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A Great Restaurant Business Plan is the First Step to Success, Says CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America

Chelsea, AL, May 20, 2012 --( The journey from that wonderful and exciting restaurant idea to serving the first customer is a trek that requires commitment, stamina, willpower, and creativity. "It also requires a plan," says Howard Cannon, Restaurant Consultant, Restaurant Expert Witness, and CEO. "Building the restaurant of your dreams requires a sound plan, but creating a business plan is not an easy task. The best way to approach it is to write down everything you want to accomplish with your restaurant and proceed from there. Treat the business plan as a road map to your business."

A business plan is not the great American novel. It is a narrative of a plan to run a prospective business, so the audience is small and specific. In addition, different parts of the business plan are geared toward different people: Potential investors tend to be more interested in the quality of the founding management team and the potential for growth than nearly any other factors. They want to feel comfortable that they are investing their money in a team that has a track record of success and in a concept that is going to return handsome profits. Bankers tend to require more data to give themselves the comfort level that you will repay the loan.

The basic components of a restaurant business plan are a cover page and table of contents, an executive summary, the business concept, the restaurant management team, the restaurant market analysis, the process analysis, the restaurant organizational plan, the restaurant marketing plan, the restaurant financial plan, the restaurant start-up cost projections, the restaurant proforma or income statement, the restaurant timeline and growth plan, the restaurant contingency plan, and the supporting documents.

Mr. Cannon says, "You don't need to share every part of your business plan with everybody. Depending on who the reader is, you can determine which pieces of the plan to share. Either way, having all of the information available in one document is important. The financial plan part of your business plan is the key component of your proposal." If you’re trying to secure some form of funding, and most future restaurant owners are, the money folks will want to see a comprehensive version of the plan. "And something most people may never consider when writing a business plan," Cannon offers, is that "you and your team can use the plan to establish and build your company culture."

New management or potential partners can be recruited with a strong business plan. A solid plan may give people more confidence in leaving the security of their current situations to come on board with this new team. Potential key players are most interested in operational and organizational plans and want to be able to clearly see where they fit the needs. Vendors or service providers may also be interested in the business plan. Usually their interest lies in the potential for growth and how their company can benefit by doing business with the new company. Clearly, if the business is growing and they are suppliers, their businesses will grow as well.

Cannon encourages future restaurant owners to commit their goals and plans to writing. "By writing down your intentions, you'll know what you expect of yourself and your business; and, you'll make decisions accordingly. If the plan is well done, it will be useful in helping to make good business decisions," he says, adding, "Your attitude has plenty to do with the effectiveness and efficiency of your business plan. If you understand why you need a plan, you will have a better chance of making it work. If you don’t understand why you need a plan, keep studying until you do. Writing down your intentions makes it easier for you to make them come true."

Howard Cannon is a highly-recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© - found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at or
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Restaurant Consultants of America
Susan Wood

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