How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan

A cozy restaurant with rustic wooden walls and tables.
Ayseli İzmen
Ayseli İzmen
July 22, 2022

Opening a restaurant is challenging, but no matter how thorny, one of the key steps in the road to success is to create and follow a business plan. And as you’re well aware, constructing a business plan from the bottom may be a lot more difficult than you’d anticipated.

Have no doubts; this guide will help you understand and utilize the steps to have a successful restaurant business. Now, let’s do it all together from the start. Let’s open a restaurant!

You might think why having a restaurant business plan is so important. It is simple: to showcase your business plan for your restaurant.

One day, you may find yourself presenting your business to potential investors; why should they invest in your restaurant? What makes your restaurant better than your competitors? Why should they contribute to your business instead of someone else’s restaurant?

At this point, you have to assure them you are charged to attract their attention. Like with any other script, your business plan must make them want to see the next page instantly, with no doubt. As the business owner, it is your responsibility to extricate them of their suspense.

Opening A Restaurant: Step by Step Guide

A man and woman engaged in conversation outside a business discussing a restaurant business plan.

Even if you may think spending all that time on a business plan is tedious, without an effective business plan, your restaurant is sentenced to absolute failure. And yes, we know you’ve been developing that unique theme for many years.

You spent most of your time analyzing your competitors and deriving their weaknesses. Guess what? Your weakness is you don’t have a restaurant business plan template. There is absolutely no way forward without it.

You can think about these steps as scenes of your favorite movie. Would the movie make sense if you skipped to the end as you started it? Would it give you the same experience? Likewise, this is all about creating the best experience possible for your customers to satisfy them enough as they grow into the word of mouth.

Bear in mind that you are creating the experience. This business plan will determine how your restaurant will be introduced to your customer, the attitude they’ll meet when they first walk in from that door, how their dining experience will be suitable to their dietary needs, and how easy they will pay and walk out the door; only to excitedly await the moment they will return.

Here are the must-have’s of a restaurant business plan:

Executive Summary

Like any other business, after a cover page with your logo, a restaurant business plan template should start with an all-inclusive introduction. Here you should lay out your mission statement, concept and menu of your restaurant, execution plan, potential expenses, and potential profit. Your executive summary must leave no blank spaces in the stakeholder’s mind.

The Front Runners

Who is leading this restaurant? Who is in charge or has control over decisions? Here you should list your entire set of the owner(s), investors, representatives (i.e., franchise), and managers. A good way of doing this is by featuring their images with a confident outlook.

Restaurant Business Overview

What is your restaurant like? What are the concept and cuisine? How is your service style? Are your customers fully served by your employees, or is it a mixture?

What is your customer going to experience when they order in, walk in that door, or enter your website to access your digital restaurant menu? This part should tailor their entire experience. More importantly, why does your restaurant exist?

Analysis of Industry and Target Markets

You are probably not the first to come here. So how are other restaurants performing? Is the atmosphere thriving with customers?

Are their customers satisfied with the menu options? Is it the right time for your restaurant? Is the location best suited for your restaurant to grow?

You have to outline your potential customers. Who are your regulars? Is Jane just finished work and wants to have dinner with her husband? Can Daniel have lemonade with his friends after his school choir?

Does this location offer your restaurant an average type of people? Whose next favorite place is your restaurant? Perform a SWOT analysis, what are your potential strengths and weaknesses? How will it compete in the already crowded marketplace? What will be your marketing strategies against them?

Marketing Strategies

How will you announce your presence in the marketplace? What is your pre and post-opening plan to ensure the momentum will build up over time? Are you collaborating with a branding agency, why did you have chosen agency X over agency Y? Which channels do you plan to reach out to your customers from (i.e., email, website, social media, newspaper, communities)? How will they encounter you on their front page and add it to their agenda right away?

Operating Model

Logistics of your restaurant. Is everything in place and ready to go? How will your customer order (i.e., via restaurant website, third source platform, in-person, take away)?

Which technologies do your restaurant use? Do you offer a QR menu, digital payment system, POS, or coupons? How do you engage and train your staff? All your intended operations should be listed in this section.

Financial Overview

Your stakeholder may want to skip this part directly. They want to know: when and if you will make a profit. This overview should present them your projected sales, opening expenses, pro forma income statement, and your objective break-even analysis. It might help to let an accountant guide you through these steps as you finalize your business plan template.


Your menu is likely to become your customer’s “why”, why they are dining here instead of restaurant x. This should not be a set of few meals from your menu; this should present the experience of dining with you. Make sure to include your prices next to the best meals in your digital menu and partner with a designer to incorporate your logo and specific symbols if you have one.

Entire List of Outside Contractors

Are you going to hire a designer, an agency, an accountant, or a legal team? All the services you intend to receive from them should be listed, with their previous accomplishments and references. Why did you hire architect X over architect Y? This part should clearly point out your reasons.


Floor plans, photos of the location, design of your restaurant, a sample menu, references, graphs, tables, charts… All your data should be in your detailed business plan to ensure your restaurant's credibility. If you skip this part, all your efforts will go void.

You Have A Plan; Here’s Your Next Step

Now you have a business plan for a restaurant. What’s next? Well, you have to ensure you are keeping track of your entire business, starting from the table turnovers, tip amounts, maintenance, and many other operational processes.

Luckily, now you don’t have to worry about any of it. FineDine takes in your business plan and offers real-time data on how your restaurant is doing. With FineDine, you can customize your branding, get weekly analyses of your customers, and digital restaurant menu engineering.

Its AI-powered technology offers smart recognition and integration of 30+ platforms so that you can comfortably run your restaurant with your business plan. Start your free trial now and present a unique experience to your customers with FineDine.