The Basics of a Business Plan

I’ve written many blogs discussing tax issues relating to individuals and small businesses. Today, I’d like to focus on restaurants and discuss one of the most important and essential items for opening a restaurant, the business plan. A business plan is your road map to navigating the rises, falls, and unexpected curves in operating your restaurant.

In this blog, I will briefly go over what you should include in your business plan for maximum preparedness. First, there are ten main parts to a business plan.

1. Cover Page – displays the legal name of the business and the names, other entities, and office addresses of all the people submitting the plan.

2. Table of Contents – lists the contents of your plan and the relative page numbers.

3. Executive Summary – a one-page overview of your business plan.

4. Mission Statement – one or two sentences that describe your restaurant and your long-term goals.

5. Business Concept – describes in detail your plans for your restaurant, including the hours of operation, size, location, pricing strategy, menu, decor, style of service, and general ambiance.

6. Market Analysis – identifies your restaurant’s market and how it differs from any competitors.

7. Target Demographic – describes the customer that would visit your restaurant, along with their education, income bracket, needs and wants, patters of consumption, etc.

8. Marketing Strategy – how you intend to market your restaurant, what sales and advertising strategies you plan to use and whom you are trying to reach.

9. Management Team and Personnel – names the management personnel, their personal histories, qualifications, and experience.

10. Policies and Procedures and Systems – outlines the systems by which you plan to run your restaurant to increase efficiency, cut costs, and reduce your headaches as an owner.

11. Financial Projections – defines the start-up and operating costs, funding source(s), a sales forecast, cash flow, and other financial analyses. You will want to continue to track these and other metrics monthly.

Generally, a business plan is divided into the business section and the financial section. The business section articulates vision and goals of your restaurant, including things like the mission statement, the concept (menu, pricing, service, decor, location, and atmosphere), market analysis, target demographic, marketing strategy, how management will be structured, and your policies and procedures.

The financial section will be where you list your start-up requirements and your financial projections, taking care to accurately project your sales and expenses, determine the point where revenue matches expenses, and generate financial reports. The income statement and cash-flow analysis are likely to draw the most attention from partners and investors.

Developing a business plan is a discipline and will help you think through and articulate your plans. Utilizing an organized approach to your ideas for your restaurant, your research, and your expected profitability will make you better equipped to handle unexpected roadblocks, should any problems arise.

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