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Your Restaurant Business Plan: Why an Appendix Could be the Secret Ingredient

So you've decided to open a restaurant? Congratulations! Starting your own restaurant is a bold and exciting venture and getting one off the ground can lead to a lifetime of rewards - as long as you don't mind dedication and hard work! A big job involving plenty of steps, when starting your own restaurant it is important to stay on track. In addition, you want to analyze the local market and competition as well as show your investors you have covered every possible aspect in detail. One of the best ways to accomplish these tasks is by creating a restaurant business plan.


For most entrepreneurs looking to get into the food and beverage business, creating a restaurant business plan is a crucial step - one to approach with care, diligence, and boundless creativity. While there are standards regarding what to include in your plan - there is always room to think outside the box. In fact, it could be the more unique aspects of your plan that end up swinging things in your favor, and the appendix of your plan is the place where you can really shine by including things like your restaurant menu, brochure, marketing flyers, and a restaurant business card to add style and flair to your presentation. The nuts and bolts of your business plan are essential, but if you look at the appendix as the secret ingredient in your business plan recipe, it may be easier to get the creative juices flowing.


The recipe for a great restaurant business plan


Before we discuss how to make your appendix stand out, let's go over the basics. For the most part, every restaurant business plan should include the same components. Consult a sample restaurant business plan or a restaurant business plan template if you want more guidance, but for the most part, every plan includes the following basic sections:


  • Table of Contents This is what it sounds like - a table of contents page denoting all the sections in your business plan.


  • Executive Summary The executive summary is an introduction to your business plan. Make it dynamic and stick to the point - many investors will read the executive summary and skim through the rest, so cover the key areas in a concise and interesting way. Name your restaurant and location, then paint a colorful picture of your restaurant's style, what makes it different, and why you and your team are the right people for the job. You know why you decided to open a restaurant; here is the place to make it clear to investors.


  • Business Description This section goes into more detail about your restaurant. It provides the name, exact location and more information on the style, look, and feel. It also briefly covers the competition and target demographic.


  • Market Analysis Your market analysis section is the place where you analyze your industry, target market, and competition. Generally, there are four parts to this section. The first section covers industry trends as they relate to your concept. The second section covers your target demographic, including age range, lifestyle, and spending habits. The third section should identify the presence of your target market within the location you are covering. Finally, the fourth section should address competitor restaurants in your area, how they stack up against yours, and what you will do to stay competitive.


  • Marketing Strategy This section will cover the ways you intend to drive business to your restaurant. Answering questions like how you will target your demographic in detail by providing ideas for specific product promotions, marketing campaigns, and advertising tactics is key. If you plan to partner with other businesses, mention it. If you've already secured some kind of advertising, mention that as well. Go into as much detail as possible here - it will not only prepare you for executing your strategy down the line, but it will show investors you've really done your legwork and are ready to hit the ground running.


  • Business Operations, aka Products and Services Sometimes referred to as Products and Services, the Business Operations section is where you go into detail about how your business will run from day to day. How many employees will you hire and what policies and procedures will be in place to ensure good customer service? How will the hours and location of your restaurant service your target market? Where will you source your food and ingredients? What tools and technology will you use to keep the business running smoothly?


  • Management and Ownership Here is the place to explain what role you will play in the day-to-day management and operation of your restaurant and who will assist you. How many management roles will there be and how will managers work together on a daily basis? Will you be hiring for any positions that add to the customer experience or the delivery of your products and services, such as a greeter or sommelier? Mention so here.


  • Funding aka Forecast The most difficult part of creating a business plan for a restaurant is often the Funding, a.k.a. Forecast section. In this section you want to address costs of course, but also projected growth and how soon you intend to make a profit, as well as risks involved and reasons why you can overcome them. Generally this section includes a few key documents: industry data and trends, possible risk analysis, sales projection, expenses budget, cash flow statement, income projections, and a break-even analysis.


The secret ingredient - the appendix - and how to make it work for you


Once the nuts and bolts of your plan are in tip-top shape, it's time for the fun part - the appendix. Though the materials in your appendix should be just as professional as the rest of the material in your plan, now is your time to really shine and give investors a sense of who you are. Some of the printed materials you may want to include in your appendix are:


  • A restaurant menu
  • A brochure targeted to investors
  • A restaurant business card
  • Pictures of the interior and exterior or sketches if it isn't yet complete
  • Resumes of key personnel
  • Sample advertisements or marketing flyers


And the list goes on. No matter what you decide to include in your appendix, the main goal is to sell your investors like you would your audience. Use forward-thinking designs, elegant marketing materials, clever copy and compelling promotions. Look at sample restaurant menu designs for inspiration and design a menu that encapsulates the feel and ambiance of your restaurant. Research brochure templates for design ideas and come up with marketing brochure that makes investors' mouths water.


Once you've packed your appendix with stunning creative, you may want to add some business-y documents - such as licenses, certifications, inventory lists, and contracts and leases. But if you do your job and create marketing materials that impress, the licenses and certifications just might be ignored.