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July 30, 2015 Staff

The Ultimate BBQ Business Plan Template

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


Executive Summary

Can start off with a summary of the restaurant itself, theme, seating, leasing, ownership, and sales projection before going into the other summaries

Business Objectives

FIRST year objectives, from funds to reputation

Products and Services


Mission Statement


“Guiding Principles”

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



Sales Forecast

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?

Company/Financing Summary


Registered Name


Corporate Structure


Ownership/Legal Form

Official notes of who owns how much of this business, 100% you or divided between various members and investors, and what % for each

Required Funds/Startup Summary

More broken down figures of an earlier section

Location and Facilities


Investor + Management Equity


Exit Strategy

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

Product/Menu Description


Service Descriptions

If not already described in the initial section

Competitive Comparison

The starting point to where you differentiate from other similar BBQ businesses in the market



Management Controls

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

Administrative Systems

POS, Daily Cash Control Systems, Weekly Cost Reports, Purchasing Records, Payroll Processing, etc

Future Services/Products/Plans


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.

Economic Outlook


Industry Analysis

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.

Main Competitors


Customer Profile


Market Size

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

Industry Participants


Market Segments

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

Market Tests

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

Market Needs/Trends

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.

Market Growth

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.

Marketing Plan

S.W.O.T. Analysis

“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.

Competitive Edge


‘Strategy Pyramid’

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.

Promotional Strategy/Unique-Selling-Proposition


Pricing Strategy



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

Sales Strategy

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?

Sales Forecast

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

Sales Programs




Marketing Programs



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

Management Teams/Biographies

The main people starting up this business and their background, almost like a summarized resume

Team ‘Gaps’

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

Organizational Structure

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

Training Plans/Strategies

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.

Financial Plan

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.

Underlying/Important Assumption

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.

Sensitivity Analysis

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.

Start-up Costs


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.

Break Even Statements/Analysis


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


Balance Sheet

Net Worth and Total Liabilities over the next 3 years, collecting the costs of all assets and applying depreciation.

Business Ratios

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

6 Helpful Resources for Creating Your Restaurant Business Plan

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