Blog Post (with free 10 page items list for your diner business plan budget)

Starting a new diner business is something that can be super rewarding. Because diners are traditional, your diner business plan needs to have a unique differentiator in order to stand out. Make sure you hyper focus on that differentiator throughout your business plan. 

One diner business plan I supported had a really neat idea for engaging its community. The owners wanted to create an atmosphere where people felt like this diner was “home”. One way they decided to do this is by partnering with the local middle school to host field trips for the food classes to go behind the scenes and tour the diner. This was something that was a simple option, especially on slower business days, that would bring firsthand awareness to local residents. Plus, during the field trips, each student received a coupon to bring home to their parents – which drove more traffic to the diner.

This story is great to highlight how your customer experience can make a big difference. It’s not just about the food you serve. It’s about the atmosphere, culture, and feeling you are able to provide.

Pitching to a Banker or Investor

If your diner business plan will be used to pitch for funding, then take note of a few tips.

First Tip:

Your investor or SBA loan business banker needs to understand how your diner is going to stand out as a stellar business. Are you offering something unique? [Your answer needs to be “yes!”] Talk about that unique product, service, or experience you will provide customers. Make that a core component of your executive summary and make an effort to mention it in some way on almost every page of your business plan.

Second Tip:

Another tip is regarding the details you include in your financials. As a matter of course, your diner will need a list of items in stock on grand open day. Sometimes this list can feel overwhelming to start with, so consider at a high level where you need to start. A few things you need to include: 

  • A large wares budget
  • A small wares budget
  • A contingency cushion (20%)

At the bottom of this post, you can download a free 10 page list of items I (painstakingly) developed for a diner business plan recently. It has prices and sources for each item so you can get a baseline for what everything costs, too. Use this as a starting point for your own budget.

Third Tip:

Another huge area to focus on in your business plan: Demographic research for the ideal location. This trips new diners because it usually requires careful research. Relying on a real estate pro to help you find a great place is not enough. You need to do your own due diligence to pick a location that has the income levels, demographic, proximity, and exposure needed to be successful within your target market. When I develop business plans for clients launching diners, this is where a huge portion of my time goes. Make sure you are not over-looking or simplifying this part of your research in your diner business plan.

Messaging: Writing Your Diner Business Plan for Your Audience

When positioning your diner for funding, you need to show minimized risk and maximized returns. Your lender wants to know that you have thought of everything that could possibly go wrong with your new diner, and this is shown through a professional business plan.

However, if you are writing for your own strategy purpose, for a landlord, or for a possible partner, then make sure your business plan is tailored in every way to meet that audience need.

If you’ve never done a business plan before, consider hiring a professional to help you. Your strategy, ability to get funded, and chances of succeeding as a startup will increase tenfold by having someone who is experienced to help and support you.

business plan proposal

Click here to download a 10 page list of essential items – with prices – to help you get started with what to include in your business plan budget for your diner!

Ashley Cheeks

Author Ashley Cheeks

Ashley Cheeks is a Business Plan Consultant. Her core business plan writer expertise is in designing business plans for bank and investor funding. She founded Written Success after years of being a professional business plan writer as a freelance consultant, and working for companies including GE and Fluor. She lives in Houston with her husband, daughter and son.

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