Menu Driven Business Planning

A menu is the foundation of any restaurant; Guests will support or avoid a restaurant for its food. Starting with a preliminary menu is a simple and basic approach to restaurant development. Begin with a menu, and you are light years ahead in the restaurant development process. A menu will tell you and your Guest what you are trying to be as a business, and greatly enhance your chances for success.

I view a menu for content, image and pricing. Content (the actual items on the menu) will dictate service staffing needs, level of culinary experience and type of management required. Who will be doing the cooking, do they have experience in this type of food, and how much are you paying them?

Image is how the Guest will perceive the menu. Menu image helps define the targeted clientele and which other restaurants this operation would be competing with. Are the content and image of the menu appealing to your desired clientele? Pricing helps determine a potential restaurant's competitive placement. Is the pricing for the type of food offered competitive with other's in the market area, and does it permit the ability to manage a profitable food cost? Pricing sets the Guest's expectations in terms of food and service quality. This perception will, in turn, help define appropriate staffing levels. The budgeting process can now begin. Analysis of menu content, image and pricing will tell prospective restaurant operators whether their concept is appropriate for a certain market area.

With a preliminary menu in hand, a prospective operator can target a location that will be convenient and appropriate for their desired clientele. Once a site or facility is selected, sales volumes can be projected based on number of seats, menu pricing and the competitive business analysis. With projected sales volumes, how much an operator can spend to acquire, remodel or build a facility is determined. Leases and/or purchase agreements can now be negotiated.

With a clear menu, competitive analysis, sales forecast and development budget, financing can realistically be sought. A business plan can be derived which, if taken to potential investors will demonstrate what type of return they can anticipate on their investment.

Any restaurant business plan must begin with a menu. A proposed menu provides the basics for many questions that must be answered during the restaurant development process. It creates an image of the restaurant, identifies targeted clientele, and defines the proposed restaurant's competition. A preliminary menu allows a sound basis for business budgeting, tests potential profitability, and dictates the development dollars required for a facility. Most importantly, beginning the business planning process with a menu maintains the focus of ownership on the importance of food and the impact it has on the success of the restaurant.

Written by Monte Zwang of Steele Development Corporation, a consulting firm specializing in business development and financial strategies. You can reach Steele Development by calling 206.878.9666 or online at http://www.Steeledevelopment.com.

In The News:


Sudbury.com

Thorneloe University launches its new five-year strategic plan
Sudbury.com
The five-year plan focuses on five priorities developed with input from current and former students, staff, faculty, alumni, board members and community partners. “Thorneloe University would like to thank everyone who contributed to the strategic ...


CUinsight.com (press release)

Keeping your strategic plan out of the weeds
CUinsight.com (press release)
Credit unions that engage in strategic planning are committing time and valuable resources towards planning for the future. Your leadership team will likely spend hours at the table hammering out the details of your strategic plan for the next several ...


OCRegister

Readers say OC Parks failed to be inclusive with strategic plan survey
OCRegister
Following last week's column about OC Parks' upcoming 10-year Strategic Plan, an outpouring of emails, online comments and telephone calls criticized the agency for failing to widely publicize both the project and a survey. Dozens of park volunteers ...


Santa Cruz County takes first step toward a strategic plan
Santa Cruz Sentinel
To find its 'why,' Santa Cruz County is embarking on a strategic planning process that aims to distill the priorities of its constituents and staff for the next six years to find the county a north star by which to prioritize use of limited resources ...


Greensboro News & Record

UNCG unveils strategic plan | Schools & Colleges | greensboro.com
Greensboro News & Record
The campus leader of the strategic planning process said it took several years to create the plan based on ideas from employees, students and alumni.

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Blount County BOE begins strategic planning process
THE BLOUNT COUNTIAN
The Blount County Board of Education announced yesterday that it will begin a strategic planning process soon involving school system stakeholders to “redefine and refocus our priorities”, and “to make well-informed decisions about the future direction ...

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School Board Holds Visioning Workshop - For New Strategic Plan ...
The Missourian
Continuous improvement is what the Washington School Board wants to see as officials develop a new five-year strategic plan for the district.

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UNCG Now

New strategic plan highlights where today's 'Giant Steps' will take UNCG in the future
UNCG Now
UNCG has unveiled its new 5-year strategic plan, a road map for the university that outlines significant areas of focus, key goals and initiatives, and a number of important metrics that will be tracked over time. Dubbed “Taking Giant Steps,” the ...


Freeport Journal-Standard

City hires strategic planning partner
Freeport Journal-Standard
FREEPORT — City Council tonight unanimously voted to hire Next Level as a strategic planning partner. Next Level's representatives will meet with City Manager Lowell Crow, Mayor Jodi Miller, city department heads and aldermen to help create a ...


Development Authority working to create strategic plan
Valdosta Daily Times
The authority and several local entities have been discussing joint efforts to create a community strategic plan. Development Authority Executive Director Andrea Schruijer said her staff attended community strategic planning meetings with several area ...

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