Restaurant Business Plans: Your Questions Answered

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Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about restaurant business plans.

Q: What are investors looking for in a restaurant business plan?

A: They are looking for a good reason to invest in your concept. Is your concept unique? Will your profit levels be sufficient? Investors also need to be convinced of your passion and commitment to your concept, both mentally and financially. They want to know that you have skin in the game.

Q: Can I write my own restaurant business plan?

A: We know what you’re thinking. No one knows your concept better than you do, so you should be able to write your own restaurant business plan. But writing a restaurant business plan requires more than just knowledge of your concept, it also takes knowledge of the restaurant industry as a whole.

A restaurant consulting company is your best resource when writing a business plan. Its experts will be able to describe your concept in the necessary way to attract investors. At Aaron Allen, for instance, we can draw on previous experience as well as knowledge from all of our departments — research, culinary, marketing, public relations — to determine a unique point of difference for your restaurant that will make it interesting to investors.

Q: How do I ensure that my financial projections are realistic?

A: The only way to ensure that your projections are realistic is through research. You don’t want to predict profits that are too aggressive. Investors are well versed in the types of returns you should expect to receive. A consulting company with a large research department can check your revenue projections against industry standards and similar concepts.

Q: I already have financial investors. Do I still need a business plan?

A: Yes, definitely. Attracting financial investors is only half of your business plan’s purpose. Even if you already have investors, your restaurant business plan will help guide your finances. It sets your budget and outlines your capital expenses and pre-opening costs. Not only does your business plan serve as a roadmap for financial projections, it serves as a reminder of your concept’s brand, positioning and future goals.

Q: What is a working business plan?

A: A working business plan is one that is constantly in the works. You’re not likely to have the same goals after ten years in business as you did when you first opened. Constantly revisit your business plan and make sure that it reflects not only who you are, but where you want to go. You can use your experience to update it. Were your financial outcomes close to what you projected in your business plan? If not, readjust them within your business plan. This way your projections will be more realistic in the future.

Q: How long should my restaurant business plan be?

A: We usually quote business plans to be about 15 to 25 pages long, depending on the complexity of the concept. However, the length of your business plan isn’t as important as the content. Just be sure to tell the story of your concept and convey your enthusiasm and passion for your restaurant.

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