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Like any restaurant business, the process of opening a cafe or coffee shop has dozens of steps. They often overlap, or one needs to be done to start the next one, and things can get complicated quick. That's why you need a map — and that map takes the form of a coffee shop business plan.
The executive summary is the first section of any business plan. As an introduction and summary of your vision for the restaurant, this section includes information about products, consumers, and the team. A basic outline of the business’s path to success and financial plans is also found in the executive summary.
We’ll share business plan writing tips that will help you attract attention and build a compelling executive summary.
How to Write a Coffee Shop Business Overview
A business overview is an introduction that “hooks” the reader – it should provide just enough description of your coffee shop to get the reader interested in learning more about the business plan. Include an outline of the ownership structure, location, type of restaurant, and customer experience in the business overview.
This section might also introduce key members of your team and a staff training and retention plan. Potential investors will want to see not just that your business plan is exciting but also that it is sustainable.
Finally, paint a detailed picture of the restaurant’s brand. In addition to written descriptions, use branded graphics, sample color schemes, and photos of the style of decor you imagine. Show readers that you’ve considered all the details.
What Menu Items Will the Coffee Shop Serve
The kind of coffee shop you want to start influences a lot of other decisions. Continue the executive summary by outlining the menu items that your restaurant will serve. In this section, work to capture the imagination of potential investors – you’ll have a chance to impress them with your business savvy later in the restaurant summary.
Is your coffee shop a minimalist design with a low price point for coffee? Or is your concept meant to be warmer, with spaces to read and a high premium price point? The origins and inspirations of your menu are selling points for your brand.
The kind of food and drinks your coffee shop serves is directly related to the restaurant’s concept. Include information about what makes your concept and menu unique. Investors will want to be sure that your restaurant fills a gap in the market.
Who will be the Target Consumer
Competition in the coffee industry is fierce, which makes finding a unique niche imperative. Potential investors will want information about how your restaurant stands out in the market.
Are you trying to attract customers simply based on the quality of your coffee or is the ambiance of your coffee shop an equally big selling point?
Build a few customer personas – describe a few potential customers using market data about the demographics, characteristics, and behaviors of diners. Then, describe how your restaurant will cater to those guests.
Is your coffee shop near a campus and going to cater to budget conscious college students, or is it in an affluent neighborhood in town where consumers would pay a premium?
It’s cliche but “location, location, location” is the song of good business–even the best business plans will struggle to find footing unless they cater to the locals. Make decisions for your business based not only on local tastes but also on the local economy. Describe how your menu’s price point is accessible to the target market.
Who are the Key Management Team Members
Coffee shops can’t run without people, and you can’t do it all yourself. Write a concise description of the critical roles in your business’s management structure. Describe how baristas and store managers are integral to your restaurant’s success.
If your business relies on the talents of a coffee supplier or the operations manager, include descriptions of those people (and their qualifications) in this section. If you still need to hire for key roles, describe the hiring and retention strategy for the highly-skilled labor your restaurant needs.
What are the Coffee Shop Success Factors
What does success look like for this coffee shop? What contingencies have to go your way? What are the risks of your business model? Having concrete goals and knowing what obstacles stand in the way will impress potential investors.
What are your expected profit margins per cup of coffee? What are the high margin items alongside the coffee that you will showcase and upsell?
It might seem better to avoid writing about potential pitfalls in your restaurant business description. But, showing investors that you have a plan to succeed and that you know how to overcome setbacks lets readers know that you’re serious about the business.
What is the Coffee Shop Financial Plan
The executive summary of your coffee shop’s business plan should also include an overview of the financial plans. Answer common questions that investors and banks will need, such as how much funding you need to raise, loans and lines of credit you’ll rely on, and how long it will take for the business to become profitable.
Calculate and report on the upfront fixed costs of opening your restaurant. These are the costs that you know you’ll have to keep up with to keep the business afloat, such as equipment, maintenance, and loan repayments. Will you plan to buy or lease the most expensive coffee shop equipment?
Then, give investors an idea of the variable costs per month. Things like labor, raw materials, marketing, and maintenance are likely to change from month to month. Provide a range of the total variable costs per month.
In a later section of the business plan, you’ll provide different reports and financial projections. For the executive summary, focus on the broad strokes of your financial plans. Answer questions like how you plan to raise startup funds and potential profit margins based on projected sales.
Writing your Coffee Shop’s Executive Summary
Writing about finances can be a challenge–here’s how you can make the details of your restaurant’s finances an interesting read.
Always keep the audience in mind. Use some of the financial vocabulary introduced in this article and write for your potential investors.
Find your voice. As the first section, the executive summary is about making an impression. Investors are often just as interested in your business savvy as the strength of your business plan. Infuse your unique vision and voice into your writing style.
Keep it simple and clear. It's tempting to throw in lots of clever flourishes when writing, but clarity should be the number 1 priority, especially when discussing financial details.
Related Business Plan Resources
Coffee Shop Business Plan
Coffee Shop Financial Plan
Coffee Shop Shop Operations Plan
Coffee Shop Management Team
Coffee Shop Industry Market Analysis
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