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Tips on how to write a restaurant business plan

Tips on how to write a restaurant business plan

7-minute read

Opening a new restaurant is an exciting prospect. For many, it’s the realisation of a dream based on a passion. But as brilliant as your ideas may be, most good businesses start with a good business plan. Considering and writing your restaurant business plan is an important first step to success – and it doesn’t have to be hard.

What we’ll cover


Key take-outs

  • A good restaurant business plan helps you prioritise efforts, manage outcomes, and impress investors
  • Include details about your business, market, business structure, ownership, marketing, operations and finance
  • Use your business plan to list and monitor action items 
  • Review and refine your business plan regularly.


Why do I need a restaurant business plan?

Every business owner knows that part of the challenge is juggling all the elements and demands that need to be considered, as well as regulatory requirements. When opening a new enterprise such as a restaurant, you have to become an instant expert on property, employment law, food supply chains, marketing and hygiene, plus much more.


A good business plan helps you compartmentalise each aspect of your business, meaning you can focus on one factor at a time, rather than all at once. Other reasons to write a restaurant business plan for your restaurant are:


  • Helps you prioritise your efforts

Stepping back from the granular details of opening and running a restaurant gives you time to reflect on the big picture, considering the things that will really matter to your future customers. That in turn will inform the priorities you need to focus on.

  • Gives you more control of outcomes

The discipline of working through a plan – and constantly refining it over time – will encourage you to think about the factors that will most influence your likelihood of success. What’s working? And what isn’t?

  • Supports you if you’re seeking finance

Banks and other lenders – or potential investors – will expect to see a solid restaurant business plan to reassure them that your new restaurant is well run and a low financial risk.

What needs to go into a restaurant business plan?

Every business is different, so there’s no definitive business plan structure – but here are some key elements you should consider for inclusion. It’s important to think of your restaurant plan as a living, breathing document that evolves over time as you build your business and gain knowledge, insights and experience along the way.


1. Executive summary

Leave drafting this brief overview until last. It should summarise and define all other elements of the business plan, and cover:

  • Your business vision and mission statement
  • Differentiation from other restaurants
  • Target market
  • Company description and operating model
  • Business ownership and management
  • Expansion plans
  • Short-term and long-term goals.


2. Business and market analysis

Here’s where you talk about what type of restaurant you’re opening and how it will fit into the local market. Include things such as:

  • Style of business and a sample menu
  • Unique features and benefits
  • Market and competitor analysis
  • Restaurant industry trends
  • SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of your restaurant idea.


3. Marketing strategy

However great your restaurant idea is, you can’t just open your doors and hope for the best. In this section, give some thought to:

  • Marketing budgets – launch and ongoing
  • Marketing objectives – what you hope to achieve in the short and long term
  • Target markets – there may be different sectors you can target
  • Brand position – the name and unique vibe or personality of your restaurant
  • Value proposition – such as cheap and cheerful or fine dining
  • Digital optimisation – website and social media marketing
  • Key marketing mediums – from leaflet drops to broadcast.


4. Business structure and legal

You’ll need to choose a business structure (e.g., sole trader, partnership, company), which will generally reflect ownership and your desired level of liability. Other aspects to refer to in your business plan include:

  • Licences and agreements (such as those attached to a restaurant franchise)
  • Intellectual property (your brand, logo, menu design and recipes)
  • Insurance
  • Leases
  • Your responsibilities as an employer.


5. Operating plan

Here you can detail how you plan to operate on a day-to-day basis, covering areas such as:

  • Sales channels (sit down versus takeaway, delivery and ready-meal sales)
  • Suppliers (how and where you’ll source produce and other supplies)
  • Equipment (buy or lease)
  • Management team (day-to-day)
  • Roles and staffing levels (full-time versus part-time and casual)
  • Contingency plans (for downturn periods, staff issues, weather, etc.).


6. Financial plan

If you need a business loan to support your business, lenders will want to see your business plan, including details of:

  • Start-up costs
  • Operating expenses, including labour costs
  • Profit and loss forecast
  • Cash flow forecast
  • Financial projections and ratios
  • Results and balance sheets (once you’re trading).


7. Action plan

This will likely be the most dynamic section of your restaurant business plan. It’s where you review and update business goals and note lessons learned and actions required in response to trading activity and market fluctuations.


List the actions you plan to take before you review your business plan next; and note down any ongoing actions that have yet to be completed.

Where can I get a restaurant business plan template?

A quick search online will reveal numerous downloadable business plan templates, many of which will be simple to adapt to restaurant use with the inclusion of elements such as a sample menu. Accounting software services such as MYOB and Xero publish templates online too.


To save you looking further, the Australian Government’s Business website has a business plan template you can download in Word format. Or you could simply create your own template using the headings listed in this article.

How should I take payments in my new restaurant?

To take card and digital wallet payments in your restaurant, you’ll need an EFTPOS machine or another type of card reader linked to your bank account. Having a terminal that integrates with your point of sale (POS) system means that you can select items from a menu and the total amount for payment is transmitted to the EFTPOS machine – which avoids calculation and keying-in errors.


Westpac's EFTPOS Now with Presto, EFTPOS Connect and EFTPOS Flex machines both offer POS integration. When researching EFTPOS machines, look out for the specific features you want such as automatic surcharging (to recoup costs), bill splitting and tipping.


The latest innovation in taking credit card payments is an app called EFTPOS Air that you can download onto a compatible1 phone or tablet. Customers tap to pay on your phone as they would a traditional EFTPOS machine, and their payment can be settled into your Westpac Business One or Business One Plus account the very same day2.

EFTPOS Air has built-in POS features enabling a menu of items to be built; and can be used by restaurants as a main payment system or as a handy backup for busy times.



To sum up:

The prospect of launching a new restaurant concept is inspiring and you’ll be keen to open your doors to an enthusiastic public. But before you get too deep, it pays to invest time in detailing the mechanics of your new business. A comprehensive restaurant plan will set you off on a solid path to a successful restaurant, well prepared for the challenges ahead.

Read more

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Taking the leap of faith to start your own business? Here are 10 tips to help get your new venture off to a good start.

Choosing a business structure

Are you setting up your business as a sole trader? Partner? Company? Trust? We weigh up the pros and cons of each.

Things you should know

Westpac’s products are subject to terms, conditions, fees and charges; and certain criteria may apply. Before making a decision, read the disclosure documents for your selected product or service, including the Product Disclosure Statement and T&Cs; and consider if the product is right for you.


This information does not take into account your personal circumstances and is general. It is an overview only and should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon. Consider obtaining personalised advice from a professional financial adviser and your accountant before making any financial decisions in relation to the matters discussed in this article, including when considering tax and finance options for your business. Westpac does not endorse any of the external providers referred to in this article.


1. Compatibility: To use EFTPOS Air your iPhone or Android device will need to be Near Field Communication (NFC) enabled and running on one of the supported iPhone Operating Systems (iOS) or Android Operating Systems (OS) listed at, which may change from time to time. Tap to Pay on iPhone requires iPhone XS or later running iOS 16.4 or later and a supported payment app. Some contactless cards may not be accepted by your payment app.


2. Same day settlement: Subject to system availability, settlement is performed directly after business day cut off. Business day cut-off for EFTPOS Air takes place 7-days a week at 8.50 pm (Sydney time). Settlement must be to an eligible Westpac business transaction account.