Good food alone does not guarantee success. However, meticulously planned operations and a clear action plan can surely help realize that dream.
The operations plan is your guidebook to create a successful restaurant. It streamlines every aspect of your eatery right from food processes to conflict resolution.
Consider it as a holy bible of your restaurant containing all the relevant information. It will answer every question the team will have while running a restaurant business.
Certainly, you cannot be negligent with this aspect of a business plan.
Well, this blog will help you understand the components of restaurant operations and take you one step closer to finishing your business plan.
So let’s get started.
Why does your Restaurant need an operations plan?
Many restaurants close their gates permanently in less than a year. It’s mostly because they didn’t have an actionable operations plan to run an eatery.
If by any chance you consider operations to be a not-so-important part, reconsider! Here are a few primary reasons why you need an operations plan for your restaurant.
- The cost of running a restaurant is high. Clearly defined operations help reduce the cost, and food wastage and show potential ways of increasing the profits.
- When you have set standards for everything, it becomes easier to deliver consistent services. An operations plan helps in clearly defining the standards for different aspects of an eatery business.
- Emergencies are bound to arrive. An operations plan helps you plan and prepare for various contingencies, thereby making the business sound and secure.
- Communication is the key, right? Operations set a clear tone for individual responsibility and accountability. This will fix all the communication issues that lead to employee dissatisfaction.
Key components of a restaurant operations plan
Starting to write the operations section of your business plan? Don’t forget to add these key components to make your business plan relevant and helpful.
1. Menu Design and Management
Including a sample menu in the business plan of your new restaurant will help investors understand your product offerings.
Besides, what you plan to serve will directly and largely affect the other aspects of your restaurant, mainly its target market, layout, and design.
Restaurants operate on a thin margin. It’s therefore important to identify the menu items that are profitable as well as popular.
Focus on a limited menu, at least in the beginning to regulate the food costs. Include items that can be put together with easily available and locally sourced ingredients.
Work on creating a cost-effective menu design. Implement recipe cost cards to get the exact cost of each menu item. And, ensure that the prime costs of menu items are not more than 66% of what you are planning to price.
2. Food Procurement & Preparation
A restaurant’s operational plans should clearly define the food procurement and preparation process.
Identify a way to get a consistent supply of raw materials for your eatery. If not planned and accounted for, the inventory expenses will disrupt your budget.
Find a balance between fresh ingredients and ingredients with a stable shelf life in your recipes. To reduce the costs, find ways to use the same ingredients for multiple dishes.
For consistency in preparation, create recipe cost cards for every item on your menu.
Ensure that the food preparation process promises quality. This will keep your target market loyal to your eatery.
3. Staffing and Training
Employees play a huge role in bringing your restaurant dream to fruition.
However, labor costs account for the largest operational expenses every month. Identifying the exact staffing requirements will help you make informed hiring decisions.
In the operational section of your restaurant business plan, mention your hiring plans for full-time and part-time employees. Also, mention their salaries to give potential investors an idea about the monthly payroll expenses.
Further, highlight the employee training practices for your restaurant. Outline the detailed training program for your front-house and back-house restaurant staff.
The training should be comprehensive and train employees in taking orders, managing special requests, resolving customer complaints, serving protocols, etc.
4. Inventory management
Efficient inventory and supply chain management are the key pillars of running a successful restaurant.
Determine your stock management strategy by conducting market research on competitors. The operations section of a restaurant business plan must include the following details:
- Frequency of restocking an inventory.
- Stock management practices
- Storage costs of an inventory
- Suppliers and vendors that will fulfill the orders
- Inventory tracking methods
- Contingency plan for supply chain disruption
This section of a restaurant business plan helps reduce the potential costs substantially. Besides, efficient inventory management will instill the faith of potential investors in your restaurant business.
5. Technology & Software
The operations section of your restaurant business plan must offer a brief overview of the technologies and tools that you will use in your eatery.
Technologies are extremely important for the restaurant’s success. A market analysis suggests that 91% of restaurant owners in the US consider restaurant technologies to be important for their business.
Study your direct and indirect competitors and identify the technologies they are using in their restaurant business.
Describe reservation tools, inventory management systems, payment systems, marketing tools, and different kinds of technology that will help streamline your operations.
6. Customer Service
We all know that quality customer service will contribute significantly to a restaurant’s success.
The question is- How do you plan to offer consistent quality services to satisfy the customers?
Think of things that can contribute to customer satisfaction and you can frame your strategies accordingly.
To create relevant strategies, try answering questions such as:
- How will you efficiently move the customers in the line of operations without hushing them?
- How will you maintain consistency in food quality?
- How will the restaurant management address customer complaints?
- How do you plan to attract your target market?
- Do you have modern and upgraded technology for digital and contactless payment?
- What will be the average serving time?
- What is your marketing strategy to keep the customer happy and loyal?
No one other than your customers will decide the fate of your restaurant. All the strategies and plans must aim at helping you deliver a satisfactory customer experience.
7. Health and safety compliance
Health and safety is another important factor that requires constant attention in an eatery business. In the operations plan, mention different health practices you will follow for food, customers, and the safety of restaurant workers.
Describe sanitation and disinfection protocols to keep the restaurant and kitchen premises clean and hygienic.
Further, describe the food safety policies in your eatery. This should clarify food handling and storage methods, temperature protocols, and different food check measures in practice.
Mention, emergency and evacuation protocols in case of fire, earthquake, and accidents. Clearly define procedures and tools that will help to combat such situations.
Lastly, mention employee health protocols, regular health checkups, and policies to manage infections.
Overall, a comprehensive restaurant business plan is one that entails all the details of a restaurant’s operations and acts as a guidebook in making a restaurant successful.
How to draft a restaurant operation plan: key questions to ask
Be it a fine dining cafe or a fast-casual restaurant, an eatery is much more than the company description, restaurant design, and service style.
This is your chance to create your unique restaurant by defining its key operations.
Now, are you facing difficulty in writing a clear and actionable operations plan? Answer these questions and you will have all the necessary information to bring clarity to the operations section of your business plan.
What are your operational hours?
Unless you are planning to be a 24*7 highway restaurant, you need to fix the restaurant’s working hours well in advance.
Conduct market analysis and understand when the demand for your eatery will be highest. Study many restaurants and find the ideal operating hours for an eatery like yours.
Apart from product offerings, many factors such as customer base, sales channel, restaurant design, location, and popularity of your restaurant weigh in to form this decision.
Considering these factors, identify the peak working hours and plan a generous window around that to serve your customers.
Who handles the opening and closing of the restaurant?
After deciding the restaurant timings, plan who would open and close the restaurant.
This staff is responsible for activities like maintenance, security, waste disposal, and other crucial daily operations. It can be some trustworthy member of the staff who will ensure that the restaurant starts right on time.
What technologies will you use in your day-to-day operations?
A variety of technologies are required for the long-term success of a restaurant. The technologies ease the complexity and help put an organized operations plan into action.
For instance, an online ordering system is an important technology in 2023. According to market research, more than 25% of restaurant sales are generated through online ordering.
Mention the online ordering system you will use and also outline the agreement made with different delivery partners.
Apart from that, you need a security system, tools for financial analysis, software to implement your marketing plan, kitchen display screens, payment machines, etc.
Mention all these technologies and how you will create meticulous operations with them.
What is the timeline for pre-launch? Are any preparations pending?
How long will it take to set up a restaurant? The financial projections you have made will make sense only if the restaurant opens on time as you planned.
In this section, lay clear steps that will transform your restaurant mood board into an actual restaurant.
Create a checklist with a timeline for everything that needs to be done. This includes activities like remodeling, acquiring licenses and permits, hiring staff, training employees, and stocking an inventory to get the restaurant ready for launch.
Potential investors hold a keen interest in this section mainly because it reflects your commitment to the business.
And that’s pretty much all you need in an operations plan.
Simple, right? Well, we know it isn’t.
But at least now you have all the relevant information required for your operations business plan.
Download a sample restaurant business plan
All set to write the operations section of your restaurant business plan? Well, we have a perfect resource for you. This restaurant business plan template by Upmetrics is available for free download and is designed specifically for restaurateurs.
It is amongst the most intuitive, modern, and resourceful business plans available out there. It has step-by-step instructions and some perfect examples for you to consider. Free download the template now and start writing.
Start Preparing Your Restaurant Operational Plan
Customers are at the heart of the restaurant business. Keeping them happy and satisfied requires you to surpass quality expectations every time.
An operational plan helps you achieve that and a lot more. So without any further ado, start the work.
Get the market overview, work your way through figures, and figure out best practices to implement in your business.
A lot of things need your consideration when you are writing the operations section of a business plan. Our restaurant business plan template will come in handy to ensure you leave no important aspect untouched.