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How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan in 2024 (Step by Step Guide with Templates)

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A comprehensive restaurant business plan is a framework that guides you to plan and forecast every element of restaurant management and operations.

This includes anything from your restaurant's menu design, location, financials, employee training, and a lot more.

Crafting a solid business plan is important, as it helps:

  • Transform your restaurant ideas into reality.
  • Boosts entrepreneurial success by 16% (Harvard Business Study) .
  • Equips you to navigate challenges before they arise.
  • Attracts potential investors.

“You have to show any potential investor that you have an actual plan, you know what you’re talking about, it looks professional, and you’re not just screwing around.” - Charles Bililies, owner of Souvla

Planning is key to restaurant success. Without a plan, you're more likely to join the 26% of restaurants that fail within a year.

Create a business plan to set yourself up for success.

Here's how to get started. 

business plan for food

A step-by-step guide to writing a restaurant business plan

Embarking on a restaurant venture is an exciting prospect filled with endless possibilities.

However, the key to transforming your culinary dreams into reality lies in the foundation of a well-crafted restaurant business plan.

This guide will walk you through creating a winning restaurant business plan , from defining your niche to seeking expert advice.

So, are you ready to cook up some success?  Let's get started. 

Essential components of a restaurant business plan

A well-structured restaurant business plan typically consists of the following key components:

  • Executive Summary

Company Description

  • Market Analysis
  • Restaurant Design
  • Market Overview
  • External help
  • Financial Analysis

Delving into each section

Now, let's take a closer look at each section of your restaurant business plan and explore the key elements to consider:

1. Executive summary

A restaurant business plan should always begin with an executive summary. Why?

  • 80% of venture capitalists say they read the executive summary first.
  • 62% of investors say they would not continue reading a business plan if the executive summary did not capture their interest.
  • A strong executive summary can increase the likelihood of securing funding by up to 40%.

An executive summary not only acts as the introduction to your restaurant business plan samples but also as a summary of the entire idea.

The main aim of an executive summary is to draw the reader (oftentimes an investor) into the rest of your business plan.

The executive summary also helps you envision the identity of your restaurant which essentially shapes the customer experience and sets you apart from competitors.

To establish a distinct identity, you need to focus on c ommon elements of an executive summary, including:

  • A mission statement  
  • Proposed concept development
  • Cuisine selection
  • The overall execution
  • The potential costs
  • Expected return on investments (ROI)

Let's take a more in-depth look at the concept development, cuisine selection, and mission statement.

Further reading

  • How to write a restaurant executive summary

Concept Development

Selecting the type of restaurant, service style, and atmosphere is the first step towards creating a unique dining experience. Whether you envision a sample menu for a:

  • cozy, intimate bistro
  • bustling quick-service deli
  • fast-casual restaurant
  • fine dining establishment

Your concept should reflect your passion and expertise in the industry.

With a broad range of options, it’s critical to scrutinize your target market and pinpoint the most suitable choice considering their preferences and your capabilities.

When planning your restaurant design, keep in mind that it should effectively complement your chosen theme and cuisine.

Additionally, consider the potential for patio seating and the involvement of your management team in making these critical decisions.

A well-thought-out concept will not only set the stage for an unforgettable dining experience but also pique the interest of potential investors.

Cuisine Selection

The cuisine you select for your restaurant can significantly influence its success.

Choosing the appropriate cuisine is vital for distinguishing your establishment from competitors and attracting your target market.

To make an informed decision, consider factors such as:

  • Market demand
  • Expertise and passion
  • Ingredient availability
  • Competition
  • Profitability
  • Cultural fit
  • Seasonality

Dietary restrictions and trends

In the highly competitive restaurant industry, keeping track of current and emerging cuisine trends can be a significant advantage.

From regional delicacies to innovative fusion dishes, understanding what’s popular and in demand can help you tailor your offerings to the desires of your target audience.

By thoroughly analyzing the market and adapting to evolving tastes, your restaurant can remain relevant and successful in the long run.

Crafting a mission statement

A well-constructed mission statement communicates the purpose, values, and goals of your restaurant to potential investors and customers alike.

A mission statement serves as a guiding light for decision-makers and employees, fueling their efforts to achieve your restaurant’s objectives.

To create an impactful mission statement, consider the following steps:

  • Identify the purpose of the restaurant.
  • Contemplate the brand’s image.
  • Account for the target audience.
  • Incorporate company values.
  • Ensure brevity and comprehensiveness.

Related content:  How to Write a Restaurant Mission Statement  

Remember, your mission statement should not only differentiate your restaurant from competitors but also resonate with your target market.

By articulating your restaurant’s unique values and vision, you’ll create a strong foundation upon which to build a thriving and successful business.

2. Company description

This is the part of the restaurant business plan where you fully introduce the company.

Start this section with the name of the restaurant you are opening along with the location, contacts, and other relevant information. 

Also, include the owner’s details and a brief overview or description of their experience.

The second part of the company description should highlight the legal standing of the restaurant and outline the restaurant’s short and long-term goals.

Provide a brief market study showing that you understand the trends in the regional food industry and why the most independent restaurant investors will succeed in this market.

Here's an example of the page layout:  

Restaurant Name: [Restaurant Name]

Location: [Restaurant Address]

Contact: [Restaurant Phone Number] | [Restaurant Email Address]

Owner: [Owner Name]

Experience: [Owner Name] has over [Number] years of experience in the restaurant industry. They have worked in various roles, including [List of Roles]. They are passionate about food and creating a memorable dining experience for their guests.

Legal Standing: [Restaurant Name] is a [Type of Legal Entity] registered in [State/Province].

Short-term Goals:

  • Generate [Amount] in revenue within the first year of operation.
  • Achieve a [Percentage] customer satisfaction rating within the first six months of operation.

Long-term Goals:

  • Expand to a second location within five years.
  • Become a recognized leader in the regional food industry.

Market Study:

The regional food industry is experiencing a number of trends, including:

  • An increasing demand for fresh,  local ingredients.
  • A growing interest in ethnic cuisine.
  • A preference for casual dining experiences.

3. Market analysis

The market analysis portion of the restaurant business plan is typically divided into three parts.

3.1 Industry analysis

What is your target market? What demographics will your restaurant cater to?

This section aims to explain your target market to investors and why you believe guests will choose your restaurant over others.

Comprehending your target market is key to customizing your restaurant offerings to their preferences and needs.

By diving into demographics, preferences, dining habits, and trends, you can fine-tune your concept and marketing strategy to reach and appeal to your target audience effectively.

An example of analyzing your target market

  Comprehending your target market is key to customizing your restaurant offerings to their preferences and needs.

Demographics and preferences

Identifying your primary target market involves considering factors such as:

For example, a neighborhood with a high concentration of families might prefer a family-friendly restaurant with a diverse menu catering to various age groups and dietary preferences.

Conversely, a trendy urban area with a predominantly young and affluent population may gravitate towards upscale dining experiences and innovative cuisine.

Cultural and ethnic backgrounds also have a significant impact on restaurant preferences, with people from different backgrounds having distinctive tastes and customs that influence their dining choices.

By thoroughly understanding the demographics and preferences of your target market, you’ll be better equipped to create a restaurant concept that resonates with them and ultimately drives success.

Dining habits and trends

As the restaurant industry continues to evolve, staying informed about dining habits and trends is crucial for adapting your offerings and attracting customers.

For example, the rise of online ordering and delivery services has significantly influenced dining habits, with many consumers seeking the convenience of having their meals delivered to their doorstep.

Health trends have also had an impact on dining habits, with an increasing number of individuals seeking healthier options when dining out.

By staying abreast of current habits and trends, you can anticipate the needs and desires of your target market and tailor your restaurant’s offerings accordingly.

This forward-thinking approach will not only help you stay competitive but also foster long-term success in the ever-changing restaurant landscape.

  • How to find your restaurant's target market

3.2 Competition analysis

It's easy to assume that everyone will visit your new restaurant first, so it is important to research your competition to make this a reality.

What restaurants have already established a customer base in the area?

Take note of everything from their prices, hours, and service style to menu design to the restaurant interior.

Then explain to your investors how your restaurant will be different.

3.3 Marketing analysis

Your investors are going to want to know how you plan to market your restaurant. How will your marketing campaigns differ from what is already being done by others in the restaurant industry?

How do you plan on securing your target market? What kind of offers will you provide your guests? Make sure to list everything.

The most important element to launching a successful restaurant is the menu . Without it, your restaurant has nothing to serve.

At this point, you probably don’t have a final version, but for a restaurant business plan, you should at least try to have a mock-up.

Add your logo to the mock-up and choose a design that you can see yourself actually using. If you are having trouble coming up with a menu design or don’t want to pay a designer, there are plenty of resources online to help.

The key element of your sample menu though should be pricing. Your prices should reflect the cost analysis you’ve done for investors. This will give them a better understanding of your restaurant’s target price point. You'll quickly see how important menu engineering can be, even early on.

5. Employees

The company description section of the restaurant business plan briefly introduces the owners of the restaurant with some information about each. This section should fully flesh out the restaurant's business plan and management team.

The investors don’t expect you to have your entire team selected at this point, but you should at least have a couple of people on board. Use the talent you have chosen thus far to highlight the combined work experience everyone is bringing to the table.

Download our free restaurant business plan  It's the only one you'll ever need. Get template now

6. Restaurant design

The design portion of your restaurant business plan is where you can really show off your thoughts and ideas to the investors. If you don’t have professional mock-ups of your restaurant rendered, that’s fine.

Instead, put together a mood board to get your vision across. Find pictures of a similar aesthetic to what you are looking for in your restaurant.

The restaurant design extends beyond aesthetics alone and should include everything from restaurant software to kitchen equipment. 

7. Location

The location you settle on for your restaurant should be well aligned with your target market (making it easier to cater to your ideal customer) and with your business plans.

At this stage in the process, its not uncommon to not have a specific location in mind - but you should at the very least have a few options to narrow down.

Tip: When you approach your investors about potential locations, make sure to include as much information as possible about each venue and why it would be ideal for your brand. Go into as much detail as possible - including everything from square footage to the demographics of the area.

Example for choosing an ideal location

Choosing the ideal location for your restaurant is a pivotal decision that can greatly influence your success. 

To make the best choice, consider factors such as foot traffic, accessibility, and neighborhood demographics.

By carefully evaluating these factors, you’ll be better equipped to maximize visibility and attract your target market.

Foot traffic and accessibility

Foot traffic and accessibility are essential factors in selecting a location that will attract customers and ensure convenience.

A high-traffic area with ample parking and public transportation options can greatly increase the likelihood of drawing in potential customers.

Additionally, making your restaurant accessible to individuals with disabilities can further broaden your customer base and promote inclusivity.

It’s also important to consider the competition in the area and assess whether your restaurant can stand out among existing establishments.

By choosing a location with strong foot traffic and accessibility, you’ll be well on your way to creating a thriving restaurant that appeals to your target market.

Neighborhood demographics

Analyzing neighborhood demographics can help you determine if your restaurant’s concept and cuisine will appeal to the local population.

Factors such as income levels, family structures, and cultural diversity can all influence dining preferences and habits.

By understanding the unique characteristics of the neighborhood, you can tailor your offerings and marketing efforts to resonate with the local community.

Conducting a market analysis can be a valuable step in this process.

To gather demographic data for a particular neighborhood, you can utilize resources such as the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey and reference maps.

Armed with this information, you can make informed decisions about your restaurant’s concept, menu, and pricing, ensuring that your establishment is well-positioned for success within the community.

Conducting market research will further strengthen your understanding of the local demographic.

8. Market overview

The market overview section is heavily related to the market research and analysis portion of the restaurant business plan. In this section, go into detail about both the micro and macro conditions in the area you want to set up your restaurant.

Discuss the current economic conditions that could make opening a restaurant difficult, and how you aim to counteract that. Mention all the other restaurants that could prove to be competition and what your strategy is to set yourself apart.

9. Marketing

With restaurants opening left and ride nowadays, investors are going to want to know how you will get word of your restaurant to the world.

The next marketing strategy and publicity section should go into detail on how you plan to market your restaurant before and after opening. As well as any plans you may have to bring a PR company on board to help spread the word.

Read more: How to write a restaurant marketing plan from scratch

10. External help

To make your restaurant a reality, you are going to need a lot of help. List any external companies or software you plan on hiring to get your restaurant up and running.

This includes everything from accountants and designers to suppliers that help your restaurant perform better, like POS systems and restaurant reservation systems .

Explain to your other potential investors about the importance of each and what they will be doing for your restaurant.

11. Financial analysis

The most important part of your restaurant business plan is the financial section . We would recommend hiring professional help for this given its importance.

Hiring a trained accountant will not only help you get your own financial projections and estimates in order but also give you a realistic insight into owning a restaurant.

You should have some information prepared to make this step easier for the accountant.

He/she will want to know how many seats your restaurant has, what the check average per table will be, and how many guests you plan on seating per day.

In addition to this, doing rough food cost calculations for various menu items can help estimate your profit margin per dish. This can be achieved easily with a free food cost calculator. 

  • Important restaurant metrics to track

A well-crafted restaurant business plan serves as a roadmap to success, guiding every aspect of the venture from menu design to employee training.

By carefully considering each component of the plan, aspiring restaurateurs can increase their chances of securing funding, attracting customers, and achieving their long-term goals.

Remember, a restaurant business plan is not just a document to satisfy investors; it is a living tool that should be revisited and updated regularly as the business grows and evolves.

By staying committed to the plan and adapting it as needed, restaurateurs can ensure that their culinary dreams have a solid foundation for success.

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Saif Alnasur

Saif Alnasur used to work in his family restaurant, but now he is a food influencer and writes about the restaurant industry for Eat App.

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How to Write a Food and Beverage Business Plan + Sample Business Plan PDF

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Elon Glucklich

7 min. read

Updated February 17, 2024

Free Download: Sample Food and Beverage Business Plan Templates

The food and beverage sector is booming. Restaurant openings rose 10% in 2023 compared to 2022 — even higher than in pre-pandemic years.

From fine dining to food trucks, farmers to brewers, and wholesalers to coffee makers, there are opportunities across the food and beverage industry. 

But starting a business without covering the basics — your operations plan, marketing tactics, financial strategy, and more — carries huge risks. 

That’s why we recommend you write a business plan.

  • Why write a food and beverage business plan?

Writing a business plan is an easy first step that you can start for free. Plus, businesses that take time to plan are significantly more successful than those that don’t.

Many food and beverage establishments fail because of one of the following:

  • Poor inventory management
  • Underestimated expenses
  • High employee turnover
  • Misjudged the size of their market

Writing a business plan can help you:

  • Develop processes for managing inventory and logistics
  • Understand your cash flows and create a realistic expense budget
  • Budget for competitive employee pay that increases worker retention
  • Analyze your competition and determine how big your market is  

If you’re looking for funding from investors for your business, you’ll definitely need a business plan.

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Using ai and step-by-step instructions.

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  • How to write a food and beverage business plan

Many business plans follow a standard format and you can use it as a starting point when writing your own plan. Here’s what that includes:

Executive summary

  • Company summary and funding needs
  • Products and services
  • Marketing plan
  • Management team

Financial plan

For food and beverage companies, you must give extra attention to your market analysis, operations plan, and financial forecasts.

If you’re ready to start, download a free business plan template and fill it out as you read this article.

A sample business plan outline for a food and beverage business.

Every business plan should include an executive summary . It’s a brief outline summarizing the plan, no more than one or two pages.

We recommend that you write the executive summary last after fleshing out the details of your plan. 

Just summarize the vision for your business, describe your offerings and target market , and touch on your management team and financials. Don’t go into tons of detail — just provide a high-level sense of what you want your business to accomplish.

Opportunity: problem and solution

This section of your food and beverage business plan describes the opportunity you hope to capture.

Maybe you’re a farmer looking to diversify your revenue streams by distributing to grocery stores. Or a bar owner with high-end liquor that competitors in the market aren’t serving. 

Whatever your business is, describe the gap in the market and how you aim to fill it.

If you’re operating a more common type of business, like a restaurant , you can probably keep this section short. But it’s useful to document what makes your business unique and it will help focus your sales and marketing efforts later on.

Market analysis

In a field as crowded with competitors as the food and beverage space, a detailed market analysis is essential. 

Your focus should be on identifying the specific customer segments you aim to serve. 

Maybe you’re a butcher with connections to fresh livestock. Will you be more successful selling directly to consumers, or should you focus on selling to grocery stores and markets in your area?

Or, you’re opening  a diner. Should your menu focus on healthy meals or easy-to-make child-friendly options?

These are the types of questions that market research helps you answer. This section should detail the defining characteristics of your target market, including the demographics and preferences of your ideal customer and the size of the market you’re targeting. Market research questions specific to a food and beverage business could include:

  • Business location and characteristics
  • Area income
  • Local food and beverage preferences
  • Existing food and beverage options 

Elaborate on how your food and beverage offerings align with that target market ’s needs. Remember, you can’t please everyone, so focus on a specific group of people or type of person and build out from there.

Marketing and sales

For food and beverage businesses promotions are how you stand out and seize a share of your market.

The marketing and advertising chapter of your business plan is where you’ll detail your strategies for capturing the attention — and loyalty — of the customers you identified as your target market in the previous section.

With so many options for consumers in the food and beverage space, you’ll likely have to rely on multiple marketing channels , including::

  • Advertising on websites, television, and in relevant publications.
  • Content marketing — developing an engaging website and writing blog content that’s search engine optimized to drive traffic to your site.
  • Engaging with your customers on social media.
  • Offering discounts and customer loyalty programs.
  • Appearing at food and beverage industry trade shows and community events.

It doesn’t matter how delicious your recipes are, how fresh your crops are, or how innovative your cocktails are — if you don’t operate efficiently, your business probably won’t last long.

The operations strategy may be the most detailed section of your business plan, especially if you’re writing it for a bank loan or investment. This section describes how you will run your business day to day.

When writing the operations section, describe the following:

Physical space

Whether it’s a restaurant, a farm, or a food transportation business, describe the space you’re operating in, and all of the physical assets and equipment you’ll need to be successful. 

If it’s a sit-down restaurant, consider including a floorplan mockup in your appendix.

Supply chain 

List the suppliers and partners that get your product to customers. Think about the businesses you purchase ingredients from, the warehouses that goods are stored in, and the trucking companies that deliver your products to grocery stores. 

These are your supply chain partners. It’s crucial that you maintain good relationships with them.

Production processes

How long it takes to make your product, and what materials and equipment are required. Documenting how you produce your goods or services demonstrates that you understand the costs of making them. 

You may also uncover ways to produce them more quickly, or at a lesser cost.

Detail how you’ll handle matters of efficiency like order fulfillment, storage, shipping, and returns, as well as customer satisfaction. If you provide delivery services, document how you will handle the process of getting your product to customers’ homes or businesses.

List your staffing needs, training, and experience requirements for key staff. Also, document the management structure of your business. 

This helps ensure that important tasks you don’t have time to monitor are being done and that workers are being supervised.

Describe investments in payment processing systems, inventory management software, and other tools that support sales or operations in your business. Cataloging your technology systems will help you determine where it might make sense to invest in upgrades for efficiency.

Take some time to write a financial plan . Create detailed financial projections, including sales , expenses , and profitability .

If that sounds intimidating, take a deep breath, and remember that financial forecasts are really just best guesses. If you’re running an existing business, you can start with your previous year’s numbers. If you’re starting, make an educated guess about where you hope to be financially a year from now.

Investors will want to see a: 

  • Sales forecast
  • Income statement (also called a profit and loss statement )
  • Cash flow statement
  • Balance sheet 

If you use a tool like LivePlan , you’ll be able to build out your financial forecasts relatively quickly, even if you don’t have experience with business numbers.

Even if you aren’t seeking investment, the financial plan is crucial for understanding the viability of your business. It allows you to adjust your business model based on projected performance, and make informed decisions about where to spend your money.

  • Food and beverage business plan templates and examples

If you want to see how other food and beverage businesses have created their plans, check out our free library of food and beverage business plans . 

You can download all of them in Word format and jump-start your own business plan.

See why 1.2 million entrepreneurs have written their business plans with LivePlan

Content Author: Elon Glucklich

Elon is a marketing specialist at Palo Alto Software, working with consultants, accountants, business instructors and others who use LivePlan at scale. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Oregon.

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Restaurant Business Plan

Restaurant Business Plan: What To Include, Plus 8 Examples

  • Business Growth & Management , Templates & Guides

Do you want to ensure the success of your new foodservice endeavor? Write a restaurant business plan.

In this article, the experts at Sling tell you why a business plan is vital for both new and existing businesses and give you tips on what to include.

Table Of Contents

What Is A Restaurant Business Plan?

Why is a restaurant business plan important, questions to ask first, what to include in an effective restaurant business plan, how to format a restaurant business plan, efficient workforce management is essential for success.

Man looking at charts on a wall for his restaurant business plan

At its most basic, a restaurant business plan is a written document that describes your restaurant’s goals and the steps you will take to make those goals a reality.

This business plan also describes the nature of the business itself, financial projections, background information, and organizational strategies  that govern the day-to-day activity of your restaurant.

Empty fine-dining restaurant

A restaurant business plan is vital for the success of your endeavor because, without one, it is very difficult — sometimes even impossible — to obtain funding from an investor or a bank.

Without that all-important starting or operational capital, you may not be able to keep your doors open for long, if at all.

Even if funding isn’t a primary concern, a business plan provides you — the business owner or manager — with clear direction on how to translate general strategies into actionable plans  for reaching your goals.

The plan can help solidify everything from the boots-on-the-ground functional strategy  to the mid-level business strategy  all the way up to the driving-force corporate strategy .

Think of this plan as a roadmap that guides your way when things are going smoothly and, more importantly, when they aren’t.

If you want to give your restaurant the best chance for success, start by writing a business plan.

Man on laptop writing a restaurant business plan

Sitting down to write a restaurant business plan can be a daunting task.

As you’ll see in the What To Include In An Effective Restaurant Business Plan section below, you’ll need a lot of information and detail to ensure that the final document is both complete and effective.

Instead of starting with word one, it is hugely beneficial to answer a number of general questions first.

These questions will help you narrow down the information to include in your plan so the composition process feels less difficult.

The questions are:

  • What problem does the business’s product or service solve?
  • What niche will the business fill?
  • What is the business’s solution to the problem?
  • Who are the business’s customers?
  • How will the business market and sell its products to them?
  • What is the size of the market for this solution?
  • What is the business model for the business?
  • How will the business make money?
  • Who are the competitors?
  • How will the business maintain a competitive advantage?
  • How does the business plan to manage growth?
  • Who will run the business?
  • What makes those individuals qualified to do so?
  • What are the risks and threats confronting the business?
  • What can you do to mitigate those risks and threats?
  • What are the business’s capital and resource requirements?
  • What are the business’s historical and projected financial statements?

Depending on your business, some of these questions may not apply or you may not have applicable answers.

Nevertheless, it helps to think about, and try to provide details for, the whole list so your finished restaurant business plan is as complete as possible.

Once you’ve answered the questions for your business, you can transfer a large portion of that information to the business plan itself.

We’ll discuss exactly what to include in the next section.

Man mapping out a restaurant business plan

In this section, we’ll show you what to include in an effective restaurant business plan and provide a brief example of each component.

1) Executive Summary

You should always start any business plan with an executive summary. This gives the reader a brief introduction into common elements, such as:

  • Mission statement
  • Overhead costs
  • Labor costs
  • Return on investment (ROI)

This portion of your plan should pique the reader’s interest and make them want to read more.

Fanty & Mingo’s is a 50-seat fine-dining restaurant that will focus on Sweruvian (Swedish/Peruvian) fusion fare.

We will keep overhead and labor costs low thanks to simple but elegant decor , highly skilled food-prep staff, and well-trained servers.

Because of the location and surrounding booming economy, we estimate ROI at 20 percent per annum.

2) Mission Statement

A mission statement is a short description of what your business does for its customers, employees, and owners.

This is in contrast to your business’s vision statement which is a declaration of objectives that guide internal decision-making.

While the two are closely related and can be hard to distinguish, it often helps to think in terms of who, what, why, and where.

The vision statement is the where of your business — where you want your business to be and where you want your customers and community to be as a result.

The mission statement is the who , what , and why of your business — it’s an action plan that makes the vision statement a reality

Here’s an example of a mission statement for our fictional company:

Fanty and Mingo’s takes pride in making the best Sweruvian food, providing fast, friendly, and accurate service. It is our goal to be the employer of choice and offer team members opportunities for growth, advancement, and a rewarding career in a fun and safe working environment.

3) Company Description

Taking notes on restaurant business plan

In this section of your restaurant business plan, you fully introduce your company to the reader. Every business’s company description will be different and include its own pertinent information.

Useful details to include are:

  • Owner’s details
  • Brief description of their experience
  • Legal standing
  • Short-term goals
  • Long-term goals
  • Brief market study
  • An understanding of the trends in your niche
  • Why your business will succeed in these market conditions

Again, you don’t have to include all of this information in your company description. Choose the ones that are most relevant to your business and make the most sense to communicate to your readers.

Fanty & Mingo’s will start out as an LLC, owned and operated by founders Malcolm Reynolds and Zoe Washburne. Mr. Reynolds will serve as managing partner and Ms. Washburne as general manager.

We will combine atmosphere, friendly and knowledgeable staff, and menu variety to create a unique experience for our diners and to reach our goal of high value in the fusion food niche.

Our gross margin is higher than industry average, but we plan to spend more on payroll to attract the best team.

We estimate moderate growth for the first two years while word-of-mouth about our restaurant spreads through the area.

4) Market Analysis

A market analysis is a combination of three different views of the niche you want to enter:

  • The industry  as a whole
  • The competition your restaurant will face
  • The marketing  you’ll execute to bring in customers

This section should be a brief introduction to these concepts. You can expand on them in other sections of your restaurant business plan.

The restaurant industry in our chosen location is wide open thanks in large part to the revitalization of the city’s center.

A few restaurants have already staked their claim there, but most are bars and non-family-friendly offerings.

Fanty & Mingo’s will focus on both tourist and local restaurant clientele. We want to bring in people that have a desire for delicious food and an exotic atmosphere.

We break down our market into five distinct categories:

  • High-end singles
  • Businessmen and businesswomen

We will target those markets to grow our restaurant  by up to 17 percent per year.

restaurant menu board

Every restaurant needs a good menu, and this is the section within your restaurant business plan that you describe the food you’ll serve in as much detail as possible.

You may not have your menu design complete, but you’ll likely have at least a handful of dishes that serve as the foundation of your offerings.

It’s also essential to discuss pricing and how it reflects your overall goals and operating model. This will give potential investors and partners a better understanding of your business’s target price point and profit strategy.

We don’t have room to describe a sample menu in this article, but for more information on menu engineering, menu pricing, and even a menu template, check out these helpful articles from the Sling blog:

  • Menu Engineering: What It Is And How It Can Increase Profits
  • Restaurant Menu Pricing: 7 Tips To Maximize Profitability
  • How To Design Your Menu | Free Restaurant Menu Template

6) Location

In this section, describe your potential location (or locations) so that you and your investors have a clear image of what the restaurant will look like.

Include plenty of information about the location — square footage, floor plan , design , demographics of the area, parking, etc. — to make it feel as real as possible.

We will locate Fanty & Mingo’s in the booming and rapidly expanding downtown sector of Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Ideally, we will secure at least 2,000 square feet of space with a large, open-plan dining room and rich color scheme near the newly built baseball stadium to capitalize on the pre- and post-game traffic and to appeal to the young urban professionals that live in the area.

Parking will be available along side streets and in the 1,000-vehicle parking garage two blocks away.

7) Marketing

Chef working in a restaurant

The marketing section of your restaurant business plan is where you should elaborate on the information you introduced in the Market Analysis section.

Go into detail about the plans you have to introduce your restaurant to the public and keep it at the top of their mind.

Fanty & Mingo’s will employ three distinct marketing tactics to increase and maintain customer awareness:

  • Word-of-mouth/in-restaurant marketing
  • Partnering with other local businesses
  • Media exposure

We will direct each tactic at a different segment of our potential clientele in order to maximize coverage.

In the process of marketing to our target audience, we will endeavor to harness the reach of direct mail and broadcast media, the exclusivity of the VIP party, and the elegance of a highly trained sommelier and wait staff.

8) Financials

Even though the Financials section is further down in your restaurant business plan, it is one of the most important components for securing investors and bank funding.

We recommend hiring a trained accountant  to help you prepare this section so that it will be as accurate and informative as possible.

Fanty & Mingo’s needs $250,000 of capital investment over the next year and a half for the following:

  • Renovations to leased space
  • Dining room furniture
  • Kitchen and food-prep equipment
  • Liquor license

Projected profit and loss won’t jump drastically in the first year, but, over time, Fanty & Mingo’s will develop its reputation and client base. This will lead to more rapid growth toward the third and fourth years of business.

working on restaurant business plan

Most entrepreneurs starting a new business find it valuable to have multiple formats of their business plan.

The information, data, and details remain the same, but the length and how you present them will change to fit a specific set of circumstances.

Below we discuss the four most common business plan formats to cover a multitude of potential situations.

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short summary of your restaurant business plan’s executive summary.

Rather than being packed full of details, the elevator pitch is a quick teaser of sorts that you use on a short elevator ride (hence the name) to stimulate interest in potential customers, partners, and investors

As such, an effective elevator pitch is between 30 and 60 seconds and hits the high points of your restaurant business plan.

A pitch deck is a slide show and oral presentation that is designed to stimulate discussion and motivate interested parties to investigate deeper into your stakeholder plan (more on that below).

Most pitch decks are designed to cover the executive summary and include key graphs that illustrate market trends and benchmarks you used (and will use) to make decisions about your business.

Some entrepreneurs even include time and space in their pitch deck to demonstrate new products coming down the pipeline.

This won’t necessarily apply to a restaurant business plan, but, if logistics permit, you could distribute small samples of your current fare or tasting portions of new dishes you’re developing.

Stakeholder Plan (External)

A stakeholder plan is the standard written presentation that business owners use to describe the details of their business model to customers, partners, and potential investors.

The stakeholder plan can be as long as is necessary to communicate the current and future state of your business, but it must be well-written, well-formatted, and targeted at those looking at your business from the outside in.

Think of your stakeholder plan as a tool to convince others that they should get involved in making your business a reality. Write it in such a way that readers will want to partner with you to help your business grow.

Management Plan (Internal)

A management plan is a form of your restaurant business plan that describes the details that the owners and managers need to make the business run smoothly.

While the stakeholder plan is an external document, the management plan is an internal document.

Most of the details in the management plan will be of little or no interest to external stakeholders so you can write it with a higher degree of candor and informality.

Sling app for managing a restaurant business plan

After you’ve created your restaurant business plan, it’s time to take steps to make it a reality.

One of the biggest challenges in ensuring that your business runs smoothly and successfully is managing  and optimizing  your team. The Sling  app can help.

Sling not only includes powerful and intuitive artificial-intelligence-based scheduling tools but also many other features to help make your workforce management more efficient, including:

  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Built-in time clock
  • Labor cost  optimization
  • Data analysis and reporting
  • Messaging and communication
  • And much more…

Sling's scheduling feature

With Sling, you can schedule faster, communicate better, and organize and manage your work from a single, integrated platform. And when you use Sling for all of your scheduling  needs, you’ll have more time to focus on bringing your restaurant business plan to life.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com  today.

See Here For Last Updated Dates: Link

This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal, tax, HR, or any other professional advice. Please contact an attorney or other professional for specific advice.

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Business and Plans

Business Plan Template for a Food and Beverage Business

by I.J. Karam | Jan 12, 2023 | Business Plans

Food and beverage F&B free business plan template

A business plan is an essential tool for any entrepreneur looking to start a food and beverage business. It outlines the goals and strategies for your company, and serves as a roadmap for success. In this guide, we will walk you through the process of creating a business plan for your food and beverage business, covering everything from market research and financial projections to marketing and operations. Whether you’re looking to open a restaurant, a food truck, or a catering business, this food and beverage business plan template guide will provide you with all the information you need to get started.

Before we start, we suggest you check our ready-made Food & Beverage business plan templates in Word with automatic financial plans in Excel. They will save you tons of time and efforts and will help you build a restaurant, food truck or any other type of F&B business plan in record time.

Now, let’s dive in and learn how to create a business plan for your food and beverage business.

Executive Summary for an F&B Business Plan

An executive summary is a brief overview of the main points of your business plan. It should be written last, after the rest of the plan has been completed, and should be no more than two pages long. In the executive summary for a food and beverage business, you should include the following key points:

  • Business concept: Explain what your business is, what products or services you will offer, and what makes your business unique.
  • Target market: Describe your target customers and the market you will be serving.
  • Financial projections: Summarize your financial projections, including projected sales and profits.
  • Management and ownership: Outline the management and ownership structure of your business, including key members of your team and their qualifications.
  • Marketing and sales strategy: Explain how you plan to market and sell your products or services, including your pricing strategy and how you will reach your target market.
  • Operations plan: Describe your operations plan, including how you will source ingredients, prepare and serve your products, and manage your inventory.
  • Conclusion: Summarize the main points of your business plan and explain why you believe your business will be successful.

The executive summary serves as an introduction to your business plan, and should be written in clear, concise language that is easy for potential investors or lenders to understand.

Here is a sample executive summary for an F&B business:

Our business, [Business Name], is a new restaurant concept that specializes in serving locally sourced, organic, and sustainable cuisine. We will offer a range of dishes that cater to a variety of dietary restrictions and preferences, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Our target market is health-conscious individuals and families in the [city/region] area who are looking for delicious and nutritious meal options. We have conducted extensive market research and have identified a strong demand for our type of food in the area.

We project sales of $500,000 in the first year, with a profit margin of 8%. Our restaurant will be owned and managed by [name], a seasoned restaurant professional with over 10 years of experience in the industry. Our team also includes a highly skilled head chef, a marketing expert, and a dedicated operations manager.

To reach our target market, we will launch an extensive marketing campaign that includes social media advertising, email marketing, and local collaborations. We will also offer a loyalty program and host events and promotions to attract customers.

Our restaurant will have a fully equipped kitchen, a dedicated prep area, and a stylish dining area that can accommodate up to 50 customers. We will source ingredients from local farmers and producers, and will have strict quality control measures in place to ensure that all dishes are prepared to the highest standards.

We are confident that our unique concept, experienced team, and comprehensive business plan will position us for success in the competitive food and beverage market. We are excited to bring our delicious and nutritious food to the community and become a go-to destination for healthy and sustainable dining options

The Problem Opportunity

In this section you need to cite the key problems encountered in the Food and Beverage (F&B) Industry and then show how your own business will solve in an effective manner.

As an example, key problems in the F&B industry can include:

  • High competition in the market
  • Rising food and labor costs
  • Seasonal fluctuations in demand
  • Limited access to funding

Here are potent solutions that your F&B business may want to offer to solve the above cited problems:

  • Differentiate your business and offer a unique dining experience, conduct market research and tailor your offering to the needs of your target audience, and utilize effective marketing techniques to build brand awareness and reach new customers. Foster customer loyalty through loyalty programs or other incentives.
  • Implement cost-saving measures and explore options for automating tasks or processes, increase efficiency by streamlining operations and implementing technology solutions, and offer value-priced menu items or promotions to attract cost-conscious customers.
  • Explore options for offering products or services outside of traditional operating hours, utilize social media and other digital marketing techniques to reach new customers and increase visibility, and consider offering catering or delivery services to generate additional revenue.
  • Research different funding options and create a compelling business plan, build relationships with potential investors or lenders and demonstrate the strength of your management team, and consider alternative forms of financing, such as crowdfunding or pre-sales.

Mission & Vision for a F&B Business

Mission: Our mission at [Your Company Name] is to provide our customers with a unique and enjoyable dining experience that combines high-quality food with exceptional customer service. We strive to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere that encourages customers to come back time and time again.

Vision: Our vision is to become the premier destination for [Your Cuisine] in [City/Region] and to establish ourselves as a leader in the F&B industry. We aim to achieve this through continuous innovation, the use of high-quality ingredients, and a commitment to excellence in every aspect of our business. We believe that by consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations, we can build a loyal following and achieve long-term success.

Products and Services

[Your Company Name] offers a wide range of high-quality food and beverage options to suit the tastes and preferences of our customers. Our menu features a variety of [Your Cuisine]-inspired dishes, including appetizers, entrees, and desserts. We offer a range of options to accommodate dietary preferences and restrictions, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

Our dishes are made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and prepared by our talented team of chefs. We take pride in the quality of our ingredients and the care that goes into preparing each dish. We are constantly innovating and experimenting with new flavors and techniques to keep our menu fresh and exciting.

In addition to our dining options, we also offer catering services for events of all sizes. Our catering team can create customized menus to suit the needs of your event and can provide all necessary equipment and staff to ensure a successful and stress-free event. We have experience catering a wide range of events, including weddings, corporate functions, and private parties.

We are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and strive to create a memorable dining experience for every customer. Our team is trained to provide personalized service and to assist with any special requests or dietary needs. We have a variety of seating options available, including indoor and outdoor seating, and we offer a range of amenities to make our customers’ experience more enjoyable, such as free Wi-Fi and a selection of games and activities.

It is also a good idea to include your menu with pricing in this section:

F&B menu example for business plan

Business Model Canvas for an F&B Business

Value Proposition:

  • High-quality, delicious food made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
  • Exceptional customer service and a memorable dining experience.
  • A wide range of menu options that cater to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences.

Customer Segments:

  • Foodies: Customers who are passionate about food and are always seeking out new and exciting dining experiences.
  • Health-conscious individuals: Customers who are looking for healthy and sustainable options when dining out.
  • Time-poor individuals and families: Customers who are looking for convenient and quick dining options, including delivery and takeout.
  • Social groups: Customers who are looking for a lively and welcoming atmosphere for group gatherings, such as birthdays, celebrations, or corporate events.
  • Dine-in: Customers can visit the restaurant and enjoy their meals on-site.
  • Takeout and delivery: Customers can order meals to be picked up or delivered to their homes or offices.
  • Online ordering: Customers can place orders and make payments online.
  • Social media: The business can use social media platforms to reach and communicate with customers.

Customer Relationships:

  • Personalized service: The business will strive to create a memorable dining experience for every customer through personalized attention and care.
  • Loyalty program: The business may offer a loyalty program to reward repeat customers and encourage customer retention.
  • Online reviews and ratings: The business will monitor and respond to online reviews and ratings in order to maintain a positive reputation and to gather feedback from customers.

Revenue Streams:

  • Sales of food and beverages: The primary source of revenue for the business will be the sale of food and beverages to customers.
  • Catering services: The business may offer catering services for events such as corporate functions, parties, or weddings.
  • Merchandise: The business may sell branded merchandise, such as t-shirts, hats, or tote bags.

Key Resources:

  • Kitchen facilities and equipment: The business will need a fully-equipped kitchen and necessary cooking and food preparation equipment in order to prepare and serve meals.
  • Staff: The business will need a team of chefs, servers, and other staff in order to operate.
  • Marketing and branding materials: The business will need marketing and branding materials, such as menus, signage, and social media assets, in order to promote itself and its products and services.

Key Partners:

  • Suppliers: The business will need to establish relationships with suppliers of fresh ingredients and other necessary supplies.
  • Delivery partners: The business may work with third-party delivery partners in order to offer delivery services to customers.
  • Event venues and organizers: The business may partner with event venues and organizers in order to provide catering services.

Key Activities:

  • Menu development: The business will need to continuously develop and update its menu in order to keep it fresh and interesting.
  • Food preparation and cooking: The business will need to prepare and cook meals to a high standard in order to deliver a superior product to customers.
  • Customer service: The business will need to provide exceptional customer service in order to create a memorable dining experience for every customer.
  • Marketing and promotion: The business will need to promote itself and its products and services in order to attract customers.

Key Expenses:

  • Ingredient and supply costs: The business will incur costs for ingredients and other necessary supplies.
  • Staff salaries and benefits: The business will need to pay salaries and benefits to its team of chefs, servers, and other staff.
  • Rent and utilities: The business will need to pay rent and utilities for its kitchen and dining facilities.
  • Marketing and promotional expenses: The business will incur costs for marketing and promotional activities.

SWOT Analysis for an F&B Business

  • Strong brand recognition: Our business has a strong reputation and is well-known in the local community.
  • Experienced team: Our team has a wealth of experience in the food and beverage industry and is able to provide high-quality products and services to our customers.
  • High-quality ingredients: We use only the freshest and highest-quality ingredients in our dishes, which sets us apart from our competitors.
  • Unique menu offerings: Our menu features a variety of unique and innovative dishes that are not offered by other restaurants in the area.

Weaknesses:

  • Limited seating: Our premises have limited seating, which may limit our ability to accommodate larger groups or parties.
  • Lack of online presence: We do not currently have a strong online presence, which may limit our ability to attract new customers through social media or online reviews.
  • Limited catering experience: While we have experience in restaurant operations, we have limited experience in catering and events, which may be a weakness in terms of expanding into these areas.

Opportunities:

  • Growing demand for healthy options: There is a growing demand for healthier options in the food and beverage industry, and we have the opportunity to capitalize on this trend by offering more plant-based and organic dishes on our menu.
  • Expansion into catering and events: There is a strong demand for catering and event services in our area, and we have the opportunity to expand our business into these areas.
  • Partnership opportunities: We have the opportunity to partner with other local businesses or organizations to offer special promotions or events.
  • Competition: There is strong competition in the food and beverage industry, and we may face challenges from established competitors as well as new entrants to the market.
  • Changes in consumer preferences: Consumer preferences may change over time, and we may need to adapt our offerings to meet the evolving needs and tastes of our customers.
  • Economic downturns: Economic downturns or other external factors may impact consumer spending and could affect the demand for our products and services.

Market Trends

The food and beverage industry is a dynamic and rapidly-evolving sector, and it is important for businesses to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments. According to recent industry data, some of the current trends in the F&B industry include:

  • Health and wellness: Consumers are increasingly seeking out healthy and sustainable options when dining out. This includes a demand for plant-based and vegetarian options, as well as a focus on locally-sourced and organic ingredients. In fact, a survey by the National Restaurant Association found that nearly 60% of consumers are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers healthy options.
  • Convenience and delivery: With busy lifestyles, many consumers are looking for convenient dining options, including delivery and takeout. This trend has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to an increase in online ordering and contactless payment options. In fact, a report by the NPD Group found that off-premises dining, including delivery and takeout, now accounts for over half of all restaurant sales in the United States.
  • Experiential dining: In addition to good food, many customers are seeking out dining experiences that are memorable and unique. This can include interactive or immersive elements, such as live music or interactive cooking demonstrations. A survey by Zagat found that 75% of consumers are willing to pay more for a unique dining experience.
  • Plant-based options: The demand for plant-based options continues to grow, with many consumers looking for healthier and more sustainable options. This trend includes a wide range of plant-based alternatives, including vegetarian, vegan, and flexitarian options. A report by the Good Food Institute found that the market for plant-based meat alone is expected to reach $85 billion by 2030.
  • The F&B industry is a large and growing sector, with the global food and beverage market projected to reach $31 trillion by 2024. The industry is highly competitive, with many players vying for a share of the market.

We believe that by adapting to the latest trends and offering a range of options that meet the needs and preferences of our customers, we can continue to grow and succeed in the competitive F&B industry.

Local Market Trends

Here is it a good idea to discuss how local market trends support your own F&B business idea. You can use local market report or the results of a survey you have done.

Target Customers

Our target customers are individuals and families who are seeking high-quality, delicious food and exceptional customer service. We aim to attract a diverse customer base and to appeal to a range of demographics, including:

  • Foodies: Customers who are passionate about food and are always seeking out new and exciting dining experiences. These customers are typically willing to pay a premium for high-quality ingredients and innovative dishes.
  • Health-conscious individuals: Customers who are looking for healthy and sustainable options when dining out. This includes a demand for plant-based, vegetarian, and vegan options, as well as a focus on locally-sourced and organic ingredients.
  • Time-poor individuals and families: Customers who are looking for convenient and quick dining options, including delivery and takeout. These customers value efficiency and appreciate options that allow them to enjoy good food without spending a lot of time preparing it themselves.
  • Social groups: Customers who are looking for a lively and welcoming atmosphere for group gatherings, such as birthdays, celebrations, or corporate events. These customers appreciate a range of seating options and amenities, such as outdoor seating or private dining rooms, and value personalized service.

We believe that by catering to these diverse groups and offering a range of options to meet their needs and preferences, we can establish ourselves as a premier destination for food and beverage in [City/Region].

Competitive Analysis in the local F&B Market

The food and beverage industry is highly competitive, with many players vying for a share of the market. It is important for businesses to understand the competitive landscape in order to effectively position themselves and to develop strategies for success.

Some of the key players in the [Your City/Region] market for [Your Cuisine] include:

  • [Competitor 1]: This competitor is known for its wide range of menu options and convenient location. Its strengths include a diverse menu that caters to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences, as well as a central location that is easily accessible by public transportation. However, it has several weaknesses, including inconsistency in the quality of its food and a reputation for subpar customer service.
  • [Competitor 2]: This competitor is known for its high-quality ingredients and innovative dishes. Its strengths include a focus on using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients and an emphasis on culinary creativity. However, it has a higher price point than some of its competitors, which may be a deterrent for some customers.
  • [Competitor 3]: This competitor has a strong brand presence and a loyal customer base. Its strengths include a well-established reputation and a strong marketing campaign that has helped to build customer loyalty. However, it has limited menu options and may not appeal to customers who are looking for a wider range of choices.

Competitive Advantages

In order to differentiate ourselves from these competitors and establish a competitive advantage, we will focus on the following:

  • Quality: We will use high-quality ingredients and prepare our dishes with care and attention to detail in order to deliver a superior product to our customers. This will help us to stand out from competitors who may have a reputation for inconsistency in the quality of their food.
  • Service: We will provide exceptional customer service and strive to create a memorable dining experience for every customer. By focusing on personalized service and attention to detail, we can differentiate ourselves from competitors who may have a reputation for subpar customer service.
  • Innovation: We will stay attuned to the latest trends and developments in the industry and will continuously innovate and experiment with new flavors and techniques in order to keep our menu fresh and exciting. This will help us to attract food-savvy customers who are always looking for new and exciting dining experiences.
  • Price: While we will use high-quality ingredients and offer exceptional customer service, we will also be mindful of pricing in order to make our products and services accessible to a wider range of customers. By offering competitive pricing and value for money, we can appeal to price-sensitive customers while still delivering a high-quality product.

We believe that by focusing on these areas, we can differentiate ourselves from our competitors and establish a strong position in the market.

Operating Plan

  • Menu: Our menu will feature a wide range of dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. We will offer a mix of classic and contemporary dishes to appeal to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. We will regularly update and refresh our menu to keep it interesting and to reflect the latest trends and flavors.
  • Kitchen and food preparation: Our kitchen will be fully equipped with the necessary cooking and food preparation equipment, including ovens, stoves, refrigerators, and storage facilities. We will maintain strict hygiene standards and follow all food safety regulations. Our chefs will be trained in the latest culinary techniques and will be responsible for preparing and cooking meals to a high standard.
  • Service: Our service staff will be trained in the latest customer service techniques and will be responsible for providing exceptional service to our customers. They will be responsible for taking orders, serving meals, and handling payments, as well as for maintaining the cleanliness and appearance of the dining area.
  • Hours of operation: Our restaurant will be open seven days a week, from [opening time] to [closing time]. We will also offer delivery and takeout services during these hours.
  • Staffing: Our staff will include a team of chefs, servers, and other support personnel. We will maintain a schedule that ensures that we have sufficient staff on hand at all times to meet the needs of our customers.
  • Facilities: Our restaurant will be located in a prime location, with convenient access for customers and sufficient seating and dining space to accommodate our expected volume of business. We will maintain the cleanliness and appearance of our facilities at all times.
  • Suppliers: We will work with a network of trusted suppliers to source the freshest ingredients and other necessary supplies. We will maintain strong relationships with our suppliers and will work with them to ensure that we have a consistent supply of high-quality ingredients. We will also regularly review our supplier relationships to ensure that we are getting the best value for money.
  • Financial management: We will use financial management software to track our income and expenses and to create financial reports. We will also maintain accurate and up-to-date records of all financial transactions.
  • Legal and regulatory compliance: We will ensure that we are fully compliant with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, including those related to food safety, employment, and business licensing. We will also carry the necessary insurance to protect our business and our customers.
  • Risk management: We will identify and assess potential risks to our business and will implement measures to mitigate or prevent these risks. This may include having contingency plans in place for unexpected events or disruptions, such as natural disasters or equipment failures.

Marketing Plan for an F&B Business

Target Market:

Our target market is foodies, health-conscious individuals, time-poor individuals and families, and social groups. We will use market research to gather information about the preferences and behaviors of these customer segments and will tailor our marketing efforts to appeal to them. For example, we will use social media and email marketing to target foodies with promotions and updates about new menu items and events, and we will highlight the healthy and sustainable aspects of our ingredients and dishes to appeal to health-conscious individuals. We will also focus on the convenience and speed of our delivery and takeout services to attract time-poor individuals and families, and we will use social media and event sponsorship to promote our restaurant as a lively and welcoming place for group gatherings.

Marketing Mix:

  • Product: Our products will include a wide range of dishes made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. We will offer a mix of classic and contemporary dishes to appeal to a variety of tastes and dietary preferences, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. We will also offer catering services for events such as corporate functions, parties, and weddings. We will differentiate our products by highlighting their high quality and unique flavors, as well as by offering a wide range of options to cater to different tastes and preferences.
  • Price: Our pricing will be competitive with other restaurants in the area, taking into account the quality of our ingredients and the level of service we provide. We will offer various pricing options, such as discounts for early bird diners and special deals for group bookings. We will also use upselling techniques to encourage customers to upgrade their meals or add extra items, such as appetizers or desserts.
  • Place: Our restaurant will be located in a prime location, with convenient access for customers and sufficient seating and dining space to accommodate our expected volume of business. We will also offer delivery and takeout services to customers who prefer to dine at home. We will ensure that our restaurant is well-maintained and attractive, and that our online ordering and delivery systems are easy to use and reliable.
  • Promotion: We will use a variety of marketing and promotional techniques to attract and retain customers. These may include traditional advertising methods, such as print and radio ads, as well as digital marketing techniques, such as social media and email marketing. We will also utilize word-of-mouth referrals and customer reviews to spread the word about our business. We will use social media to engage with customers and to promote our products and events, and we will use email marketing to send newsletters and special offers to our subscribers. We will also consider sponsoring local events or partnering with other businesses to reach new customers.

Marketing Budget:

Our marketing budget will be [amount] per year. This budget will be allocated to various marketing and promotional activities, such as advertising, social media marketing, email marketing, and event sponsorship. We will regularly review and adjust our marketing budget in order to ensure that we are getting the best return on investment. We will track the performance of our marketing efforts using metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, and sales conversions, and we will use this data to optimize our campaigns and allocate our budget accordingly.

Hiring Plan

We will be hiring for the following positions:

  • Chefs: We will be looking for chefs with a passion for food and a strong understanding of culinary techniques and trends. Candidates should have relevant culinary qualifications and experience, as well as strong organizational and time management skills.
  • Servers: We will be looking for servers who are friendly, knowledgeable, and efficient, with a strong focus on customer service. Candidates should have experience in the hospitality industry, as well as excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Kitchen staff: We will be looking for kitchen staff with strong attention to detail and the ability to work well as part of a team. Candidates should have relevant food handling qualifications and experience, as well as good physical fitness and the ability to work under pressure.

Qualifications and experience: We will require all candidates to have relevant qualifications and experience for the positions they are applying for. For example, chefs will be required to have culinary qualifications and experience, while servers will be required to have experience in the hospitality industry.

Recruitment process: Our recruitment process will involve the following steps:

  • Advertising: We will advertise the positions using a variety of methods, including job boards, social media, and local media.
  • Resume screening: We will review resumes and cover letters to shortlist candidates who meet the minimum qualifications and experience requirements.
  • Interviews: We will conduct interviews with shortlisted candidates to assess their fit for the positions and our company culture.
  • Reference checks: We will contact the references provided by candidates to verify their qualifications and experience.
  • Offer and acceptance: We will make job offers to successful candidates and will work with them to finalize the terms of their employment.

Selection criteria: In addition to qualifications and experience, we will also consider the following factors when making hiring decisions:

  • Fit with our company culture: We will look for candidates who align with our values and who will thrive in our dynamic and collaborative work environment.
  • Customer service skills: We will prioritize candidates who have strong customer service skills and who are able to create a positive and memorable dining experience for our customers.
  • Teamwork and collaboration: We will look for candidates who are able to work well as part of a team and who are willing to contribute to the overall success of the business.

Financial Plan for an F&B Business

A financial plan for a food and beverage business outlines the financial projections and strategies for the business. It includes detailed information on projected income, expenses, and profits, as well as information on funding and investment.

The main components of a financial plan for an F&B business include:

  • Sales forecast: A projection of the business’s expected sales over a certain period of time, usually 3-5 years. The forecast should be based on market research and should take into account the target market, competition, and pricing strategy.
  • Expense budget: A detailed breakdown of the business’s expected expenses, including costs for ingredients, labor, rent, utilities, marketing, and other operational expenses.
  • Profit and loss statement: A summary of the business’s projected income and expenses over a certain period of time, which helps to determine the profitability of the business.
  • Break-even analysis: A calculation of the point at which the business will begin to turn a profit, taking into account fixed and variable costs.
  • Cash flow statement: A projection of the business’s expected cash inflows and outflows over a certain period of time, which helps to determine the business’s liquidity.
  • Funding and investment: Information on the business’s funding needs and sources, including information on loans, grants, and investments.
  • Financial ratios: A set of calculations that help to evaluate the overall financial health of the business, such as profitability ratios, liquidity ratios, and solvency ratios.
  • Assumptions: A list of the assumptions that have been made in the financial projections, such as projected sales growth, pricing strategy, and operating costs.

For a more detailed guide on how to build a detailed financial plan for your F&B business you might be interested to check our coffee shop financial plan guide , restaurant financial plan guide , food truck financial plan guide or bakery financial plan guide .

Sales Forecast

Let’s assume that [Your Restaurant] has a seating capacity of 100 and that the occupancy rate is 63.00% in Year 1, 70.58% in Year 2 and 78.90% in Year 3.

Also let’s assume that the average check is 25 USD.

This gives us the below revenue forecast for the next three years:

Year 1: 100 x 63.00% x 365 x 25 = 574,900 USD

Year 2: 100 x 70.58% x 365 x 25 = 644,000 USD

Year 3: 100 x 78.90% x 365 x 25 = 720,000 USD

The sales forecast is shown in the chart below:

F&B sales forecast for business plan

Income Statement Forecast for an F&B Business

Below you can find the profit and loss statement forecast for the next three years:

Cash Flow Statement Forecast for an F&B Business

Below you can find the statement of cash flows forecast for the next three years:

Balance Sheet Forecast for an F&B Business

Below you can find the balance sheet forecast for the next three years:

Risk Management

We will take the following measures to manage financial risks:

  • Diversification: We will diversify our revenue streams by offering a range of products and services, such as catering and events, in addition to our regular restaurant operations. This will help to reduce our dependence on any one particular source of income and will provide a buffer against any downturns in the market.
  • Cost control: We will regularly review our expenses and will implement cost-saving measures where possible. This could include negotiating better rates with suppliers, reducing waste and spoilage, and streamlining our operations.
  • Insurance: We will carry the necessary insurance to protect our business against financial losses due to events such as accidents, natural disasters, and equipment failures. This will help to ensure that we are able to recover from any unexpected setbacks and continue to operate smoothly.

Startup Capital

Our startup capital will come from the following sources:

  • Investment: [amount] from [investor/s] – We will receive investment from [investor/s] in exchange for an ownership stake in our business.
  • Loans: [amount] from [lender/s] – We will take out loans from [lender/s] to finance the start-up costs of our business, such as purchasing equipment and inventory.

Our startup capital will be used to cover the following costs:

  • Equipment: [amount] – This includes the cost of purchasing kitchen and dining room equipment, such as ovens, refrigerators, and furniture.
  • Inventory: [amount] – This includes the cost of purchasing food and beverage items to stock our restaurant.
  • Rent: [amount] – This includes the cost of leasing our premises.
  • Salaries: [amount] – This includes the wages and benefits that we will pay to our employees.
  • Marketing: [amount] – This includes the cost of promoting our business, such as advertising and social media marketing.

We expect that our startup capital will be sufficient to cover the costs of setting up and operating our business for the first three months. After this point, we expect to be generating sufficient revenue to cover our expenses and to begin turning a profit.

Key People / Founders

[Founder 1]

[Name] is the co-founder and CEO of [Business Name].

[He/She] has [number] years of experience in the food and beverage industry, having worked in a variety of roles in restaurants and catering companies.

[He/She] has a passion for creating innovative and delicious dishes, and has a track record of success in menu development and kitchen management.

[He/She] will be responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the business, as well as developing and implementing strategies for growth and expansion.

[Founder 2]

[Name] is the co-founder and COO of [Business Name].

[He/She] has [number] years of experience in business management and finance, having worked in a variety of roles in startups and small businesses.

[He/She] has a strong understanding of financial planning and risk management, and has a track record of success in driving profitability and growth.

[He/She] will be responsible for managing the financial operations of the business, including budgeting, forecasting, and fundraising.

Key Milestones

  • Finalize business plan and secure funding.
  • We will finalize our business plan and secure funding from investors and/or lenders.
  • This will involve presenting our plan to potential investors and negotiating the terms of investment.
  • Lease premises and purchase equipment
  • We will sign a lease for our restaurant premises and purchase the necessary equipment to set up our kitchen and dining room.
  • This will involve conducting market research to find the best location and negotiating the terms of the lease, as well as purchasing and installing the equipment.
  • Hire and train staff
  • We will hire and train a team of chefs, servers, and other staff to operate our restaurant.
  • This will involve advertising job openings, conducting interviews, and providing on-the-job training to ensure that our staff are prepared to provide high-quality service to our customers.
  • Launch our restaurant
  • We will open the doors to our restaurant and begin serving customers.
  • This will involve finalizing the menu, ordering and stocking inventory, and preparing the restaurant for operation.
  • Launch our catering service
  • We will launch our catering service and begin accepting bookings for events.
  • This will involve building a team of catering staff, developing our catering menu, and promoting our services to potential customers.
  • Expand our geographical reach
  • We will open a second location in a neighboring town.
  • This will allow us to expand our customer base and to capture a new market.

In conclusion, our proposed F&B business is a viable and profitable venture that will meet the needs of the local community for high-quality, delicious food and beverages. Our experienced management team, strong marketing strategies, and commitment to using only the freshest, locally sourced ingredients will set us apart from our competitors. We are confident that our business plan will attract the necessary funding and support to make our vision a reality. With your support and investment, we can bring our F&B business to life and provide our customers with an unparalleled dining experience.

business plan for food

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How to start your food business: An 8-step guide to success

How to start a food business

February 22, 2024 •

8 min reading

Got a great idea for a food business but not sure how to get started? Find out what to consider, and how to make it happen with our practical 8-step guide to sucessfully launching a food business.

Are you a passionate entrepreneur with an innovative idea for a restaurant, a skilled baker ready to take your talents to the next level, or someone with dreams of hitting the road with a food truck , offering your vibrant street food creations to people anywhere? Starting a new food business can be an exhilarating adventure, but it can also be a daunting journey filled with unexpected challenges and bureaucratic hurdles that require a combination of business expertise and determination to overcome.

Is now a good time to launch a food business?

Well, it turns out that now might be a great time to take the plunge. Research shows that the food service industry is projected to grow from $2,646.99 billion in 2023 to $5,423.59 billion by 2030, at a CAGR of 10.79% during the forecast period.

But the idea of starting up your own F&B business may seem daunting, especially when the outlook for start-ups is bleak. Research shows that as many as 90% of new restaurants fail. What's more, restauranteurs and other hospitality business owners have voiced their concerns lately about the affect of the rising cost of labor, energy and inflation on produce on the market. These rising overheads are making for a very challenging market, even for seasoned professionals to navigate.

In the world of business, there is never a perfect time to start. Even in ideal conditions, a business may not survive. However, some of the most successful businesses have emerged from challenging circumstances and economic hardship. It's logical, really. If a business can thrive during tough times, it demonstrates resilience and the ability to overcome future difficulties. So, don't wait for the perfect moment. Take the leap and give your business every chance at success.

So to help you get started, we’ve pulled together an 8-step beginner’s guide, with insider tips to give you a head start.

1. Make a solid Business Plan

The first thing you’ll want to do before making any investment is do your research, diligently. Spend a few weeks (or even months) getting a deeper understanding of the broader food service landscape, your customer target, latest trends, and competitors, and start writing a business plan for your investors. Think of it as exploring your 4C’s: customer, consumer, channel, and context.

For this, you’ll want to:

  • Define your target market : Who is your new business targeting – baby boomers, Gen X, Gen Z, empty nesters, seniors? Once you’ve defined your target segment, make sure you understand what they buy, why they buy, where they buy from, and what makes them tick. This will help you create a relevant, targeted offering.
  • Define your USP : Find what sets you apart from the rest of the herd. Have a look at what your direct (and indirect) competitors are doing, and establish your point of competitive difference. Now here, it doesn’t have to be radical, but it does have to be relevant. For example, if you’re targeting young families, creating a child-friendly establishment with nutritious children’s meals could be enough to give you a leg up on the competition.
  • Define your restaurant style : Are you thinking of opening a bakery, coffee shop, quick-service, fast-casual, or full-service dining restaurant? Each one of these channels requires its unique approach, operating hours, and investment, so make sure to pick one that suits you as an individual and the work schedule that you’ll want to have.
  • Select your food type/menu offering: Think carefully about your menu and the type of food you’ll want to offer – and do so early on in the process. Find out what the latest menu trends are (especially for your target market) and tailor your offering to them. Some of the hottest trends right now include vegetarian/vegan diets, allergy-friendly & gluten-free menu options , and sourcing your produce locally.
  • Define your brand : Your branding – from your logo and the imagery you use, to the design of your menu, the music you play, and even and uniforms of your staff – define what your business is all about, and what you stand for. It sets the tone for your restaurant and lets your customers know what they can expect. Think carefully about how you want to position yourself and what you want your identity to be.

Once you have your business plan in place, go out into the world – and test it. Find some of your target customers and ask them for their thoughts and impressions. This could be as simple as polling a handful of people off the street to a full-blown market research study.

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2. Secure your financing

Now it’s time to sort your finances. However not everyone who wants to start a restaurant has the personal funding to do so. In fact, most don’t.

Thankfully, there are lots of other ways that you can find funding for your new venture:

  • Get a business loan
  • Turn to family/friends
  • Find outside investors or bring in a partner
  • Venture Capitalists and angels
  • Use crowdfunding
  • Get government aid

Just remember that it’s likely to take years before you turn your first profit, and money will be tight at first. So think about starting small (with a strategy to scale up) and choose your business partners wisely, because they’ll be around for a good while.

3. Choose your location

You know what they say: “location, location, location”. Well, as it turns out, that’s not always the case. The location you choose for your establishment will depend on several factors, and unless you’re relying heavily on foot traffic, you don’t necessarily need to be in the hottest new retail location.

Here are a few factors you’ll want to consider :

  • Cost : based on your sales and profit projections, what can you afford to spend on rent?
  • Accessibility to potential customers : how are your customers getting to your restaurant, by foot, by car, or by public transport?
  • Restrictive ordinances : some neighborhoods have strict noise regulations or restrictions on the times when your suppliers can deliver your produce
  • Proximity to other businesses : competitors and other businesses can influence your traffic, so map out what’s happening around you, and how it could affect your business
  • Plans for the future : consider what the neighborhood will look like in 2, 5, or 10 years, and if there are any major development projects underway that could change the local landscape

4. Design the layout of your space

Once you have a venue, it’s time to start working on the layout and design your space.

Of course, this will depend on the type of establishment you’re running, but typically restaurants dedicate about 45-60% of their space to the dining area, about 35% to the kitchen area and the remainder to storage and office space.

Think carefully about the layout of your kitchen and dining areas, and make sure there’s a smooth flow between the two. Prep space is also critical, so make sure your chefs have enough room to plate, garnish, and decorate their dishes.

This might also be the right time to think about what technology will be required in your food business , be it the POS system, kiosks, tablets, or audiovidual elements that contribute to the atmosphere as well as promoting specific products, technology must integrate within the design of your space.

And most importantly: don’t cut corners in your dining area. This is the stage of the show – literally where all of the magic happens – so finding the right ambiance and decor to make your customers feel welcome is critical to success.

5. Choose your suppliers

As a restaurateur, you’ll be working with several different suppliers – from furnishings to POS systems, bar equipment, kitchen appliances, and of course, food. Make your wish list, scope out your short and long-term budget, and go on the hunt for your partners. But remember that while you don’t want to cut corners when it comes to quality, over-priced suppliers can minimize your margins and run your business into the ground. So make sure to negotiate, hard.

But where do you start looking? Try going to wholesale retailers, local farmer’s markets, F&B conventions, ask for recommendations from fellow restaurateurs, or just do a simple Google search.

You’ll be looking for a trustworthy supplier, who has a good track record of providing quality products and a roster of successful partnerships. For food suppliers, be sure to about their delivery schedules and food safety management practices. And go local – they usually offer fresher ingredients whilst also being better for the planet.

6. Get your licenses and permits

When it comes to regulations, every country, county, and city is different. But make sure that you check in with your local regulatory office, and consider getting legal counsel to make sure you adhere to all of your local health & safety codes and food regulations. Another important license is an alcohol license if you plan on serving alcoholic drinks at your eatery.

Just be aware that some licenses can take months to acquire, so make sure to get started on this process well before opening day.

7. Start hiring your employees

First, think about what staff you need to hire for your restaurant type. Based on the scale of your restaurant, this may include HR managers, purchasing experts, accountants, marketing & sales managers, chefs and sommeliers, waiters, hosts, bartenders, and cleaning and dish-washing staff. Make sure to hire enough staff for each job, and anticipate shift planning and back-ups in case of illnesses and vacations.

Look for candidates with sufficient experience and a successful track record, who are quick on their feet, can multi-task, and are efficient. All of your employees should work well under pressure, and customer-facing staff should have exceptional social skills.

And when it comes to hiring staff, you can never be too careful – so do your due diligence. Make sure to do background checks, conduct several face-to-face interviews, and call their references.

8. Advertise your business

Before opening your restaurant, you’ll want to do a fair amount of advertising to alert your local community that there’s a new eatery on the block.

And while word of mouth is still the best form of publicity, here are a few other ways you might like to consider announcing your new venture:

  • Build a great website: make sure that it’s easy to navigate and includes all of the key information, including your opening times, menu, booking engine, and if/how you cater to special requests
  • Use social media : create accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and Instagram, and share relevant news and high-quality photos of your restaurant and the behind-the-scenes process as you’re getting ready for opening day
  • Run some paid media ads: use ad buying platforms to get your restaurant ads seen and heard by thousands of food-loving people who match your target customer on social media sites, search engines, website ads, streaming services, radio and podcasts. A word of caution though, it's best to leave this to the professionals unless you're confident in you own ability to manage digital ads - using a specialist agency of freelancer will ensure you don't accidentally overspend on your ads.
  • Host a soft opening : this is not only a great practice-run before opening day, but will also help create some buzz about your restaurant within your local community. Make the guest list small, and consider having a soft opening for family & friends, followed by one for local businesses and partners.
  • Offer promotions to new guests : offer a free drink or dessert for the first 10, 50, or 100 customers – you’ll be remembered for your hospitality and generosity. After all, who doesn’t love free stuff?

And with that, we leave you with one last tip for success: work hard, don’t give up, and be prepared to break the mould. The measure of success is ultimately found in the bottom line, however it's important to measure, track and review performance across a range of metrics to continuarlly reassess and tweak your business model as you go.

Starting any new venture will be a challenge and most likely an uphill battle, but in the end, nothing tastes sweeter than victory.

EHL Insights

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How to Start a Food Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

Page Grossman

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This influences which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money .

For many food-lovers, the ultimate dream is to open up their own food business. What many people don’t realize in the beginning is that starting a food business is no easy feat. There’s a lot of business operational skills that are necessary to get started.

But the steps below can help you understand what you'll need to start a food business, and what you should consider before you jump in.

business plan for food

How to start a food business in 9 steps

Step 1: assess your skills.

If you’re reading this article, we can assume that you have a food business idea in mind that you’re interested in starting. That’s great! While interest is the number one step in starting a business, you also need to take a good hard look and assess your skills and assets before jumping into starting a business.

Passion can get you a long way, but when it comes to how to start a food business you’re also going to need hard work and business smarts. While many first-time business owners don’t know everything off the bat, they know how to seek out resources for help when they bump into something they don’t know how to do or don’t understand. That’s a lesson you should learn quickly.

While much of how to start a small food business consists of concrete steps such as choosing your business structure and finding funding, there’s also the soul-searching question: Are you willing and capable to do this?

Before you start, take a moment to write down your strengths, consider your support network, and brainstorm your resources—better yet, research what resources are available to you.

Operating a food business means you’ll need to grapple with:

Hiring and firing employees

Buying from suppliers

Creating a menu

Real estate

Purchasing equipment

And so much more...

With that debate over with, it’s time to talk about the more nitty-gritty, concrete details of how to start a food business.

How much do you need?

with Fundera by NerdWallet

We’ll start with a brief questionnaire to better understand the unique needs of your business.

Once we uncover your personalized matches, our team will consult you on the process moving forward.

Step 2: Create a business plan

A business plan can have multi-fold benefits for your small food business. This is a great way to get your thoughts and plans on paper, which can be useful for you to refer back to you during the process of starting and operating your business. A business plan can also be beneficial if you’re looking for funding to start your food business.

SCORE offer great resources to help you write a business plan for your food business. It can seem intimidating to make one, but if you’re researching how to start a food business, it’s likely that you already have a lot of great thoughts to contribute to your plan. Below are a few of the steps you’ll need to take while creating a business plan.

1. Create a business budget

One of the most important parts of your business plan, especially if you’re seeking funding, is the business budget.

A business budget will include looking at all the costs you’ll need to cover to begin operation of your business, what funds you’ll need to operate the business once it’s up and running, and a more long-term look at how your business will make money and how much money you expect to make.

A few examples of the costs you’ll incur and what you need to consider while starting a food business include:

What type of food business you’re starting

Cost of employees and management team

Initial investment in food product

Design for a physical space

2. Study your competitors

As you’re putting together your business plan, you need to start looking at and assessing your competitors. The food industry is very competitive and many markets are saturated. Before you go any further in starting your small food business, you need to know who else is out there and what they’re doing.

As you’re finding your competitors, make sure to be assessing what they do well and where they’re lacking. That will tell you where there’s a hole that you can fill with your business.

This is also a great time to be looking at prices and assessing the cost of doing business and the reality of how much money you’ll be able to make.

3. Find a hole in the market

The ideal situation for starting a food business is to find a hole in the market. Where is there customer desire that no one else is filling? And just because no one is doing it, doesn’t mean there’s customer desire—to turn a profit, customers have to want it and be willing to buy it.

Finding a hole in the market will help you to decide what kind of food you want to sell and how you want to sell it. There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to how to sell your food including:

Meal delivery

Baked goods sold to other food establishments

In-home food business

Wedding and special event catering

4. Choose a concept

When starting a food business, it’s important to decide what type of food business you want to have. The main options include: a brick-and-mortar restaurant, a food truck, and a home-based catering business.

Each of these options is a viable way to start and operate your business. You might choose to start with one type of operation in the hopes of moving to another one eventually. A food truck and home-based catering business both have complications, but tend to require less capital to get started than a full-fledged brick and mortar restaurant.

Step 3: Set up your business

Once you’ve studied your market, you know where there’s a hole that needs to be filled, and you’ve taken some time to create a business plan, you’re ready to take the first steps toward starting your food business.

1. Choose a business entity

The first step in setting up your food business is to choose a business entity. There are a few different choices and depending on your circumstances, one or the other will be right for your business.

The most common business entity for small food businesses are sole proprietorships, LLCs, and co-ops. Other business entity options includes partnerships, S-corporations, and C-corporations.

Sole proprietorship

One of the most straight-forward business structures available is the sole proprietorship. While a sole proprietorship is simple (and popular among food establishments), it’s also limited in protection. If someone gets sick eating your food and wished to do so, instead of suing your business, they’d have to sue you—and they could go after your personal assets as compensation.

An LLC is one step up from a sole proprietorship. An LLC or limited liability corporation is a legal business entity that separates the business from the owner. An LLC limits a business owner’s personal liability for the business. An LLC also provides businesses with tax efficiency and remains uncomplicated as to ownership structure, so it’s ideal for a food business owner who wants to be somewhat protected, but still have some flexibility when it comes to paying taxes.

Cooperative

A cooperative, which is more commonly known as a co-op, is a business structure that is formed and owned by multiple people. Each member or owner of the business owns a portion of the business. Co-ops are one of the most collaborative business types available and are very common among food operations, especially food production facilities, grocery stores, and farmers markets.

Choosing the right business structure for your future food business can be confusing and initially seem complicated. But, if you start your business and decide you’ve chosen the wrong structure, you can certainly change it. If that sounds like a headache, though, you can consult with a business attorney to help you decide which structure is right for your business.

2. Register your business

If your business is going to employ others, it’s recommended that you register for an EIN, or a federal employee identification number, from the IRS. If you apply online, you can get one in a matter of minutes. An EIN helps you get business loans, manage your taxes, open a business bank account, and more, so this step is highly recommended.

You’ll also probably need to register your business with the state you’re operating in. Rules for how to do this exactly vary by state, and even county, but generally this information can be found on your state’s Secretary of State website. You should do a business name search before registering your business to make sure your desired name isn’t already taken by another business in your area.

3. Register for all required licenses

One of the most important steps in starting a food business is to make sure that you’re legally licensed to prepare and sell food. There are many different certifications and licenses that are necessary for food businesses.

It’s also important to note that what licenses you need will depend upon what type of food establishment your opening, whether or not you’ll be selling alcohol, and where you’re located. Different local jurisdictions can have slightly different requirements for food establishments.

Here are some types of licenses and certifications you might need for your food business:

A food handling permit

A Certificate of Occupancy or CO for your restaurant

A liquor license or beer and wine license to sell alcohol

A food license to make and sell food out of your home

A resale license to be able to buy ingredients at wholesale

No matter what type of food business you’re starting, you’re going to need some permits and licenses. Your local government office should be able to help you figure out exactly which licenses you need for your type of business.

4. Get insurance

As a business that employs workers and has a physical location which hosts customers, you need certain types of insurance to make sure your business is covered in any situation. You might consider:

General liability insurance

Auto insurance for business vehicles

Workers’ compensation

Commercial property insurance

Mobile food vendor insurance

5. Separate your finances

No matter what type of business entity you’ve chosen for your business, it’s important to separate your personal finances from the business finances. This makes figuring out your taxes and expenses much easier.

When you start your small food business, simply start a second bank account for your business. This can be done with the institution you use for your personal banking, but if you want to switch things up, there are some newer banks allow you to open a business checking account online.

And, if you choose to, you can also get a separate credit card that’s used only for business purposes. If you use a business credit card , you’ll be able to build up your business credit (assuming you use it responsible and pay off your bills on time), which can ultimately help you secure a business loan down the line.

Step 4: Look for funding options

When you’re thinking about how to start a food business, one of the major concerns can be the funds you need to get started. The initial investment in a business can be costly and it can take months, even years, before a business is profitable.

To get started, many new food businesses ask for funding from investors, seek out loans, or ask for help from friends and family. Bank loans are one option for funding, though banks typically are hesitant to lend to first-time business owners. There are also alternate lenders you can look into.

1. Equipment loans

An equipment loan is a great option if you need to be expensive equipment for your restaurant or are looking at buying a food truck. An equipment loan is simple: You receive a loan to buy the equipment and the equipment serves as collateral. Meaning if you don’t pay back the loan, the equipment can be repossessed as payment.

This type of loan is easier to get than other types of loans.

2. Friends and family loans

If you’re starting up a food business, who better to get involved and help you out then your friends and family? If you’re saving up to get your business up and running, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Just make sure to write down a loan agreement with your lender and then to stick to it.

3. Line of credit

A line of credit is a fantastic option for someone starting a food business. A line of credit gives you access to a pool of funds. You can borrow from that fund and up to the limit of that fund anytime you need. This is a great option for a business that’s a little cash-strapped for short periods of time.

4. SBA microloan

For food businesses looking to start up a food truck business or for a restaurant that just needs a little extra cash to get going, there’s the SBA microloan. An SBA microloan is a loan of up to $50,000 that the Small Business Administration guarantees. A loan from the SBA is considered the best loan on the market due to its low interest rates and flexible repayment terms.

Step 5: Invest in product and tools

When it comes to how to start a food business, you need more than just cash and business entity to make your dream a reality: You need equipment, food supplies, and something to sell it all on.

1. Research suppliers

One of the most important relationships you form as a food business owner is with your suppliers. Your suppliers are the businesses who make sure you get the food and products you need to keep your business going.

If there’s a restaurant in your area that has closed recently, you might be able to buy their equipment or furnishings for cheap, or take on extra stock they had saved up. Your food can often be sourced locally and trade publications or professional organizations, like the National Restaurant Association, can be helpful.

Find trustworthy, reliable suppliers to make sure you’re always getting your supplies on time and for the best price. Where you source your food from can also be a selling point for your food business, since sustainable companies have become more attractive to customers recently.

2. Point of sale system

A point of sale system, or POS, is the modern version of a cash register. The POS is how your waitstaff takes down orders, charges customers, and receives payment from customers.

There are many restaurant POS systems available on the market that offer enhanced usability for your staff, including:

Square for Restaurants

TouchBistro POS

Lightspeed Restaurant POS

Loyverse POS

Some, like Square, can be great for mobile companies since you only need a card reader to do business if you have a compatible phone or tablet you can use. Others, like TouchBistro, are better for full-service restaurants that might benefit from a POS that also offers tools for customer and floor planning management. The best POS system for you will depend on your food business’s needs.

» MORE: Best POS systems for food trucks

3. Buy or rent necessary supplies

Before your restaurant can open the doors to customers, there are a lot of supplies you need to make sure the restaurant is outfitted to be inviting to customers, serving up good food, and making money for you.

Aside from your POS system, here are some examples of supplies you might need:

Kitchen appliances

Cold storage

Flatware and utensils

Furnishing for the restaurant

Cleaning supplies

Some of these you can buy in bulk, but depending on the mobility of your food business, you might want to consider renting equipment—which might work out cheaper for you. As an example, if you run a catering business, you might not need to own tons of flatware and utensils just yet. Renting on a case-by-case trial will save you money and help you understand what a practical order might be when you’re actually ready to buy.

Step 6: Hire staff

Depending on what type of food business you’re starting, you may or may not need help. But, even the smallest establishment usually hires an extra set of hands to increase production. Who you hire and how many people you hire will all depend upon your needs. For example, a food truck probably can’t fit many employees, but a large-scale restaurant will require more employees to keep the floor running smoothly.

Some examples of staff you might need include: delivery drivers, hosts, waiters, dishwashers, bartenders, and busboys. Make sure you factor hiring staff into your business plan, since you may be required to take on added costs, like purchasing workers compensation, for them.

Step 7: Set your pricing

One of the most important steps in how to start a food business is setting your pricing. Without the right price on your food products, it will be impossible to make money.

1. Do market research

One of the first steps in figuring out what you should charge for certain foods is to do market research. Go to your competitors to see what they’re serving, what their portion sizes are, and how much they’re charging.

This gives you a starting place to assess the right price for food, but it’s only a starting point. While it gives you an idea, it doesn’t give you insight into whether that business is making money or not.

You should also be mindful of emerging food trends and what that says about consumer priorities. For example, the wellness trends in food indicate that your business might do well if there’s a health-conscious market you’re able to tap into and you’re able to sell them on the health benefits of your food products.

2. Price out the cost of your product

While it’s not easy, it is possible to calculate the total cost of a dish. You’ll have to be mindful of all the tiny ingredients that go into a dish, including oil, seasonings, and garnishes. This can seem like a lot, but there are actually a number of formulas and measurements professional kitchens use to determine these figures, so be sure to study up.

Then, with a little magic and math, you’ll be able to price your product accordingly, so that you make a small profit from it, even when including the cost of labor to make, serve, and clean up the dish.

Step 8: Create an online presence

While you might think that a food business is all about food—and it is—you also need to get customers in the door and eating your food. The food industry is notoriously difficult to break into. For example, 85% of consumer packaged goods products fail within the first two years. One important step to avoiding that fate is establishing your online presence and nurturing your consumer base.

1. Social media

While food is all about the taste, many diners shop with their eyes. If you want to establish an online presence for your food business, one of the fastest ways to do that is through social media.

Instagram is a food business’s best friend. Post delicious-looking pictures of your food and customers will want to try it. Make sure you interact with consumers and encourage them to see you as a company that will be responsive to their needs.

While not every food business has a website, this can be a way to establish your credibility as a business. A website can be a place to post information for customers including menus, restaurant hours, and specials. There are a number of ways to build your small food business website, so it’s easier than ever to either sell products online or add helpful features like reservation widgets to your site.

3. Online review sites

While many a food business owner loathes review sites, it’s a necessary evil for those who have restaurants, catering businesses, and food trucks. According to a TripAdvisor survey, 94% of U.S. diners will consult online reviews before trying a restaurant. That’s the vast majority of diners. As a food business owner, you can hate the sites as much as you want, but you need to have a presence. Try offering a free perk to incentivize customers to leave reviews.

Step 9: Serve up delicious foods

When you’re thinking about how to start a small food business, the big draw is, obviously, the food. What you’ll cook, how it will taste to the diners, and what seasonal changes you’ll make to the menu. Owning a food business is only partly about the food, though—there’s also a ton of time spent on operating and managing the business. Study up to ensure success.

But, make sure you’re just as dedicated to serving up delicious foods!

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Final thoughts

There are a wide array of food businesses you can start and competition will be tough. To help you get a leg up, make sure you consult these nine steps for starting a food business. If you pay attention to foundational steps, like creating a solid business plan and registering for all licenses you might need, you’ll put yourself in a good place for your food business to grow. So, refine that menu and get ready to feed the masses. With a little elbow grease and planning, there’s nothing you can’t do.

This article originally appeared on JustBusiness, a subsidiary of NerdWallet.

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How To Write a Winning Food Business Plan + Template

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Creating a business plan is essential for any business. Still, it can be beneficial for food businesses that want to improve their strategy or raise funding.

A well-crafted business plan not only outlines the vision for your company but also documents a step-by-step roadmap of how you will accomplish it. To create an effective business plan, you must first understand the components essential to its success.

This article provides an overview of the key elements that every food business owner should include in their business plan.

Download the Ultimate Business Plan Template

What is a Food Business Plan?

A food business plan is a formal written document describing your company’s business strategy and feasibility. It documents the reasons you will be successful, your areas of competitive advantage, and it includes information about your team members. Your business plan is a key document that will convince investors and lenders (if needed) that you are positioned to become a successful venture.

Why Write a Food Business Plan?

A food business plan is required for banks and investors. The document is a clear and concise guide to your business idea and the steps you will take to make it profitable.

Entrepreneurs can also use this as a roadmap when starting their new company or venture, especially if they are inexperienced in starting a business.

Writing an Effective Food Business Plan

The following are the key components of a successful food business plan:

Executive Summary

The executive summary of a food business plan is a one- to two-page overview of your entire business plan. It should summarize the main points, which you will present in full in the rest of your business plan.

  • Start with a one-line description of your food company
  • Provide a short summary of the key points in each section of your business plan, which includes information about your company’s management team, industry analysis, competitive analysis, and financial forecast among others.

Company Description

This section should include a brief history of your company. Include a short description of how your company started, and provide a timeline of milestones your company has achieved.

If you are just starting your food business, you may not have a long company history. Instead, you can include information about your professional experience in this industry and how and why you conceived your new venture. If you have worked for a similar company before or have been involved in an entrepreneurial venture before starting your food firm, mention this.

Industry Analysis

The industry or market analysis is an important component of a food business plan. Conduct thorough market research to determine industry trends and document the size of your market. 

Questions to answer include:

  • What part of the food industry are you targeting?
  • How big is the market?
  • What trends are happening in the industry right now (and if applicable, how do these trends support your company’s success)?

You should also include sources for the information you provide, such as published research reports and expert opinions.

Customer Analysis

This section should include a list of your target audience(s) with demographic and psychographic profiles (e.g., age, gender, income level, profession, job titles, interests). You will need to provide a profile of each customer segment separately, including their needs and wants.

For example, a food business’ customers may include restaurants, grocery stores, caterers, and food trucks.

You can include information about how your customers make the decision to buy from you as well as what keeps them buying from you.

Develop a strategy for targeting those customers who are most likely to buy from you, as well as those that might be influenced to buy your products or food services with the right marketing.

Competitive Analysis

The competitive analysis helps you determine how your product or service will be different from competitors, and what your unique selling proposition (USP) might be that will set you apart in this industry.

For each competitor, list their strengths and weaknesses. Next, determine your areas of competitive differentiation and/or advantage; that is, in what ways are you different from and ideally better than your competitors.

Below are sample competitive advantages your food business may have:

  • Unique menu items
  • Strong industry reputation
  • Proven track record of success
  • Low-cost production
  • Local sourcing

Marketing Plan

This part of the business plan is where you determine and document your marketing plan. . Your plan should be clearly laid out, including the following 4 Ps.

  • Product/Service : Detail your product/service offerings here. Document their features and benefits.
  • Price : Document your pricing strategy here. In addition to stating the prices for your products/services, mention how your pricing compares to your competition.
  • Place : Where will your customers find you? What channels of distribution (e.g., partnerships) will you use to reach them if applicable?
  • Promotion : How will you reach your target customers? For example, you may use social media, write blog posts, create an email marketing campaign, use pay-per-click advertising, launch a direct mail campaign. Or you may promote your food business via word-of-mouth marketing or by exhibiting at food trade shows.

Operations Plan

This part of your food business plan should include the following information:

  • How will you deliver your product/service to customers? For example, will you do it in person or over the phone only?
  • What infrastructure, equipment, and resources are needed to operate successfully? How can you meet those requirements within budget constraints?

The operations plan is where you also need to include your company’s business policies. You will want to establish policies related to everything from customer service to pricing, to the overall brand image you are trying to present.

Finally, and most importantly, in your Operations Plan, you will lay out the milestones your company hopes to achieve within the next five years. Create a chart that shows the key milestone(s) you hope to achieve each quarter for the next four quarters, and then each year for the following four years. Examples of milestones for a food business include reaching $X in sales. Other examples include expanding to a second location or launching a new product line.

Management Team

List your team members here including their names and titles, as well as their expertise and experience relevant to your specific food industry. Include brief biography sketches for each team member.

Particularly if you are seeking funding, the goal of this section is to convince investors and lenders that your team has the expertise and experience to execute on your plan. If you are missing key team members, document the roles and responsibilities you plan to hire for in the future.

Financial Plan

Here you will include a summary of your complete and detailed financial plan (your full financial projections go in the Appendix). 

This includes the following three financial statements:

Income Statement

Your income statement should include:

  • Revenue : how much revenue you generate.
  • Cost of Goods Sold : These are your direct costs associated with generating revenue. This includes labor costs, as well as the cost of any equipment and supplies used to deliver the product/service offering.
  • Net Income (or loss) : Once expenses and revenue are totaled and deducted from each other, this is the net income or loss.

Sample Income Statement for a Startup Food Business

Balance sheet.

Include a balance sheet that shows your assets, liabilities, and equity. Your balance sheet should include:

  • Assets : All of the things you own (including cash).
  • Liabilities : This is what you owe against your company’s assets, such as accounts payable or loans.
  • Equity : The worth of your business after all liabilities and assets are totaled and deducted from each other.

Sample Balance Sheet for a Startup Food Business

Cash flow statement.

Include a cash flow statement showing how much cash comes in, how much cash goes out and a net cash flow for each year. The cash flow statement should include:

  • Cash Flow From Operations
  • Cash Flow From Investments
  • Cash Flow From Financing

Below is a sample of a projected cash flow statement for a startup food business.

Sample Cash Flow Statement for a Startup Food Business

You will also want to include an appendix section which will include:

  • Your complete financial projections
  • A complete list of your company’s business policies and procedures related to the rest of the business plan (marketing, operations, etc.)
  • Any other documentation which supports what you included in the body of your business plan.

A well-written food business plan is a critical tool for any entrepreneur looking to start or grow their food company. It not only outlines your business vision but also provides a step-by-step process of how you are going to accomplish it.  

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100+ Sample Food Business Plans and Templates

Food generally is an essential consumable item. A lot of entrepreneurs these days are seriously on the lookout for profitable and trending food business ideas to start a new business. Choosing the right niche is the first and most important step for any business initiative.

Increasing population and desire to have easy access to food are the factors that create more opportunities in the food industry. Starting up a business is the best way to get out of the rat race and into being your own boss. But when it comes to the food industry, there are many things that can go wrong.

Even before the pandemic, restaurant owners were finding it difficult to fill chef spaces.  But since COVID became a worldwide problem, this situation has become worse. The shutting down of social places meant that long-time workers in the food business have swapped to new job roles.

Don’t let this doom and gloom put you off, though, as we have some amazing ideas to help you get past these struggles and create a successful food business in 2023! If you keep your business small before you try reaching for the stars, you will be more likely to push through those barriers.

Sample Business Plans for Food Industry

1. charcuterie business plan.

Charcuterie is a display of prepared meats paired with cheeses and plain vegetables on a traditional board. Charcuterie is the culinary art of preparing meat products such as bacon, salami, ham, sausage, terrines, galantines, ballotines, pâtés, and confit professionally. Till today, this has remained a popular way to feed guests on a budget for small parties or wine tastings, and a person that prepares charcuterie is called a Charcutier.

2. Food Truck Business Plan

We said we would talk about food trucks, and here we are! A food truck is the best way to get your meals and hot snacks to festival-goers, but you can also use them like a classic restaurant. Some people set up shop in a location, clamp their truck to the floor and buy benches for their customers to sit on.

You still have that fun alfresco feeling without having to pay for top restaurant prices. We suggest using a food truck if your concepts aren’t time-consuming. If you have a dish that takes a long time to create, then your customers will be less likely to stick around for their meal.

This is because trucks are considered a fast food option. Instead of a normal fast food restaurant, though, many customers expect a more exciting menu from a truck in comparison.

The burgers are more than just a burger; they have 5 extra ingredients that make your mouth water from just smelling it. You can afford to be more creative in a food truck, as you won’t have to pay the same licenses or permits. This means you can use more ingredients and charge the same price as a normal burger.

3. Nano Brewery Business Plan

In simple terms, a nano brewery is a brewery (plant) that produces a small amount of beer per time; it is a small-scale brewery that can’t be compared to conventional brewery plants or microbrewery plants and it is usually owned independently. Any entrepreneur that has some cash and brewing technique can comfortably start his or her own nano brewery business.

4. Religious Coffee Shop Business Plan

According to reports, 7 in 10 Americans drink coffee every week; 62% drink coffee every day, making it second only to water. There are over 24,000 coffee shops in the United States, with an average sell rate of 230 cups per day.

Truth be told, coffee has become a crucial part of a cultural revolution, and owing to some amazing trends, it seems that growth will continue. Churches, ministries, and entrepreneurs in the United States are beginning to leverage coffee’s popularity and are gradually turning it into an opportunity for outreach and faith development.

5. Cocktail Bar Business Plan

A cocktail bar is a bar or small restaurant where cocktails are the main drinks available; a characteristic feature of many standard cocktail bars is a wide selection of assorted cocktail drinks available by the glass. A cocktail is a mixed drink typically made with a distilled beverage (such as gin, brandy, vodka, whiskey, tequila, cachaça, or rum) that is mixed with other ingredients. If beer is one of the ingredients, the drink is called a beer cocktail.

6. Fruit Juice Shop Business Plan

A fruit juice bar, or fruit juice shop is a small, informal restaurant where juice and in most cases, smoothies are made and served to customers. Fruit juice is ideally 100 percent pure juice made from the flesh of fresh fruit or from whole fruit, depending on the type used.

7. Cold Storage Business Plan

A cold storage business is a commercial facility for storing perishable products such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, furs, etc. under controlled conditions for longer periods. Based on the storage conditions, cold storage may be classified into three categories – short-term or temporary storage, long-term storage, and frozen storage.

Available data shows that the U.S. cold storage market size was estimated at USD 15.84 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach USD 16.43 billion in 2020.

8. Funnel Cake Business Plan

A funnel cake shop is a business that bakes and sells funnel cakes. Please note that the name “funnel cake” was derived from the method of squeezing batter through a funnel in a circular pattern into hot oil to achieve a dizzying pattern of crispy-fried dough.

The funnel cake business is a niche idea in the cake and bakery industry and available statistics have it that the global bakery product market size was estimated at USD 203.8 billion in 2018.

9. Fig and Coconut Jam Business Plan

A fig and coconut jam production company is a niche jam, jelly, and preserves business that produces and sells fig and coconut jam. Fig and coconut jam can be used like other jams as a fruit spread for toast, scones, cakes, and other baked goods, and it can also be used as a condiment for savory foods.

10. Cotton Candy Business Plan

A cotton candy business is a business that makes and sells cotton candies most especially at children’s parties, parks, stadiums et al. Cotton candy, which is also known as fairy floss and candy floss, is a spun-sugar confection that resembles cotton. The U.S. candy market is expected to reach a value of USD 19.6 billion by 2025, according to a new report by Grand View Research, Inc.

11. Hot Dog Vendor Business Plan

A hot dog vendor business is a business that sells different types of hot dogs and drinks from a shop, cart, or food truck. Hot dogs are prepared commercially by mixing the ingredients (meats, spices, binders, and fillers) in vats where rapidly moving blades grind and mix them all together. This mixture is forced through tubes for cooking.

The market size of the Hot Dog and Sausage Production industry is $19.2bn in 2023 and the industry is expected to increase by 3.6 percent going forward.

12. Crepe Restaurant Business Plan

A crepe restaurant is a niche restaurant that serves crepes (pancakes) as its main menu. A crepe is a French pancake that is made with a thin batter containing flour, eggs, melted butter, salt, milk, and water. Crepes can be filled with a variety of sweet or savory mixtures. Savory buckwheat crepes are always served for lunch and dinner in a crepe restaurant while sweet crepes are for dessert or snack.

13. Food Hub Business Plan

A food hub business as defined by the USDA is “a centrally located facility with a business management structure facilitating the aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and/or marketing of locally/regionally produced food products.

Food hubs also fill gaps in food system infrastructures, such as transportation, product storage, and product processing. Available data shows that there are about 212 food hubs in the United States and industry data indicates that local food sales totaled at least $12 billion in 2014 and estimates that the market value could hit $20 billion.

Before Starting a Food Business, Test your idea

First off, you should be testing your ideas before putting a deposit on a business loan. Finding the problems early on will stop you from diving into a money pit. Use our advice like a checklist to guide you through this testing phase, and be ready to receive criticism. Remember, you cannot improve or create a strong foundation if you ignore everyone’s advice.

a. Feedback From 3rd Parties

The main reason why people think about creating a food business is because their friends or family say they should. They drool over your stews, make heart-eyes over your steaks, and lovingly long for another bite. Well, in reality, your friends and family are probably boosting your ego or sugar-coating their reaction.

We aren’t saying they are lying necessarily, but they might ignore some of your poorer meals because they know you are trying your best. Your customers won’t be so forgiving. To make sure your friends aren’t saying you are better than you are, you need a true third party to judge your food tasting sessions.

You could ask your co-workers to take the plate and make an anonymous comment. If they are mostly positive, that’s great; you can then adjust your recipes, packaging, service standards in accordance with all the positive and negative feedback.

You could also talk to local companies in the same area of business as you. Ask them if your packaging is appropriate, if they have advice for a new business owner, and anything else that you are worried about. Doing this beginner networking is a great way to start a community too. Local businesses are normally more friendly than chains and will be happy to help you on your journey.

b. Perfect “One Food” Business idea At A Time

You might feel as though you need a whole menu of amazing food, but in reality, you have to remember that you are starting at the bottom. Having one fantastic idea and putting a lot of effort into it would be a more successful business venture than spreading your ideas too thin.

When it comes to testing, your test group may become overwhelmed if they are given too many options. It wouldn’t be uncommon for the group to start comparing dishes to each other rather than their normal experiences.

In the testing group, you want these “customers” to tell you if your ideas will make it, if they are good enough to be sold and if there is a problem that can be fixed. If they have a lot to look at, they will simply tell you which one is the best. Once you find the best variation of that one food product, you can then start to work on another.

c. Look After The “Other” 20% Of Your Online Food Order Customers

There are normally 3 types of customers in the food industry; the ones who enjoy your food enough to try it again another time or simply not dismiss it; ones who will absolutely love your food and will keep coming back; and those who like to try new foods on a whim.

If the first type of person doesn’t like your food, they will simply not return. If the second type of person has a bad experience, they will try again. If this second visit redeems the food, they will remain loyal, but if it doesn’t save their experience, they will either drop into the first type or not come back.

Depending on how good your business is, you might have either a large percentage of lovers and a low percentage of “it’s fine” ers, or it can be the other way around. However, around 20% of your customers will likely be the third type.

Going to restaurants and vendors or trying new sweets on a whim is a growing hobby for many people. The third type wants to be the first ones to experience this unique and potentially viral adventure. These people will likely make a review on whatever social media network they use, and this can either boom or bury your business.

These people will not hesitate to share their lengthy and detailed opinions about your business. Of course, you should always take these opinions with a pinch of salt, as a negative review on a blog often gets more traction than a positive one; however, you should take note of what they are saying. Pleasing these reviewers will make your business look good online, and it can help you create a big fan base.

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Fast Food Business Plan Template

Over the past 20+ years, we have helped over 7,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans to start and grow their fast foods.

Below are links to each section of your fast food business plan template:

Next Section: Executive Summary >

Fast Food Business Plan FAQs

What is the easiest way to complete my fast food business plan.

Growthink's Ultimate Fast Food Business Plan Template allows you to quickly and easily complete your Fast Food Restaurant Business Plan.

Where Can I Download a Fast Food Business Plan PDF?

You can download our fast food restaurant business plan pdf here.  This is a business plan template you can use in PDF format.

What Is a Fast Food Business Plan?

A business plan provides a snapshot of your fast food restaurant as it stands today, and lays out your growth plan for the next five years. It explains your business goals and your strategy for reaching them. It also includes market research to support your plans.

Why Do You Need a Business Plan?

If you’re looking to start a fast food restaurant or grow your existing one you need a business plan. A business plan will help you raise funding, if needed, and plan out the growth of your fast food restaurant in order to improve your chances of success. Your fast food business plan is a living document that should be updated annually as your business grows and changes.

What Are the Sources of Funding for a Fast Food Restaurant Business Plan?

Fast Food restaurants are usually funded through small business loans, personal savings, credit card financing and/or angel investors.

This is true for a traditional fast food restaurant, a quick service restaurant and a takeout restaurant business plan.

FAST FOOD BUSINESS PLAN OUTLINE

  • Fast Food Business Plan Home
  • 1. Executive Summary
  • 2. Company Overview
  • 3. Industry Analysis
  • 4. Customer Analysis
  • 5. Competitive Analysis
  • 6. Marketing Plan
  • 7. Operations Plan
  • 8. Management Team
  • 9. Financial Plan
  • 10. Appendix
  • Fast Food Business Plan Summary

Start Your Fast Food Plan Here

Other Helpful Business Plan Articles & Templates

Use This Simple Business Plan Template

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Food Delivery Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Food Delivery Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create your Food Delivery business plan.

We have helped over 1,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their Food Delivery companies.

Below is a template to help you create each section of your Food Delivery business plan.

Executive Summary

Business overview.

Dig In is a newly established food delivery business located in San Diego, California. The company will have an online platform that will also be able to be downloaded to users’ phones as an app. Users will be able to create a login profile and have instant access to all the local restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores, and fast food establishments.

The company will outsource its delivery to local drivers that will be employed as Independent Contractors so they will be able to set their own schedule and hours. The drivers will receive orders through their app, select which user they want to deliver to, pick up the food order from the chosen establishment, and deliver to the user in a timely manner.

Dig In will reward users that frequently use their app. Users will be able to earn rewards and discounts for every order they place through the website or app. This will enable users to keep ordering their food delivery through Dig In.

Dig In will be owned and operated by John Hutchinson, a local entrepreneur who has been in the tech industry for over 15 years. He has developed other apps and platforms for tech companies and has started mapping out this business’ platform for over two years. At this point, he has perfected the technology and is ready to reveal the new local food delivery service in San Diego, California.

Product Offering

Dig In will provide food delivery services for the residents of San Diego. Residents who want the convenience of food delivered to their doorstep can download our app, find the establishment of their choice, and order whatever they’re craving for. Most of our sales will come from orders to local restaurants but we will also offer delivery from grocery stores and drug stores. Customers will be charged a small delivery fee or have the option to join our membership for reduced fees and special deals.

Customer Focus

Dig In will target all residents living in and around San Diego. It will appeal to students, families, retirees, white collar, blue collar, and government employees. Because our fees are moderately priced compared to other delivery apps, all income levels will be able to enjoy our delivery services.

Management Team

With his entrepreneurial and tech knowledge, John will be able to quickly fix any issues with the platform. He has also formed relationships with the most sought after restaurants, bakeries, grocery stores in the area to sign them up to be part of the food delivery platform. He has also hired a team of independent food delivery drivers to earn extra money by completing the food delivery orders.

Success Factors

The following success factors will set Dig In apart from the competition:

  • Comprehensive List of Restaurants and Food Stores: Dig In will include a more comprehensive list of restaurants, grocery stores, and drug stores for customers to choose from.
  • Membership Rewards: Dig In will allow users who create a profile to earn rewards for every order they place through its online platform. The rewards can be redeemed for delivery fee and order discounts.
  • Faster Delivery Times: Dig In promises to have faster delivery times than its competitors.
  • Pricing: Dig In’s price point for delivery fees is on par with its customers, if not cheaper.

Financial Highlights

Dig In is seeking a total funding of $500,000 of debt capital to launch. The funding will be dedicated for the design and development of the app, marketing expenses, working capital, and three months worth of payroll expenses. The breakout of the funding is below:

  • Platform Development: $150,000
  • Marketing and Brand Development: $100,000
  • Three Months of Overhead Expenses (Payroll, Rent, Utilities): $150,000
  • Working Capital: $100,000

The following graph outlines the pro forma financial projections for Dig In:

Dig In Financial Projections

Company Overview

Who is dig in.

  The company will outsource its delivery to local drivers that will be employed as Independent Contractors so they will be able to set their own schedule and hours. The drivers will receive orders through their app, select which user they want to deliver to, pick up the food order from the chosen establishment, and deliver to the user in a timely manner.

Dig In’s History

John Hutchinson has spent the last 2.5 years creating the food delivery online platform. As a tech entrepreneur, he knows how to map, develop, and implement an online platform. He has been instrumental in creating other apps and platforms for ecommerce companies and has created attractive and efficient apps for numerous Fortune 500 companies.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, John was on lockdown and working from his home. He used other food delivery services, but they were all slow, got his order wrong, or didn’t have a good selection of restaurants and establishments. It was then that he started developing his food delivery business and would implement and perfect all of the things that the competition suffered at.

Since incorporation, the company has achieved the following milestones:

  • Mapped out the online platform for the food delivery business
  • Developed the company’s name, logo, and website
  • Approached multiple local restaurants, grocery stores, and bakeries to be a part of Dig In’s platform
  • Determined necessary insurance and legal requirements
  • Began recruiting key employees
  • Written and developed the Delivery Driver processes and procedures.

Dig In’s Services

Industry analysis.

The Food Delivery industry has grown substantially in the past five years. The convenience of ordering food from home has appealed to large demographics and now nearly everyone orders through a food delivery app at some point. Food delivery apps became a necessity during the COVID pandemic and now they are a mainstay in modern society.

According to Grand View Research, the Food Delivery industry is set to grow at a CAGR of 18.7% from now until 2030. What helps this growth is the increasing popularity of smartphones and the expansion of these services overseas. Food delivery apps are becoming an essential tool in modern society, which makes this a great time to create a new food delivery service.

Customer Analysis

Demographic profile of target market.

Dig In will target millennials, young professionals, and college age students as this demographic is more comfortable with online delivery services and regularly use other similar apps such as Uber and Tasty.

However, we expect Dig In will appeal to other demographics as well as it will be a convenient and moderately priced option to get food delivered quickly. For example, we expect working parents will enjoy our app as well as elderly residents who have trouble leaving their home to go grocery shopping or go to a restaurant.

The precise demographics of the San Diego area are as follows:

Customer Segmentation

Dig In will primarily target the following customer profiles:

  • Young professionals
  • College students
  • Working parents

Competitive Analysis

Direct and indirect competitors.

Dig In will be competing with other popular food delivery apps. A profile of each competitor is below.

Food at Your Door

Food at Your Door is an online and mobile platform for restaurant pick-up and delivery orders. The company is known for connecting over 30 million customers and processes on average about 500,000 daily orders in most cities around the United States. Customers are able to search for restaurants, order directly through the website or app, and then await their delivery from independent contractor drivers.

The company generates revenue from delivery fees paid by consumers as well as commissions paid by participating restaurants. Food at Your Door’s other offerings include a program for corporate food ordering, website design and hosting for participating restaurants, and point-of-sale integration services. The company is continuously updating its platform with innovative technological advancements to stay on top of the competition.

Fast Foodie

Fast Foodie is a technology company that connects people with the most popular food establishments in their neighborhoods. They enable local businesses to meet consumers’ needs of ease and convenience while enabling their independent contractors to generate an additional source of income. The company is passionate about transforming local businesses and dedicated to enabling new ways of working, earning, and living. They empower their local economies by ensuring that people have equal access to opportunities to reach their full potential.

Fast Foodie has expanded their database to include not only restaurants, but convenience stores, pet stores, grocery stores, and drug stores.

Ding Dong is an operator of an on-demand goods delivery platform that is intended to facilitate smooth delivery of essential goods. The company’s platform offers full-service and in-store shopper services through a network of independent shoppers with same-day delivery and pickup service of fresh groceries and everyday essentials. This enables users to select items from their favorite grocery stores and get them delivered almost instantly.

Ding Dong was the first online platform to expand their services and products by including anything that can be purchased at a local grocery store, convenience store, or drug store. The drivers/shoppers are required to ensure delivery during the selected timeframe that the user selects.

Competitive Advantage

Dig In offers several advantages over its competition. Those advantages are:

Marketing Plan

Brand & value proposition.

Dig In will offer the unique value proposition to its clientele:

  • Comprehensive list of restaurants and grocery stores
  • Membership rewards and specials
  • Faster delivery times
  • Moderately priced fee structure

Promotions Strategy

The promotions strategy for Dig In are as follows:

Social Media

Dig In will utilize the most popular social media platforms for ads since the majority of the clientele will be active on social media. The company will also have business accounts on each major platform to post regularly of food options that are available for delivery.

Collateral Material

Dig In will develop numerous collateral materials to have on hand to give out to potential customers at the local farmers markets, events, or restaurant or store events.

Website/SEO

Dig In will invest heavily in developing a professional website and app that displays all of the restaurant and store options the company will be able to deliver for. The company will also invest heavily in SEO so that the brand’s website will appear at the top of search engine results.

Billboards/Signage

Dig In will invest in attractive signage and billboards to increase the brand awareness of the local food delivery business.

Dig In’s fee structure will be moderate so clients feel they receive great value when placing their food delivery orders.

Operations Plan

Operation Functions: The following will be the operations plan for Dig In.

  • John Hutchinson will operate as the CEO of Dig In. In addition to running the general operations, he will oversee the app development and provide app support.
  • John will hire 2-3 additional web engineers to run the website and app.
  • John will hire 20-30 delivery drivers to work on an independent contractor basis.
  • John will also hire an administrative team for accounting/bookkeeping, sales and marketing, and customer service support.

Milestones:

Dig In will have the following milestones complete in the next six months.

  • 8/202X – Finalize app development
  • 9/202X – Hire and train initial staff
  • 10/202X – Kickoff of promotional campaign
  • 11/202X – Launch Dig In
  • 12/202X – Reach break-even

Financial Plan

Key revenue & costs.

Dig In’s revenues will come primarily from the fees it receives from the food delivery orders.

The delivery driver commissions, website platform fees, supplies, marketing, and labor expenses will be the key cost drivers of Dig In.

Funding Requirements and Use of Funds

Key assumptions.

The following table outlines the key assumptions required in order to achieve the revenue and cost numbers in the financials and pay off the business loan.

  • Initial Number of Orders Per Day: 100
  • Average Order per Customer: $25.00

Financial Projections

Income statement, balance sheet, cash flow statement, food delivery business plan faqs, what is a food delivery business plan.

A food delivery business plan is a plan to start and/or grow your food delivery business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can easily complete your Food Delivery business plan using our Food Delivery Business Plan Template here .

What are the Main Types of Food Delivery Businesses?

There are a number of different kinds of food delivery businesses , some examples include: Restaurant Delivery, Meal Kit Delivery, Grocery Delivery, and Veggie Box Delivery.

How Do You Get Funding for Your Food Delivery Business Plan?

Food Delivery businesses are often funded through small business loans. Personal savings, credit card financing and angel investors are also popular forms of funding.

What are the Steps To Start a Food Delivery Business?

Starting a food delivery business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

1. Develop A Food Delivery Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed food delivery business plan that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include potential market size and target customers, the services or products you will offer, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast. 

2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your food delivery business. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your food delivery business is in compliance with local laws.

3. Register Your Food Delivery Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your food delivery business with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining licenses and permits as required by federal, state, and local laws.

4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your food delivery business, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms.

5. Choose a Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your operations.

6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events.

7. Acquire Necessary Food Delivery Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your food delivery business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation.

8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your food delivery business. This includes creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising. 

Learn more about how to start a successful food delivery business:

  • How to Start a Food Delivery Business

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Food Delivery Business Plan

business plan for food

After  getting started with upmetrics , you can copy this food delivery business plan example into your business plan and modify the required information and download your food delivery business plan pdf and doc file. It’s the fastest and easiest way to start writing your business plan.

How to write a food delivery business plan?

With so many things on the plate, the start point of the business plan may look blurry. You may want to hire a business plan writer, but remember that no person knows better about your business than yourself!

Using this food delivery business plan template, you don’t have to rely on an outsourced writer to write YOUR business plan. Also, you don’t have to put in immense effort in drafting the ideal outline.

What to include in a food delivery business plan?

Writing a business often seems overwhelming. However, here are a few tips that will help you outline your business plan.

  • A business plan should typically have an executive summary – With this, you can have a primary understanding of your target group, business outline, and other administrative summaries.
  • You can include a market analysis section that updates you with the latest statistics and trends in the on-demand delivery market.
  • SWOT analysis is perhaps the most important section you can include to mitigate threats in the market, grab potential opportunities and outline the marketing and sales plan.
  • Since the food-delivery business revolves around a delivery personnel network, make sure you have this section included in your plan. You could also add the restaurant partners and their set commission/fees.
  • It all boils down to what and how are you going to invest. Thus, documenting your financial strategies, having a break-even analysis, and projecting cash flow is highly crucial.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

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Download a sample food delivery business plan

Need help writing your business plan from scratch? Here you go;  download our free food delivery business plan pdf  to start.

It’s a modern business plan template specifically designed for your food delivery business. Use the example business plan as a guide for writing your own.

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California fast-food workers will get $20 minimum wage, starting Monday

Vanessa Romo

Vanessa Romo

Alina Selyukh 2016

Alina Selyukh

business plan for food

A McDonald's worker hands food to a customer at a drive-thru window in Los Angeles, on Sept. 28. Damian Dovarganes/AP hide caption

A McDonald's worker hands food to a customer at a drive-thru window in Los Angeles, on Sept. 28.

California fast-food workers cooking Big Macs or whipping Frappuccinos will start making a minimum wage of $20 an hour on Monday. For many, this means a 25% raise.

The new state minimum uniquely focuses on a particular segment, fast food, affecting some of the country's biggest chains, including McDonald's, Starbucks, Subway and Pizza Hut.

It's a big win for cooks, cashiers and other fast-food workers – some of the lowest-paid jobs in the U.S. – whose wages have been growing at a faster clip since the pandemic, after decades of stagnation.

California is one of the country's most expensive states; about half a million people are estimated to work in fast food here, mostly women, immigrants and people of color. Many live below the poverty line.

Uber and Lyft threaten to halt operations in Minneapolis over minimum wage law

Uber and Lyft threaten to halt operations in Minneapolis over minimum wage law

Sandra Jauregui from Sacramento is counting down the days to her first bigger paycheck in two weeks. After 18 years working at several Jack in the Box franchises, her pay will jump from $17.50 to $20. That means she could be bringing home another $120 each paycheck.

"It's super great," says Jauregui, 52, speaking in Spanish. "At the very least it'll give me some breathing room ... and make it easier to pay the rent and other bills."

Chipotle, McDonald's warn of price hikes, less work

But the dramatic pay raise has also touched off a heated debate about the impact on local businesses. Smaller franchise restaurant owners warn they'll have to raise prices, reduce worker's hours, cut jobs or even close shop.

California's pay hike is a result of a contentious deal struck by labor leaders, including the large Service Employees International Union, and fast-food companies last year. The new wage law applies to fast-food chains with at least 60 locations nationwide, with exemptions for some bakeries and smaller fast-food outposts inside grocery stores, airports and other venues.

Several fast-food executives have suggested prices would go up 2.5% to 3.5% to offset higher wages; Jack in the Box, Starbucks, McDonald's and Chipotle have all warned of upcoming price hikes. That's on top of price increases many restaurants have been rolling out for months. The cost of eating out has stubbornly inched higher even as inflation has cooled elsewhere .

Other chains plan to speed up their use of automation, including kiosks and robots. A major Pizza Hut franchisee cited the wage hike as the reason for layoffs of more than 1,000 delivery drivers this year, in a switch to apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash that pushes more delivery fees onto shoppers.

business plan for food

One big Pizza Hut franchisee in California cited the upcoming wage hike as a reason for laying off more than 1,000 delivery drivers in a shift to delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

One big Pizza Hut franchisee in California cited the upcoming wage hike as a reason for laying off more than 1,000 delivery drivers in a shift to delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash.

Franchisees weigh cuts to workers' hours

Many restaurant owners expect workers to be working fewer hours. That was the main side-effect a decade ago, when Seattle hiked its minimum wage to $15, research suggests .

"I am used to being a champion of labor and I'm in this odd position," says Michaela Mendelsohn, a longtime advocate for LGBT workers and also owner of six El Pollo Loco restaurants with about 170 employees.

Her restaurants lost shoppers after a pre-emptive price increase in February, she says. Now, the focus is on cutting costs by simplifying operations, changing how long it takes workers to make sauces, for example, or to close up for the night.

Minimum-wage workers in 22 states will be getting raises on Jan. 1

Minimum-wage workers in 22 states will be getting raises on Jan. 1

"We're having to get more efficient," Mendelsohn says. "So really what's left is ... to reduce labor hours. And I hate saying that."

In recent years, the battle for higher minimum wages has increasingly played out at the city, county and state levels as the federal minimum wallows at $7.25 an hour .

Broadly, California often sets the bar for many business decisions that other states later follow. Advocates hope something similar will happen with fast-food pay – spreading to other industries in the state and across the country.

California's minimum previously rose to $16 an hour on Jan. 1.

Workers are thrilled, but also anxious

Employers' warnings have left many workers with mixed feelings about the raise, despite the potential for extra spending power.

The Jack in the Box worker Jauregui, 52, has been cobbling together two salaries, working about 54 hours a week between the restaurant and a laundromat.

She says she's always trying to save a bit to treat her grandchildren – she has custody of three of them – who are constantly growing out of clothes and shoes. And although she marched alongside fellow SEIU members to win the wage increase, she is fearful of the downside.

These millionaires want to tax the rich, and they're lobbying working-class voters

These millionaires want to tax the rich, and they're lobbying working-class voters

"My boss told me that he won't reduce my hours but that he will cut others' hours," Jauregui said.

All this makes California's wage hike a high-profile case study for how exactly a higher minimum wage reverberates through the local economy.

"This policy is going to be really different in different parts of California," says Jacob Vigdor, professor of public policy and governance at the University of Washington, who has studied the effects of Seattle's 2014 minimum wage hike.

The research found that after the minimum wage rose from $9.47 to $13 – in the early years of the Fight For $15 labor campaign – workers generally didn't lose jobs even though they did lose hours. And they ended up with higher pay.

"The restaurant business is a really tough business," Vigdor says. "Restaurants open and close all the time, even in places where the minimum wage hasn't changed for more than a decade. ... Generally speaking, we found that in the restaurant industry, businesses were able to find ways to adapt to higher wage costs."

KQED's Farida Jhabvala Romero contributed to this report.

  • fast food workers
  • minimum wage

Fast-food restaurants in California are laying off workers to prepare for the $20 minimum wage hike

  • Californian fast-food restaurants are cutting workers to prepare for the $20 minimum wage.
  • Pizza Hut franchisees plan to lay off around 1,200 workers, for example.
  • Restaurants are also raising prices to offset wages; some are worried about spooking diners.

Insider Today

Fast-food restaurants in California are laying off hundreds of workers to cut back on costs as they prepare for the state's $20 minimum wage for fast-food workers that comes into force in April, a new report by The Wall Street Journal details.

Two franchisees for Pizza Hut , with restaurants across various counties in California, have said they'd lay off around 1,200 workers as they scrap delivery-driver roles to rely on third-party delivery instead.

Southern California Pizza Company, a Pizza Hut franchisee, said it planned to lay off nearly 850 workers in February, according to filings made under California's Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act in December and viewed by Business Insider.

In December, another Pizza Hut franchisee, PacPizza, and its affiliates filed plans to lay off more than 350 workers in February.

And in February, Excalibur Pizza LLC, a Round Table Pizza franchisee, said it planned to lay off 70 workers in April, WARN Act filings show.

Round Table Pizza, which has more than 400 locations in the US, mainly along the West Coast, told BI that the employees being laid off were delivery drivers and that Excalibur was moving to third-party delivery services. The company said it saw the layoffs as a "transfer of jobs," with more workers required at third-party delivery services instead.

"That said, delivery service fees may increase, and the customer will most likely see even higher prices as a result of this ongoing shift," Round Table Pizza's statement continued. "This is the reality of today's restaurants."

Related stories

One fast-food franchisee has even roped in his 73-year-old parents to help out after cutting staff.

Alexander Johnson, who owns 10 Auntie Anne's and Cinnabon locations in California, told the Journal that the new law would have otherwise cost him an extra $470,000 in labor a year.

Franchisees are worried about higher prices spooking diners

California is raising the state's minimum wage for workers at limited-service restaurants to $20 an hour from April 1 — 25% higher than its general minimum wage.

The law only applies to chains with at least 60 locations nationwide, though analysts note that it could lead to wage hikes at other restaurants and workplaces in the state as they try to compete for talent.

The legislation — especially in its original form as the FAST Recovery Act — faced fierce opposition from the restaurant industry, with some chains saying it would drive up operating costs so high that they'd have to lay off workers and charge customers more.

The franchisees generally set prices, and some are concerned that higher prices could scare off diners .

"I can't charge $20 for Happy Meals," Scott Rodrick, owner of 18 McDonald's restaurants in Northern California, told the Journal. He said that in the hunt to save money amid the wage increase, he was "leaving no stones unturned."

Another McDonald's franchisee who owns restaurants in Los Angeles County previously told KTLA 5 News that her food would become "unaffordable" if she raised prices enough to cover the wage increase.

Brian Hom, the owner of two Vitality Bowl açaí bowl restaurants in San Jose, told the Journal he's raising menu prices by about 10% to cover the higher wages. He's also running his stores with two employees, down from four, which he said is slowing down order times.

"I'm definitely not going to hire anymore," Hom told the Journal.

Vitality Bowls has taken "significant measures to optimize profitability," like changing its menu and improving its tech, CEO Roy Gilad told BI in a statement. The company is "well prepared" to offset higher costs, he said.

Are you a fast-food worker who'll soon be getting the new minimum wage? Or a franchisee worried about how it will affect your business? Email this reporter at [email protected] .

Watch: How Domino's makes 1 billion pizzas a year amid labor shortages

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Higher prices on the menu as fast-food chains brace for California’s big minimum wage jump

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Chipotle, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Jack in the Box and Shake Shack are planning to raise menu prices. Fast-food franchisees are laying off employees or cutting their hours. Smaller independent business owners, meanwhile, worry their workers will bolt unless they also increase wages.

With California’s mandatory minimum wage for fast-food workers set to jump to $20 an hour on Monday, major restaurant chains are scrutinizing every aspect of their businesses to find ways to offset the extra money they will soon be spending on labor. In many cases, customers will end up eating the cost.

“It’s going to be a pretty significant increase to our labor,” Jack Hartung, Chipotle’s chief financial officer, said of the new law during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. He estimated that the burrito chain would boost prices by “a mid-to-high single-digit” percentage as a result. “We are definitely going to pass this on.”

The pay increase established by Assembly Bill 1228 applies to California fast-food workers employed by any chain with more than 60 locations nationwide, and covers corporate-owned and franchised locations. The state has more than 540,000 fast-food workers, about 195,000 of them in Los Angeles and Orange counties, according to the latest May 2022 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The current minimum wage in California, regardless of industry, is $16 an hour, meaning many cashiers, line and prep cooks, counter attendants and baristas will see as much as a 25% raise overnight.

Fast-food workers rally outside a McDonald's in Monterey Park in 2023.

Jaylene Loubet, 25, has worked as a cashier at a McDonald’s in Cypress Park since 2017, initially making $16.25 an hour.

Since then her hourly pay has only risen to $17.50, she said, the same amount that her mother, a longtime cook at the same location, makes. The two live with Loubet’s father in a one-bedroom apartment in Glassell Park, unable to afford a bigger place.

“When you’re in a tough financial situation, even though it’s not enough to be comfortable, it does help,” Loubet said of her upcoming raise. That said, “food is going up as well, rent is going up as well, bills are going up as well. Even with the $20, money is still going to be tight.”

With the federal minimum wage stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009, many states and cities have taken it upon themselves to lift the pay floor. But the California bump for fast-food workers is unusual for targeting a specific business sector and adjusting the minimum rate by so much at once.

“This is such a dramatic increase on a state minimum wage that was already quite high,” said Harry Holzer, a Georgetown University public policy professor and the Labor Department’s chief economist in the Clinton administration. “The workers who keep their jobs will be happy — they will be better off.”

Less so for consumers of fast food, who will undoubtedly pay more for their burgers, tacos and fried chicken. David Neumark, a minimum-wage expert at UC Irvine, estimated that overall prices will rise between 2.5% and 3.75%.

Watts, CA - February 9: (From left) Fernando Rosales, Lourdes Farfan, and Zulma Riveria hold flags supporting the union during a California Fast Food Workers Union meeting at Watts Labor Community Action Committee on Friday, Feb. 9, 2023 in Watts, CA. (Michael Blackshire / Los Angeles Times)

California fast-food workers form an unusual union in a bid for higher wages, better working conditions

The California Fast Food Workers Union gives increased clout to employees scattered across multiple chains.

Feb. 9, 2024

That’s relatively small, but comes on top of the steep inflation that customers have faced at fast-food establishments in the last few years. Nationally, prices at limited-service restaurants are up almost 30% from February 2020 levels, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And more fast-food price increases will hit lower-income households harder because they spend a larger share of their income on food and consume disproportionately more fast food.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s said the company was exploring several ways to counterbalance the increase in labor costs and has yet to decide how much it will raise the price of menu items at its corporate-owned stores. At franchise locations, which account for 95% of the brand’s U.S. portfolio, McDonald’s provides “informed pricing recommendations” but final pricing is at the discretion of franchisees, the spokesperson said.

Pedestrians walk by a Starbucks in Hollywood.

Starbucks said it had elected to raise the pay floor for all levels of employees in California to retain workers and to combat wage compression — when there is little difference in pay between experienced workers and entry-level ones. It plans to offset the increased labor expenditure “through a variety of levers — including near-term pricing as well as other efficiencies,” a spokesperson said.

The economic effects of such a sharp and sudden pay hike are unclear. In general, raising the minimum wage helps large swaths of low-wage workers, bringing some out of poverty , but others will lose out as employers scale back through layoffs, shorter shifts, reduced hiring and other cost-saving measures.

“Where they can automate, they will automate more,” Holzer said. “Maybe some franchises will move out of state.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has already spurred more fast-food operators to install self-service ordering kiosks, and the industry is looking at other ways to depend less on human labor, including the use of robots.

Proponents of the new law say fast-food corporations can afford to pay up. The industry has flourished since the pandemic began as customers sought cheap and quick meals, leading to billions in sales and record profits.

But the brands say they, too, have had to contend with high inflation for ingredients and supplies and have already raised wages for their workers without government prompting. Between 2019 and 2022, the average weekly wage for employees at limited-service restaurants jumped 26% to $501.

Franchise owners in particular are anxious about their ability to shoulder the extra costs; labor accounts for roughly a third of a typical fast-food operator’s expenses.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, surrounded by fast-food workers, holding up a piece of legislation

Shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the pay increase legislation into law in September, hundreds of Pizza Hut franchises in California moved to lay off more than 1,100 delivery drivers , federal and state filings show.

The affected Pizza Huts are run by franchise operators and located from Orange to Stanislaus counties, according to the California Employment Development Department. The layoffs were expected to go into effect in February.

Fast food is tightly woven into the history, cultural life and economic growth of Southern California.

Brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald opened a drive-in restaurant in Pasadena in 1937, a few years before starting the first McDonald’s in San Bernardino. Another pioneer, Carl Karcher , bought a hot dog cart in L.A. in 1941 and went on to found Carl’s Jr.

Taco Bell, In-N-Out Burger and Jack in the Box also come from the region.

Collectively, their explosive growth across the U.S. and sustained success over the decades symbolized the busy American life, the rise of the baby boomer generation and California’s love affair with cars.

Yet the industry has come to be seen as the stereotypical low-wage sector where millions of workers make minimum wage and toil under tough and sometimes unsafe conditions, making it a prime subject of the Fight for $15 movement and such books as “Fast Food Nation.”

The passage of AB 1228 represented a significant win for fast-food workers who for years have organized for better wages and protections. Along with the higher minimum, the new law established a Fast Food Council — composed of business and labor representatives — that has the authority to set future pay increases (at a maximum of 3.5% a year) and develop standards on working conditions and employee safety and training.

‘This is such a dramatic increase on a state minimum wage that was already quite high.’

— Harry Holzer, a Georgetown University public policy professor

Employees at fast-food or limited-service restaurants nationwide work about 25 hours a week on average. Many face unpredictable hours with some called in on short notice or required to work split shifts — two separate periods in one day.

Angelica Hernandez, who works as a cook trainer at a McDonald’s in Monterey Park and was appointed to the Fast Food Council, called the $20 minimum wage “good progress.” But she worries that the restaurant will respond by slashing employee hours, which she said it has done in the past after increasing wages.

“They’re utilizing one person to do the job of two, three or four people,” she said.

Angelica Hernandez standing outside a McDonald's in Monterey Park

Earlier this year, workers formed the California Fast Food Workers Union , which is part of the Service Employees International Union, to bargain with the council. The union has said it plans to push for annual wage increases, predictable schedules and just-cause protections.

Workers can expect to maintain some leverage in future negotiations as growth slows. There is still tight competition for fast-food workers, though not as stiff as at the height of the Great Resignation in 2021-22, when many people quit their jobs and rethought their work and life priorities after COVID-19.

A guaranteed $20 an hour could lure people on the sidelines into the fast-food job market, including teenagers who once dominated the fast-food workforce, economists said.

Over the years, the average age of fast-food workers in the U.S. has been rising gradually as many teens have instead sought enrichment jobs to prepare for college. The median age for fast-food workers is now 22.1, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Zev Brown, a senior at Eagle Rock High School, has worked government jobs and on political campaigns since his sophomore year, earning $18 to $25 an hour.

Although he knows classmates who have jobs at Starbucks, McDonald’s and Burger King, he said most of his friends prefer to work for local mom-and-pop businesses or start their own money-making ventures.

“People want to work in the neighborhood they call home and the neighborhood in which they go to school,” Brown said. “Side-hustle culture and entrepreneurial culture are really big.”

That said, $20 an hour makes a fast-food job “more enticing for a student,” said his friend, 17-year-old Sawyer Sariñana, who has been making money through photography work.

“I would definitely consider it now — I think that’s a big jump and makes a big difference,” said Sariñana, also a senior at Eagle Rock High School.

A person on a bike rides along Santa Monica Blvd. in West Hollywood

It’s been the year of the worker. West Hollywood employers are so over it

Organized labor has been having a moment in L.A. But in West Hollywood, which has the nation’s highest minimum wage, it’s the business owners who’ve been marching.

Dec. 4, 2023

Fast-food locations in grocery stores, airports, hotels, theme parks, sports venues and other businesses are exempt from the minimum-wage increase, as are employers that operate a bakery on the premises — a loophole that has raised questions about whether Panera Bread and others like it must comply.

At first, it might seem that restaurant employers not covered by the mandate now have an advantage: As the big fast-food chains lay off or hire fewer staff, that could expand the pool of available workers — who could be paid less than $20 an hour. But owners of independent fast-casual and full-service restaurants aren’t sure that will be the case, and anticipate having to raise wages to keep pace.

“Every bump in the restaurant labor market raises the prices for everyone, period. It doesn’t leave us out,” said Jeff Strauss, owner of sandwich counter Jeff’s Table in Highland Park.

West Hollywood’s and Seattle’s experiences with rapidly increasing their minimum wages provide a look at how things might go in California after the April 1 wage hike kicks in.

West Hollywood raised its minimum wage to $19.08 an hour in July after vehement opposition from business owners, and just days before chef Josiah Citrin opened his steakhouse and seafood restaurant Charcoal Sunset.

Over the next several months, Citrin said he did everything he could to make it work, including cutting his staff from 50 employees to 30 and rolling out a more limited menu.

‘At a point, you can’t trim anymore. When I closed at the end, there was no more money to operate.’

— Chef-owner Josiah Citrin, who closed Charcoal Sunset shortly after West Hollywood increased its minimum wage to $19.08 an hour

But the high wages and a severe pullback in customer spending due to the Hollywood strikes were too much for the fledgling restaurant to overcome. Citrin closed Charcoal Sunset in February.

“At a point, you can’t trim anymore,” he said. “When I closed at the end, there was no more money to operate.”

Seattle, one of the first in the national Fight for $15 campaign, lifted its minimum wage from $9.47 an hour in April 2015 to $13 in January 2016 — a 37% jump over a nine-month period.

Researchers at the University of Washington found that businesses overwhelmingly survived, said Jacob Vigdor, a University of Washington public policy professor who directed the minimum-wage study.

But overall employment at eating and drinking establishments in Seattle grew at a notably slower pace after 2016, and there was another downside: Employees saw fewer hours of work — on average by about 10%.

In 2017, Seattle made it more costly for restaurant and retail employers to send workers home early and make other scheduling changes. Labor union officials in California are hoping to do the same at fast-food restaurants.

“It was never just about wages,” said April Verrett, the SEIU’s national secretary-treasurer. “This is about empowering workers.”

Times staff writer Suhauna Hussain contributed to this report.

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business plan for food

Andrea Chang is a wealth reporter for the Los Angeles Times. She was previously a Column One editor, the deputy Food editor and an assistant Business editor, and has covered beats including technology and retail. Chang joined the paper in 2007 after graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She grew up in Cupertino, Calif.

business plan for food

Don Lee writes economic stories out of Washington, D.C. Since joining the Los Angeles Times in 1992, he has served as the Shanghai bureau chief and in various editing and reporting roles in California. Lee previously worked at the Kansas City Star. He is a native of Seoul, Korea, and graduated from the University of Chicago.

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Food wholesaler costco offering weight-loss drug prescriptions to members for $179: ‘important innovations’.

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There is no need for Costco members to worry about  inflating food court prices  if they can cut out food cravings.

Costco has launched a subscription-based weight loss program for members and non-members of the nationwide wholesaler — which includes access to prescription weight-loss drugs.

Costco rolled out the program on April 2 but has been working with Sesame since the Fall of 2023.

The wholesaler  announced  on Tuesday that members will pay as low as $179 for a three-month subscription to utilize resources from their healthcare partner Sesame, according to a statement.

But never fear, non-Costco card holders — for only $195 per subscription period, non-members can enjoy all the benefits of the latter.

Sesame claims it’s the “most affordable weight loss program in the US.”

“We are witnessing important innovations in medically-supervised weight loss,” Sesame’s co-founder and CEO David Goldhill said in the  statement .

“Sesame’s unique model allows us not only to make high-quality specialty care like weight loss much more accessible and affordable, but also to empower clinicians to create care plans that are specific to — and appropriate for — each individual patient.”

Once an account is made through Sesame and has been verified with a Costco membership, customers belonging to the wholesaler can expect things like choice in their clinician, three months of clinical consultation, video consultation with the clinician, a nutritional guide and recommendations, and an “individualized, clinically-appropriate treatment program.”

Sesame claims it's the "most affordable weight loss program in the US."

The weight-loss program also includes access to GLP-1 prescription weight-loss drugs that have been sweeping the nation but will be on a patient-to-patient basis.

Injectable semaglutides like Ozempic and Wegovy and other oral weight-loss medications will be available only if a provider from Seasame finds the customer to be an applicable candidate, according to the  program .

According to the Seasame, patients could lose 5% of their body weight within three months, 10% in six months, and 15% in a year if they stick with their individualized programs.

Costco rolled out the program on April 2 but has been working with Sesame since the Fall of 2023.

The New York-based telehealth company said its clinicians will collect a “detailed medical history from each patient” to plan “appropriate diet, exercise and lifestyle modifications” for individual subscribers.

“When clinically appropriate, the clinician may also pair these interventions with medications, subject to their availability.”

While the focus may be on its offer of virtual care, the company also has some in-person care available.

Costco started offering customers visits with a primary care physician through Sesame in the fall for as low as $29 a visit.

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However, the move to expand came after the two companies noticed that a majority of customers using the program were inquiring about help with losing weight.

“It wasn’t what we initially thought would make sense to offer for Costco members who were coming to Sesame,” Sesame’s other co-founder, Michael Botta, told CNN.

“But we realized pretty quickly, just by looking at what people were curious about, that there was a clear unmet need here,” he said.

Costco’s partnership with Sesame makes it the latest retailer to jump on remote access for third-party healthcare providers.

Amazon launched its remote healthcare platform,  Amazon Clinic , in August, and  Walmart  offers in-store medical clinics for its customers.

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Costco rolled out the program on April 2 but has been working with Sesame since the Fall of 2023.

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California minimum-wage mandate causes maximum damage

Biden administration considering one part of minimum-wage plan that even california rejected.

McDonald's franchisee Scott Rodrick speaks out against new policy that could lead to laid-off workers on 'The Bottom Line.'

Small businesses brace as California's $20 minimum wage begins Monday

McDonald's franchisee Scott Rodrick speaks out against new policy that could lead to laid-off workers on 'The Bottom Line.'

It’s a tale as old as time yet too often ignored by politicians: elected officials pass sweeping new policies and small businesses and consumers pay the price. Consider the new law in California mandating a $20-hourly minimum wage at quick-service restaurants across the state.  

In the days leading up to the April 1 implementation date, the headlines were predictably awash with grim economic news. "Minimum wage increase in California could lead to layoffs" blared KNTV in San Francisco. 

As business owners and their trade groups warned when the Fast Food Accountability and Standards Recovery (FAST) Act was first proposed in 2022, the chickens are finally coming home to roost in the form of higher prices, job cuts and shuttered businesses. But California politicians, who are beholden to the Service Employees International Union’s (SEIU) demands for fear of political retribution, chose not to listen. 

RESTAURANT OWNER FEARS CALIFORNIA MINIMUM WAGE LAW IS 'A SILENT TAX' ON CONSUMERS, 'COLLAPSING' BUSINESSES

The original version of the FAST Act would have been even more damaging. Negotiations yielded a compromise lowering the minimum wage from $22 to $20 and extended the timeline of its implementation from Jan. 1, 2023, to April 1, 2024. It also neutered the powers of a "Fast Food Council" to advisory-status rather than creating a new rule-making body.  

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs legislation

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signs legislation raising the state's fast food workers minimum wage to $20 an hour at SEIU Local 721 in Los Angeles on Sept. 28, 2023. Newsom gave Anneisha Williams, who works at Jack in the Box and is a mother of six, a (Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images / Getty Images)

Most importantly, the California compromise eliminated joint employer liability, which would have destroyed the franchise model by tying brands and their franchise owners together as one entity — long a prize for unions in their ongoing boondoggle to attempt to organize employees at franchised locations as one entity.  Joint employer status erodes independence and autonomy from individual franchise owners, consolidating power with big business and big labor unions. 

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By their nature, compromises are never perfect, but in a state where one party controls all the levers of power, it was progress nonetheless.  

That’s the good news. On the other side of the coin, the Biden administration’s National Labor Relations Board is pursuing a similar joint employer policy at the national level. Thankfully, the House of Representatives passed a repeal, and now the Senate must get the ball over the finish line. In the upper chamber, the effort enjoys bipartisan support, including from Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and several other moderate Democrats. 

Exporting policies too extreme for the Golden State is not a wise course of action for the rest of the country.  

Fox News senior national correspondent William La Jeunesse reports on proposed changes to California's electric bills on 'Special Report.'

California may charge electricity customers based on income

Fox News senior national correspondent William La Jeunesse reports on proposed changes to California's electric bills on 'Special Report.'

Small business owners in California face one of most-unfriendly climates. The state has the highest unemployment rate in the country and its job growth is dead last. Businesses are fleeing in droves at the nation’s fastest rate. Before the FAST Act took effect, restaurant jobs in the state were down. More entrepreneurs are opting to relocate elsewhere rather than comply with an endless torrent of mandates or being forced to close their doors. Meanwhile, some California politicians are even calling for a $50-minimum wage.

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Even in California, voters are starting to fight back. Assemblyman Chris Holden — author of the FAST Act, who hailed its passage as the "most progressive fast food wage law in the country" during a bill signing alongside Gov. Gavin Newsom — is getting trounced in his bid for a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors. He has even distanced himself from the final bill, a bold claim that lays bare who is really calling the shots in California — the labor unions. 

The lessons of California are worth keeping in mind as the SEIU claims it wants to take these failed policies to other liberal locations. 

Politicians are fond of railing against "big corporations," but it’s the small business owners and consumers who end up paying the bill for a $24 burger.  

Matt Haller is president and CEO of the International Franchise Association. 

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