Concept development employs a whole lot more than just an excellent idea to create a profitable foodservice facility. Strategic planning backed by careful and up to date research elevates the likeliness of successful operation. If you choose to work with a foodservice consultant, you must expect him to tell the truth and save your hard-earned dollars just by doing his homework. In any case, in order to determine how a facility will run, planning should include the following major areas:

Market Research

When you’re in the process of sketching the road map toward the formulation of your business, you must first analyze the marketplace with statistical information provided by data centers, public archives, studies or private held companies. Then, you’ll have to structure a plan to suit the goals attainable within your specific market. Traffic counts, age and income demographics, visit frequency, spending habits, market saturation and depth, competition, and a host of other variables come into play. You must also analyze growing trends within the foodservice industry for your area. That’s why your choice for the correct source of information regarding the industry is no small decision.

When you’re forming your concept, be sure to find a niche that isn’t overpopulated in your area. For example, don’t open a pizza shop if there are already three pizzerias on the same street. Look for target populations that are being underserved, so you have less competition. Your concept must appeal to nearby residents, commuters or workers.

Choose a theme

Choosing your restaurant or bar theme influences your business plan. Remember that successful concepts make the targeted customers comfortable by creating a complete experience. For example, health-food or sustainable restaurants consider exacting details such as energy efficiency, minimal use of plastics, and clean, straight architectural lines. You can do a lot more about your concept like reinforce it with complementary kitchen, bar, dining room, playground areas.

Attract necessary funds

Financing your business involves impressing pragmatic bankers or investors, and a well-written business plan where you will include, among other things, concept details, market analysis, break-even projections, etc. It also takes into account possible problems, such as licensing, zoning, competitors, industry trends, and how strong its presence in the market will be. The more detailed you make your business plan, the better your chances for success will be because you’ve already identified many of the pitfalls to avoid and proved that you understand business realities. Include details that will impress investors, results from your research, projected earnings, franchising timetable if applicable, restaurant design, and personal restaurant experience.


The theme that will characterize your restaurant or bar, will affect the kind of menu items that you will be offering. You will need experienced professionals that will safely guide you through the whole process. From a layout perspective, a facility’s menu drives also operational design. Specifically, the menu affects factors such as:

  • Food price
  • Cooking equipment production capacities
  • Refrigeration and storage areas
  • Dishwashing requirements
  • Floor space, including the type and capacity of seating
  • Service area design
  • Total dollar investment

Design and Equipment

Your concept affects what kind of equipment you buy, the kind of staff dress code that you will adopt, types of table settings, and logistical issues such as neighborhood, parking, and access to commuter traffic. Upscale restaurants might offer valet parking or parking validation, but fast-food operations need substantial foot or vehicle traffic and convenient parking.

Your decor including lightning, furniture, seating, table settings, music, should be a reflection of both your menu and your service style, and it should have everything to do with your brand story. How did your restaurant or bar come to be? What’s your identity? Make it apparent in an obvious way or a subtle motif, regardless of your cuisine or service style. If your food is inspired by a trip you took to Japan, you could simply use Japanese style dinnerware and prefer minimalism as a guideline for the architectural design.


An operation’s management is the single most important element in achieving success. In order to determine an operation’s organizational structure, decide:

  • The person who will run the facility’s day-to-day affairs
  • The education the manager and management team must have
  • The level of assistance that will be provided to the general manager
  • Management salary levels
  • Operational policies
  • Internal communication between management and with all employees


An operation’s method of execution is the last step in the concept development process. Operators must decide methods for production, control systems and various personnel issues. To determine how a facility will run, planning should include:

  • Production methods, such as if a facility will use pre-prepared or from-scratch methods of cooking.
  • Control systems, such as control over cash, sales analysis, food production and forecasting, various storage areas – including refrigeration, purchasing and receiving, portions and quality.
  • Personnel issues – such as the amount of required labor, employee work schedules, operating hours, staffing patterns, employee benefits, employee skill levels, employee supervision and wages.

In all, opening a restaurant or a bar is more than just making good food. Remember that consistency is the key to success! Your service style, menu, and identity should be consistent and harmonious to create a comfortable atmosphere in your business. Be clear and frank with your customers in what you are promising in every step of their experience with your business. Basically, think as your customer would think, make it easier for them, walk through the process yourself to be sure it makes sense and you will be crowned a winner!


How to Develop a Restaurant Concept Sample Plan | (2017). Retrieved on May 12, 2017, from

The “five Ms” of successful foodservice facility design. (2017). Retrieved on May 12, 2017, from

Super User. (2017). Concept Development in Restaurant Business | Research & Cost …. Retrieved on May 12, 2017, from

Choosing a Restaurant Concept | Restaurant Concept Ideas. (2017). Retrieved on May 19, 2017, from