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How to Conduct a SWOT Analysis for your Restaurant

Updated: Jun 21, 2020

Planning is crucial in a restaurant, or in any business in general. It takes a lot of time, knowledge and effort to plan that is why it is always smart to have strategic planning.

The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis, can be a useful framework for you to have systematic and precise planning for your restaurant.

It is always a good idea to gather a lot of insights and perspectives in January or a few months prior so can you get clarity on what you need to focus on for your restaurant within a whole year.

Conducting a SWOT analysis is a very tactical and simplified way to concentrate on different areas of your restaurant that actually matter.

There are so many things that probably get into your restaurant that are extremely frustrating, some may be small while some may be big. But solving those small problems will not give us big results. So we want to focus on some of the bigger problems to get bigger results.



One thing that you can consider is that when you run a SWOT analysis, you can do it on a macro-level or micro-level.

Macro-level means that you are covering a large-scale of various aspects of your restaurant, while micro-level is focusing more on small and specific parts of your business.

It is critical to put your team, especially your management team through the SWOT analysis for them to do this analysis without your help so you can gain a lot of perspective as to what is that they believe or perceive as being the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats of your restaurant.

So let's talk about Strengths and Weaknesses!

You need to take like 15 minutes to think about all the strengths that your restaurant has and then print them out as a PDF file for the checklist of your strengths. These strengths can apparently be your weaknesses.

What you need to do here is think about your restaurant in comparison to other restaurants that sell the same food that you have, whether you are a pizzeria, a Mexican restaurant or a burger joint, or a bakery, it does not matter.

Compare yourself to other restaurants in your 3-5 mile radius that sell the same cuisine and then compare your restaurant to all the other restaurants including your grocery store that also markets similar food that you offer.

Here are some of the areas of your restaurant that could be your strengths or weaknesses that you may consider including in your checklist:

✅Ticket time

✅Dining experience




✅Price point

✅Menu offerings

✅Variety of food

✅Online presence

✅Marketing strategy

✅Training system

✅Hiring and termination system

✅Brand story and how you communicate daily

✅Finances, books, etc.

✅Labor percentage in relation to the sales

✅Core management team

✅Location and easy access visibility

✅Business and working relationships

✅HR systems

✅Unique selling proposition

✅Decor and ambiance

✅Diet options in your menu

Are you wondering if these are your weaknesses or strengths?

Is your ticket time your strength because you are providing the fastest in serving your customers? or is it that you are the cheapest, or is it your branding or your reputation?

Is it your menu offerings or the variety of food, etc. that you provide versus the other restaurants don't offer? Like do you have a section for gluten-free people?

That could be a strength or something that makes you stand out or maybe it is a weakness because you don't have it.

So what you need to do is to look at all of these things I combined together or you can add your own. Look if you are very strong in those areas. Again, you want to look at your strengths and your weaknesses.

Next, we are talking about Opportunities!

The following are some good examples of opportunities you have (or maybe you are not aware that you have) in your restaurant:

1. Where there is a gap in the market is ultimately the opportunity you have that you need to maximize so you can take your restaurant to a higher level.

If you continue to do what you've been doing, you are going to continue to get the same results.

But what we want is to grow our sales tremendously by 10, 15, or 20 percent, month after month, quarter after quarter, so we got to be looking for opportunities and continue to discover new marketing strategies.

2. Another opportunity is to identify which demographic is underserved.

Presumably, the bars or the places that serve a variety of craft beers may have a lot of customers but they are not very family-friendly, right? So which demographic is underserved?

Take that opportunity to offer what you have in your restaurant to that underserved demographic.