How to Write an Inspiring Mission Statement for Your Restaurant
At its best, it gets customers’ attention and drives sales. At its worst, it confuses potential guests.
Crafting an inspiring mission statement takes time and care. But with the right tools, you can get it right. But first, you need to understand why a mission statement is so important. Your mission as a restaurateur is simple, right? Make good food that people want to eat.
Of course, nothing in business is that easy. You do need a mission statement, and done correctly, it can inspire loyalty and excitement for your brand that goes well beyond the food.
When mission statements work
Before we get into what makes a great mission statement great, let’s look at some of the most inspiring restaurant mission statements.
So what do all these mission statements have in common?
First, they’re all relatable. A great mission statement should help customers feel a connection to what you’re doing. They should be able to relate to your mission and believe in what you’re doing. Take Starbucks, for example: “To inspire and nurture the human spirit - one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.” Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? That’s one relatable mission statement.
All these mission statements are also goal-oriented. They make the restaurants’ goals clear in powerful, inspiring ways. Take Chipotle Mexican Grill’s mission statement: “Ensuring that better food, prepared from whole, unprocessed ingredients is accessible to everyone.” That makes their goal clear and allows the customer to feel like they’re participating in that, something bigger than themselves.
Lastly, a powerful mission statement should take a stand. Sure, restaurants are all trying to cook and serve good food. But really, they should have some deeper ideas about how food should taste, or the purpose a good meal should serve. Your mission statement is your chance to communicate those ideals to your customers. Phil’z Coffee is a great example of this: “Bettering people's days.” That’s a simple mission statement that makes it clear that Phil’z is in the game to do more than just sell coffee. They believe in the ability of a great cup of coffee to make someone’s day better, and that’s their ultimate goal.
So how do you write your mission statement?
When you set out to write a mission statement, you can’t start with your mission statement. Counterintuitive, we know.
There are a few steps that need to come before the mission statement itself. The first of those is your value statement.
Your values are what define the decisions you make and the people you work with, and that’s why they need to be determined before you move on to any other step. Your value statement should be a short, powerful explanation of what your restaurant believes in, not what you do or what your plans are. Those come later.
Once your value statement is set, you’re still not ready to write a mission statement. The next step is to write a vision statement, which will build upon your value statement and get you closer to your mission. Your vision will define why your restaurant concept matters to you, as well as why it should matter to the community you’ve built it in. The vision statement is like the “how” behind your restaurant (but not the “what” — that comes later). It’s about the big picture, and how your restaurant stands out from its competitors. It’s about the concept you have for your restaurant, and what that might mean to others.
When you’ve figured out your vision statement, it’s finally time to get to work on your mission statement. This is the “what” behind your restaurant. Your mission statement will make clear how you’re going to bring your values and vision to life and make them a reality. A mission statement can be up to a few sentences, but as you surely saw from the great mission statement examples above, short and sweet is often the way to go. Even just a few words may be enough to convey your mission in a powerful, inspiring way.
The objective of your mission statement is to connect with the audience and their desires, but still convey what your restaurant wants to do, and the difference it wants to make. Remember those three traits from above that make great mission statements: It’s relatable. It’s goal-oriented. It takes a stand.
In a hurry?
Yeah, those are a lot of steps. Trust us, they’re all necessary if you want to have a complete and powerful mission statement. It may be tempting to skip ahead and just throw together a mission statement so you can get off the ground and running. Don’t.
A good mission statement should be an actual asset to your business. It should help you keep sight of your goals. It should give employees expectations to live up to. It should tell customers why they should believe in your restaurant, and choose it from a sea of other dining options. It’s like the soul of your business. Sure, you can operate without one. But you’re better off with a good one to work with.
Many restaurant owners make the mistake of throwing together a generic mission statement that could describe any restaurant anywhere, just because it’s a box to check off in the process of starting a new restaurant. If that’s all your mission statement is going to be, why bother?
Remember how important your mission statement is. At its very least, it should:
Define what your restaurant does for its customers
Define what you restaurant does for its employees, and
Define what your restaurant does for you, its owner, operator or manager
The bottom line: It’s worth the time and effort it takes to write a great mission statement. It will help you, your employees and your customers get more value out of your restaurant, and it will be a daily reminder about why you are all doing with you’re doing.