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The Worst Advice We’ve Ever Heard on Writing a Restaurant Business Plan

Starting any business can be really exhausting and stressful, but not having a good business plan can really set you up for a disastrous ride.

fail in plan
plan to fail

It rings true for anything you decide to undertake in life.

A diligently prepared business plan not only provides clarity to business owners in terms of financial requirements, resource planning, and the performance profile of the company, but it is a road map that propels you from goal to goal. A business plan for a restaurant is particularly challenging as it involves an industry that already has a large number of players and is highly dynamic. If you haven’t created a restaurant business plan yet today, it’s never too late to start now.

So, let’s hit the road running and start with a real humdinger! We’ve rounded up some of the worst advice we’ve come across. They are not in any particular order.

1. “Don’t research neighborhood layout.”
Actually? What were they thinking? The neighborhood is what will fuel your income, grow your business, and ultimately keep your doors open. If you don’t know where your potential customers are, how will you fill those seats?

Find out what the locals prefer, how often they frequent restaurants near their homes, and what your draw card would be if they opened a restaurant nearby. These are all aspects that you will only know if you do your homework. Go talk to the neighbors, send out survey sheets, run an ad contest, or just set up a little pop-up take-out near your chosen location, to see if any customers come sniffing around.

2. “Stick with a set menu or it will be expensive to maintain.”
Variety is the key to an abundant and exciting life. Provide your clientele with that! Global restaurant consultant Aaron Allen provides great advice on how often you should change your menu. Restaurants aboard the digital train today have also converted to using electronic menus for their restaurant ordering system. That way, you don’t have to spend big expenses every time you decide to fix things. Avant-garde and rudimentary are also a trend today. Just make sure the theme fits your restaurant.

3. “Do it until something sticks.”
In a highly saturated and dynamic industry, this is a very bad idea! Not having an infallible menu, not planning the right number of employees or not formulating an action plan for the coming year can lead to failure. Vague and ambiguous business goals like “to be different”, “to aim to become the best in the business” are just lofty terms that tell nothing about the underlying business proposition.

4. “Social media is the trend nowadays, so you need to connect now.”
Don’t get us wrong. In fact, social media is the current trend and most businesses are advised to break down the barriers and establish their presence as much as possible. In fact, popular advice is to take advantage of hot topics and use them to grab the attention of customers. However, going overboard on social media without having thought through your public relations or communication strategies can cause more harm than good. How will your staff handle customer feedback online? Dealing with negativity online is another complicated endeavor, which can greatly affect a company’s reputation. If you need more guidelines on how to deal with customers online, read this related article.

5. “Keep your personal goals out of the equation.”
High-performance athletes and successful businessmen in many fields set personal goals for themselves. Why shouldn’t you? Your personal goals are just as important and therefore should be included in your business plan. You are not only setting goals for the business, but also for yourself. Set them up in advance and you’ll see how they can link to each other in the future.

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