Restaurant business plan: defining my restaurant concept (part 2)

Restaurant business plan: how to position yourself?

Indeed, when drawing up your restaurant business plan and defining your restaurant concept, you need to consider your positioning. Your positioning vis-à-vis your future customers, but also vis-à-vis your future competitors. This is important, because you’re going to come up with a restaurant concept, but it’s first and foremost a catering offer that you’re going to introduce to the market. As a result, we have to position ourselves according to different parameters. Several questions may arise.

  • What are these parameters?
  • How will we position ourselves vis-à-vis our customers?
  • What guideline will we invoke?
  • What message are we going to send our customers?
  • What image do we want our customers to have?

Everything that all these questions legitimize. We can give various examples. You can decide to position yourself according to your culinary theme. A specific culinary theme that will make all the difference to your customers. It could be a particular type of recipe, or a cuisine from a particular region or country. It can also be a function of popular and/or local culture. It can be based on a specific philosophy, such as crudivorism, vegetarianism and others.

You can also position yourself in terms of practicality for your customers. We can see it clearly now. Practicality is a buying factor for many people. Why? Well, because this practicality will save them time. This practical aspect means they don’t have to think about what they’re going to eat that evening. This same practicality will enable them to spend more time with their families and enjoy some of their favorite activities. For some, this may also mean they don’t have to wash the dishes.

What will your culinary theme be?

In this context, of course, we’re talking about ready-to-eat products. Our range of ready-to-eat meals will satisfy a large number of your customers. This range of ready-to-eat dishes can also be built around a specific culinary theme. A number of ready-to-eat meal concepts have recently emerged. The only thing you could possibly criticize them for is that the recipes look the same from one concept to the next. So you do have an opportunity if you want to create a ready-to-eat concept with a very specific, more precise culinary theme than what we currently have on the market.

For local positioning :

You can also position yourself locally. Highlight products from your region, producers or know-how. You may decide to focus on the eco-responsible aspect. It may be in your interest to promote short distribution channels, and you’ll do just that. You can also opt for 100% homemade recipes. You may decide to focus on recipes that use little-known or little-used ingredients.

As you can see, you have several avenues for development in terms of your positioning vis-à-vis your customers. All the points we’ve covered apply equally to your competitors. With this in mind, you’re going to add your services to those of your competitors, to make the difference. Services that some of your competitors simply don’t have. It’s easy to see how important it is to study your competitors when writing your business plan. The aim is to see how you can make the difference. Once again, you need to think about the services you offer when drawing up your restaurant business plan and defining your restaurant concept. This is the subject of the next chapter.

Restaurant business plan: defining my restaurant concept the 3 points to watch for your positioning :

  • Your culinary theme
  • The guideline for your customers
  • Your competitive edge

Restaurant business plan, define my restaurant concept: what types of services?

Your services are essential to the success of your future restaurant. You need to think about what services you want to promote.

It’s important to remember that each service is equal to a source of revenue. This is very important in defining your business and economic model for your future restaurant concept. What I mean is, at this point, if you’re going to cut out all the services you’ve decided to offer. Once you’ve divided them up, you’ll be able to see the source of income for each of them.

Let’s look at a few examples. One of the most common services is table service. Table service is indeed a service you can offer in a specific form of catering. This service is also a source of revenue. Since this source of revenue comes from customers who sit down at a table to enjoy a consumption experience. At the end of the service, customers pay for the service rendered. Another well-known example is the delivery service. You may decide to offer a delivery service to boost your sales. This delivery service will become a differentiated source of revenue. This same delivery service may be partnered with subcontractors, or you may decide to create your own in-house delivery service. We’ll come back to delivery services in more detail in a future article.

Leverage your website:

Another example of a service that can generate a differentiated revenue stream could be your website. Today, having a website is a good way to increase and diversify your sources of income. You may decide to set up an online ordering service where your future customers can order and pick up their food directly. This service becomes an additional source of revenue for your restaurant. It’s really important that you can think about different types of service and not just have one. Because your business or restaurant will depend on just one service. If this service fails, your restaurant will be in jeopardy.

There’s nothing to stop you, as the manager of your restaurant, from having several very different departments. I think that in today’s restaurant industry, restaurateurs and entrepreneur-restaurateurs need to think about and diversify the types of services they offer in order to protect their business. The health crisis has shown us that a one-size-fits-all catering offer puts the company at risk. Take the time to think about your services.

Restaurant business plan: defining my restaurant concept the 3 points to watch for in your service offer :

  • Not just one service
  • Diversify your services
  • Leverage your website

Restaurant business plan: premises or location?

We often talk about the importance of location, but I’ll come to favor location more. Let’s find out why. Indeed, the importance of having premises is often mentioned. I prefer to talk about location. Because the restaurant owes its success above all to its environment. More precisely, to its external environment.

Too many restaurant concepts that close their doors relatively quickly have not taken the time to study the external environment of the location.

Often, they are completely unfamiliar with the external environment in which they have decided to offer their catering services. It’s essential to the success of your future restaurant. Because it’s not the premises per se, but your environment, with its precise criteria for the customer segments you’ve decided to target, that will make your concept a success. Don’t forget that your premises are always subject to a lease, and sometimes the conditions of this lease can be very restrictive.

It can also happen that the premises we’ve found are undergoing major renovation. In this case, I’d still advise you to continue your search and go back to looking for a new location. When defining your concept, you need to study the environment in which you’re going to set up shop. Because most of the time, and for many concepts, it’s really the clientele in the area, within a certain radius, who will come to buy from you fairly quickly. This clientele can be very diverse, and once again it’s up to you to study it. The location study will involve several parameters, some of which we’ll describe in a later article.

Restaurant business plan: defining my restaurant concept the 3 points to watch out for when looking for your premises :

  • Choose location over premises
  • Conduct a study of the external environment
  • Pay attention to lease conditions


This concludes the second part of the restaurant business plan: defining my restaurant concept. As you can see, defining your concept requires research, thought and a little time. The time you need to draw up your own restaurant business plan to better define your restaurant concept. It’s very important to be able to think about the different aspects of your future restaurant concept. This can only help you in the future, and above all, it will help you last over time.

If you’re planning to create your own catering concept or franchise your own restaurant, please contact us here

Philippe Bertrand

Founder of the Quebec Restaurant Entrepreneurship Center

  • Master of Restaurant and Hospitality Management
  • Licence Rights-Economy-Management: Creating and taking over a restaurant

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