Writing a business plan walks you through the key components of your business, prompts you to make critical decisions, and helps to reveal whether your business strategy is economically sound. It also gives you a vehicle for communicating with others about your business, which is particularly important if you need to procure start-up capital.
If your business plan follows a standard format that investors and lenders are accustomed to seeing, it's easier for them to review your plan and make timely decisions about whether or not to fund your business. Working from an existing plan customized with your own information also makes the plan much easier and faster to write.
Sample Business Plan
This business plan is for a fictitious restaurant, and the data is largely fictitious as well. It does, however, provide an example of the kinds of information you need think through and include. Substitute real information for your own business strategy, and you can, quite literally, take it to the bank.
BUSINESS PLAN (Cover Sheet)
Let Them Eat Cake
Susan B. Jones, Owner
April 30, 2013
123 Eat Street, Anytown, USA 12345-6789; (123) 456-7890; firstname.lastname@example.org (Footer)
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Let Them Eat Cake is a dessert bar featuring delectable cakes and coffees. The decor will be art deco, and the china and flatware will be elegant. This is a place where the imagination takes hold and diners can travel to another place in time.
The target audiences for Let Them Eat Cake are adults, looking for a unique but low commitment social medium. This is the perfect place to stop in after a show, on a first date, or for a business discussion.
1.3 What Drives Us
Though coffee shops and restaurants are competitive, we are located in an area where people are drawn to niche dining experiences. We want to serve people looking for out-of-the box experiences, and delight them to the point that they will return again and again.
2. COMPANY DESCRIPTION
2.1 Mission Statement
To provide a high-end dessert dining experience that is both elegant and trendy.
2.2 Principle Members
- Susan B. Smith - Founder & Chef
- John Williams - Marketing & Finance
- Davis Jeffers - Interior Design Consultant
- Wilfred D. Jones - Customer Service Specialist
2.3 Legal Structure
We are an S-Corp.
3. MARKET RESEARCH
The food services industry is stable and moderately growing, as is evidenced by the following data from Restaurant Trendmapper.
- Among non-Hispanic patrons (a small minority in our geographic area), 70% of all diners prefer an adult food experience. That number is up from 63% in the past 24 months.
- Restaurant visits rose 3.4% in the past 12 months, while menu prices also rose 2.3% during the same period.
- Restaurant sales accounted for $45.3 billion in revenue in March, 2013, an increase of 6% over March, 2012.
- Food prices from wholesale food suppliers have increased only 0.7% over the past 12 months, setting the stage for higher profits for restaurateurs.
Our target customers want interesting adult dining experiences, as well as places to socialize and meet business acquaintances. The customer's median age is 34, and her median household income is $63,000 to $85,000.
- U.S. Census Data demonstrates that the Anytown community is home to more than enough target prospects to keep our tables filled.
- Our target customers are willing to spend more money on products that are of higher quality and last longer.
- 80% of our population are between the ages of 21 and 69.
- 93% of the population over the age of 25 completed high school, and 59.7% have college degrees.
- 80% of rents range between $860 and $1999.
- Homes have a median value of $248,000.
- 80% of households have an income of $82,000 to $124,000.
- While San Francisco tops the nation in dining options with more than 20 for every 10,000 people, Anytown has a healthy 16 dining establishments per 10,000 people. This shows that people in our area dine out routinely, but the market is far from saturated.
Our concept is unique, and we are aware of no other gourmet dessert restaurant in the metro area, and definitely none in Anytown. The metro has a number of take-and-go bakeries, and well as casual family restaurants and coffee shops. Some of the upscale restaurants have delightful dessert menus, but they come with drawbacks: Waits are long, and the meals are expensive.
3.4 Competitive Advantage
- Top quality menu items.
- We offer a true oasis from the cares of everyday life.
- We are a place where people can have an intimate encounter without investing a large block of tine.
- We can turn over our tables more quickly than traditional restaurants.
- We don't have the expense or time constraints of purchasing supplies for or preparing a full-scale menu. For us, one recipe serves generous portions to 15 diners.
- Forty degree storage temperature
- OSHA regulations
- County health regulations
4. PRODUCT/SERVICE LINE
4.1 Product Line
Our cakes are made of only the finest and freshest eggs, flour, milk, buttermilk, fruits, nuts, spices, and oils.
We will routinely test new desserts to see which ones will become perennial favorites among our guests, but a taste of our favorites include:
- Extra Dark Chocolate Cake with Lemon Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting
- Pecan Pear Torte
- Orange Chiffon Cake with Brandied Whipped Cream
- Tennessee Jam Cake with a Creamy Caramel Drizzle
- Fresh Spiced Fruit
We will also sell whole cakes to customers who want to entertain at home.
Beverages include a variety of pressed coffees, cappuccino, mocha, and espresso, as well as Darjeeling tea and milk.
4.2 Pricing Structure
- A generous single serving of cake will range from $6.95 to $8.95.
- Cake for two will range from $9.25 to $15.25.
- Whole cakes, serving approximately 15 people, will start at $29.75.
- Beverages will range from $1.99 to $7.99.
4.3 Product/Service Life Cycle
Our planning stage is complete, and we are seeking funding to lease equipment and a location, and to hire a sous-chef and wait staff.
4.4 Intellectual Property Rights
Each recipe was individually developed and is stored in a safe deposit box. Each employee is required to sign a Do Not Compete agreement, as well as a document that states he will not reveal information about our recipes.
4.5 Research & Development
- Our website will contain a vehicle for feedback and suggestions.
- We will visit other restaurants and sample their dessert offerings. This will serve us on two levels: 1) Provide an understanding of the choices and price points available to our customers; 2) Uncover interesting new cakes and experiment with how to make them even better.
5. MARKETING & SALES
5.1 Growth Strategy
Once our first site is firmly rooted in the community, potential growth options include:
- Become a vendor for wedding caterers
- Add liqueurs to our menu
- Launch additional locations
- Establish a franchise model
- Partner with complementary niche restaurants (ex: develop a specialized dessert line for Punch Pizza)
- Launch an IPO
- Social media
- Email marketing
- Text messaging
Our ad campaigns will contain dramatic photography with little text.
- Search engine marketing
- Reviews in local publications
- Sampling events
- Partner with dating services
- Local newspaper and mail package advertising; our ad campaigns will contain dramatic photography with little text.
6. FINANCIAL PROJECTIONS
6.1 Assumptions for Profit and Loss Projections
- Serve 100 slices of cake daily, at an average cost of $9.00 = $900
- Serve 100 beverages daily at an average cost of $2.50 = $250
- Sell 5 whole cakes daily at an average cost of $30 = $150
- Make 20 cakes daily at a cost of $8 each = $160
- Sales increase of 7% annually
- Wholesale ingredients cost increase of 2.9% annually
- All equipment is leased
6.2 Profit & Loss
6.3 Cash Flow
More Free Sample Business Plans
Plenty of other resources exist online to help you creat your own business plan.
- Entrepreneur offers several sample business plans, geared toward a wide variety of businesses. All were written using Business Plan Pro software, but can be edited by copying and pasting.
- The Small Business Association (SBA) provides a free template for writing business plans.
- Rocket Lawyer offers an online tool for building a free business plan. The tool guides you through a series of questions and develops the plan based on your answers.
Use Your Business Plan
Refer back to your plan frequently. Use it as a touchstone to make sure your goals are on track, but also continue to develop it. Use it as a repository for your best ideas. Also continue to add appendices to document your successes and financial reports.