How to Actually Write a Simple Restaurant Business Plan for the First Time

Hello, Restaurateurs and Entrepreneurs, it’s time to get our hands dirty and actually learn how to write a simple business plan for the first time. This is part of the continuing series on Owning A Restaurant. The last post, Writing a Business Plan For Your Startup, was posted over two months ago and a lot has happened since then.

I’ll dispense with the normal apologies for taking so long to publish this next step. Instead, I’ll share some good news on WHY it’s taken so long.

It looks like I’ve finally secured an investor for my next restaurant!

No one has signed any paperwork yet, but the good thing is this: it looks like I’ll be going through the steps of opening and owning a restaurant and actually writing a simple restaurant business plan right along with you. With that being the case, my advice and tips should become even more relevant and specific.

To my international readers: I’m going to continue to try and focus on the main points of opening a restaurant instead of the specific legalities, paperwork, etc. The exact legal steps to starting a business are different from state to state and country to country. If you have any questions or need help, always feel free to message me. I would love to answer your questions while hearing about how business is done in your country.

How Do You Actually Write A Restaurant Business Plan?

In Writing a Business Plan For Your Startup I went over the main reasons of why it’s important for every business owner to write a business plan.

But now what? How do we actually write the plan? What actual information does a simple plan need to include?

I did some research and, across the internet, you can find a ton of information on business plan writing. Some pages even address the restaurant industry in particular. But as I was researching, I noticed that these sites and plans put heavy emphasis on the fact that a restaurant is a business. They also constantly reiterate the fact that there is money at stake.

While that’s absolutely true, they forget to take into account the fact that for some of us, this is the culmination of a lifelong dream, an expression of our passion, and the reward for years of debilitating hard work. It’s our art and our creative outlet.

So, from our perspective, let’s go over exactly what we’ll need our plan to consist of in order to satisfy the business side of things and the artist side of things.

First: Sum It All Up

I’m like you. I know what I need to do in my head, but when it comes to getting it down on paper, that’s a different story. But we’ve got to do it. When it’s down on paper, it’s no longer just a vision in our head, it turns into something real.

For me, I chose to keep this step as simple as possible.

The first thing I did was sit and write down all of the thoughts and ideas I’ve envisioned for my restaurant. During this step, don’t worry about what your budget will be, how big your restaurant space needs to be, where it will be located, or anything technical at this point. Simply put down what’s in your head. Don’t even worry about being able to describe it to someone else. Right now, this step is for your eyes only.

This is what I listed:

  • I love sandwiches.
  • I love pizza.
  • I love wine, beer, and cocktails.
  • I love eating outdoors in big groups with my friends and family at community tables.


  • I love listening to live music that’s done right and doesn’t drown out conversation.

And that’s it. I just want those five basic pillars to build my business plan around. From those five items, you can guess what kind of food I’ll serve, the kind of drinks I’ll serve, what the vibe will be, and what the atmosphere will be.

Of course, you’re going to eventually go into more detail. You may find that you change your mind on a few of your ideas. Or, you may have more than five ideas. You may have so many that it may be impractical, so you’ll have to drop some ideas. Either way, this part of our plan is going to be fleshed out.

But the good thing is we’re already assessing whether our ideas are going to be good ideas. And, like I’ve said, this is the whole point of writing a business plan.

Dream Big

At this point, I’m going to end this post to let you complete this first basic step. Remember, writing this simple business plan should be fun. Don’t think about anything but what you’ve always wanted for your restaurant. List it all and keep the list handy. We’ll use it for the next step in our plan.

I would love to hear about ideas y’all have. If you’d like to share with all of us, please do so. Don’t worry, no one is going to steal your plans…no one can do your idea better than you.

Do you know someone who own’s a restaurant and could use my help? Please share this series with them or suggest they contact me for advice.

If you’re like me, then you must be looking forward to the next step in our How To Actually Write a Simple Restaurant Business Plan for the First Time series. Stay tuned and see you soon.

8 Comments Add yours

  1. Patrick says:

    As an “end user,” or customer, I always find these inside views to be quite fascinating. I’m sure many don’t realize what all goes on behind that $8.00 hamburger plate.

    Liked by 1 person

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