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Restaurant opportunity

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I have a opportunity to start a little restaurant and would like some ideas. First, I'll give you a run down of the opportunity and location. Its located in a gas station, but there is no seating inside. There is some picnic tables outside though. The place comes with deep fryers, flat top, stove and oven, walk in, and a deli style warmer. The owner of the gas station wants no rent, just 25% of net sales. I don't have to pay for water or electric either. Only propane. The place is located about 2 miles south of downtown Lakeland Fl. I think it's in a great spot. Other than the fact that its in a gas station, I see no other issues.

Now for a menu. I know I want to do BBQ. However, I want to do other things too. For example regional tastes. Phillies, roasted pork sandwiches, italian beef sandwiches, burgers. Just good food. The one thing Lakeland lacks is good BBQ. We have some ok BBQ, but nothing that compares to KC and Memphis favorites. I want to change that. I also want to make it as fresh as possible. I don't want to make it and have it sit in warmers for hours. I'm ok with making a limited supply and running out. I want to do BBQ staples, as well as some twists and definitely burnt ends. So give me some ideas. Do you think the location is ok, even though its small? Whats some good ideas for what to serve. Any and all ideas are appreciated.
post #2 of 17
So if you do $1000 / day in sales, you owe $250 in rent per day.....
post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveOmak View Post

So if you do $1000 / day in sales, you owe $250 in rent per day.....
Net. After food, gas, operating costs.
post #4 of 17

I see RED FLAGS all over that deal.Give it a lot or though and run it by an account before you sign anything. Just my 2 cents worth. Good Luck on what ever you do.

post #5 of 17

If it's short term, something to get your name out there and gather some service experience, then why not? It's no get-rich-quick endevour, that's for sure.

post #6 of 17

25%, even after net, sounds like a big chunk of change.  Think about it - what's your cost of food and operation, deduct that from the sell price and what do you have left?  Then deduct 25% from that?

post #7 of 17

On average the Menu Price is 3-4 times what you spend on Food alone. Your food cost can be no more than 25 to 33% of the Sales. Find out what a Rack of Ribs, Sauce, Rub will cost then do the math. Will the market bear the prices you need to set? THere are Set Expenses and Variable Expenses. You don't get to Double your Prices because Pork Doubled! After expenses will there be anything left to give 25% of? Will 25% of nothing be acceptable for awhile? There are A LOT more things to subtract from sales to get to NET than you are listing. Get Specifics and Get everything in writing! 

Next Aaron Franklin and building Crazy Business because he Runs Out ...Is a one in a MILLION occurance! Restaurants DON"T make money with the doors shut and people don't return because they stood in line 2 hours to be told, " Sorry we ran out...". Don't count of that kind of Lightning striking you. Do Count on paying out Every Dime, including the owners cut, from Your Pocket for at least Two Years! That is the amount of time, on average, for a place to catch on and become profitable. 

Lastly, just to open the door there are permits, inspections, tax id and payment., one, in some states all kitchen employees, must be ServSafe Certified or have equivalent food safety certification. There is  Insurance ( Liability, Fire, Flood, and Interuption of Business, to name few ). Plus, you have no credit history with suppliers, so food is COD. Do you have the funds...TO LOSE...Just to turn on the OPEN Sign?...Is your Family prepared for you to be at work 16 to 20 hour days, 7 days a week, for the next 2 years at a minimum? Are You? Even if the place is closed, you got Purchasing and Inventory, Accounting and Pay Roll, Maintenance and Cleaning on Equipment and that does not include  S#!T happening like the next Hurricane that hits Florida! In a hugely successful restaurant the Chef works minimum 12 hour days and one day off a week is not uncommon. You are going to bite off a big chunk here my friend... Big difference between sitting around the Smoker drinking Beer and poking the meat every couple of hours and be a Owner/Pit master/ Chef/Prep Cook/Janitor/Maintenance Guy/Accountant/Server/Cashier...Good Luck!....JJ

post #8 of 17

I applaud people for having the guts to try something on their own.  But like Chef said, there are a ton of things to think about first. 

 

Before you do anything, write a business plan for yourself.  Even if you think its stupid and you know the stuff in your head, do it.  You will uncover tons of ideas you never thought about in the past, good and bad.  Keep a notebook next to your bed.  You'll wake up at 3am and have a bunch of thoughts.  Write them down.  It makes a difference.

 

I do like the idea of paying the landlord a cut of what you make.  Minimal risk if you do it month to month.  You dont see that very often.  But definitely dont sign a long term contract.  I would also peg the cut the owner takes to sales vs net profit, because if its NP, you will need to show him your books, and arguments will arise (i.e. you will probably want to run personal expenses through your business, like gas, to minimize taxes, which will hurt the owner's cut, and is a recipe for ending up in court).

 

Think about what the right % cut is off top line revenue.  And you'll figure that out in your business plan once you've done the math!  Good luck brother.   

post #9 of 17

Also, I would cut the menu to like maybe 5-10 items.  That way you can specialize in a few items.  Allows you to buy in bulk and cut costs, easier work flow/logistics in the kitchen, and also probably the most important, less waste.  Actually I just looked at Aarons menu.  He has the same principle.  Keep it simple. 

post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chef JimmyJ View Post
 

On average the Menu Price is 3-4 times what you spend on Food alone. Your food cost can be no more than 25 to 33% of the Sales. Find out what a Rack of Ribs, Sauce, Rub will cost then do the math. Will the market bear the prices you need to set? There are Set Expenses and Variable Expenses. You don't get to Double your Prices because Pork Doubled! After expenses will there be anything left to give 25% of? Will 25% of nothing be acceptable for awhile? There are A LOT more things to subtract from sales to get to NET than you are listing. Get Specifics and Get everything in writing! 

Next Aaron Franklin and building Crazy Business because he Runs Out ...Is a one in a MILLION occurrence! Restaurants DON"T make money with the doors shut and people don't return because they stood in line 2 hours to be told, " Sorry we ran out...". Don't count of that kind of Lightning striking you. Do Count on paying out Every Dime, including the owners cut, from Your Pocket for at least Two Years! That is the amount of time, on average, for a place to catch on and become profitable. 

Lastly, just to open the door there are permits, inspections, tax id and payment., one, in some states all kitchen employees, must be ServSafe Certified or have equivalent food safety certification. There is  Insurance ( Liability, Fire, Flood, and Int eruption of Business, to name few ). Plus, you have no credit history with suppliers, so food is COD. Do you have the funds...TO LOSE...Just to turn on the OPEN Sign?...Is your Family prepared for you to be at work 16 to 20 hour days, 7 days a week, for the next 2 years at a minimum? Are You? Even if the place is closed, you got Purchasing and Inventory, Accounting and Pay Roll, Maintenance and Cleaning on Equipment and that does not include  S#!T happening like the next Hurricane that hits Florida! In a hugely successful restaurant the Chef works minimum 12 hour days and one day off a week is not uncommon. You are going to bite off a big chunk here my friend... Big difference between sitting around the Smoker drinking Beer and poking the meat every couple of hours and be a Owner/Pit master/ Chef/Prep Cook/Janitor/Maintenance Guy/Accountant/Server/Cashier...Good Luck!....JJ

yeahthat.gif  I Would Pay Close Attention To Chef JJ...But more importantly in my opinion I would Run and Run Like The Wind on this deal unless ALL is ironed out and on paper first. if this was such a great deal why wold he not run it himself or have others lined up to get involved? Location is one thing, in a gas station adds uniqueness but that does not guarantee success. what you might think about is doing what is called a "pop up" for one day. I have been luck enough to try this in five locations once a year for the last four years, I now have a group in each area asking for when is the next one (I only did three items) Brisket, pulled pork and Carmita's depending on demographics. now I know my costs, time vested, what to expect in each local. this summer we have put together a program for one location where we will do this every Saturday in the same location. this will build our following and help promote the business (they will be there , might as well stock up on the fresh produce) that I will be connected with (think mobile cart) but not a cart. depending on how the first few go will be if we continue and it just gives me more information on if this works/profitable. then the decision to build out/expand the small butcher area into indoors and year round. this way we both are not putting out what it takes to go brick and mortar out of the gate on an unknown. Just my thoughts. Good Luck with what you decide,

 

Tom 

post #11 of 17
Just my thoughts here but I have some questions that you probably already have answers for.

1. Is this just a gas station or a convenience store at a gas station. Would your sales be competing with snacks or other food from the owners business.

2. As above but is this a place you can\will serve alcohol or beer and would you compete with the original business in sales?


As for other thoughts if it was me I would concentrate first on BBQ and other than burgers not really go outside that zone to start. If your main focus is to be BBQ it might make things easier to start rather than trying to branch out too many directions at once.
post #12 of 17

I don't want to scare you off! With all your ducks in a row, this CAN be a good deal. I just wanted to make sure you are going in eyes wide open and not just because you enjoy smoking and a Restaurant sounds like fun...JJ

post #13 of 17

You have had a lot of good information given to you especially by Chef Jimmy J and as said look at everything that will be a cost to you it reflects on your profit no matter how small it may be. You have the opportunity to pursue something most people just dream about. move with caution and remember as JJ said it will be 2 years before you know how your doing. Good luck

post #14 of 17

Good luck, I know people who have tried opening a restaurant, and one good thing that they didn't have (it didn't work out for them) was that you are sharing with a gas station, so that should automatically bring in some traffic through necessity.  

 

I agree with Mummel that you concentrate on a few items and do them well.  If you try to do to much, a lot of times overall quality suffers, not to say that will happen here though.

post #15 of 17

The one thing I noticed that hasn't been mentioned is the lack of seating. A restaurant with only outdoor seating does not sound appealing at all from March till October. Even for good food I am hard pressed to sit outside in the summer here. I know 4-Rivers started here with only outdoor seating but they at least had a nice covered area with fans and water misters to take the edge off. 

post #16 of 17

I know nothing about the restaurant business but I can tell you that on the road I live on most gas stations have some kind of food service attached to them.  Most are Bar-B-Q.  One fairly close to me has Church's Fried Chicken. Some of the smoked goods are good, others not so much. The good news is I don't see a lot of turn over.  Good Luck

post #17 of 17
The best bbq in KY where my family is from is sold out of little trailers etc. Or overhead would be low out of a food truck. Good luck sounds like a neat place but I would take some classes or something to learn the business side of it.
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