Once your restaurant business plan is finished the next question is what to do with it. A lot of people’s first thought is to print it and maybe even spend a little extra for fancy paper and a nice cover and binding job.
That is not a good idea, however. First, you want to make sure you really are done and if you haven’t tested the plan for readability and clarity you are not really done. And don’t hand it off to your mom or your best friend for a critique unless you are certain they can be absolutely honest with you.
You are better off having someone read it who doesn’t now you very well and hasn’t been hearing you talk about your restaurant forever so they will be giving it a cold read- just like a banker or investor. The best way to do this? Email them a copy in pdf format which 99% of people with computers can open and read easily.
After you have incorporated that feedback then you still don’t want to print it. Wait until right before you have a meeting to print it as more than likely you will have continual small changes to make and printing it too soon just means wasted copies or, worse, accidentally giving someone a copy with outdated information.
In many cases as well, the bank or investor will ask you to send over an electronic copy rather than have you deliver a printed one, especially if they are more than a short drive away. Again, the best format for your restaurant business plan is pdf here. You should also save a separate version of just the executive summary in pdf as some people will only want that amount of info to start.
Make sure every version has a cover sheet with all your contact info and also include that in the email you send.
In today’s environment nearly everyone in the business community uses email and the majority of business is done in electronic format which means pdf for the most part. If you don’t have a program that can convert your document into pdf get the free OpenOffice.org office software. It will import documents from MS Word and other programs and spit them out as pdfs with no problem.