- A mission statement is crucial to help describe your business to those not familiar with it.
- Your mission statement should be as concise as possible while still being descriptive.
- Compare your mission statement against those of other successful businesses to get ideas of what works.
There are countless details to take care of when running a restaurant — but those in the restaurant industry are detail-oriented, after all. It’s the name of the game. One such detail that restaurateurs shouldn’t overlook is their mission statement. It may appear to be an extremely minor part of the business, but this seemingly small detail can have massive implications if it’s done right — or wrong.
A restaurant mission statement can’t be made from boilerplate templates. Instead, a restaurant’s mission statement needs to be unique and clearly define what the business does.
Below, we’ll discuss why you need a mission statement, what it is, what it isn’t, and how to craft one that suits your business.
What Is a Restaurant Mission Statement?
A mission statement — often referred to as a vision statement, a similar concept — sums up the idea for your business in as few words as possible. Your mission statement needs to describe the most important details of your business:
- Why are you in business?
- What is your specific focus in the industry? (Mexican, fast food, fine dining, etc.)
- What makes your business unique?
- What are your primary goals?
The statement should have the most zoomed-out focus possible, as if you’re observing the business from a thousand miles up. While it often serves to help third parties understand your business, as mentioned above, it can also be used to keep business operators focused on their core business decisions and not get distracted by day-to-day complications or minute details.
What Is a Restaurant Mission Statement Not?
It’s just as important to understand what a mission statement is not. Most notably, a mission statement isn’t:
- Long (more than a few sentences)
- A complete summary of a business plan
- A full description of your strategy
- Narrow in scope
If you have 10 seconds or less to describe your business, you won’t be able to get down to the nitty-gritty of it. It’s the grandest overview possible while being adequately descriptive.
Why Have a Mission Statement?
If you’re a restaurant owner, a mission statement is only partially for you. Yes, it can help you focus your energy and explain to your staff quickly what your business’s purpose is. But that’s not the main point.
The central benefit of having a mission statement is using it when dealing with investors or lenders, or when looking to expand. Think of how movie ideas have elevator pitches, in which the main points are summarized as succinctly as possible to sell the idea to an executive who might greenlight it. Your statement will serve a similar purpose when you’re looking for investors — whether you have one restaurant or many.
Similarly, banks or other financial institutions will usually ask for a mission statement when considering a loan application. It can also help introduce those unfamiliar with your brand, from the media to customers, to your core values.
Speaking of the media, you can also use your statement in a press kit. If a media outlet — a newspaper, TV station, website, or anything else — chooses to feature you, they may use your mission statement to help introduce your business to their audience.
Essentially, your statement should be considered a core element of your business plan. It should be a succinct summation of your concept — both for you and others.
How to Write a Restaurant Mission Statement
There are no set rules for writing a mission statement. However, there are standard practices you can see and follow in the industry. You may want to take a page from companies like McDonald‘s, Starbucks, Chipotle, Dunkin’ Donuts, or any other food service company that has the corporate part down pat. Whatever you have to say about their food, you must admit that their business practices have led to success in establishing their brand.
- McDonald’s: “McDonald’s brand mission is to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.”
- Starbucks: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
- Chipotle (vision statement): “We’re committed to sourcing the very best ingredients we can find and preparing them by hand.”
- Dunkin’ Donuts (original mission statement): “Make and serve the freshest, most delicious coffee and donuts quickly and courteously in modern, well-merchandised stores.”
You may notice some lofty language in the above statements. That’s OK. Summing up an entire operation in just a few words can be an awkward affair until you get used to it.
You may also notice that the mission statements are one sentence. Conventional wisdom states that you can make it longer if it needs to be, but it usually doesn’t need to be. Generally speaking, shorter is better.
Your core values should be reflected in your mission statement. And, hey — don’t be afraid to get ambitious. Shout your own praises from the rooftops here. You’ll notice all sorts of self-congratulatory phrasing in corporate mission statements — feel free to do the same.
You’ll see restaurants use terms like “exceptional service,” “absolute guest satisfaction,” “real food,” and “human spirit.” Grandiose terms and concepts like this are to be expected in a mission statement. For example, if you want to be your customers’ favorite place, come out and say it.
You can also take this opportunity to display your brand’s personality. Again, there are no rules dictating the language used, so be sure to match your statement to your brand’s voice. Is your brand straightforward? Fun? Funky? Upper crust or salt of the earth? Your statement is a chance to explore and present your voice.
Mission Statement Practice
A good way to write the mission statement is to start with a full description of your company and edit it until only the essential ideas are left. Begin by answering these questions in full sentences. Feel free to brainstorm them with anyone who understands your business concept or who will give you honest feedback: staff, friends, or family.
- What sets your restaurant apart from others in your area?
- What makes your food unique? If not your menu items, what about the way they’re presented?
- Who are your target customers?
- What kind of dining experience do you want your customers to have?
- What’s your relationship with the community?
- What’s your relationship with your staff?
Answering these questions should give you a full paragraph. From there, merge the sentences and trim any unnecessary words until all the information is cut down to its simplest form using direct, present tense language.
Here is an example, answering the questions above using an imaginary restaurant:
- Paco’s Tacos is the most fun and upbeat fusion Tex-Mex restaurant in South Austin.
- We take classic Tex-Mex ideas and fuse them with ethnic cuisine from around the world to create unique and delicious menu items.
- Our target customers are people who want to try something new — the young at heart.
- We offer a fun and relaxed atmosphere to customers. We’re a place to hang out as well as eat.
- We try to be the best neighbors we can be by using fresh ingredients from local Austin farms.
- We want to make sure our staff are happy and fulfilled in both their professional and personal life.
Now, let’s take the key thoughts from each sentence and try to combine them.
“Paco’s Tacos serves fresh takes on Tex-Mex fusion to the young at heart at our fun venue in South Austin, while being good neighbors to the community and taking excellent care of our staff.”
To make it even more concise:
“Paco’s Tacos serves fresh takes on Tex-Mex fusion to the young at heart.”
If you’re asked to elaborate on your idea beyond the statement, you can provide an expanded statement using your answers in the list above.
Pare Down to the Basics
When you’re writing a mission statement, you have to trim all the fat until you only have what’s absolutely necessary. And when you’re operating a restaurant, you similarly need to be keenly aware of what the foundations of your business are.
One key element that no restaurant can do without is its staff. Good staff are your lifeblood: no staff, no restaurant. When you find yourself short-staffed — as restaurant operators frequently do — your business can suffer. Finding good staff is often one of the hardest parts of operating a restaurant, especially on short notice. Pared has come and changed the game.
When you use the Pared app you can find the staff you need in as little as two hours. Whether you need back of house staff like line cooks or prep cooks, or front of house staff like bartenders, servers, or baristas, Pared has your back. What would it feel like to never be short-staffed again?