You’ve developed your restaurant concept plan, you’ve completed a feasibility study, and you’ve written a pretty solid business plan. Or maybe you’ve been successfully operating a restaurant for years and are looking to expand. Fantastic! But now what?
Due to the high level of risk for independent restaurant related start-ups, the traditional bank loan is never an easy option. A majority of food service start-up or growth projects need an investor or business partner with the financial means to assist an aspiring restaurateur through the development stages.
However, you cannot approach an investor or potential partner without being prepared with factual research, a strategic forecast, and an execution plan. Investors are looking for opportunities that present scalability, profitability, consistency, and sustainability-related characteristics.
Here are a few tips to assist you through your first pitch!
No. 1 Perfect Timing. The first thing to keep in mind when pitching to an investor is their time. They will likely not want to read through the 100+ pages of feasibility, concept, and business planning content you’ve accumulated.
You need to first develop a “pitch deck,” a 10-15 page document (print and/or slideshow) that showcases the most relevant and important data from those plans. These points should quickly attract the investors attention, further exciting them and engaging them in key points of conversation.
No. 2 Being Prepared. Delivering a winning presentation starts with practice. Create a series of “pitch tests” to speak in front of friends, family, and other business or restaurant industry acquaintances. Adjust your timing, look for questions the investors may ask, and receive feedback on your presentation style (voice level, eye contact, posture, and more).
You can also watch episodes of “Shark Tank,” “Restaurant Startup,” or other investor-related shows and look at the questions they ask of the pitchers. Formulate a list of frequently asked questions and ensure you know the answers to them for your restaurant...quickly!
No. 3 Being Passionate. As much as you’re selling the restaurant concept and explaining the gap it will fill within the market, you are also selling yourself. This is the opportunity to tell your story — a great way to start your presentation. Show your passion for food, beverage, hospitality, and general business.
Quickly highlight your education and industry experience. Why do you want to open or grow this restaurant? What makes you the best fit for this concept? Why did you choose that specific name? If there is a story, tell it!