Restaurant Planning


Restaurant planning is a funny little thing, now isn’t it? Ya see, here’s the deal: while running a restaurant there really is just no time to plan and before we are running a restaurant we think about planning and in our minds it’s no big deal. We can see and feel how to run a restaurant so what’s with all of the unnecessary planning?

Well, frankly, throughout my career, I have seen some over the top meticulous planning that seemed to have absolutely no real practical benefit. So yes, I’d agree some of it is in fact unnecessary.

But some restaurant planning is in fact really helpful as well as useful. The important stuff to plan for is everything that involves the gross margin and the bottom line as well as planning for daily sales. We just have to have the ability to serve those customers that walk in the door. And we also simply need to earn a living.  Kinda non-negotiables here.

So what does that really look like and what really needs to be done? Well, it all comes down to being prepared with enough food and trained staff to make it all work.

I’d recommend at the very least the following planning tools:

1)            Financial projections that look at fixed costs (rent, insurance, etc.) which will help you understand where your break-even is and how much you need to make to not lose money. From there you can build out increasing levels of income in financial projections that seem reasonable.

2)            From there, the next restaurant planning tool that I’d recommend is an ordering guide, a par sheet, a prep sheet and a staff schedule. All of these will allow you to be ready to handle the sales projections you predicted and need to make money.

Above all the important part is that each of the above is in a form so that you can add the necessary info each week and not, above all, NOT have it all in your head.

When one person in a restaurant has all of the info in their head no one else can assist and the entire business bottlenecks at that one person. A well-run restaurant is one that has effective systems in place so that a strong team culture can evolve. It’s a strong team culture with well-run behind-the-scenes systems that make for a great restaurant.


If you’re feeling bogged down trying to remember too many details  leave a comment  letting me know and I’ll send you a  spreadsheet to help streamline your work.

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