All across the world, many people dream of opening up a restaurant. For some, it is a childhood dream of building an entire restaurant all on one’s own. For others, it may be fuelled by a passion for good food and drinks. Transforming a family restaurant into a bigger chain, opening up a cozy café, running a food joint for fitness freaks…whatever your aspirations may be, you probably already know that planning your novel restaurant and successfully running it aren’t exactly the easiest things to do. That’s right, you might not know about everything that’s needed to set up a restaurant or you might not even be a master of the necessary everyday functions. Besides this, there is endless competition out there and the profits aren’t always too rewarding. Launching a whole new business in this industry and making it last can be extremely challenging.
In this article, we’re going to cover the importance of restaurant planning and how to make a restaurant planning sheet for your business.
Why is Restaurant Planning Necessary?
If you are serious about opening up a café or a restaurant, you need to have a concrete idea in mind about its theme and menu, to begin with. Next, you need to commit to creating a detailed restaurant planning sheet that serves as a blueprint for your business. It must tackle various topics such as market analysis, cost break up, menu design and so on.
While it may take quite some time and effort to come up with the perfect restaurant planning sheet, it will help you in the long run. Moreover, if you plan to approach investors for financial support, a solid restaurant planning sheet can help you tremendously. Bit by bit, it should explain how you plan to run your business, generate profits and what sets you apart from your competition.
Components of a Restaurant Planning Sheet
A Restaurant Planning Sheet serves as the foundation of your restaurant. It captures every aspect of planning related to different processes such as restaurant concept and menu structure. Essentially, a good restaurant planning sheet goes hand in hand with making your dream restaurant a reality.
If you’d like to get started with your restaurant planning sheet, we’re here to help you out.
Generally, a good restaurant planning sheet has the following parts:
- Executive Summary
- Company Description
- Market Analysis
- Menu Design
- Restaurant Concept and Design
- An Overview of the Market
- Marketing Strategy
- External Assistance
- Financial Analysis
Every restaurant is different and its plan varies according to the type of restaurant as well as the place it is located in. However, here’s what each part of most restaurant planning sheets essentially deals with:
This is the first part of the Restaurant Planning Sheet. It serves as an introduction of sorts for your proposed setup. It mainly summarises the whole idea that you have in mind. Do you want to open a fine-dine restaurant or a fast food joint? A café? Discuss it briefly.
It should be informative and eye-catching enough to draw potential investors towards the idea. First, start by mentioning your mission statement as well as the concept you have for your restaurant. You don’t have to cover every minute detail about the project, but you do have to discuss factors such as execution and expected costs briefly. It is important to mention the profits that you expect from the endeavor too. An executive summary lets investors get the gist of your idea quickly, instead of having to read the whole restaurant planning sheet.
This is the first part of your restaurant planning sheet, but it is a good idea to write it only after you’ve prepared all the other sections. That way, you will have a better idea of the plans for your business and will be able to summarise them in a more structured manner.
In this part, you introduce your company to prospective investors. Begin with the name you have in mind for your restaurant. Next, mention the location it will be opened up in. Give your contact details, along with other cofounders’ details. You could also discuss your work history and experience in the field and what led you to start this project.
Further, you need to discuss the legal status of the restaurant. Mention the goals you’ve set for the short term as well as well for the long term. You could also talk about the status quo of the market you’re in and the current fads in the industry. Using this data, you could back up your idea and justify why you think your venture will be a successful one.
This is one of the most detailed parts of a Restaurant Planning Sheet. It has three sections:
- Competition Analysis – Here, you have to mention the numerous other restaurants in your area that have concepts similar to yours. Talk about the restaurants who have a loyal customer following. Give details about their menu structure, their timings, and their prices as well. After all these details, talk about how you will make your restaurant stand out to ensure that customers keep coming back for more.
- Industry Analysis – Essentially, you have to talk about who exactly your target audience is. Do you want to cater to students from nearby colleges? Or do you want to create a quiet place where working professionals can come in for some peace and a good cup of coffee? Explain the demographics that you have in mind and why you think your restaurant will be the perfect place for them to visit time and again. Go into detail about their spending habits and preferred cuisine too.
- Marketing Analysis – Marketing varies largely from one target audience to another. Once you’ve revealed to your investors who your target audience is, talk about how you plan to reach them. Are you going to provide deals now and then to customers? If so, how will these deals differ from the deals most restaurants offer to their customers already? Will you start one of a kind loyalty programs? Are you going to collaborate with Instagram influencers for the launch of your project? Do you have a plan in place for your Instagram page? Mention all your ideas for restaurant digital marketing strategies here.
Before a customer chooses to walk into your restaurant, he or she will first check your menu online. An enticing menu is one of the most important aspects that can draw a customer to your restaurant. Even if you haven’t created a final menu for your restaurant yet, you need to mention a tentative menu in your restaurant planning sheet. It should have a wide range of food items and drinks that go along with your theme. Adding your logo to the menu along with a fitting design can make the menu seem very appealing. Try to be creative with the names of dishes too.
Your sample menu also needs to mention the prices you plan to offer. These prices need to be in sync with the cost analysis that you’ve done, which normally comes later in the restaurant planning sheet. This way, potential investors have a better idea of your restaurant and the kind of profits you can expect to generate.
In this section, you need to give a brief introduction to the founders and owners of your restaurant. You could discuss their background, education and work history. Make it a point to showcase how everyone’s work experience as a whole will ensure the success of your startup. Ideally, investors need to know about who the top management is going to be for the project. Even though it isn’t important to have a full-fledged team or staff in the initial stages of setting up a restaurant, your restaurant planning sheet needs to show a few faces that are going to be responsible for setting up and running the restaurant.
Restaurant Concept and Design
This section is where you show your investors what exactly you have in mind for the restaurant. You need to highlight how unique your concept is. Any ideas that you have for décor, lighting and other aesthetic aspects need to be on display here. Feel free to add pictures of décor and furniture that you would like to use for your restaurant. Either you could get photographs of existing restaurants or you could check out Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration. All in all, you need to paint a picture of what you want the theme and aesthetic feel of your restaurant to be. Apart from this, you also need to discuss what kind of food tech you would like to use as well as the kind of kitchen equipment you will invest in.
The location you pick for your restaurant is extremely important. It plays a huge part in the success of your restaurant. Ideally, your restaurant should be located close to your target audience in a prominent place that they’re bound to cross from time to time. It could be in a mall or even a popular market in town. If your restaurant is located in a lesser prominent place that doesn’t have a lot of footfall, it is unlikely that you will be able to build a solid client base. So, you need to discuss the location you have in mind for your restaurant in your restaurant planning sheet. Go into detail about the existing daily footfall here, neighboring businesses and distance from nearby colleges and offices. Even if you haven’t finalized a single location, mention the four to five options that you plan to pick from.
An Overview of the Market
This is an extension of the market analysis mentioned before. Here, you need to go into much more detail about the prevailing conditions in the market. You need to cover the obstacles that might come up in the initial stages of your restaurant and how you plan to deal with them. Take into account all the competitors in your area and discuss your methods of being unique so that you stand out from them.
When it comes to spreading the word about a new restaurant in town, you have to market yourself on every available platform. In this section of your restaurant planning sheet, go into detail about all the possible marketing methods you want to use before starting your restaurant as well as in the long run. Discuss the various options you have on social media to reach your customers as well as online aggregators such as Zomato that you think you will benefit from. If you’d like to partner with food delivery apps such as Swiggy or if you plan on launching an app or website for your restaurant, mention it here.
While setting up a restaurant, it is best to seek professional assistance in the domains that you are not familiar with. Make a list of software that you plan to sign up for, such as restaurant POS systems. You could also discuss other equipment such as billing systems. Next, you could mention interior designers that you plan to work with to give your restaurant the kind of décor you like. Accountants you would like to hire to manage the financial side of the business can also be mentioned here. Go into detail about how each of these could help your restaurant grow and be successful.
This is a crucial section of your restaurant planning sheet. While investors might get impressed with unique ideas and creative concepts, they won’t get on board unless you have a foolproof financial plan in place. It is best to acquire professional assistance to chalk out this section. Hiring an accountant will ensure that all your estimates for costs and profits are as accurate as they can be. It will give you an in-depth picture of how it will be to run your restaurant in real life. You need to mention factors such as the seating available in your restaurant, footfall expected, the profit you expect to make for every dish and so on.
All in all, a powerful restaurant planning sheet can help you in the long run. Not only is it much easier to find willing investors when your restaurant planning sheet is foolproof, but it will also help you when you encounter obstacles. The more detailed your restaurant planning sheet is, the more effective it will be.