Creating a Business Plan, Part 5

I gotta give it up to you guys who have been following this series of blog posts. There’s still lots more we need to discuss with creating a business plan, but once we’re through it all, you’ll be that much more prepared to start up your restaurant, and that’s what One Fat Frog wants to make sure: you’re ready to start it up.

So now, we add your menu into the mix of your business plan. First off, you have to make sure that your menu does three things: matches your concept, attracts the clientele you want, and beats your competition. Aside from that, the menu also helps you figure out what types of smallwares and equipment you’ll need to buy. I mean, think about it: are you going to pay top dollar for steak knives if steak isn’t on the menu? Of course not!

Now, menus are not always set in stone. In fact, it’s not unusual for restaurants to add or drop items as the months and years go on. So for now, the menu you use to for your business plan is mainly a working menu to get you started, so don’t be agitated if you’re not all the way there. So, here’s a fancy term to remember: menu mix, which is basically what will be on your menu. This will help you figure out how much you’re likely to sell over a shift, a week, or a month. The menu mix will also help you figure out what kinds of jobs need to be done; for example, there’s a chance that a family restaurant won’t need a sommelier, or the guy who knows everything about wine. The menu mix will also help you figure out the check average you hope to hit with each guest, thus helping you project your sales (which we’ll be discussing later on down the road).

One more quick thing to know: while it’s not necessary to include a menu mix in your business plan, it is highly recommended, especially if you’re showing this to potential investors. They want to know that you’ve really thought about what you’re trying to sell and what kinds of sales you’d like to make. This will inspire more confidence in you as a restauranteur, and that means you will more than likely land a good investor.

Remember, the menu is always the hard part to put together in any restaurant, and we’ve discussed in previous posts how to figure out your food costs. At the end of the day, this is what a restaurant is all about, so even if you don’t have something totally in place, you want to show you’re making an effort to put something together. We’ve got plenty more to go through as far as the business plan is concerned, so thanks for sticking around, and keep on coming back.

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