Members ace business planning in latest seminar

Author, consultant, and professor Vaughn Tan laid out his method for practical planning in a fascinating discussion.

According to the results of the recent S.Pellegrino Young Chef Academy Monitor survey, close to 60% of young chefs plan to open a restaurant in the future.

One of the first steps to doing that is to write a business plan, but if you’ve never put one together before, where do you start?

This was the focus of the Academy’s first seminar of 2021: An introduction to business planning, presented by author, strategy consultant, and academic Vaughn Tan. Currently Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at University College London’s School of Management. Tan has spent the last decade working with some of the most innovative research and development teams in the culinary world.

His speciality is helping businesses and non-profits become more resilient in the face of uncertainty. Aiming to provide a series of practical tips for how to produce adaptable and realistic business plans for food and beverage businesses, Tan emphasised the need to “Play to your strengths and serve the customers you want to serve.” This is in order to protect against the uncomfortable reality that many independent restaurants are likely to fail in their first year and “the trap” of having a restaurant that “neither makes you enough money, nor lets you do what you love.”

Many of the most resilient teams he’s worked with, he says, “thought really carefully about what their business models looked like.” According to Tan, it’s vital that business owners are honest about what they’re “willing to give up.”

Business plans should also be highly adaptable, especially in the current climate, Tan says. He recommends returning to them to adjust to new challenges, as and when necessary.

To complement the seminar, Tan has also produced a free business imagination tool that will help guide you through the basics of creating a business plan. Despite urging members to “just say no” to using someone else’s business plan, he joked that this was the one exception.

Following the presentation, the floor was opened to questions from members who were able to put their queries to the expert in a stimulating live Q&A session, which covered topics such as the effects of the global pandemic and how government assistance can be factored into business plans, the difficulties of planning a new venture remotely, and whether pr is a help or hindrance to new restaurants.

This first seminar of 2021 will be followed by a second later in January on why a defined marketing strategy is key to running a successful food and drinks business. Nidal Barake, founder and managing director of Miami-based, food marketing and innovation agency Gluttonomy, will host it.

Vaughn Tan will also be hosting a second seminar in March.

The seminars are part of a year-long educational program that supports the Academy’s overarching goal of nurturing the game-changing culinary talent of the future. They are available exclusively to members in the Academy’s private Facebook group and reserved areas.

Photo: Getty Images

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