The worst advice we’ve ever heard about writing a restaurant business plan
Starting any business can be really exhausting and stressful, but not having a good business plan in place can really set you up for a disastrous journey.
Plan to fail
It rings true for whatever you decide to undertake in life.
A diligently prepared business plan not only provides clarity to business owners in terms of financial requirements, resource planning, and the company’s return profile, but is a roadmap that takes you forward from a goal to another. A business plan for a restaurant is particularly challenging as it involves an industry that already has a large number of players and is very dynamic. If you haven’t yet created a restaurant business plan today, it’s never too late to start now.
So let’s hit the road and start off with a real blast! We’ve rounded up some of the worst advice we’ve come across. They are not in any particular order.
1. “Don’t investigate the neighborhood layout.”
Seriously? What were they thinking? The neighborhood is what will feed your income, grow your business, and ultimately keep your doors open. If you don’t know where your potential customers are, how will you fill those seats?
Research what the locals prefer, how often they frequent the restaurants around their homes, and what their menu of interest would be if a restaurant opens nearby. These are all aspects that you will only know if you do your homework. Go talk to the neighbors, submit survey sheets, host an ad contest, or just set up a little pop-up booth near your chosen location to see if any customers come sniffing around.
2. “Stick with a set menu or it will be expensive to maintain.”
Variety is the key to an abundant and exciting life. Provide your clientele with just that! Global restaurant consultant Aaron Allen provides great advice on how often you should change your menu. Restaurants aboard today’s digital train have also converted to using electronic menus for their restaurant ordering system. That way, you won’t have to spend big costs every time you decide to fix things. Avant-garde and rudimentary are also a trend today. Just make sure the theme fits your restaurant.
3. “Move it until something sticks.”
In an industry that is highly saturated and dynamic, this is a very bad idea! Not having a foolproof menu, not planning the right number of people, or not formulating a game plan when it comes to next year can set you up for failure. Vague and ambiguous business goals such as “be different”, “aspire to be the best in the business” are simply lofty terms that do not inform anything about the underlying business proposition.
4. “Social media is the trend today, so you need to connect now.”
Don’t get us wrong. Social media is in fact the current trend and most companies are advised to break down the barriers and establish their presence as much as possible. In fact, one popular advice given is to take advantage of trending topics and use them to attract customer attention and eyes. However, going overboard on social media without having thought about your public relations or communication strategies can do more harm than good. How will your staff handle customer feedback online? Dealing with negativity online is another complicated endeavor, which can greatly affect a company’s reputation. If you need more guidance on dealing with customers online, read this related article.
5. “Leave your personal goals out of the equation.”
High-performance athletes and successful entrepreneurs in many fields set personal goals. Why shouldn’t you? Your personal goals are equally important and therefore should be included in your business plan. You are not only setting goals for the business, but also for yourself. Put them up in advance and you will see how they can link to each other in the future.