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Catering, Vending and Cooking For The Masses. this forum is OnTopic. A resource to help with catering, vending and just cooking for large parties. Topics to include Getting Started, Ethics, Marketing, Catering resources, Formulas and recipes for cooking for large groups.


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Unread 12-09-2012, 11:59 PM   #1
Wesman61
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Default Turn-Key Steakhouse Opportunity

Went and checked out a steakhouse that is for sale in my area today. It's a fully functional small restaurant in a nearby town. More like a diner. Owner will finance and train the buyer. They claim it can survive just by being open on the weekends only. I have almost no restaurant experience but I have Fri-Sun off every week. I've done some catering and my mind is always thinking about the restaurant business. The owner will lease or sale the building to the buyer but I would only want to lease at first till I decided if it was for me.

We can get by on my wife's salary alone and she has health insurance through her work. If it took off I could quite my job and do it full time. My goal would be to eventually move to a more populated location and build it into more of a BBQ place. I have a few signature dishes that get requested a lot and would slowly add them to the menu. I could also cater since I would have an HD approved commissary.

I thinking this through pretty seriously. Any insight or recommended reading is welcome. Thanks!
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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:03 AM   #2
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Restaurants are tough, tough way to earn a living. You need to love it.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 03:52 AM   #3
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I'm no longer in that line of work myself, primarily because of the time commitment involved for small returns. My experience was that to make a good go of it requires a nearly 24/7 commitment. You can make a go if you really love it, almost has to be in your blood.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
Wesman61
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Yeah, the big negative is that I'm 51 and in a good position in life. Both the wife and I have 3 day weekends and we like to go on weekend trips. We went to Portland just this past weekend. Giving that up would be hard.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 02:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesman61 View Post
Yeah, the big negative is that I'm 51 and in a good position in life. Both the wife and I have 3 day weekends and we like to go on weekend trips. We went to Portland just this past weekend. Giving that up would be hard.

never been in the biz, but having a wife that works weekends, i'd never give up that opportunity you have now.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 02:20 PM   #6
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All of the weekend stuff would end, I went from heavey construction to owning a brick and morter place along with three catering trucks for the same reason, damned near killed me as well as a divorce, but if you like 20 hr days no social life and have a good line of credit go for it
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Unread 12-10-2012, 02:43 PM   #7
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Man, I always back off when I get the reality check. LOL It would make sense if I was 25 maybe but at my age I may not have the energy for it.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 03:59 PM   #8
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I am a restaurant owner and will give you my 2 cents. Just because you could survive on being open on weekends only, doesn't mean anything! No one in their right mind would take on that kind of responsibility and liability just to survive. Secondly, if you have no restaurant experience, you are in for a real surprise. The accounting alone is a daunting task. Inventory, managing days on hand, software systems, employees, prime costs, ordering, the list goes on and on. My advice is to partner with someone who owns a restaurant and is looking for another opportunity. You will give up ownership for it but worth every penny! Also be realistic about how much $ you are going to make on 1 restaurant. In general with 1 restaurant, you basically bought yourself a moderately paying job if you succeed. Need a handful of locations to make some real money. Sorry if this sounds doom and gloom but its reality. I know 5 guys who own restaurants and this has rung true with all of them. They told me the same things which I DID NOT believe until I did it myself. Bottom line is you have to love it and you need to have realistic expectations.
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Unread 12-10-2012, 06:53 PM   #9
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Everyone wants to own a restaurant until they actually do. It's not a part time job but rather a full time burden.
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Unread 12-21-2012, 07:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
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Everyone wants to own a restaurant until they actually do. It's not a part time job but rather a full time burden.
About the same thing as a wooden boat....
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Unread 12-21-2012, 09:50 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wesman61 View Post
Yeah, the big negative is that I'm 51 and in a good position in life. Both the wife and I have 3 day weekends and we like to go on weekend trips. We went to Portland just this past weekend. Giving that up would be hard.

Don't give up your free time.. I'm in the alcohol distribution business and deal with restaurants quite a bit.

A labor of love is an understatement, it’s a tough living.
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Unread 12-21-2012, 08:45 PM   #12
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My wife and her partner ran a restaurant for 3 years. 24/7 while trying to raise 2 little children. Her partner was skimming the money. Wife bailed and they ended up selling the place.
Toughest job she ever had.
This was before I was in her life. She has talked about opening a bbq joint near us here. I told her we would split. I have no desire to work those kinds of hours at my age now. Got my belly full working 72 hr shifts at the firehouse.
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Unread 12-21-2012, 10:10 PM   #13
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Long and short of it...run if you've never ran your own place. If you do want to have your own place, cut your teeth on someone else's dime first, after you get things figured out using their money...and are prepared to possibly lose some of your own at least at first, then get your own place. I've got 12 years in the restaurant business and I've spent 6 of those as a General Manager or Assistant General Manager. Like Mr. Chester said, there is nothing that can prepare you for your own place. There is no such thing as "training to run a restaurant". You only learn by screwing up and then doing it again til you get it right

Seriously though it isn't realistic to run a steakhouse on a weekend only basis. What a nightmare it would be to control food cost and staff a place like that. If you do decide to move further I would ask for recent P&L (Profit & Loss) statements and find out why such a "great" opportunity is available and why they'd want to still be such key part of it...don't mean to be rude I just hate to see people get into the madness when things are going so well in their life

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Do it only for the love of the business and the food and people...NEVER FOR THE MONEY

Last edited by ardorx; 12-21-2012 at 10:11 PM.. Reason: Forgot something...
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Unread 12-22-2012, 04:37 PM   #14
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After being a logger and working heavey construction most of my life I found with my restaurant, it was the hardest work and longest hrs. I had ever done for minimal to none returns, also it will suck everybit of savings, as that next big day that is few and far between, is just around the corner if you survive
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Unread 12-25-2012, 08:29 AM   #15
Bbq Bubba
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What are you farken crazy???
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