The most important ingredient of a restaurant business plan is what makes the restaurant different and better than its competition. Like every business plan, your document will focus on pro forma financials (profit and loss, cash flow, and balance sheet tables) as well as strong sections on marketing and your implementation strategy. The heart and soul of your business plan, however, resides in the product and service section.
To continue with the food theme, the product and service section outlines the menu of options of what makes your restaurant unique. This section will allow you to go into fairly in-depth detail about your cuisine. For example, if you are opening a new Italian restaurant, the business plan might give a brief history about the area of Italy your food will pay homage to. If you plan to have a liquor license, a section on what kind of alcohol you plan to serve will also be helpful. A paragraph or two on what dishes you plan to serve is not necessarily required for investors, but it will certainly add flavor to your service offering. After all, if you make your investor or loan officer's mouth begin to water, they may very well approve your loan or financing!
Another important focus of your restaurant business plan will be a listing of your competitors. This will give your investor or loan officer a fair idea of how your restaurant will stack up to existing and new restaurants in the area. It is vital that your business plan provides a comprehensive listing of not only their weaknesses, but their strengths as well. This will signal to your investor or loan officer that you are a realist and have a well-balanced view of the market you are entering. In addition, it will also provide an idea how your restaurant will fit in, and how big your target market is.
As long as the business plan for your restaurant adds spice to your target market area and features realistic financial expectations, it will prove to be a tasty morsel for the people you want to impress.