businesses need a place to operate. In some business operations, customers have little concern for the physical location of the business. This is often true for service businesses, such as contractors offering trade services (plumbers, electricians). In other businesses, especially those where customers go to the business, the physical location and the building the business works from is important. Stores and restaurants are typical businesses where the customer visits the business location, and then buys while in the business’s building.

To expand the local small coffee shop and restaurant, the physical building must be changed. The changes suggested include physical improvements to both the interior and exterior.

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The Small Business Administration advises that “Strategic thinking is a process whereby you learn how to make your business vision a reality by developing your abilities in team work, problem solving, and critical thinking. It is also a tool to help you confront change, plan for and make transitions, and envision new possibilities and opportunities.” (SBA) The owners of the business must develop a clear vision of the future of their small enterprise, and think strategically and critically what it will take to arrive at that future point.

The current restaurant is successful, offering its customers a small menu. The business is unique in that it offers its customers an artsy, unique ambience to enjoy while dining. The inviting atmosphere encourages customers to remain on the property, linger, and order extra food while enjoying the atmosphere and character of the restaurant. This is one key of success, and it should not be tampered with or changed.

Before making any major changes to the building housing the business, a comprehensive business plan needs developed. The plan should update any previous plans, and incorporate current results, while developing the strategic plan of the restaurant. The new business plan should consider current revenues, profitability, and return on investment. It should also critically analyze the customer base and staffing. The plan should also provide a timeline for expansion of the building housing the business, and offer specific start and completion dates for each point in the plan.

Following review from the businesses supporting professionals, including the bank, CPA, attorney, and other professionals, the changed plan needs carefully carried out. As stated in the Hurdle Book, “For plans created to help run a business, their worth is measured by how much they help run a business — or, in other words, their implementation.” (Hurdle). Owners of this restaurant should use the new, updated plan as their primary management tool in handling the business.

Because the restaurant is open and running successfully, a customer base has been established. This customer base should be carefully surveyed to discover how the business can be expanded successfully. Obvious questions are “what other items should be added to the menu?” And “what changes would you make to the restaurant?” The survey should reveal how the existing customer base would likely spend more at the restaurant, either by visiting more often or by offering more services or menu selections.

The survey should be carefully developed and the data collected and analyzed. The survey results should be used to change the business plan.

It is just common sense that the most important part of any business is the customer. Because we have a customer base present, these customers are the key to develop the future strategic plan. These customers can reveal what is right and wrong with the restaurant. Their survey could reveal how the restaurant can be successfully expanded. For example, customer complaints or concerns should be analyzed and determined how changes can be made to remove these problems.

Sampling the customer should be voluntary, and conducted over several days, to capture the best possible typical base of customers. The survey should include different types of customers (lunch trade, dinner trade, business meeting). By tracking their responses, and listening to their input, final suggestions can be offered to the owners that are based on customer participation.

Currently, there are three recommendations that are obvious. These recommendations need modification to the building housing the restaurant business.

The first recommendation is to pave the driveway in front of the building. This simple suggestion will cut the dust when customers are eating on the outdoor patio. The goal is to improve the dining experience, and to erase the unpleasant atmosphere created during windy or breezy moments when the dust is problematic. A secondary benefit of paving the dirt driveway is the aesthetic improvement the paved driveway would offer to the overall building.

The next recommendation is to remodel and expand the kitchen area. By doing so, the restaurant can expand its services and its menu. The improved kitchen would allow the restaurant to offer a larger take-out service, catering service, and expanded menu.

The third recommendation offered is to remodel and expand the patio area. The plan is to provide more comfortable seats among an atmosphere that would encourage the customers to extend their stay, ordering more food and drinks. The owners should use the services of a landscape architect and designer. The patio area should allow more guests, throughout the day and evening. The new design should incorporate improved lighting into the design, allowing the use of the patio as a dining area late into the night. The design should offer appealing sight lines, and hide unpleasant traffic sightings. Heavy use of plantings and natural elements incorporated into the design will help to retain customers, offering a comfortable lounging area, and place where they do not want to leave.


Small Business Administration. (SBA) Forecasting the Future – Strategic Management Thinking Retrieved February 8, 2003 at

Hurdle Book: The Book on Business Plans (Hurdle) Retrieved from the Palo Alto Software website on February 8, 2003 at