Building up a Business Plan for a BBQ company truly is no different or harder than for any restaurant or catering idea; you’re just looking at a lot more considerations on the cost of Smokers instead of ranges/ovens, and most of the food cost will likely come from pig and cow. Like your prized recipes, this business needs to be taken low and slow, planned out over at least three years as you grow into a point where you can finally break even and solidify the brand. There are plenty of resources and examples to creating one of these, ideally, highly-detailed pieces of work in which you use not just to follow and compare your business strategy and costs as the years go by, but also to convince initial investors that they should indeed give you a butt-load of money for your smoked and sauced meats.
Here we offer an initial Template, an outline and backbone which you can use to start filling in as needed. Note that, wherever any costs are concerned, certain sections should ideally have some form of table or graph to display for professional looks and so that anyone reading can see you know what you’re actually talking about. Also, we are basically detailing ALL the different sections and subsections we’ve found can and have been used in different business plans; when writing up, you don’t have to include every single one of these, and not even in this order; some subsections can even be a full section all its own, like the Industry Analysis. But certainly pay attention and utilize most, focusing on the ones that seem particularly important for your specific business.
Table of Contents
Can start off with a summary of the restaurant itself, theme, seating, leasing, ownership, and sales projection before going into the other summaries
FIRST year objectives, from funds to reputation
Products and Services
Besides the ‘motto’ of your company in the mission statement, what goals and principles of business are, or should be, in the forefront of every employee’s mind
The money one seeks to start with and raise to fund this operation
Simple summary of expected earnings for first 3 years
Keys to Success
Besides the strategies you’ll SHOOT for to attain success, such as focusing on repeat business and comforting feelings, what advantages will be in place? This can be location, hiring certain highly skilled team members, secret recipes, etc, and the simple plan to attaining these if not done already
As it grows, where will extra earnings go? Buying more equipment, repairs/refitting, catering vans, better produce, more locations, etc?
Official notes of who owns how much of this business, 100% you or divided between various members and investors, and what % for each
More broken down figures of an earlier section
Location and Facilities
Investor + Management Equity
Is the plan to sell business for a bunch of money after breaking even and gaining success? Will it be passed over to family/friends to give you time to start and run other businesses, or will you focus purely on this until retirement?
Daily Operations and Production
What sort of hours the business will keep, how shifts are arranged and kept track of, how inventory is monitored and rotated, who does the ordering, how service is handled, and how each of these is managed and best maximized, along with other such information
If not already described in the initial section
The starting point to where you differentiate from other similar BBQ businesses in the market
What set documents and practices that management will keep to ensure business operates up-to-date and in control. Includes, but not limited to: Order Guides, Scheduled Inventory Checking, Daily Tracking, Operational Checklist, and Cleaning Schedule
POS, Daily Cash Control Systems, Weekly Cost Reports, Purchasing Records, Payroll Processing, etc
Strategic /Market Analysis
The first intense research section, will need to look intently into current and potential future economic factors, market profiles, customer bases and demographics, distribution, and other such data to detail why this business succeeds in this environment along with proof that it can grow along with it.
Generally, what’s the BBQ industry like in your area or state? Rounded number of similar-typed owners and how well they do; what proof is there that THIS kind of business can succeed? Can include Buying Patterns as a subsection here.
General number of BBQ restaurants/caterers/whatever-your-specific-business is in the US, or at least your state, and their combined annual revenue; the number look good
Quick discussion of your local population, median income, and breaking down the demographic layout, and why you chose that area for business based off of this, whether due to GROWING number of households or the particular strength in a variety or specific demographics
If the business has already developed any sort of customer base/following and noted strong relations, whether it’s through past catering projects, blogs, or other interactions from previous work that would build interest from others towards your new professional business
Is there an untapped need/niche that your business is hitting, or are you taking advantage of popular trends/interests to succeed? Detail what and how.
The market SHOULD be growing, but you need to provide proof that it is to further show that you can experience economic growth in the coming years as well.
“Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.” These can each have their own subsection or gathered into a 4-square grid, and list what your business strengths and weaknesses are, along with where you see opportunities to succeed/grab customers/grow, as well as potential threats you need to overcome.
The Strategy your business seeks to implement over the long haul, the Tactics meant to develop it to fruition, and the Programs that support it all. A good explanation can be found Here
Bullet points of specific goals you’d like to reach in the first 1 or 3 years, whether they’re hitting a specific sales, average table turnover, number of customers reached, parties done, etc.
What your plans are on the media end, from which social media’s you’ll use to why customers will find them helpful and accessible, mentioning potential future media excursions as well
Any notable strategies for upselling, getting catering contracts, grabbing new stores to get your sauce into, whatever the business dictates. How is it that you identify and focus on each sales opportunity?
Again, a simple table for the first 3 years just listing the total sales and controllable cost figures, and thus controllable profit, for each one
A list of set goals leading up to opening along with the planned date for each; this usually includes things like hiring staff, securing leases, completing space re/modeling goals, securing loans, etc
Organizational and Personnel Plan
The main people starting up this business and their background, almost like a summarized resume
Likely one won’t be able to start off being able to hire people to fill specialized management positions, like sales director, general manager, kitchen manager, food and beverage director, etc; thus one mentions here which people, such as you and partners, will be covering which of those areas until such people are brought on board
Number of expected employees and where they fit; basically your general allocation of ‘line worker v line leader v sous chef v executive chef v restaurant owner’ and similar for FOH, to use the restaurant example
Include thoughts on your need for FUTURE employees, especially if starting out with a smaller team, and the training that takes place while the business is operating vs that given before opening. It will need to be different to account for how much less time you and managers have now that one doesn’t have whole days to spend discussing procedure and technique/strategies.
Fund Source/Personnel Plan
Expected wage budgets, with how it breaks down into employee hours, accounting for future raises as sales and income increases.
The main section where you’ll be delving into those heavy graphs and tables; this area should be intently filled with balance sheets that list every single expected costs that apply to them, from wages and spirits to lighting and insurance; don’t forget those all-important loan-repayments.
Setting up your following graphs, figures, and other predictions, these are the set assumptions you are making about concerning the future. Mainly, how much funds you’ll be starting with, the expected growth/sales, what sort of loans are being paid off, and other solid factors that drive cash distribution and growth.
How much do you expect any changes in economy, market trends, and other things to actually affect your business? Basically the point where you prove that your profits shall continue growing through unexpected shifts and events that may otherwise be detriments.
Source and Use of Funds
How much you’re contributing, what you’re asking, and the main section where you list where the funds are going to. I.E. equipment, lease/location, advertising/marketing, contingency, working capital, etc
Hourly Labor Schedule
Weekly Sales Projections
Profit and Loss Statements
Gross Margins and Profits for each of the first 3 years of business, based off of sales and costs associated.
Expanded Profit and Loss
Further breaking these down to monthly figures for the first year and at least quarterly in the following second and third.
Cash Flow Analysis
Simple yearly comparison of your main incomes sources, like sales and investments, compared to repayment, dividend, and asset costs.
Expanded Cash Flow
Net Worth and Total Liabilities over the next 3 years, collecting the costs of all assets and applying depreciation.
Re-listing all the previous data and information, including budgets, profit projections, growth, etc, listed as % instead of set numbers. This is to see the basic planned distribution of wealth no matter the exact starting costs.
For additional assistance and other Templates, See Also:
FAST Business Plan Example – great example of a Restaurant business plan, numbered and listed out
Free Restaurant Business Plans – whole list of links to different business plan examples from BPlans