restaurant strategic plan
by Otilia Dobos

Are you planning on opening a restaurant? Or maybe you already own one but it’s not going as well as you’ve hoped? Then it is time to go back to the basics and write a restaurant strategic plan that will help you have a better view of your goals and how to achieve them.

Running a restaurant is no easy feat. You constantly have to face challenges from all directions, be it employee management, creating a great customer experience, or ensuring the food is perfect every time.

Don’t let the round-the-clock issues deter you from your main goal of having a long-term successful restaurant. We’ll show you what a strategic plan is for your restaurant, why you need it, and how to easily write the best one for your business.

What is a Strategy Plan for a Restaurant?

A restaurant strategic plan is a document that encompasses processes and strategic executions necessary to make the most of your resources and reach long-term goals.

You will start by outlining clear directions, settle on objectives you want to achieve, and create an actionable roadmap to success.

A well-written strategy plan for restaurants will help you focus on your mission and make the best decisions for your business without being sidetracked by daily occurrences.

What Are the Benefits of a Restaurant Strategic Plan?

Strategic plans are not new, many successful companies have been using them to accomplish their goals. Here are the benefits you will enjoy if you start to write your restaurant strategic plan now:

More profit

Restaurants have one of the biggest failure rates. Many people have the passion, but they don’t research to ensure they will have a profitable business.

With a strategic plan, you will be aware of your weaknesses and strengths, and you will develop measures to achieve your desired profit, no matter the challenges.

A more efficient business

In day-to-day life, it is easy to get distracted from your main goals. One day a customer may complain, another day there is a problem in the kitchen, and on other days, there aren’t enough employees on the floor.

A restaurant strategic plan enables you, the owner, and other people in leadership positions to make the best decisions for your business. In other words, focusing on the forest, not the individual trees.

Enhanced productivity

When you have a strategic plan in place, you delegate responsibilities to each member of your restaurant’s team. This way, each employee knows their duties and what you expect from them and will work towards achieving them.

Moreover, with no micromanaging, employee satisfaction increases, leading to a happy staff that helps you grow your business long-term.

Better decision-making

Usually, in the restaurant industry, people with no relevant training are forced to make decisions on the spot, which may not be the best long-term. With a strategic plan, you ensure all the decision-makers can rely on the written procedure to make the best choices.

Gives you an edge over your competition

There are many other restaurants in your area, but most of them don’t have a strategic plan in place. If you do, you will be able to manage your activities better and this will be visible in the customer experience.

What Are the Main Components of a Tactical Plan for a Restaurant?

Just like any other task, you can tackle a restaurant strategic plan more easily if you break it into smaller, more manageable parts. Open your document and let’s get started:

A vision statement

The vision is the long-term goal you want to achieve with your strategic plan. This is a one-and-done, you will only change it if you create another plan. It can be as broad or as specific as you wish, but make it attainable, so you will remain motivated while you get closer and closer to achieving it.

Restaurant strategic plan vision examples:

  • I want to reach 1,000 daily clients in about three years
  • I want to be the biggest restaurant that uses local ingredients in the area
  • I want to turn the Nona-style Italian cooking restaurant into a franchise in my country

A mission statement

You now know the vision and the goal you want to achieve. The mission statement focuses on the objectives you must set in the present to accomplish your vision. What actions can you note down (in detail) that will work towards your final aim?

Restaurant strategic plan mission statement example:

  • To achieve 1,000 daily clients, I will: get an SEO-optimized website to increase visibility and sales, start being active on social media, try out different promotions, optimize my Google Business Profile, start partnering up with local complementary businesses, use email marketing, and get more positive reviews online.

Strategic tools: SWOT, PESTLE, Porter’s five forces

Now is when the hard work starts. Gather a team that is heavily involved in your restaurant’s process so you can do the analysis processes together. You may gather new insights that will prove to be invaluable towards achieving your end goals.

What is the SWOT analysis framework?

  • Strengths: what are the positive attributes that are within your restaurant’s control? For example, maybe you use local ingredients that create a great bond with your local community. Or do you have a renowned chef whose dishes are appreciated by many?
  • Weaknesses: what internal factors stop you from achieving your goal? What areas could you improve in? Maybe you are not investing enough time in promoting your restaurant on social media.
  • Opportunities: what external factors could benefit your business? For example, maybe there is a winery near you with which you can collaborate to gain more customers.
  • Threats: what external factors could affect your business? Classify them by severity and probability of occurrence so you can create a contingency plan. For example, you may encounter a hiring crisis or many of your ingredients’ prices could skyrocket.

After you identify the most important findings and strategic options, create a document with the activities you plan to do to achieve your goals and be prepared for every situation.

What is the PESTLE analysis?

The PESTLE analysis focuses on the external factors that could affect your restaurant. If you identify the risks, you can ensure that your restaurant strategic plan will help you be prepared for any possibility:

  • Political: there may be new tax policies or environmental regulations;
  • Economical: economic growth or decline, inflation, minimum wage changes, cost of living;
  • Sociological: age distribution, health and safety, new food preferences;
  • Technological: the constant technological development could be of use for your restaurant. What could you use for your business? Maybe an efficient online ordering system? Or a new integrated POS?
  • Legal: changes to employment laws, imports, and taxation;
  • Environmental: global warming constantly changes your access to materials. How can you ensure you maintain a successful restaurant?

Just like you did for the SWOT analysis, identify possible threats and opportunities, and have in writing what you plan for when you encounter them. This will lead to better and faster decision-making because you already have the framework to return to.

What is Porter’s five forces analysis?

Porter’s five forces analysis focuses on the competition that exists in the industry, specifically in this case, in the restaurant industry. Can your restaurant be successful despite all the existing competitors?

  • Competition in the industry: are there many other restaurants in your area? Do they serve a similar type of cuisine? The bigger the competition, the harder it will be for you to succeed.
  • Potential of new entrants in the industry: is it easy to open a restaurant in your area? If it is, you can challenge the position of any other established restaurant. If it isn’t, you will have a harder time becoming a recognizable name.
  • Power of suppliers: do you depend on one supplier to get your ingredients, or could you change them and still be able to make your dishes?
  • Power of customers: how many customers do you have in a day? Does the number of new customers change often? How much do customers usually spend on an order?
  • Threat of substitute products: this doesn’t usually apply in the restaurant industry as customers are looking to buy cooked dishes. At-home cooking kits are the closest to a substitute product but not close enough to cause concern.

Goals and objectives

After you’ve used your strategic tools, you should have arrived at a few conclusions that must be turned into objectives. They must be specific, measurable, and achievable.

And, most of all, they must be time-bound. For example, if you want to get a new restaurant website, choose a date when the website must be live. It would also help if you could split the goals according to who will be responsible for them for better accountability.

Action Plan

You have settled on the goals, but how will you achieve them? Easy, by creating an action plan for each of them. Your restaurant strategic plan should contain multiple other smaller and detailed action plans with the specific steps necessary to achieve every objective.

Don’t forget to create action plans for external factors that might affect your business. This way, if you are in a crisis, there will be no need to panic because everyone can refer back to the plan that is already in place for the specific situation.

Resource allocation

You may be the owner of the restaurant, but you are not alone in running your business. There is strength in numbers. You must allocate people, money, and other needed resources to implement every action plan.

Evaluation and control

To ensure your restaurant strategic plan is successful, you must monitor the progress of implementation. You can set up a meeting bi-weekly or monthly where the team can discuss what objectives have been reached until now and what are the plans for the future.

You can also look into setting up restaurant KPIs (key performance indicators) to see if all your efforts bring you the results you have hoped for.

Tips on Creating an Efficient Strategic Plan for Your Business

Every restaurant strategic plan will be different, according to your needs, opportunities, and threats. But we have some common tips that work for each plan:

Leave room for change

When you create the plan, you do it according to the internal and external factors that are true at that very moment. But that can change over time, and so should your action plan.

For example, you created some sanitary procedures according to the existing law. If the law changes, you should be open to changing your procedures as well as it will be beneficial for your business.

Be open to technology

A lot of your goals can be achieved with the help of technology. Surely, one of your goals is to sell more. The online ordering system from GloriaFood can help you increase your sales by accepting orders online. Moreover, it is free, so you don’t have to add it to your monthly budget.

Rely on technology to achieve your restaurant’s goals Increase your sales with this efficient online ordering system

If your objective is to get more clients, consider getting a sales and SEO-optimized restaurant website that will help you get noticed online. The website is designed to increase conversions, so most visitors can also become clients.

Maintain an open line of communication

To reach your goals, all your employees must work together towards them. That’s why it’s important to focus on maintaining an open line of communication.

Just as you give your employees responsibilities, they should also be able to come to you if they have questions or suggestions.

Celebrate successes

A restaurant strategic plan shouldn’t be seen as a chore but as a means to a better business. Motivate your team to implement the action plans by celebrating when a goal is achieved.

It can be as simple as a comped meal or as big as a dinner party or bonuses for the ones involved.

Read more: How to Write a Restaurant Business Plan: 6 Practical Tips & Tricks

Final Words

A restaurant strategic plan may seem complicated at first, but it is all about dividing and conquering. It does involve quite a little bit of effort, but the results are worth it. Rely on your team and technology and you will surely be successful.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Otilia Dobos
Otilia Dobos

Otilia Dobos prides herself on well-documented, easy to understand and SEO-optimized content, both short and long form.