Starting a New Restaurant? Why Do a Business Plan?
By Arnold Shain
The process of opening a restaurant from start to finish can be an arduous one. It requires a tremendous amount of research and determination, and it can get overwhelming. Often clients ask, “What should I be doing?” It’s the right question to ask, but not easily answered. Why? There is a whole array of things that must be done simultaneously in opening any business, but especially one as complex as a restaurant.
So, where do you start? The best place to start is with a PLAN, of course. Without one, it’s like shooting from the hip. Just trusting your instincts is a recipe for failure. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you are unlikely to get anywhere worthwhile.” So you begin with a business plan, a proven foundation of success and the road map to your dream becoming reality. A quotation worth remembering and putting into practice is, “Failing to plan is planning to fail” from “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey.
Let’s outline two important steps necessary to create a successful business plan:
- You must have an idea of the type of restaurant you want. That means coming up with a well-thought-out concept, visualizing it with graphics, and describing it in writing. Your entire business plan will evolve from this: how to bring that dream restaurant to life; how to give it its unique personality; and what makes it different from other restaurants (USP).
- Study successful restaurants in order to formulate a model that fits into what you have in mind. You don’t have to copy them, just determine why you think they are successful. Is it their food? Is it their friendly service or atmosphere? Most likely it will be all three, fitting together to form a total concept of great food, prompt and attentive service, and a comfortable, if not unique, atmosphere.
First, make an outline of what your business plan will include. Remember, BE SPECIFIC! Writing a business plan forces you to think through where you are going, how you plan to get there, and it is a tried and true road map to success. By organizing your thinking, you are able to translate your thoughts to paper (or a computer screen) better and watch a rigorous plan of action begin to take form.
For more info on how to do a “complete” business plan and Brand Statement contact Arnold Shain.