The uncertainty of the restaurant world throughout this pandemic has illustrated the positives for a new startup. Whereas their established rivals must scramble to adapt, a new restaurant is able to build a business plan from the ground up, accounting for a changing economy.
Your restaurant startup business plan is the step-by-step map you’ll follow as you take your dream of owning a restaurant into this new environment. As long as you temper your vision to the realities of the recovering industry, you stand to grow within a rebounding economy.
With a few foundational elements, such as your brand, your point of sale system, and your online strategy, you can build out the support, suppliers, and staff you need to win over post-COVID-19 diners eager to get back to the restaurant experience.
Business Plans Are the Foundation of Success
The Harvard Business Review has found that the pandemic has dramatically increased customers’ willingness to experiment with different offerings. That opens up opportunities for restaurant startups, especially those that have something unique to offer.
To take advantage of such conditions, startups must clearly define their unique appeal to diners and practically plan for turning that difference into sustainable revenue. That’s where your business plan comes in.
Consider each of these areas when putting it together:
- Your Brand
- Your Menu
- Your Suppliers and Partners
- Your Customers
- Your Financials
- Your Staff
- Your Online Presence
Finally, you need to plan for how you’ll manage all the day-to-day management, preparation, and service demands that build a successful business. The answer in today’s world is to build around a central, all-in-one point of sale platform that can be accessed through the cloud.
1. Your Brand—How Will You Attract Customers?
A restaurant’s brand is its identity. It’s the mixture of logo, name, atmosphere, menu, and service that tells a customer what to expect from your dining experience. The brand you describe in your business plan needs to become a consistent personality that customers can trust to fulfill their needs.
Your business plan will contain practical guidelines, such as how to represent your logo on signage, menus, and loyalty cards, as well as broader instruction on the type of food, the source of produce, the appearance of staff, and more.
2. Your Menu—The Heart of Your Restaurant
If your restaurant startup business plan is a blueprint to building your dream, then the menu is the cornerstone. The first thing any prospective diner will ask about your restaurant is, “What kind of food do they serve?” Your answer has to be clear and reliable, cater to customer demand above self-interest, and represent quality and value.
Your menu decisions will also inform the needs of your kitchen and suppliers.
3. Your Suppliers and Partners—What Is the Cost of Doing Business?
You can’t make food out of ingredients you don’t have, and you can’t serve it on tables you don’t own. The suppliers you use are the raw building blocks of your business and will become an integral part of your working life. Your business plan should detail the who, where, and when of all your primary resources partnerships.
4. Your Customers—Who Is Your Audience?
To paraphrase, you can’t appeal to all of the people all of the time, but you can appeal to some people all of the time. Restaurateurs have to make choices. For example, do you want to attract family groups with broad tastes at the expense of more refined diners?
Your customer appeal goes beyond your menu to include key elements such as price point, ambiance, and locale.
5. Your Financials—How Will You Generate Profit?
Your business plan is the first thing a bank or potential investor will want to see when they consider supporting you financially. Considering all of these areas is essential, but most important is how you will bring them together to demonstrate a future and sustainable profit.
You must provide detail on all the startup costs, overheads, and consistent outgoings you’ll need ahead of opening night, including supplier relations, staff wages, and marketing expenditure.
6. Your Staff—The Smiling Face of Your Business
Your staff is the face of your restaurant, the wealth of knowledge that will guide diner decisions, and the first point of contact for every success and conflict—so you’ve got to have a clear plan for how you’re going to train them, pay them, and build a roster around them. Each member of the team needs a uniform, a clearly defined role, and an intimate understanding of your vision.
Your business plan will identify the key characteristics of your senior staff—most notably your head chef, who should be more of a manager than a cook—and how you plan to delegate to and cooperate with them.
7. Your Online Presence—Build on the Online Boom
If there’s a single lesson the COVID-19 pandemic has taught the restaurant industry, it is that everyone needs an online presence in the 2020s. There has been a consistent and dramatic rise in the number of people ordering delivery and take-out food from local restaurants over the past year, with up to a third of people in suburban settings making remote orders.
Startup restaurants are in a unique position to build their initial offerings around what established rivals still consider to be “alternative” revenue and to rapidly gain a steady clientele.
As with all the essential pieces of a business plan for a restaurant startup, this online component is most effective when it functions as a part of an overall management structure. To achieve that you need a comprehensive management platform and POS system that can give you total control over your business.
A Restaurant Startup Business Plan Goes Hand-in-Hand with POS Solution
The leading POS solutions combine sleek, multi-purpose service hardware with the best in modern business software to create an all-in-one platform that lets you monitor and influence every facet of your business.
With mobile service terminals and versatile payment options, you can run a high-end service without disturbing your clientele, while all the inventory, accounting, sales, and customer analytics information is available online through any internet-connected device, including your phone.
The right business outline will take you from visualization to realization, and with the right POS solution, you can make sure it’s all running according to plan.
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