If you have a reputation for cooking exceptional soul food and possess an entrepreneurial spirit, a soul food restaurant is a business that could prove to be a profitable endeavor. Opening a restaurant isn't a decision to take lightly, but once you've made the choice to become a restaurateur, it is important to have a clear plan. Like any other business endeavor, the success of your soul food restaurant depends on creating an in-depth, well-thought-out business plan.
Educate yourself on the art of business plan writing. Go to the Small Business Administration (SBA) as well as the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) websites and view one or both of the free, online video business plan workshops that are available. Conduct a search for websites that offer sample business plans. Download or review a business plan for restaurants in order to garner a clear idea of what is expected.
Write a company description. A detailed company description will help you, your potential investors and loan agencies to see a clear picture of what your restaurant will be like. Cover areas such as your legal business structure, whether your restaurant will be casual or a more upscale soul food establishment; its size, potential or current location; and any description of what makes it unique. Add a descriptive sample menu that best illustrates the type of food that you will offer customers including: lunch, dinner, desserts and drinks. Also explain how your restaurant will be unique from and superior to the potential competition.
Conduct market research. Your business plan must demonstrate that you understand the market in your area and that you have conducted enough research to reasonably determine the viability of a soul food restaurant. Identify your target demographics by age, ethnicity, and income and compare those results against the population in your location. Visit your competition and assess their menu, the taste and quality of their food, the popularity of their restaurant and the level of customer loyalty.
Create a marketing strategy. Describe how you plan to promote your business and bring customers into your restaurant. Your marketing strategy must include your initial methods of attracting diners in addition to your plan for continued marketing and customer retention.
Outline the operation plan for your business and management. Create a plan that covers the restaurant hours, number of employees, suppliers, customer service, and administrative duties. Take into consideration who will handle your finances, and what controls will be in place to ensure safety and honesty. If you plan to hire a manager, you will also need to describe who will be a part of your management team and what qualifications they have.
Make a financial plan. An important factor of your restaurants business plan is determining the financial aspect in terms of funding, profit and loss. Take your time and chart your soul food restaurants projected growth, industry data, a break-even analysis and any possible risk, including a plan to handle that risk if it should occur.
Write your Executive Summary. This is an introduction to the content within your soul food business plan; however, because it summarizes the content of your plan, it is best written when all other aspects of the business plan are complete. Provide a snapshot of your business plan by covering the important, key aspects of each section only, without going into detail.
Edit your business plan for any spelling or punctuation errors. Keep your business plan professional and neat. Use a computer to type out and print your business plan.
Failure to write a thorough business plan could hinder you in obtaining a loan or other funding for your restaurant.
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