Building a successful business in any industry requires a focus on one particular component of your establishment: the mission statement.

In this article, you’ll learn the importance of a restaurant mission statement, how to create a strong mission statement for your restaurant, and see examples of mission statements from famous and successful restaurants.

What is a Restaurant Mission Statement?

Simply, a mission statement is a statement that explains your restaurant’s goals, focus, and story. In some cases, a strong mission statement even goes a step further to emphasize what your work does or aims to do for others, and for the community.

The Importance of a Strong Restaurant Mission Statement

While you may be tempted to skip past the necessary time it takes to develop a good mission statement — one that’s reflective of the soul of your company — it’s critical that you create a powerful statement that encapsulates what your business is about, and why people should care. The majority of restaurants don’t have a clear mission statement or purpose, so if you develop yours in a meaningful way, you’ll already have a leg up on other restaurant owners.

Below, we’ll delve into what makes a strong mission statement, how you can create your ideal mission statement, and the mission statements of well-known restaurants, so that you can get a better feel for how to create or strengthen your own restaurant’s mission statement!

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Mission Statement vs. Vision Statement

Before we launch into the mission statement creation process, it’s important that you understand the difference between a mission statement and vision statement, which are often incorrectly used interchangeably.

While a mission statement acts as clear branding that conveys your business’s goals, achievements, and focus to the world, a vision statement looks to the future, and clarifies the direction that your restaurant is headed. It shares what you hope to achieve, rather than focusing on what you’ve already accomplished.

Keep the difference between these two in mind when developing or refining your mission statement, and ensure you stick only to the concrete reality of what your restaurant currently stands for.

The Vision Statement vs. the Value Statement

Different yet again from the mission statement and the vision statement, a restaurant’s value statement describes the core values of a business, and emphasizes the principles and priorities that the company holds dear.

In your case, a value statement should reveal the “soul” of your restaurant, and should be used to inform customers and employees alike of what matters most to your establishment. The value statement can be used internally as well as externally as a kind of “north star” to ensure your restaurant is on the right track, aligning to the services, values, and paradigms on which your establishment was founded.

Now that we’ve gone over the key differences among mission statements, vision statements, and value statements, let’s redirect our focus to developing your restaurant’s mission statement!

5 Elements that Make an Effective Mission Statement

1. Restaurant story

Every successful restaurant has a story. The key is pinpointing it, and presenting it to customers in a way that’s appealing, inspiring, and even moving. Part of your brand story should also be succinct enough to include somewhere in your mission statement.

While a beautiful menu and a cohesive, attractive aesthetic are extremely important for your restaurant’s success, customers are also interested in why you wanted to open your restaurant, what or who your inspirations were, what matters to you (and how you tie it into your business), and how your restaurant connects to customers and the community. Knowing and addressing your audience is everything when it comes to successful marketing!

A few places to present your restaurant story, in addition to reflecting it in your mission statement, include your website “About Us” page, social media, and even the back of the menu, which is probably your best (free) advertising space!

2. Customer focus

A strong business has a clear role in its community, and provides a valuable service for customers.

Your mission statement should touch on how your restaurant is valuable to its customers, and to the community at large. Your services don’t have to be groundbreaking or cutting-edge to make your mission statement impactful — rather, your statement should simply be authentic and accurate. The “what we do” of your mission statement can be something as straightforward as, “We provide high-quality, healthy fast-food options for busy families on-the-go.” Short, sweet, and to the point.

Ultimately, your mission statement doesn’t have to portray your restaurant as something it’s not to get attention. You’ll attract your strongest, most loyal customer base by reflecting what your restaurant does as honestly as possible.

3. Employee dedication

Part of “making it” in the restaurant business is treating the people you work for and with well, and this includes your employees.

How you present your restaurant to prospective employees can greatly affect your staffing success, and what better way to make a good first impression than in your mission statement? Craft this part of your mission statement in such a way that attracts strong employees, but do aim to select different key-words than other restaurants and businesses, which tend to focus on buzz-words like “diversity,” “empowerment,” and “training.” Instead, you might consider emphasizing specific qualities that your restaurant environment exudes, such as “conscientious,” “warmth,” “generosity,” etc. These words appeal to the emotions without coming across as stale or overused. This will help you and your managers determine what are good answer to common restaurant interview questions to find staff that are aligned to your restaurant’s mission statement and values.

4. Focus on owners

While most mission statements focus on the customer and the employee, there are quite a few good mission statements that also target how the owner benefits and plays a role in the success of the business. For example, check out the McDonald’s mission statement:

“McDonald’s brand mission is to be our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink. Our worldwide operations are aligned around a global strategy called the Plan to Win, which center on an exceptional customer experience – People, Products, Place, Price and Promotion. We are committed to continuously improving our operations and enhancing our customers’ experience.”

Remember: the more groups you address in your mission statement (within reason), the more it will appeal to a wider variety of people.

5. Specificity and pragmatism

A specific mission statement will pinpoint your target audience, so to decide how you should tailor your key messaging, you should first determine who your audience is. Once you’re familiar with your audience, you’ll understand how to create a successful mission statement that acknowledges them and captures their attention.

Equally important is creating a mission statement that is realistic, and accurately reflects the goals and concrete achievements of your restaurant thus far. Don’t invent, assume, or fabricate any part of your mission statement — save that projection for your vision statement.

5 Ways to Create a Strong Restaurant Mission Statement

Now that we’ve discussed some of the key elements to include in your mission statement, let’s talk a bit about the actual creation process!

1. Reflect on the core of your restaurant

What’s at your restaurant’s core? Perhaps that’s an easier question to pose than it is to answer, but to create a mission statement that really shines, you need to have some core values at the center of your business. What do you value most in the daily operations of your business? What needs do you aim to fill in the community, and for your customers?

A few good examples of “core values” of businesses include efficiency, integrity, quality, passion, customer commitment, and trust, to name only a few. Start with a list of such values that may apply to your restaurant, and narrow them down to two or three that really encapsulate the message and services of your establishment.

2. Touch upon what really matters to you (and your restaurant)

Similar to the above step of defining core values, your mission statement should clearly reflect what your restaurant strives to accomplish each and every day. What do you aim to provide for your customers? What sets your restaurant apart from others? What cause are its services dedicated to?

Your “what matters” messaging needs to be different from your core values, as your values will only account for a few words in your mission statement, while this step will likely account for one full phrase or sentence in your mission statement. Indeed, this step might even account for the full mission statement, such as the Panera Bread example: “A loaf of bread in every arm.”

3. Keep it short and sweet

Don’t assume that a longer mission statement will necessarily be more successful. Sometimes, a shorter but punchy mission statement results in a longer-lasting impression, and can be more memorable to customers who really appreciate what your restaurant offers to the community.

Most strong mission statements fall between two and four sentences, and are not longer than 100 words — so, while you will need to spend an adequate amount of time deciding on the best messaging, know that it doesn’t need to be (nor should it be) a novel!

4. Consider why your restaurant exists

Why did you start your restaurant in the first place? What vision did you have for it, and what needs did you anticipate it would meet for your customers?

This is important messaging to focus on in creating an ideal mission statement for your establishment. While you shouldn’t incorporate your future hopes for the business into the mission statement (again — save it for the vision statement), you can mention any inspirations you had, or catalysts that led to the development of your restaurant. This goes back to infusing your mission statement with your “brand story,” even if it means including only a few words that allude to that story.

5. Emphasize the value you create

There’s something your restaurant does, or a service it provides, better than any other existing restaurant. In most cases, there has to be, in order for your establishment to stand out from the thousands of other options out there.

Whether it’s reduced wait time, the highest-quality customer service, the most romantic or swanky ambiance, or colorful plates with delectable food, there is something inherently unique about your business. Pinpoint that thing, and highlight it as one of the main attributes of your restaurant.

20 Examples of Mission Statements from Famous (and Successful) Restaurants

For further inspiration, scroll through these outstanding mission statements of other restaurants who are crushing it in the industry!

1. Chipotle

With every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we’re working to cultivate a better world.”

2. Outback Steakhouse

We’re the leader of the pack by emphasizing consistently high quality delicious food delivering a warm, welcoming environment. Our generous portions are moderately priced.”

3. Applebee’s

“To contribute to the growth, joy and enrichment of all the lives we touch.”

4. Domino’s

“Sell more pizza, have more fun!”

5. Dunkin’ Donuts

Make and serve the freshest, most delicious coffee and donuts quickly and courteously in modern, well-merchandised stores.”

6. Cheesecake Factory

“To create an environment where guest satisfaction is our highest priority.”

7. Starbucks

To inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”

8. Ruby Tuesday’s

It’s applewood smoked bacon and premium cheeses and an uncompromising commitment to providing you the best. Passion is people. People who love what they do and take your enjoyment personally.”

9. P.F. Chang’s

“Farm to Wok® is our philosophy for making food from scratch every day, in each restaurant. We use the simple, time-honored tradition of wok cooking to ensure all recipes are made from scratch.”

10. Panera Bread

A loaf of bread in every arm.”

11. Sweetgreen

“Our mission is to inspire healthier communities by connecting people to real food. We know that sweetgreen is a critical link between growers and consumers, and we feel a responsibility to protect the future of real food.

12. Shake Shack

“Stand for Something Good

13. Chic-Fil-A

To be American’s best quick-service restaurant at winning and keeping customers

14. Whataburger

Win Our Customers’ Hearts Every Time

15. Mastro’s Restaurants

“We aspire to create the finest experience for our guests by combining the highest quality steaks and seafood, with exceptional service in a cosmopolitan and entertaining atmosphere.

16. Red Lobster

We’ve been committed to bringing you a seafood experience you won’t find anywhere else. That’s how we Sea Food Differently®

17. Morton’s Steakhouse

Our mission at Morton’s The Steakhouse is to always exceed our guests’ expectations. As we succeed, we expand our reputation as the World’s Best Steakhouse.

18. In-N-Out Burger

Since 1948, we have maintained a simple philosophy — serve only the highest quality product, prepare it in a clean and sparkling environment, and serve it in a warm and friendly manner.

19. Del Frisco’s Steak House

Celebrating life in restaurants through great food, wine and hospitality, allowing us to create truly memorable experiences for our guests, empowering our team members

20. The Cheesecake Factory

To create an environment where absolute guest satisfaction is our highest priority.”

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