testimonials you've gathered from your market research.
Where you can find more information
Opening a restaurant is challenging, but the path is followed. Do your homework and study what makes restaurants succeed and fail. Stand on the shoulders of giants and learn to avoid costly mistakes.
An SBA(Small Business Administration) provides lots of useful information on how to start a business. This isbusiness plan pagehas two solid examples to help you. Jotform also offers a lotbusiness plan templates.
The SBA provides a lot of valuable information and can provide mentors and advisors. Mentors are usually retired people who donate their time to help others succeed. If you live in a metro area, the SBA probably already has people who own restaurants.
It costs nothing to get help and advice from the SBA. So write your plan and get started.