How To Create A Business Plan For A Pub Or Restaurant

run a pub, let a pub, business plan
Written by: Pub Partners Team
Date added: Mon, 01/08/2016 - 10:00

Every business owner needs a business plan. This is a roadmap that can help you create a viable and successful business, will keep you focused on what is important, and helps other people understand your vision and what you want to achieve.

When it comes to finding a pub to let, all pub companies require their prospective landlords to complete a business plan. This demonstrates to us that you have thought about the business seriously, that you have addressed all the important factors such as finance and investment, and that you have a clear idea of how to make your pub tenancy a success.

Don’t worry if you have never completed a business plan before. This blog post, our Business Planning Tool and support from our Pub Partners team will help you get it right.

Why Do I Need A Business Plan To Run A Pub?

Initially a business plan will help you ask the right questions about the pub or restaurant opportunity you are exploring, and whether or not the pub business as whole is for you. If you are serious about finding a pub to let, I would recommend starting your business plan early to work out what you want from a pub business, and areas that you may need to address such as:

  • The investment you are prepared to put into the business,
  • Whether you want a pub that is ‘ready to go’, or one that you can change to realise your ideas,
  • What style of pub would suit you as an individual – community pub, pub/restaurant, live music pub etc.,
  • Skills needed to make your pub a success; do you have them, will you need expert help, or get some training?
  • What type of food and drinks offer would suit the style of pub you would like to run?

Use Your Business Plan To Stay On Track

Although you will not be able to complete a business plan fully until you have identified a specific pub to let, there are plenty of questions you can think about now. A business plan will help you shape your ideas about the business, and identify those things that you have not thought about or need more support with.

As a result you may decide that you need to get some training or experience in the pub business, such as working in a pub voluntarily, to get the specific skills you are missing. Or you might decide to go on a business workshop to understand better activities such as marketing, cashflow or managing staff for the first time.

Here at Greene King our training is open to anyone, not just Greene King licensees, so you can get started straightaway while you’re looking for a suitable pub and developing your business plan.

I recommend that you treat your business plan as a work in progress, which can be tweaked and changed as you go through the process. There is no right or wrong answer at this stage, it is just a good opportunity to explore all the factors that shape a successful pub business and how you can make this happen.

Visiting Potential Pubs To Let

Once you are in a position to start visiting potential pubs, it is a good idea to take your business plan with you and use it as a checklist for viewing pubs. Think about factors such as the market - who are the pubs’ customers, are there opportunities to bring in new customers? - and what the pubs’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats are (otherwise called a SWOT analysis).

At this stage the brewery or pub company will also be able to provide you with more information to help you with your business plan. This will include specific figures (shadow profit and loss accounts, demographic reports, price lists etc.) about the pub you’re interested in taking on, which you can then use to create a more robust and tailored business plan.

Common Mistakes With Business Plans

As stated before there is no right or wrong, but sometimes people can be a bit too optimistic about the business potential! That’s where a good pub company or brewery can help you manage expectations and align your business plan with more realistic goals or ambitions. Don’t be frightened about making a mistake - it is a learning curve - and companies like Greene King are here to support their landlords and ensure that they do have a good business plan before taking on a pub.

Finally, here are our top tips for how to create a business plan for a pub or restaurant:

  1. If you haven’t yet got a specific pub in mind, use our free business plan template to help work out what you want for your pub business,
  2. When visiting pubs for the first time use the business plan as a checklist when viewing the pub,
  3. Review your notes to see how suitable the pub is for you: does it meet your expectations and requirements, do you have the budget to make improvements and changes?
  4. If you are interested in a specific pub, request more information from the brewery and use this to number crunch and test the feasibility of your business plan,
  5. Get advice: it is important before taking on any agreement that you seek independent legal and financial advice as part of the process,
  6. Work with the brewery or pub company to create a really strong business plan and take advantage of their knowledge and expertise.

Finally having created your business plan, found your perfect pub to let, and having taken possession of the keys; don’t put the business plan in a bottom draw and forget about it. As I said at the beginning, your business plan is a roadmap for creating a successful pub business and will help you along the way. Although you may need to make some changes and be flexible at times, it is an important tool for providing a timeline, setting goals and objectives, and achieving that dream you had at the beginning.

For more support, download our Business Planning Tool that will help you create your pubs’ business plan.

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