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Opening a Restaurant or Other Food Business Starter Kit: How to Prepare a Restaurant Business Plan & Feasibility Study: With Companion CD-ROM Paperback – January 12, 2005
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The section on software is expertly done in providing the layperson with a grasp of the software available and will save a fortune in missteps if read and followed. The choice in software can undoubtedly determine the quality and speed that you develop your plan.
Sharon Fullen does an exceptional job in guiding the layperson through the process of the feasibility analysis to include concept, location, execution and financing thus rounding out the completed business plan. The idea of a marketing plan is discussed showing the importance of a well-planned and executed marketing effort versus just tossing a few bucks to the wind and hoping for the best. The author has provided an invaluable tool for the upcoming restaurateur as he/she plans, develops and opens their life dream.
I took much of the summer off from reading new books, instead concentrating on stuff that's been languishing on my backlist, books I started back in the mists of time, had to return to the library, and that subsequently got lost in the book-journal shuffle (or that I have to get through interlibrary loan now, as I switched library systems a couple of years back). Opening a Restaurant... is one of those; I started it way back in August of 2007, had to return it because someone else had a hold on it, and forgot to take it out again until last week. While the dream of actually opening a restaurant has fallen by the wayside (or at least been put on a very very backburner), I figured I'd finish the book anyway and report back. It's the curse of the obsessive reviewer.
One of the great things about nonfiction is that in many cases you don't have to provide a summary; one look at the combined title and subtitle should tell you all you need to know. That's the case here, and Fullen does it short, sweet, and to the point, taking you step by step through the writing of a business plan and feasibility study, with little of the rah-rah-rah confidence-building stuff you find in so many more tiring books like this. The downside to that is that the book stays well within the norms, not mentioning any alternate suggestions for style or the like. That said, if you're looking to write a classic business plan to drum up money to open a restaurant, you'll want to read this unless you already know what you're doing. ***
What this book will do is teach you how to build a business plan--the document that any institutional lender or investor will want to see before deciding to plunk down money on your hip, new concept. The book is totally specific to the restaurant/food service industry, and weeds out what you need to know from other business-plan instruction manuals, listing many questions that it would be helpful for a new business-owner (or the owner of an existing business planning to make modifications or reassess existing strategies/trends). The book also details how to put together feasibility analysis (both for your restaurant as a whole and for specific project), a marketing plan, how to gather facts and make valid estimates from them, and how to make your plan look professional.
There are two drawbacks to this book. Despite the excellent advice that it gives, the structure can be very confusing at times. For example, throughout the book, Fuller tells you to come up with estimates and answers to questions, but doesn't tell you how to make the estimate or find out the answers to the questions until almost the end of the book. The other drawback is that the formatting and editing of the book leave something to be desired--the information you need could be located in any of several different places. If you have time to read the entire book before starting, this is an excellent book, but looking for a specific answer to a quick question may require more time than you'd like to use. On the up side, there's a good guide to online resources.
Overall, a great little book for clarifying your ideas about your restaurant and putting together a restaurant-specific business plan; I just wish it were organized a little better.