PDA

View Full Version : Open a BBQ restaurant, they said. It will be fun, they said


Pages : [1] 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13

marubozo
05-17-2013, 07:08 PM
For at least ten years, that's all I've heard from friends and family. You should open a restaurant! It would be awesome! We would eat there every day! Yeah, right.

Well, for the past two years or so, opening either a BBQ joint or buying a bar was in the back of my mind, but with running my other business occupying my time I knew it wasn't going to happen. Then, six months ago I sold my business and that opened up a lot of options. So, the crazy peer pressure kicked into high gear again

Everybody else was saying it's a suicide mission, the restaurant will fail just like all the others, I'll end up going broke, etc. And that's all probably true. But despite those odds, something kept telling me to do it, so I began seeking out properties. To hedge my bets a bit, I knew that one thing I had to do was buy a building, under market value, and avoid leasing at all costs. This way, even if the business didn't work out I'd have two exit strategies where I could either sell the restaurant and get most, or maybe all of my equity back, or try leasing it out to another newbie restaurateur sucker and let them pay the mortgage until they fail and have to move out.

So, I figured since so many people here have always dreamed of opening up their own place, by sharing my experience, good and/or bad, will provide inspiration, or offer words of caution and help those who are interested in doing the same. I know that I've spent so many hours here reading through the experiences of others, and most helpful has been the member here, Pyle's BBQ who runs Saddles BBQ Bistro. He took the time to talk with me a great deal and helped make the decision to move forward that much easier.

Anyway, today marked another milestone that finally puts this idea into motion. I finally closed on the building and got the keys. Now, the real fun starts as it's time to start tearing things out, remodel, and make it my own.

The place was a breakfast/lunch diner so the guts of the kitchen are in place and it past its last health department inspection in August, so thankfully it doesn't need a ton of work in that regard. Unfortunately, it isn't up to my standards even though it may fly by the HD, so I do have a lot of changes in store. The exterior also needs some work as the blue vinyl siding looks pretty cheap, but fixing up the outside is low on the priority list compared to everything else.

So, here she is in all her somewhat plain and ugly glory. The Udder Place is the old name though, not what I'm going with.

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7306/8747603541_7a2894bd83_o.jpg

With a little work, the building the smoker will most likely be going in:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7285/8748726402_ba7ccbfba0_o.jpg

And the front of the house needs a little work. Carpet is going and I'm putting in wood floors, or probably more likely, commercial laminate. Having a custom ordering counter built, and extending the wall that separates the dining room from the kitchen to the ceiling since I don't know why they only did a 1/2 wall. And obviously, it will need to be decorated to give it a good BBQ feel.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8559/8747603573_2cefe66be5_o.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7307/8748726450_3c48421095_o.jpg

Now, let me just say a few things for those thinking of going out and buying their own place, since I've been living this nightmare for the past three months.

When people say it takes twice and long and costs twice as much as you expected, it's usually true. If the bank says it will be two weeks to get your approval though, plan on a month. If you've budgeted $10k on part of the project, realistically be prepared to pay closer to $20k. You wouldn't believe how slow things can progress and how extra costs add up.

Meet the health inspector at the building you're considering and walk through it with them before you even consider making an offer. They hold the keys to your success, and getting their opinion about how a building is set up, existing restaurant or not, will dictate whether or not it's a good idea. The last thing you want to do is move forward on a place and then after it's yours, get the HD out there and find out it's a can of worms that will cost you thousands to bring up to code.

Finally, money. Come to the table with some money and don't go into unnecessary debt. You've heard the stories where people go and cash out all their retirement accounts and mortgage their only home only to start a business that has one of the highest failure rates. That's not worth the risk.

Also, even though you may need some traditional financing to buy a building or something, be prepared for rejection. Banks simply don't want to lend to restaurants, or more specifically, brand new restaurants to people who may not have any experience. Some may be willing to lend, but with unfavorable terms. And many more will try to get you to go the SBA route, which I'd advise against. The same thing with insurance companies. Hard to believe, I know, but insurance companies don't want to insure high-risk restaurants. Don't be surprised if you call ten insurers and waste all sorts of time giving them all the information about the property and business only to never have your calls returned, or for them to flat out say they won't cover you. Persistence is key.

Ultimately, even if you have found the perfect place and get the ball rolling, plan on at least two, possibly three months before you even get the keys. And then even if it doesn't need much work to get it ready for operation, you'll be waiting on the health department, mechanical inspectors, permits, and so on before you get the clearance to open your doors, which can easily take another couple months. So, plan accordingly and expect it will take about six months from finding the ideal place to being open for business. Sure, you may very well get done with everything sooner, but err on the side of caution because there's nothing worse than having high hopes to be open by a certain date and then encounter delay after delay, and having to constantly tell people the grand opening is going to be later and later.

Anyway, that's enough for tonight as I've been long-winded enough. Time to sit back and relax with some whiskey after a tumultuous and stressful three months to get to this point. But I'll be sure to update this along the way with progress pics and share my experience or answer any questions anybody may have about everything as I'm more than willing to help.

bluetang
05-17-2013, 07:16 PM
Nothing ventured, nothing gained; good luck there Bro.
I gotta say tho...The Udder Place:shocked:, I agree with ya, a name change is in order.

BBQinMI
05-17-2013, 07:16 PM
Best of luck man. Keep us updated on when you open and I will be sure to come check it out

Teamfour
05-17-2013, 07:19 PM
I look forward to following you on your journey.

marubozo
05-17-2013, 07:22 PM
Best of luck man. Keep us updated on when you open and I will be sure to come check it out

Thanks, where abouts are you in Michigan?

Titch
05-17-2013, 07:23 PM
Best wishes for your venture and I will watch with interest

TroyA65
05-17-2013, 07:30 PM
The place looks bright and clean...a better starting place than some may have. Where is it located, it looks very familiar. I used to live in Kalamazoo and still do a lot of consulting work in SW MI. I'd love to stop by if I'm in the area.

marubozo
05-17-2013, 07:31 PM
The place looks bright and clean...a better starting place than some may have. Where is it located, it looks very familiar. I used to live in Kalamazoo and still do a lot of consulting work in SW MI. I'd love to stop by if I'm in the area.

It's in Niles, so if you ever went to South Bend or Mishawaka Indiana for something, you may have passed it since it's on US 12.

landarc
05-17-2013, 07:35 PM
To be honest, I would open with that interior, I hate those fake country BBQ decor places. Serve me some good meat and sides, I could care less about the walls.

Mark Warren
05-17-2013, 07:37 PM
I subscribed to this thread so I can follow your progress. It sounds very exciting to me, I am sure nerve wracking for you.

I would think that even if you have your smoker in the outbuilding there you would want one out front billowing smoke even if there is no food in it, just until people get the idea it is a real smoke house eatery.

Also I would have a mixed meat chili on the menu so any leftover smoked meats for the day went into tomorrows chili, it would be very meaty chili and a way to cut down on food waste, the way I see it anyway. I have NO experience in it so just take it as my observation.

I can't wait for updates as the Journey continues.

redaub
05-17-2013, 07:39 PM
Road Trip!!!

marubozo
05-17-2013, 07:40 PM
To be honest, I would open with that interior, I hate those fake country BBQ decor places. Serve me some good meat and sides, I could care less about the walls.

Well I don't plan on going kitschy because I don't like all the pointless knicknacks either. Just needs a fresh coat of paint and a few pictures and stuff on the wall. I also do photography so I'd probably incorporate some of my own stuff, and then maybe a wood cutout of the logo, etc.

You should have seen the cow decor in this place before I bought it. It was the most gaudy setup you've ever seen. :shocked:

Johnny_Crunch
05-17-2013, 07:41 PM
Great information. I look forward to the progress.

Crazy Harry
05-17-2013, 07:46 PM
best of luck. beer license or is that later

smokeyokie
05-17-2013, 07:47 PM
Best of Luck and keep us posted!!!! Smoke on Brother!!!!:clap:

---k---
05-17-2013, 07:51 PM
You got balls. Opening a restaurant is tough. Good luck.

I'm back and forth between Three Rivers and Chicago. Keep posting and I'll try and stop in some time.

Grabnabber
05-17-2013, 07:53 PM
Leave everything as-is, just change the menu.

If it's good, people will come. :mrgreen:

Happy Hapgood
05-17-2013, 07:55 PM
To the OP. Fantastic post Sir. You mention the plain outer siding. Some of the best BBQ in my town are known by "Look for the blue building off this street". You can build a mystique around it.

I'm a mechanical guy and would recommend you keep the grass cut well away from that condenser unit/heat pump to save a lot of headaches and money down the road.

The product will speak for itself. If it's good, you'll be expanding soon. Folks don't really care about what a place looks like IF the food is good.

Just my .02 and Best of Skill in your venture.

gotribe28
05-17-2013, 08:05 PM
I am sorry but I freaking love that name for a bbq joint.... it is hysterical....

gotribe28
05-17-2013, 08:06 PM
Or a better one would be Ann Arbor is a Whore.... lol GoBucks!!!!

marubozo
05-17-2013, 08:08 PM
best of luck. beer license or is that later

It will be later if I do it at all. I'm a big beer fan as a brewer myself, so getting at least bottled beer in there would be nice. But we'll see how things go.

You got balls. Opening a restaurant is tough. Good luck.

I'm back and forth between Three Rivers and Chicago. Keep posting and I'll try and stop in some time.

Less balls and more stupid/crazy I think. :mrgreen: And yeah, you probably don't pass too far by if you go to Three Rivers from Chicago.

To the OP. Fantastic post Sir. You mention the plain outer siding. Some of the best BBQ in my town are known by "Look for the blue building off this street". You can build a mystique around it.

I'm a mechanical guy and would recommend you keep the grass cut well away from that condenser unit/heat pump to save a lot of headaches and money down the road.

The product will speak for itself. If it's good, you'll be expanding soon. Folks don't really care about what a place looks like IF the food is good.

Just my .02 and Best of Skill in your venture.

Thanks. Yes, that's why I figure the exterior is the last on the list of things to fix or update. But the siding really is in disrepair in a few spots, mostly on the other side of the building and the health inspector was giving me a bit of trouble with it, so if the budget allows it would be nice to update and get away from the cheap baby blue.

Good call on the grass around the AC units. The previous owners decided to skip mowing so far this year since they knew it was under contract, so it got out of control. I planned on nuking the grass in that area and just putting down gravel or stones or something. No reason to have grass growing there anyway since it would just be a pain to maintain, but knowing that it's also a potential issue for the AC units, even more of a reason to get rid of it. Thanks for the suggestion!

marubozo
05-17-2013, 08:09 PM
Or a better one would be Ann Arbor is a Whore.... lol

Hah! I like that because I'm a Michigan State alum. :cool:

caseydog
05-17-2013, 08:11 PM
Good luck to you. :thumb:

Here's a few suggestions.

Don't spend a lot on decor. You need to make that place look like a hole-in-the-wall. Que is always better at a BBQ joint than at a BBQ Restaurant. If you can find a laminate floor that looks like distressed wood, you'd get an economical and code compliant floor that is BBQ joint worthy.

Get rid of all those chrome stools, and get some garage-sale chairs. Make the walls look old. If it were me, I might even park a smoker in the dining room and smoke the room out for a day or two. :shock:

I'd lose the plain white ceiling, too. Maybe some fake tin tiles, or better yet, some re-cycled tin tiles.

When you get around to replacing the siding, think about materials like recycled corrugated steel and barnwood.

A BBQ joint should be clean, but not pretty, IMO.

Sorry for rambling. It is the Art Major in me. That, and the BBQ joints people tend to talk about are, basically, clean and sanitary dives. That kind of eating environment just seems to set the right mood for eating smoked meats.

CD

BBQinMI
05-17-2013, 08:11 PM
Thanks, where abouts are you in Michigan?

mid michigan area just outside Lansing

gotribe28
05-17-2013, 08:23 PM
Hah! I like that because I'm a Michigan State alum. :cool:

My insurance agent here in TX is a State alum.... that's the only reason I use them if they were blue fans I would have told them to f-off....lol

HankB
05-17-2013, 08:25 PM
Hah! I like that because I'm a Michigan State alum. :cool:
I had to look it up, but that's where my D-I-L went. I just know that green is good and blue and yellow are bad. They're in Auburn Hills and we head that way once in a while so maybe you'll give us an alternative to Redamak's.

Good luck with your endeavor!

pbj
05-17-2013, 08:30 PM
Good luck. I first read your original post time as 7:08 AM and thought that must have been a long 3 months to have a glass of whiskey at 7 in the morning.

TroyA65
05-17-2013, 08:41 PM
It's in Niles, so if you ever went to South Bend or Mishawaka Indiana for something, you may have passed it since it's on US 12.

Ha...I knew it!! I stay in Niles frequently (know a lot of folks in the area) and used to work in Dowagiac. I think I am going to be over there (Buchanan or Niles) in a couple of months, keep us posted, looking forward to stopping by.

Stingerhook
05-17-2013, 08:46 PM
Good luck on your venture. This will be a must check post hopefully for a long time.

Ron_L
05-17-2013, 08:51 PM
Good luck!

landarc
05-17-2013, 08:57 PM
Wait! Is that a flying cow over the register? You have to save that. Save the Flying Cow!

Save the Flying Cow!
Save the Flying Cow!
Save the Flying Cow!

TroyA65
05-17-2013, 09:06 PM
Wait! Is that a flying cow over the register? You have to save that. Save the Flying Cow!

Save the Flying Cow!
Save the Flying Cow!
Save the Flying Cow!

+1 for cow...need a pig to match (I've seen them around)

fat_bastard
05-17-2013, 09:11 PM
Congrats on livin' the dream. I've got family up in Elkhart, next time I'm up there I'll have to come up your way.

aawa
05-17-2013, 09:12 PM
You took the plunge and it is time to swim. Good luck on your venture, it sounds like you have a great sense of business and a great plan. Remember even if the outside isn't what you like with the cheap blue vinyl, if you do great bbq people will come!

SmokinAussie
05-17-2013, 09:18 PM
Hey Marubozo.

Congratulations on your decision. I really do hope it works out for you. I was wondering if you could give us some pics of the kitchen and working areas where the action is going to happen. Most of us are probably more interested in that than the decor!

Cheers! (Subscribed)

Bill

Show me smoke
05-17-2013, 09:19 PM
good luck I look forward to future installments of the Udder side bbq joint..

b182evrclear
05-17-2013, 09:28 PM
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is using social media as much as possible. FB, Twitter, and Yelp are all great free marketing tools and many people use them to find new/good Q.

Best of luck to you. I can't wait to hear about your progress.

- Frank

RevZiLLa
05-17-2013, 09:31 PM
Good luck!

marubozo
05-17-2013, 09:39 PM
+1 for cow...need a pig to match (I've seen them around)
Well, pig will be in the new name, so I may have to do that. Those details will come later. :wink:

Congrats on livin' the dream. I've got family up in Elkhart, next time I'm up there I'll have to come up your way.

Nice, that's not far at all. Stay tuned and hopefully we can hook up the next time you're in town.

Hey Marubozo.

Congratulations on your decision. I really do hope it works out for you. I was wondering if you could give us some pics of the kitchen and working areas where the action is going to happen. Most of us are probably more interested in that than the decor!


Thanks. Kitchen pics are coming. Only ones I have now are when I was touring the building when the electricity was still turned off so it was too dark to get anything worthwhile.

The kitchen is a blessing and a curse. It's HUGE, which isn't needed at all for this small of an operation, especially one that isn't cooking food to order like a typical restaurant. Kitchen area is probably around 800 sq/ft, and it has an 8x8' walk-in cooler, and 6x6' walk-in freezer on top of that. I just need to find a way to maximize the space.

North Is Up
05-17-2013, 09:48 PM
It doesn't look like the previous place was in business very long. Just a few months. I wish you the best in this business venture.

https://www.facebook.com/TheUdderPlaceCafe

CharredApron
05-17-2013, 09:50 PM
I am with Landarc. Open with the least amount of capital investment. Good food and word of mouth is KEY! Treat your curious, first time clients like your beloved family, serve them food that you, yourself love. Make it with all of your Heart and never compromise!

Give, Give, Give until it hurts. Then re-evaluate.
Was it worth it? Monetarily, as well as Physically, Emotionally, & Mentally.

Look at the financials after 9 mos, at least. Was it worth it? YES/No. Decision time...Can you, or do you want to continue??????

HAVING BEEN IN YOUR SHOES, I wish you the best! I would do it again, anytime! I am just Stupid like that!

marubozo
05-17-2013, 09:56 PM
It doesn't look like the previous place was in business very long. Just a few months. I wish you the best in this business venture.

https://www.facebook.com/TheUdderPlaceCafe

Yeah, the previous owners put about $30k into renovations and then only stayed open for about six months. They have a restaurant about 7 miles down the road and tried to open this place as a second location and quickly realized they couldn't run two places at the same time.

Nice people and I eat at their place often, but they just spread themselves too thin with two places. But they are already sending business my way and telling everybody about this new BBQ place, so it should be a good mutual relationship since we don't step on eachother's toes in terms of menu or open times.

I am with Landarc. Open with the least amount of capital investment. Good food and word of mouth is KEY! Treat your curious, first time clients like your beloved family, serve them food that you, yourself love. Make it with all of your Heart and never compromise!

Give, Give, Give until it hurts. Then re-evaluate.
Was it worth it? Monetarily, as well as Physically, Emotionally, & Mentally.

Look at the financials after 9 mos, at least. Was it worth it? YES/No. Decision time...Can you, or do you want to continue??????

HAVING BEEN IN YOUR SHOES, I wish you the best! I would do it again, anytime! I am just Stupid like that!

Thanks. My previous life was in finance, so that's one aspect of the business I think I have under control. So that I can handle, but dealing with the staff and that side of a restaurant business, that may very well be a challenge. But I'm up for it.

Smoothsmoke
05-17-2013, 10:01 PM
Congrats and good luck on your endeavor!

CharredApron
05-17-2013, 10:01 PM
That is the worst side of the house. Good luck to you! I mean that with all sincerity. The "Why I can't come to work book" Is long and pitiful.

Bbq Bubba
05-18-2013, 08:27 AM
Congrats and welcome from the East side!

I look forward to coming over and meeting you when you open! Lots of BBQ joints opening in Michigan lately.

What is your restaurant background? What kind of smoker are you going to cook on? Lemme know if theres anything i can do to help!

code3rrt
05-18-2013, 09:26 AM
Wishing you the best of luck, although in reality very little luck is involved.

My best advice:
Be prepared invest your heart, soul and time for the life of the business. The food service biz is just that way.

DON'T compromise on the quality of your product OR service for any reason. Serve a quality product at a fair price always with a smile, and you'll do great.

As for working with "employees", set the standards high and make sure they are clearly understood. Make sure they understand that the better the business does, the better they will do. You don't want to be a tyrant, but fair and strict, and make sure they understand why things are done the way are.

Probably nothing here you didn't already know, so I'm done bloviating.

Best wishes for your success!

KC

fonsg
05-18-2013, 09:33 AM
Respect!

J-Rod
05-18-2013, 09:47 AM
Kudos to you for having the balls to take on such a venture. Let me know when you open up and I'll ride out there. I got family in Hillsdale area and in Jonesville so I'm out that way pretty often. Good Luck!

SmokingJo
05-18-2013, 09:57 AM
Congratulations and GOOD LUCK!!!

firefighter4634
05-18-2013, 10:38 AM
Congrats, and good luck with your business. Let me know when you open, maybe shoot be a private message. We make it over to MI. at least one time per year on a motorcycle trip and would love to stop in for some good eats.

4ever3
05-18-2013, 10:47 AM
I hope you sell all you smoke and smoke all you want to sell for the day!

K-JUN
05-18-2013, 11:00 AM
Hey Marubozo
I have some real life experience from the supply side of the restaurant industry. I spent a short time working in a restaurant kitchen in the late 70's. Then spent the next 30 years at a restaurant equipment dealership. I can't tell you how many times I have sat across the table from a person with no restaurant experience as they shared their dream of opening a restaurant. The vast majority had no idea what they were up against in pursuing their dream.

That being said from what I have read you seam to have a firm grip on reality and a good plan for success.

"Meet the health inspector at the building you're considering and walk through it with them before you even consider making an offer.
Finally, money. Come to the table with some money and don't go into unnecessary debt. "

This is great insight and it seems so basic but you wouldn't believe how many people never consider doing it.
Some forget about the cost of inventory. Food and liquor provers don't sell on credit.
Lots are not prepared for the amount of attention a new restaurant gets when they first open. They will advertise the crap out of their opening and simply can't handle the crush of people who want to try "the new restaurant". They make lots of mistakes because everyone is trying to learn the new system which will inevitable need to be streamlined over time.
You know all the clichés about first impressions and it is especially true in the restaurant business. If someone has a good experience they will tell two people, if they have a bad one they will tell ten.:blah::blah::blah:

Anyway it looks like you are going in with realistic expectations and a good plan. I wish you the best and will be following your progress.

Pyle's BBQ
05-18-2013, 11:14 AM
Good to see you found a place. I guess my info wasn't too helpful, you are still opening a place.:shocked: Do you have an opening date in mind? Now I have to make a road trip, because I feel responsible.

You will be surprised how useful the walk-ins will be. I wish we had started with at least a walk-in cooler.

You still have my number and email address, keep in touch.

MisterChrister
05-18-2013, 11:35 AM
HECK yeah and congrats/good luck! "Moinks Q-Joint"? :-P

marubozo
05-18-2013, 11:36 AM
Good to see you found a place. I guess my info wasn't too helpful, you are still opening a place.:shocked: Do you have an opening date in mind? Now I have to make a road trip, because I feel responsible.

You will be surprised how useful the walk-ins will be. I wish we had started with at least a walk-in cooler.

You still have my number and email address, keep in touch.

Haha, well, you did help me find a different place that didn't require building out an entire space from scratch. The deeper I got into that wormhole the more I realized I should probably find something simpler to start with. But thanks again for all the tips and information, it really did help.

BBQdisciple
05-18-2013, 12:13 PM
Good luck to you. I look forward to seeing the progress posted

WileyHunter
05-18-2013, 01:31 PM
+1 for cow...need a pig to match (I've seen them around)

Can find flying pigs in porkopolis, or Cincinnati for 'normal' folk :mrgreen:, they're quite proud of the flying pigs, even have some on one of the bridges.

Invicta Q
05-18-2013, 01:51 PM
I thought that I was reading about myself when you opened this tread. In blighty we are limited to BBQ joints and ture American BBQ is the new cup cake craze overhere. I have been thinking in opening my own place and found your original post very informative. I've found the location but the property is the problem. As a trucker the dream is still a dream, but I very much look forward in reading your progress. Good luck fella.

Invicta Q.

landarc
05-18-2013, 02:25 PM
Soft opening, will save your butt. Get you staff in, and do a soft opening with friendlies, gets a lot of bugs to show early, so you can fix things while moving to grand opening.

Do not underestimate the value of a larger than you think you need kitchen and the coolers. That is a good thing.

K-JUN
05-18-2013, 02:28 PM
Soft opening, will save your butt. Get you staff in, and do a soft opening with friendlies, gets a lot of bugs to show early, so you can fix things while moving to grand opening.

Do not underestimate the value of a larger than you think you need kitchen and the coolers. That is a good thing.

Yes Yes Yes

Budman1
05-18-2013, 02:52 PM
I second the whiskey! Best of luck to you!

K-Barbecue
05-18-2013, 03:01 PM
Good luck to you. Keep us posted !

BobM
05-18-2013, 04:23 PM
Great post, the best of luck to you!

DJ_Golden_Child
05-18-2013, 04:49 PM
Congrats on your big step.I'm doing the same thing here in Germany because the BBQ market is bare and the Americans are plentiful.

Banjoe
05-18-2013, 05:05 PM
Looking forward to a great success story here. You seem to have a good grasp on what you've jumped into and aren't trying to sail off to the land of unicorns and rainbows.

Very best to you on this incredible adventure.

lowbass
05-18-2013, 06:40 PM
Good luck!

Pyle's BBQ
05-18-2013, 07:30 PM
Looking forward to a great success story here. You seem to have a good grasp on what you've jumped into and aren't trying to sail off to the land of unicorns and rainbows.

Very best to you on this incredible adventure.

Do you have a map to this place of Unicorns and Rainbows?

Nut
05-18-2013, 07:45 PM
All the best to you!

As many, I'll be following with interest. No, I don't have any plans, but who know what will happen in a few years time?

qnbiker
05-18-2013, 09:43 PM
Good luck. People tell me all the time I should go into the barbecue business. I do cater once in a while but just because I enjoy it. I know I don't have what it takes to do it for a living. Kudos for having the b***s to go for it. Enjoy the dream!

Hoss
05-18-2013, 11:16 PM
I wish you nothing but the best of luck.I too have endured the probing of friends to venture into the business.I like to cook.For fun,not because I have to.After conversations with current and former owners,I decided that only a swimming pool would be more of a P.I.T.A. than running a Q joint 24/7.It will be a 24/7 job even if you are open a few hours per day,a few days a week.Godspeed friend.On the other hand if you do what you TRULY love,you will never work a day.:wink:

Banjoe
05-19-2013, 06:50 AM
Do you have a map to this place of Unicorns and Rainbows?

Unfortunately, I don't have a good map. Fortunately, there are hundreds of people selling them every day on the Internet. They all promise to get you to that wonderful land if you just send them all your money.

It's good to see our buddy isn't going into his new adventure with sparkly eyes but with a steely stare on reality.

marubozo
05-19-2013, 02:15 PM
I know a few people mentioned seeing pictures of the kitchen, so I was able to get a few of those today. Also took a few measurements and it looks like I might be able to keep the smoker inside and utilize one of the existing ventilation exhaust ducts. That would be a huge improvement, so hopefully that will work out so I don't have to keep it out back in the shed.

The kitchen isn't much to look at, but that's fine. Only real work needed back there as per the health inspector was a new drop ceiling since the ceiling now is practically falling down, and then fix up the vinyl tiles on the floor or pull them all up and just paint/seal the concrete.


http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5465/8753986089_321c6f22d5_o.jpg

The big antique ice machine is going, though. It takes up a ton of space and even cuts off part of the doorway making it hard to get through. Going to get a soda dispenser/ice maker combo from Coke to put out in the dining room instead.
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3805/8755109414_e586f66fd4_o.jpg


Here's even more refrigeration. A big three door unit.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7351/8755109562_51181769b9_o.jpg


There's a stove and oven tucked in the corner, but I think I can pull that, move the storage racks, and shoehorn the smoker there and tie into that exhaust, which would save a fortune. Hoping that works out now.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7392/8753985999_2f2d8a981b_o.jpg

The walk-ins.
http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3718/8753986041_22fa91d495_o.jpg

And finally, the main cooking area. Just a grill, large flat top, and fryer right now, but the flat top is going away and I plan on putting in a combo range/griddle unit there instead.
http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2845/8753985945_220d27ae3f_o.jpg

FormulatedFire
05-19-2013, 02:28 PM
Great looking setup can't wait to watch it progress. Good luck!

Is it bad to want a flat top in my house...I think it would be awesome.

Woody1911a1
05-19-2013, 02:39 PM
wow , what a great start . place looks awesome :)

Banjoe
05-19-2013, 02:47 PM
Hopefully there's a strong market in your area for used restaurant equipment because you have some gold in the units you're moving out that will help offset the good stuff you're putting in.

This is an exciting adventure - thanks for sharing.

deepsouth
05-19-2013, 02:47 PM
i wish you success.

Pyle's BBQ
05-19-2013, 03:01 PM
Now I'm sort of jealous.

You have a good start for equipment. Check auctions in your area or within a days drive, there are deals. All my equipment is used and it saved a lot of money. I think we have only spent about $500 for parts to fix problem that have come up. Also if you can look at it before bidding on it, check it out. That story is for another thread. And as always Craigslist is your friend.

marubozo
05-19-2013, 03:28 PM
Now I'm sort of jealous.

You have a good start for equipment. Check auctions in your area or within a days drive, there are deals. All my equipment is used and it saved a lot of money. I think we have only spent about $500 for parts to fix problem that have come up. Also if you can look at it before bidding on it, check it out. That story is for another thread. And as always Craigslist is your friend.

Oh yeah, I'm a craigslist junkie. I check the business sections in the region about five times a day. :oops:

I've already got a buyer for the flat top. And our local restaurant supply buys and sells used equipment so at the very least if I can't unload something via craigslist, I can let them buy it even though it probably wouldn't be quite as good of a price.

I'm hoping after selling a few things and only needing to buy a used stove/oven I won't spend more than $1,000 total in that department because spending $15k+ on the smoker and associated install costs is eating up most of the equipment budget.

pwa
05-20-2013, 12:17 AM
Love the refridge space you have!! I'm also starting a BBQ adventure mines just a Shack, the only thing I wish I had more of is the cooler space!! Going to follow along and watch. See how it goes case I every decide to expand to a sit down. Good Luck!!

pwa

SmokinJohn
05-20-2013, 08:28 AM
Best of luck to you!

basuraman
05-20-2013, 08:57 AM
Good luck. Takes some stones to do that.

ddweatherholtz
05-20-2013, 09:23 AM
Just remember #1 thing is taking care of your guest, go above an beyond. You need to not be afraid to lose money at first. over staff. Never should someone walk in on a tuesday lunch and because you were afraid it was going to be slow and only have one server and a cook on and a you are suddenly busy and under staffed, that is a killer. If you mess up a order fix it 3 fold, comp it, and give them a gift cert. You or your managers should talk to ever single guest that comes in and get to know them. Treat every guest like a regular. And finally last bit of advice is to get involved in the community. I have been in this business a long time and it is usually not the food that makes or breaks a new place, it is the service and the over all exeprience.

Good luck, can not wait to see how it goes!! Maybe start a franchise and come to Maryland!

Chrispy
05-20-2013, 09:36 AM
Your photos remind me of our first place, although we spent 3 months working on it before we opened.
Do you have city water and sewer, or do you have a well and septic? If you have a septic system you might want to get your tanks and grease trap pumped before you open.
Think about how noisy it may be in the dinning room with out carpet? Just a thought.
The cooler-freezer space might seem to large but we will be amazed at how fast you will fill it up.
Speaking of refrigeration, check your condenser coils at the compressor, if they are dirty, covered in dust/grease, get them cleaned so every thing runs more efficient,
Especially with a hot Michigan summer around the corner.
And most of all good luck and long a line of guests!!

SmokinAussie
05-20-2013, 09:47 AM
Thanks for the pics of the Kitchen. Size looks really good, but seems very awkwardly organised, which I am sure you will sort out. I see a few things... I hope you dont mind some advice.

1. Lots of electrical wiring and leads all over the place just looks plain dangerous to me. As you'll need a new ceiling, make sure you re-rout all the power and run it down conduits exactly positioned for where all your electrical equipment will be.

2. Get another, or a bigger fryer as you will be doing a lot of fries, onion rings, buffalo wings, and maybe even catfish and chicken. There is nothing worse than bogging down a small fryer with too much food as everything will end up greasy and your oil will be dirty.

3. That dishwasher in the corner looks like it's gonna fall apart. Maybe get it serviced or trade it in???

More pics would be awesome... Am I right in assuming that with the kitchen, it's like 2 rooms?? The back room for the washing and where the 3 door fridge unit is, and the front part with the range and the walk ins?

Cheers!

Bill

ddweatherholtz
05-20-2013, 10:02 AM
2. Get another, or a bigger fryer as you will be doing a lot of fries, onion rings, buffalo wings, and maybe even catfish and chicken. There is nothing worse than bogging down a small fryer with too much food as everything will end up greasy and your oil will be dirty.


Amen to that! Nothing worse than dirty oil, and then over using the fryer and not letting it get back to temp. Some of the small fryers can take 5 min to get back to 350 after being used for 8-10 min.

1FUNVET
05-20-2013, 10:02 AM
Good luck :clap::clap:

Pyle's BBQ
05-20-2013, 11:06 AM
2. Get another, or a bigger fryer as you will be doing a lot of fries, onion rings, buffalo wings, and maybe even catfish and chicken. There is nothing worse than bogging down a small fryer with too much food as everything will end up greasy and your oil will be dirty.


Amen to that! Nothing worse than dirty oil, and then over using the fryer and not letting it get back to temp. Some of the small fryers can take 5 min to get back to 350 after being used for 8-10 min.

It looks like the fryer is a full size one. It is on the right side of the flat top. I thought it was the thing on the left and then looked closer and that is a grill.

This is my thought on having a fryer. I hate them. I don't like cleaning them. They make for a bigger mess everywhere. More maintenance on other equipment like your hood filters. I think they can lead to complacency in your kitchen. Like adding a new item to the menu. What can we put in the fryer? No thought, just get something from your distributor and sell it. I am probably in the minority on this but it is something to think about. I do not have a fryer in my restaurant and will resist on getting one as long as possible. I have potato chips, no french fries.

marubozo
05-20-2013, 11:57 AM
Thanks for the pics of the Kitchen. Size looks really good, but seems very awkwardly organised, which I am sure you will sort out. I see a few things... I hope you dont mind some advice.

1. Lots of electrical wiring and leads all over the place just looks plain dangerous to me. As you'll need a new ceiling, make sure you re-rout all the power and run it down conduits exactly positioned for where all your electrical equipment will be.

2. Get another, or a bigger fryer as you will be doing a lot of fries, onion rings, buffalo wings, and maybe even catfish and chicken. There is nothing worse than bogging down a small fryer with too much food as everything will end up greasy and your oil will be dirty.

3. That dishwasher in the corner looks like it's gonna fall apart. Maybe get it serviced or trade it in???

More pics would be awesome... Am I right in assuming that with the kitchen, it's like 2 rooms?? The back room for the washing and where the 3 door fridge unit is, and the front part with the range and the walk ins?


Oh yeah, the ceiling in the back is the first order of business. Getting an electrician in there to wire things properly so the lights aren't just hooked up with a bunch of extension cords. I don't know how they even got away with that to be honest. But I'm putting in a drop ceiling and having properly mounted and wired lights for sure.

I'm still undecided on the fryer. It's a full size unit, but it has clearly seen better days. Like Pyle's said, they are a pain and I don't know if I want to start out with one. I know some people will probably want or expect things like french fries, but I'm hoping to get by with all the traditional BBQ sides that are prepped ahead of time and don't need to be fried or cooked to order. We'll see how long that lasts though.

The dishwasher appears to be fine. I've already run a few cycles through it and everything appears to be working fine. No leaks, no mechanical issues, etc.

And you're right, it is a very awkward setup. It is made up of two parts. 85% is in the big back room (everything with blue paint). The big fridge, walk-ins, dishwasher, sinks, ice and soda machines, etc. Then on the other side of the wall on the dining room side is the flat top, grill, and fryer under that hood. It's separated from the dining room with a half wall, which I plan on extending to the ceiling to completely separate it. I think it's designed this way because way back, even before the last restaurant that was in there, it was more of a traditional diner truck stop type place. So it had one long counter for seating that overlooked that part of the kitchen.

As awkward as it is, since this is a BBQ joint that won't have a line cooking everything to order, it shouldn't be too big of a deal. For cooking, basically the smoker will be in the back, and then in the front cooking area will be the stove/grill/fryer, and the CVAP, hot, and cold serving tables. So really, the only time to go to the back for food will be to unload something from the smoker and bringing it to the front for holding/serving.

Pyle's BBQ
05-20-2013, 12:04 PM
One thing I couldn't tell from the picture and that people, I mean me, over look is prep area. Is the table in front of the 3 door cooler where you plan to do prep? Keep as much area for prep as possible. I wish I had thought of that when we set up our kitchen.

marubozo
05-20-2013, 12:48 PM
One thing I couldn't tell from the picture and that people, I mean me, over look is prep area. Is the table in front of the 3 door cooler where you plan to do prep? Keep as much area for prep as possible. I wish I had thought of that when we set up our kitchen.

Yeah, not pictured are two huge prep tables, probably 8 feet long each. There's also a 4 foot prep table in the section with the flat top.

NickTheGreat
05-20-2013, 01:01 PM
Best of luck to you. I worked a job over by Three Rivers 5 or 6 years ago. Maybe next time we do work out there, I'll swing by for a bite to eat :cool:

kirk fortin
05-20-2013, 01:38 PM
Best of luck to ya man! I see your in MI an im hoping your a Wingnut too. LGRW!! I wish i was closer to support your business though.....good luck!

Bamabuzzard
05-20-2013, 01:56 PM
Just remember #1 thing is taking care of your guest, go above an beyond. You need to not be afraid to lose money at first. over staff. Never should someone walk in on a tuesday lunch and because you were afraid it was going to be slow and only have one server and a cook on and a you are suddenly busy and under staffed, that is a killer. If you mess up a order fix it 3 fold, comp it, and give them a gift cert. You or your managers should talk to ever single guest that comes in and get to know them. Treat every guest like a regular. And finally last bit of advice is to get involved in the community. I have been in this business a long time and it is usually not the food that makes or breaks a new place, it is the service and the over all exeprience.

Good luck, can not wait to see how it goes!! Maybe start a franchise and come to Maryland!

From a consumer's standpoint you could not be more spot on. I can tell you this. If I ever get the feeling or the impression that my business isn't appreciated in an eating establishment I'll never frequent the place again. No matter how good the food is. There is a place in Bossier City, LA that I'll NEVER frequent simply because of bad, arrogant, snotty service. They hire eye candy waitresses and obviously do not train them about service and appreciation of customers. Service there is AWFUL.

samfsu
05-20-2013, 02:42 PM
Best of luck. Wish I had the funds and balls to do this!

Big M1ke
05-20-2013, 02:49 PM
Best of luck to you. Looks like a great starting point :thumb:

Dave M
05-20-2013, 02:51 PM
Best of luck with it. I am 2 1/2 to 3 hours away from you depending on route. Sounds like a nice motorcycle ride. When you open I'll swing over and give some support. :)

neuyawk
05-20-2013, 03:34 PM
Thanks for posting this thread!!

BBQ_MAFIA
05-20-2013, 05:27 PM
Best of luck to you. I hope all works out the way you want with your new adventure.

DJK
05-20-2013, 08:13 PM
Did you ever consider starting smaller with a food truck? If so, what weighed against this option? Just curious, really.

Also, I join everyone else in wishing you the best.

Cheech
05-20-2013, 09:31 PM
Please be sure to share opening day with us. I would love to be able to make a drive down and be there for that

marubozo
05-20-2013, 09:38 PM
Did you ever consider starting smaller with a food truck? If so, what weighed against this option? Just curious, really.

Also, I join everyone else in wishing you the best.

I did. That was my first plan of attack, but that got shot down quickly. In this area the only city that could support a truck full time would be the immediate South Bend, IN area. Only problem is they don't allow food trucks. So, getting outside of that area there's very little other than a lot of rural and small towns with just a few thousand people.

Just across the border here in Michigan where they are allowed, there's nothing to support a full time truck business, but there's one or two people who set up from time to time on weekends in the summer, but that's about it.

After thinking about it I actually preferred a physical location because investing in real estate is another thing I deal in, so aside from the business itself I know it may also turn out to be a reasonable investment given where we are in the current real estate market. Not counting on it by any means, but at least having some equity into it in the event things turn south means less of a financial hit if I have to get out. And if things go at least well enough to keep the doors open, then having the the 5 year note paid off would not only be great for cash flow, but hopefully by then some improvement in real estate could make for a bigger payday down the road.

oifmarine2003
05-20-2013, 10:03 PM
Good luck. Owning your own business is a lot of work but is the only way to go!

kaosfury
05-20-2013, 10:20 PM
Keep us up to date on this. I'm only a couple hours out, and can get the family to do a road trip for good grub.

On the fries thing, I'd say nix it. Fryers are more trouble than they're worth. Mashed potatoes are easier, and fit better with good Q IMO.

SmokinAussie
05-21-2013, 12:18 AM
I did. That was my first plan of attack, but that got shot down quickly. In this area the only city that could support a truck full time would be the immediate South Bend, IN area. Only problem is they don't allow food trucks. So, getting outside of that area there's very little other than a lot of rural and small towns with just a few thousand people.

Just across the border here in Michigan where they are allowed, there's nothing to support a full time truck business, but there's one or two people who set up from time to time on weekends in the summer, but that's about it.

After thinking about it I actually preferred a physical location because investing in real estate is another thing I deal in, so aside from the business itself I know it may also turn out to be a reasonable investment given where we are in the current real estate market. Not counting on it by any means, but at least having some equity into it in the event things turn south means less of a financial hit if I have to get out. And if things go at least well enough to keep the doors open, then having the the 5 year note paid off would not only be great for cash flow, but hopefully by then some improvement in real estate could make for a bigger payday down the road.

That sounds pretty sensible to me. You are going IN with an EXIT strategy all worked out. I wish I'd been smart enought to do that in my business 10 years ago.

Cheers!

Bill

ColdFyre
05-21-2013, 12:29 AM
best wishes to you!

Jaskew82
05-21-2013, 07:45 AM
Best of luck. I hope it is a huge success for you!

kaosfury
05-22-2013, 04:17 AM
If you are looking for a smoker, there is a Southern Pride at auction right now.

http://assetsnowauctions.com/cgi-bin/mnlist.cgi?monger12/1

It's in Ferndale. 6 days left. Be aware of the $300 they are going to add to your bid.

Dyce51
05-22-2013, 05:05 AM
Congrats on your new adventure!!! Looks like your building has all the needed basics!!!! Good Luck to ya!!!!

I wish I had the capitol to open a BBQ Joint!! I'm starting with a mobile "BBQ Shack" and hoping to upgrade to a "Joint" in the future!

Daddy-O
05-22-2013, 05:37 AM
I'll be over for sure when you open!

Good luck.

rookiedad
05-22-2013, 08:28 AM
congratulations on the new place! grab up a video camera and start documenting the progress and putting it on youtube like your own reality show. bbq is real hot as entertainment these days and you might get picked up for your own show on television.

tnjimbob
05-22-2013, 08:55 AM
Congrats on the new 'que restaurant. So far, your plans sound reasonable and you have a good handle on the front end work yet to do.

I have been in the same boat you have been in - too many people saying I need to open a restaurant because they love my cooking. My constant reply is, "Besides the fact that I'm basically broke and scared to death, I'd open a restaurant tomorrow." My real fear is that cooking BBQ every day might lead to me hating it instead of having the passion and enjoyment I get now from competition cooking and a few catering gigs here and there.

Best of luck with your new restaurant, and I also vote for flying pigs. :-D

DaGoomba
05-22-2013, 11:11 AM
Congrats and I look forward to hearing more on the progress!

landarc
05-22-2013, 12:32 PM
Actually, if you're already broke. You're almost there for owning a restaurant.

Cack
05-22-2013, 01:01 PM
Meeeeeeeeechigan is a little far for me to drive, but wish you the best of luck, and have already suscribed to the thread to keep an eye on your updates.

I've been Quing for a few years, and only doing some small "sells" here and there the last year or so, but I've already gotten the "you should open a restuarant" comments.

Again, all the luck

LT72884
05-22-2013, 02:28 PM
from the photos listed, the inside looks good to me. wife says it looks super cute, ok, really i said that but i dont wanna say the word cute. hahaha. anyway, really the inside does look nice and i would love to have a BBQ place like that here. I like comfy sit down places.

Congrats on accomplishing what you have. Change the name for sure. Pig Spit is a cool name. haha.

keep us updated. I have a friend who opened a Cafe but he also has smokers. He serves the regular breakfast, lunch and dinner items that you would find at a standard cafe and also serves up BBQ as well. It is called Moon Dogs Cafe

http://www.moondogscafeandbbq.com/ordereze/1000/Page.aspx

He gets great business because people feel they have options if they dont feel like bbq that day.

Wampus
05-22-2013, 02:43 PM
Awesome. It's been a personal dream of mine to open a Q joint as well.

Best of luck man.
Looking forward to the updates!

marubozo
05-22-2013, 04:19 PM
Spent the day getting measurements of the entire place so I could put together an official floor plan. For planning reasons, and since the health department needs one. Anyway, here's a crude mockup. Best I could do with a free website, but not too shabby. Some of the objects may be slightly off scale, but it's pretty close.

I didn't include the walk-ins or the breezeway entrance, though.

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3680/8792386736_29cb526f21_b.jpg

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3821/8792387072_1620b875f0_o.jpg

http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7309/8792386870_a1a0fbc9cb_o.jpg

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2871/8792387306_c08e8d2b47_o.jpg

Pyle's BBQ
05-22-2013, 09:00 PM
Wow, you have more detail than I had all through my process. I drew mine on graph paper and turned it in. Of course they rejected the first one. I sent notes with details and they approve the second one.

It does look great! The only thing they might make you change or add is a hand wash sink in the front cooking area.

Good luck!

ChetPunisher
05-22-2013, 09:06 PM
Well, I will be making a drive south for some BBQ soon. The only thing I see that might be a problem is you have to squeeze by the counter on your way to the tables. You will be paying for bills and dealing with money all the time and so someone will be standing there a lot. Might want to have another door to access the kitchen/prep area for food to come out from.

marubozo
05-22-2013, 09:28 PM
Wow, you have more detail than I had all through my process. I drew mine on graph paper and turned it in. Of course they rejected the first one. I sent notes with details and they approve the second one.

It does look great! The only thing they might make you change or add is a hand wash sink in the front cooking area.


Yeah, this level of detail wasn't needed, but I figured what the heck since I can't get my contractor there until next week.

And you're right about a hand sink in the front cooking area. Actually, there is one there currently and I just forgot to add it. I will need to update that.

Well, I will be making a drive south for some BBQ soon. The only thing I see that might be a problem is you have to squeeze by the counter on your way to the tables. You will be paying for bills and dealing with money all the time and so someone will be standing there a lot. Might want to have another door to access the kitchen/prep area for food to come out from.

Well, for one, the tables/chairs are not quite to scale and given the cheapness of the program there were no other options. So the space isn't quite that tight.

Also, there will be no table service and food will be served from the window at the far right end of the counter. So, there will hopefully be nobody working behind the counter or in the kitchen constantly walking from back to front of house.

But I do see the potential bottleneck if there's a line of customers and being so close to that table. After looking at it and seeing all the unused front counter space, I bet I could cut that counter in half and be just fine, and it would ease any possible congestion by that one table.

Great suggestion, thanks!

GrillsGoneWild
05-22-2013, 11:02 PM
Have you figured up the amount of sales you will need per day/week/month just to make the bills and what your food costs are going to be to meet that?

Haastyle
05-22-2013, 11:18 PM
This is right along my way to Wisconsin, I'll be seeing ya in July for sure if you're up by then.

marubozo
05-22-2013, 11:19 PM
Have you figured up the amount of sales you will need per day/week/month just to make the bills and what your food costs are going to be to meet that?

Oh yeah, that was something I put together well over a year ago even before getting this deep into it. I've got things calculated down to the penny in terms of costs, and then planned daily sales, I've costed out menu items to the penny before setting the sales price, etc.

So it won't take long to see whether or not I'm making or losing money. But since I built a good 20% cushion in almost every initial expense, I hope that even if sales are only average, it means positive cash flow. And so far, virtually everything I've had to pay for or invoice for, has been under what I initially budgeted for, so that's a good start.

Only time will tell, but if it's one thing I understand, it's numbers.

Zin
05-22-2013, 11:47 PM
marubozo congrats and good luck. Here in south tx where i live there is a bbq joint called Mcbee's, Mcbee's has been open as long as i can remember, what makes Mcbee's great is they only cook a certain amount of food for the day, once its sold out that's it, no reselling day old que etc...bbq is best when its fresh daily.

LT72884
05-23-2013, 12:01 AM
Just remember #1 thing is taking care of your guest, go above an beyond. You need to not be afraid to lose money at first. over staff. Never should someone walk in on a tuesday lunch and because you were afraid it was going to be slow and only have one server and a cook on and a you are suddenly busy and under staffed, that is a killer. If you mess up a order fix it 3 fold, comp it, and give them a gift cert. You or your managers should talk to ever single guest that comes in and get to know them. Treat every guest like a regular. And finally last bit of advice is to get involved in the community. I have been in this business a long time and it is usually not the food that makes or breaks a new place, it is the service and the over all exeprience.

Good luck, can not wait to see how it goes!! Maybe start a franchise and come to Maryland!

AMEN to this one. The community is the most important thing that you can be involved with. I have a friend who owns a BBQ pit house here and we are putting on a classic car show. Mydad, me and some others put on car shows for the city so that people can be involved. We have fundraisers and all sorts of things.

be nice to all even when they make you mad. Love the kids and if they come up to you with there dogs, pet the dogs. hahaha.

your gonna love it

bizznessman
05-23-2013, 12:51 AM
I did. That was my first plan of attack, but that got shot down quickly. In this area the only city that could support a truck full time would be the immediate South Bend, IN area. Only problem is they don't allow food trucks. So, getting outside of that area there's very little other than a lot of rural and small towns with just a few thousand people.

Just across the border here in Michigan where they are allowed, there's nothing to support a full time truck business, but there's one or two people who set up from time to time on weekends in the summer, but that's about it.

After thinking about it I actually preferred a physical location because investing in real estate is another thing I deal in, so aside from the business itself I know it may also turn out to be a reasonable investment given where we are in the current real estate market. Not counting on it by any means, but at least having some equity into it in the event things turn south means less of a financial hit if I have to get out. And if things go at least well enough to keep the doors open, then having the the 5 year note paid off would not only be great for cash flow, but hopefully by then some improvement in real estate could make for a bigger payday down the road.


VERY astute observation/plan. If people are asked, "What business is McDonalds in?", most will say, "The burger selling business of course". Not true. They are in the business of purchasing prime real estate and then selling burgers to pay it off. It is always best to look at the real estate aspect of any business.

Neil
05-23-2013, 01:19 AM
Looking forward to your opening. I'm just up the road from you in St. Joseph. Are you located east or west of old U.S. 31 (llth St.)?

Soulcoffr
05-23-2013, 07:49 AM
I work in the same building as my city's sanitarian. Getting Servsafe certified is something to think about. It tends to make health inspectors think you know what you're doing. Cleanliness is paramount in the food business. The stuff he tells me about just makes me want to shake my head sometimes.

Learn the FDA Food Code as well. Read the book and know what it says. Other than that, best of luck to you!! I'd stop by, but I'm in Iowa.

https://www.servsafe.com/home

marubozo
05-23-2013, 10:03 AM
Looking forward to your opening. I'm just up the road from you in St. Joseph. Are you located east or west of old U.S. 31 (llth St.)?

Just east of there, on US 12.

I work in the same building as my city's sanitarian. Getting Servsafe certified is something to think about. It tends to make health inspectors think you know what you're doing. Cleanliness is paramount in the food business. The stuff he tells me about just makes me want to shake my head sometimes.

Learn the FDA Food Code as well. Read the book and know what it says. Other than that, best of luck to you!! I'd stop by, but I'm in Iowa.

https://www.servsafe.com/home

Yeah, starting in 2009 all establishments here must have a certified manager on site at all times. So, already got the online class started.

Crabby Pig
05-23-2013, 10:38 AM
I started the same way. I lost my job about 10 years ago, and stuck my neck out to do what I like to do for a change. I opened a little BBQ place that was doing ok, then I bought a little seafood place that was doing about 200K a year in sales. Now we do about 1 million a year. I add the BBQ when I bought it. Follow your heart, never put something on a table that you know is not quit right. You only think you can get away with it this one time. Never sacrifice quality over price, use only great quality supplies. And then figure your cost, and make sure you charge what you need to charge. People will, even in a little poor town, pay for quality. Don't get your customers hooked on coupons either. Put your love in it.

Crabby Pig
05-23-2013, 10:41 AM
Oh, and make sure you stay consistant!

OutlawSwine
05-23-2013, 11:10 AM
Live the dream! Wish you nothing but success! If I was closer I would come support you!

Utah Jake
05-23-2013, 11:20 AM
That is the worst looking building for a BBQ joint. I don't know how much change your landlord will put up with but that place says nothing, it could be a gold fish store as far as anyone knows. You should know what's being sold without looking at the sign. Go tour some successful shops especially national chains that have paid big bucks to run designs by study groups. On the inside it's going to take more than a new boring paint job. Think barn iron, rough lumber bright colors.

BABYGOTBUTT
05-23-2013, 12:24 PM
just remember #1 thing is taking care of your guest, go above an beyond. You need to not be afraid to lose money at first. Over staff. Never should someone walk in on a tuesday lunch and because you were afraid it was going to be slow and only have one server and a cook on and a you are suddenly busy and under staffed, that is a killer. If you mess up a order fix it 3 fold, comp it, and give them a gift cert. You or your managers should talk to ever single guest that comes in and get to know them. Treat every guest like a regular. And finally last bit of advice is to get involved in the community. I have been in this business a long time and it is usually not the food that makes or breaks a new place, it is the service and the over all exeprience.

Good luck, can not wait to see how it goes!! Maybe start a franchise and come to maryland!


agree, agree, agree agree!!!!!!!!!!!!

QorDie
05-23-2013, 12:35 PM
agree, agree, agree agree!!!!!!!!!!!!

What's the old adage -- people come for the food, they come BACK for the service.

Soulcoffr
05-23-2013, 12:37 PM
I figured that might be the case, but every state is slightly different.

ChetPunisher
05-23-2013, 05:51 PM
To be honest, that place COULD be anything, but if you go around the country and look at the successful BBQ joints, you will find they have NOTHING in common with any of the national chains. They are shacks, side store fronts and such. The building isn't what sells BBQ, it is the service and food. I had some of the best BBQ in a little side building at a flea market in Cumberland, KY call Fat Man's Paradise. I'll tell you what, I paid little to no attention to the crap on the walls and all my attention to the best Nine Bean side and some of the best conversation around. Go with your passion and let the people see it and taste it. That will bring people back every time.

Banjoe
05-23-2013, 07:19 PM
Love the detailed plans. I've already picked out our table and looking forward to joining you for some serious BBQ.

Utah Jake
05-23-2013, 10:42 PM
.....The building isn't what sells BBQ, it is the service and food.

It means everything to staying in business. Sure you will get the regulars no matter what, but what brings the final line into black is the drive by that notices a smoker and attractive outside. You don't have time to get discovered. 50% of all new food establishments go under the first year. Unless it's a BBQ
store....then it's closer to 75%. You have to hit the ground running and pull in that once it a life time drive by.
I used drive the country often and when I had the time I would stay off the freeways and visit local BBQ spots. I could always tell if the store would still be there on my next visit by their approach to marketing. They may have had the best Q in town but the clock ran out on them before they had time to be that "quoint" landmark BBQ shop.
The number one secret to any new business: "Put in as little as possible and pull out the same". Not having a $2000 a month bank loan payment for new equipment can be your saving grace. The ads are full of great commercial equipment going for pennies on the dollar. Use someone else's failure to build your success.
Good luck.

Smokin J's
05-23-2013, 10:50 PM
More power to you! I would love to start one myself (my good BBQ buddy and I talk about it all the time) but I guess I am just too risk adverse!

Just BS
05-24-2013, 10:26 AM
Great thread ~ Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

I am having dinner tonight with a CPA (wifes friend from USC who knows how to manage money) to see if starting my own biz pencils out. I'll be 50 next year and can retire early, although I'll be leaving a lot on the table if I do....which brings me to my question someone asked earlier. Do you have an exit strategy? If so, can you share it with us. I'm not sure I even know what it is, but I know I'd don't want to work foranother ten years...

Do you plan on being there 7/24? How far away do you live from there?

Do you plan on in installing video surveillance camaras? Seems like employees can really put a damper on your profits if things aren't monitored closely.

I'm sure you're busy. Good luck!

grossepellets
05-24-2013, 10:29 AM
It's in Niles, so if you ever went to South Bend or Mishawaka Indiana for something, you may have passed it since it's on US 12.
what is the address? do you have a website?

deguerre
05-24-2013, 10:40 AM
Where are the walk ins? Not seeing them in the schematics. Did you decide to remove them?

Indy1204
05-24-2013, 02:57 PM
Mind my asking what type of smoker you'll be using?

marubozo
05-24-2013, 09:20 PM
Lots of questions, and I'll address them. Spent all day at the place with the help of some family doing some demolition and maintaining the 1.5 or so acres that haven't been tended to all year. I'm beat!

which brings me to my question someone asked earlier. Do you have an exit strategy? If so, can you share it with us. I'm not sure I even know what it is, but I know I'd don't want to work foranother ten years...

Do you plan on being there 7/24? How far away do you live from there?

Do you plan on in installing video surveillance camaras? Seems like employees can really put a damper on your profits if things aren't monitored closely.


As far as exit strategy, this is as much of a real estate play as it is a business. It's a good location for this area, and the price I was able to get it for was below market value. And besides a somewhat small mortgage, I'm not borrowing any other money to get the venture off the ground.

So, my exit strategy has a few options. Even if the business doesn't go gangbusters, if it at least made money and afforded me a modest salary, that's fine since I have a working spouse. So it isn't quite a do or die financial scenario. The second option would be to sell the place. With how much equity I put in with the down payment and the improvements I plan on making, even if the business doesn't flourish, I figure I could sell even for roughly what I paid for it and get most of that equity back. But before selling, my other exit option would be to lease it. The previous owners had two people begging to lease the building while it was under contract and they almost backed out of our deal since the bank was taking so long and wanted to lease it out. So there's probably some demand there. And I'm already a landlord with a rental house and love real estate, so I'd have no problem doing a commercial rental in addition to that.

As far as being there, one nice thing is I'm only about 7 miles away. Living out here in BFE, that's nothing, so that will be a bonus. And initially, we're only going to be open Thurs-Sun from 11-8 (or until it's gone). I plan on moving to a 6 or 7 day operation, but starting out I don't want to bite off more than I can chew. At 4 days, I'd have no problem putting in the 60-70 hours myself. But being open longer would certainly require finding management that that can be trusted, let alone employees. You mentioned surveillance, and I don't anticipate it at the start since I'll be there, but if it expands, then that would certainly be a consideration.

what is the address? do you have a website?

No real website yet other than having the domain and email setup, but we are on facebook for starters. https://www.facebook.com/PrizedPigBBQ

Where are the walk ins? Not seeing them in the schematics. Did you decide to remove them?

I just omitted them from the floor plan since they are set in stone, unchangeable, and not part of anything that needs to be altered in upcoming construction.

Mind my asking what type of smoker you'll be using?

I've been going back and forth between a Southern Pride and Ole Hickory, but I think after talking to both places this week I'm sold on Ole Hickory. I was really turned off by the customer service at Southern Pride, even though I know they are top-notch units. It felt like they just wanted to get me off the phone. They even tried arguing with me about what my inspector said about the ventilation. Ole Hickory was more than willing to chat, learn more about the business, my needs, delivery schedule, and work with me on pricing. And even though I've heard some people say they use more fuel than a comparable SP, I'll be glad to pay for it as long as I know I can get somebody on the phone when I need to that actually cares.

So right now the plan is a model SSM, which they can have delivered by early July.

GrillsGoneWild
05-24-2013, 11:34 PM
I'm sure you will be very pleased with the Ole Hickory SSM. Great company that is a big supporter of Operation BBQ Relief.

Neil
05-24-2013, 11:35 PM
Drove by your place today on the way to Sam's Club in Mishawaka. I use to stop there for breakfast quite often about 20 years ago when work took me down that way. It is a good location and I'm sure you will pack em in if the food and service are good.

Sticky Fingers
05-25-2013, 06:18 AM
Do you have an target opening date set? I'm very excited, I only live 7 min away from there. REGULAR.

Rstevens
05-28-2013, 01:23 PM
I remember when that place was called "WILLIES" years ago. Can't wait to try it under your control . I only live a few miles away. That is a good location, I never saw the parking lot full under any other owners except Willie. I think your about to change that! BEST OF LUCK! I'LL be watching.

gswaggart
05-28-2013, 01:33 PM
Good luck!

Lowki
05-28-2013, 03:07 PM
Good Luck, living the dream.

Pyle's BBQ
05-28-2013, 11:16 PM
Good Luck, living the dream.

Or nightmare depending on the day!

marubozo
05-31-2013, 03:18 PM
Drove by your place today on the way to Sam's Club in Mishawaka. I use to stop there for breakfast quite often about 20 years ago when work took me down that way. It is a good location and I'm sure you will pack em in if the food and service are good.

I remember when that place was called "WILLIES" years ago. Can't wait to try it under your control . I only live a few miles away. That is a good location, I never saw the parking lot full under any other owners except Willie. I think your about to change that! BEST OF LUCK! I'LL be watching.

Neil, Rstevens, yes, apparently Willie's was big back in the day. Willie's was before my time moving to the area, but it's been amazing how everyone I talk to around here when I tell them what place I bought they immediately get excited and bring up Willie's.

What kind of place was it back then? From what I gather it was a great late night stop after a night of drinking, or a good breakfast in the morning. But I could be wrong.


Do you have an target opening date set? I'm very excited, I only live 7 min away from there. REGULAR.

Hey, nice to see another local. Small world when it comes to BBQ I guess. I'm hoping for a late July open, but I know how these things go and the delays there will probably be along the way, so realistically I'm thinking early August.

And just a quick update for anyone else following. It's been a long week trying to gut the place. Tore out a bunch of cabinets, shelving, hauled away unneeded kitchen equipment, removed all of the gutters on the outside of the building, patched up all the interior walls, etc. To say I'm sore would be an understatement.

But some good news, the health inspector got back to me this morning and he's awesome. I know the inspector before this guy started was a real tool and difficult to work with, but I think this guy is going to work out great. He isn't being a stickler and today said I can skip most of the lengthy plan review that's typically required before any real work can begin on the place since this place was already in good standing and that I'm not looking to change much. So, he went ahead and gave me the green light on any construction even before submitting the entire plan/drawings, let alone waiting to get them approved.

So, now I'm just waiting for the contractor to get back to me so that the real work can begin. Otherwise, on the docket next week is to get the exterior sign ordered and hopefully get the new stove/oven ordered (delivered?). And it might be a stretch, but also hope to have the large 3-door fridge sold and removed, and hopefully the buyer for the flat top still comes through and picks that up.

Slow and steady, but things are coming together.

saucebag
05-31-2013, 03:23 PM
I'm new to the forum (hi everyone!) but just wanted to say congrats. What an awesome journey you've embarked upon.

deguerre
05-31-2013, 03:32 PM
Or nightmare depending on the day!

Meh. You KNOW you're loving it.:heh:

ButtBurner
05-31-2013, 03:56 PM
wow this is great. I love in Dearborn but have kids in Chicago so I go your way once in a while

when you are open I will make a point to stop by!!

deguerre
05-31-2013, 03:57 PM
wow this is great. I love in Dearborn but have kids in Chicago so I go your way once in a while

when you are open I will make a point to stop by!!

Um, you're secrets out...

ButtBurner
05-31-2013, 04:01 PM
Um, you're secrets out...

oops

actually I dont love in Dearborn at all.

Cant wait to get the heck out of here.

Would rather be north in my cabin.

but thats another story for another thread

;)

DJK
05-31-2013, 10:44 PM
I've been going back and forth between a Southern Pride and Ole Hickory, but I think after talking to both places this week I'm sold on Ole Hickory

My understanding is that in Texas, these are dirty words.

Are you counting on a less-savvy BBQ customer in Michigan, or... (and this is what I'm really interested in...) do you feel that gasser BBQ can match all-wood BBQ, if done properly? (Texans, IMO, can be excessively narrow-minded about their BBQ--saucing, etc--is that the case with gasser BBQ do you think, or is this a real short-cut with real consequences?)

superlazy
05-31-2013, 11:48 PM
Seriously Jealous!!!! Since I lost my job the wife has been bugging me to open a pizza joint, My folks even called last week and told me to take a job at a pizza place for a few months and figure out how they run things then go open my own :loco:.. No no no too big of a risk for me.

It sounds like you have this completely thought out. If were ever up that way
I'll be sure to drop by for lunch!

Oh, Fark facebook get a website with the menu on it.
When we are traveling and I'm looking for places to eat if they have just a facebook page I keep looking. I just remembered our favorite pizza place here does not have a website and I think that's a bad idea. At the very least keep a up to date menu and prices on Yelp,urbanspoon etc...

Best of luck!!!!

marubozo
06-01-2013, 12:14 AM
My understanding is that in Texas, these are dirty words.

Are you counting on a less-savvy BBQ customer in Michigan, or... (and this is what I'm really interested in...) do you feel that gasser BBQ can match all-wood BBQ, if done properly? (Texans, IMO, can be excessively narrow-minded about their BBQ--saucing, etc--is that the case with gasser BBQ do you think, or is this a real short-cut with real consequences?)

Dirty words they are, but this isn't Texas. Partly, it's because the BBQ up here is so far and few between, people aren't going to thumb their nose based on the cooker used, let alone even know the difference. Second, getting the HD to approve a custom pit, outdoor cooking, etc. hell, I've got better things to do with my time and would find another way to make money.

And a lot of it comes down to planning for the future. Teaching somebody how to cook BBQ is hard enough as it is, and when you factor in learning how to manage a fire, or multiple fires, 24 hours a day, that's hard enough for the owner to do, let alone try to find reliable people to replicate for you. Having a system in place that doesn't require as much training means you can replicate if needed, or at the very least, maintain consistent quality even without the savviest help.

Bottom line is I'm not trying to replicate BBQ at the Salt Lick, or any long standing institution down south. Clearly, different methods of cooking yield different results, and often can't even be replicated. But up here, it's largely a business proposition. There's a need for BBQ, and the goal is to turn out consistent product day after day, regardless of who's manning the pit. If people enjoy the food and keep coming back, and enough money is made to keep the doors open, that's all that matters. It's not about being the biggest, best, most authentic, etc. My brisket might be quite good, but I'll still tell people to go down to Austin and have Aaron Franklin's.

Limp Brisket
06-01-2013, 08:26 AM
Have you considered an Oyler pit?
http://www.jrmanufacturing.com/brochures/OylerBar.pdf

Comparo thread on Oyler vs Ole Hickory: http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=47708&sid=7560f5335073d25dc8c30f8b24091a41

Based on your above post the Ole Hickory may be better for your goal(s), but an Oyler is worth a look at least.

Bbq Bubba
06-01-2013, 09:41 AM
Dirty words they are, but this isn't Texas. Partly, it's because the BBQ up here is so far and few between, people aren't going to thumb their nose based on the cooker used, let alone even know the difference.

Have you been to this Michigan BBQ destination? http://www.lockhartsbbq.com/

Dont short sell yourself on what we Yankees know about bbq. :wink:

landarc
06-01-2013, 10:37 AM
Does that Lockhart's place even have a putmaster? :becky:

I'll just add, I would posit that when operated properly and with good flavor profiles and proper tenderness, most people, and I mean even those who think they are BBQ purists, would not be able to pick out BBQ cooked on a Southern Pride or Old Hickory from other, more acceptable, pits. Consistency and the ability to enjoy your day will matter more. If you can teach a couple of other people to run your cooker, you will love the business a whole lot more. If you are the only person who can consistently produce your food, then you are going to have a much harder time.

In fact, in the restaurant business in general, consistency of product and service is the number one thing you must have, people must be able to rely on you to provide a good product, and good service, every single time. Great food and great service are bonuses, reliability is the key.

deguerre
06-01-2013, 10:41 AM
Does that Lockhart's place even have a putmaster? :becky:

There you go with the golf again...:roll:

landarc
06-01-2013, 10:47 AM
I left off the 'z' for the sake of the children

marubozo
06-01-2013, 04:45 PM
Have you considered an Oyler pit?
http://www.jrmanufacturing.com/brochures/OylerBar.pdf

Comparo thread on Oyler vs Ole Hickory: http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=47708&sid=7560f5335073d25dc8c30f8b24091a41

Based on your above post the Ole Hickory may be better for your goal(s), but an Oyler is worth a look at least.

I did look at the Oylers. Their standard pits are just way too big for what I need, so the only real option was the little red smokehouse for my capacity. When I was looking at another building that was tight on space, I was leaning toward that. Now, with space not being much of a problem, and the much higher cost of the Oyler, it fell out of favor.

Have you been to this Michigan BBQ destination? http://www.lockhartsbbq.com/

Dont short sell yourself on what we Yankees know about bbq. :wink:

I haven't been to Lockhart's yet, unfortunately. I don't get over to the east side of the state very often. But my sister lives in Warren so next time I go visit her I will make it a point to stop in.


I'll just add, I would posit that when operated properly and with good flavor profiles and proper tenderness, most people, and I mean even those who think they are BBQ purists, would not be able to pick out BBQ cooked on a Southern Pride or Old Hickory from other, more acceptable, pits. Consistency and the ability to enjoy your day will matter more. If you can teach a couple of other people to run your cooker, you will love the business a whole lot more. If you are the only person who can consistently produce your food, then you are going to have a much harder time.

In fact, in the restaurant business in general, consistency of product and service is the number one thing you must have, people must be able to rely on you to provide a good product, and good service, every single time. Great food and great service are bonuses, reliability is the key.

You hit the nail on the head. I want consistency, and I want to be able to achieve it without the entire business being a ball and chain tied to me and my ability to manage a pit. I want to serve people good food and be able to spend time with the customers, not spend all day and all night trying to wear too many hats and living on three hours of sleep only to get burned out.

And the ability to do overnight cooks without me being there, or paying staff to sit around all night tending a fire (and stressing out about whether or not they are doing it properly while I sleep) will yield a less stressful work environment for me, which is priceless.

Zippylip
06-01-2013, 05:44 PM
Dirty words they are, but this isn't Texas. Partly, it's because the BBQ up here is so far and few between, people aren't going to thumb their nose based on the cooker used, let alone even know the difference. Second, getting the HD to approve a custom pit, outdoor cooking, etc. hell, I've got better things to do with my time and would find another way to make money.

And a lot of it comes down to planning for the future. Teaching somebody how to cook BBQ is hard enough as it is, and when you factor in learning how to manage a fire, or multiple fires, 24 hours a day, that's hard enough for the owner to do, let alone try to find reliable people to replicate for you. Having a system in place that doesn't require as much training means you can replicate if needed, or at the very least, maintain consistent quality even without the savviest help.

Bottom line is I'm not trying to replicate BBQ at the Salt Lick, or any long standing institution down south. Clearly, different methods of cooking yield different results, and often can't even be replicated. But up here, it's largely a business proposition. There's a need for BBQ, and the goal is to turn out consistent product day after day, regardless of who's manning the pit. If people enjoy the food and keep coming back, and enough money is made to keep the doors open, that's all that matters. It's not about being the biggest, best, most authentic, etc. My brisket might be quite good, but I'll still tell people to go down to Austin and have Aaron Franklin's.

Very well articulated. It sounds to me like you'll make quite a bit of 'luck' happen for yourself

caseydog
06-01-2013, 06:06 PM
No matter what you do, there will be some people who will eat your que and say, "This ain't real (Texas, Carolina, St. Louis, whatever) BBQ."

You mentioned the Salt Lick. I like the place, but there are Texans who say it is crap.

If some BBQ expert cleans his plate and says your que isn't "real," he's blowing smoke (pun intended). If you have people taking a few bites asking for a refund. Then you have a legitimate problem.

"Good" BBQ is somewhat subjective. Bad BBQ is pretty hard to sell. If your que is moist, tender and has good flavor, it doesn't have to taste like the que at my favorite BBQ joint for me to like it.

It is good to listen to your customers -- up to a point.

CD

ChetPunisher
06-01-2013, 06:11 PM
So on another note. I just ate at a new place just down the street from me. I probably won't go back there again. I had their fried chicken, which they had pre-cook and then fried to warm it up. My breast was cold. I also ordered a baked potato and it was cooked in a microwave. For 2 pieces of chicken, a baked potato and two pieces of their "famous vegetable toast... $10... Not including their $2 sodas... I have no problem with the cost. the chicken tasted good, but I will not go to a place that microwaves a bake potato..

Sonic98
06-03-2013, 12:27 PM
I think anyone hoping to open a restaurant should watch a few episodes of Kitchen NIghtmares, Bar Rescue, and Restaraunt Impossible. I think they should also get with a friend who owns one and see how thing

Sonic98
06-03-2013, 12:29 PM
I think anyone hoping to open a restaurant should watch a few episodes of Kitchen NIghtmares, Bar Rescue, and Restaraunt Impossible. I think they should also get with a friend who owns one and see how things work behind the scenes. Being a great cook is one thing. Trying to run a restaraunt is something else. I'm still shocked from watching the Pollard's episode of Restaunt Impossible. How can someone who claims to be passionate about BBQ not know you use a rub on BBQ ribs. Has he never watched BBQ Pitmasters or any show like that or visited with someone who is a BBQ competition cooker?

ITBFQ
06-03-2013, 02:32 PM
My wife and I stay at a bed and breakfast (not my idea) in the New Buffalo area to celebrate our anniversary every year... we'll stop in when we do!

luke duke
06-03-2013, 02:49 PM
Have you considered an Oyler pit?
http://www.jrmanufacturing.com/brochures/OylerBar.pdf

Comparo thread on Oyler vs Ole Hickory: http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=47708&sid=7560f5335073d25dc8c30f8b24091a41

Based on your above post the Ole Hickory may be better for your goal(s), but an Oyler is worth a look at least.

I did look at the Oylers. Their standard pits are just way too big for what I need, so the only real option was the little red smokehouse for my capacity. When I was looking at another building that was tight on space, I was leaning toward that. Now, with space not being much of a problem, and the much higher cost of the Oyler, it fell out of favor.


Here's a Bewley for sale:
http://dallas.craigslist.org/dal/for/3822054253.html

Hawg Father of Seoul
06-03-2013, 03:00 PM
Have you considered an Oyler pit?
http://www.jrmanufacturing.com/brochures/OylerBar.pdf

Comparo thread on Oyler vs Ole Hickory: http://www.thesmokering.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=47708&sid=7560f5335073d25dc8c30f8b24091a41

Based on your above post the Ole Hickory may be better for your goal(s), but an Oyler is worth a look at least.

I lust for an Oyler, but if the guy running the Old Hickory gives a damn they can turn out the goods.

landarc
06-03-2013, 03:07 PM
I cooked with a guy that had a smoker like that Bewley, a lot like a JR, in that you have to feed the beast every few hours. They cook up some great food, for sure. (and yes, I know that at times it seems like I am saying I have seen or done it all, I assure you, over 35 years+, I have been around :grin:). If it is truly in good shape, that would be a great cooker to base a restaurant off of. I still think a Southern Pride or Old Hickory can be a valid choice.

Marubozo, sounds like you have a good handle on things, I sure hope you succeed. For me personally, being able to talk with the pitmaster really adds to the experience, even if the BBQ is great, I still like to chat with the guy running the pit, if you are exhausted, that takes away from it. I think interaction with your customers is vitally important for a restauranteur to keep his business shiny side up, you can read the plates, but, that only tells you that they didn't like it, talk to them, and you will find out why. And you will find out what they do like, and you can push that as well. Being up all night takes away from that.

luke duke
06-03-2013, 03:10 PM
Some Oylers

http://saltlakecity.craigslist.org/app/3793486993.html
http://kansascity.craigslist.org/bfd/3818125277.html

RangerJ
06-03-2013, 03:24 PM
JR Manufacturing has a new model out, that holds about 600lbs of meat and takes up very little floor space on the line. Its the 250 RFS. I've talked to folks that own both and both say they produce an awesome product.

While the products produced in lots of Texas establishments are done the old school way, there are plenty of places / chains with Ol Hickory's, and Southern Prides. I'm not a fan but they seem to have cars out front when I drive by.

As most everyone here knows you can produce quality Que on anything as its the pitmaster and not the pit. I know guys who compete on Southern Prides with no gas and I've had their products and found it to be quite good.

I'm trying to figure out a way to get this done myself and wish you the best of luck!

I'll leave you with some wisdom that Amy Mills of 17th Street BBQ recently shared with me. "Always keep in mind that the loudest voices you will often hear are the bloggers and food critics and they set the tone in many corners of the country. You must be able to distinguish their {louder} voices from the voices of your actual customers."

Again, best of luck!

Texas Turtle
06-04-2013, 12:30 PM
Our local hometown BBQ emporium has an Oyler with multiple rotisserie racks. They build the fire just past noon every day and cook briskets for 22 hours at 225 and they sell out of the 250 - 300 pounds every day. The briskets are black as coal when they come off but they trim most of the bark and the inside is pretty darn great. The Oyler is fired with pecan, but they cook their chickens and turkeys over KBB. According to the owner, the KBB is more consistent than the RO lump they used at one time.

luke duke
06-04-2013, 12:32 PM
Our local hometown BBQ emporium has an Oyler with multiple rotisserie racks. They build the fire just past noon every day and cook briskets for 22 hours at 225 and they sell out of the 250 - 300 pounds every day. The briskets are black as coal when they come off but they trim most of the bark and the inside is pretty darn great. The Oyler is fired with pecan, but they cook their chickens and turkeys over KBB. According to the owner, the KBB is more consistent than the RO lump they used at one time.

:doh:

marubozo
06-04-2013, 01:45 PM
Regardless of what the people tell you on DIY network or HGTV, removing carpet that's glued to concrete is not as easy as they make it seem. Long two days getting that pulled up, and now it's time to scrape all the adhesive stuck to the concrete. Ugh.

But this was one of the major projects, and hopefully it will be all cleaned up and ready for the wood flooring in a few days.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/8950472347_b8b08c34cf_o.jpg

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5349/8950472277_abbea4caeb_o.jpg

cirk
06-04-2013, 01:48 PM
Regardless of what the people tell you on DIY network or HGTV, removing carpet that's glued to concrete is not as easy as they make it seem. Long two days getting that pulled up, and now it's time to scrape all the adhesive stuck to the concrete. Ugh.

But this was one of the major projects, and hopefully it will be all cleaned up and ready for the wood flooring in a few days.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/8950472347_b8b08c34cf_o.jpg

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5349/8950472277_abbea4caeb_o.jpg

The scraping SUCKSSSS!!!!

marubozo
06-04-2013, 01:49 PM
The scraping SUCKSSSS!!!!

Tell me about it. I already stocked up on blades because I can see this is going to take a while.

cirk
06-04-2013, 02:43 PM
Tell me about it. I already stocked up on blades because I can see this is going to take a while.

A buddy of mine is a contractor and he uses a diamond grinder on a hand grinder to get it off.

smokainmuskoka
06-04-2013, 02:57 PM
Terazzo grinding machine. Maybe you can rent one.

kackiesque
06-04-2013, 02:59 PM
When do you think you might be open we would love to come and support a fellow BBQ brother and are only about 45 minutes away from you.

landarc
06-04-2013, 03:48 PM
...
I'll leave you with some wisdom that Amy Mills of 17th Street BBQ recently shared with me. "Always keep in mind that the loudest voices you will often hear are the bloggers and food critics and they set the tone in many corners of the country. You must be able to distinguish their {louder} voices from the voices of your actual customers."

Again, best of luck!
Here is why I say that you will do better with a Southern Pride, some sleep and the ability to get out and talk, than with a stickburner, and no time or sleep. If you can get out there, either at the register or at tableside, and talk with your customers, you will develop a relationship and they will tell you what you need to hear. But, Bloggers and Yelpers cannot be ignored, they do have a loud voice, and can really be an aid in driving business to you. Buzz matters.

Most folks will tell you what they think you want to hear, unless you get out there and say 'hey, I am the guy who cooked your food, please, tell me what you think, be honest and let me know, I want to be the best BBQ around'.

Grizzly6
06-04-2013, 03:55 PM
Tell me about it. I already stocked up on blades because I can see this is going to take a while.

Why would you spend the time stripping it off? if you are installing on concrete I am assuming you are using a floating style hardwood floor. Save your time and place the membrane over the adhesive and then lay the floor.

** my two cents

marubozo
06-04-2013, 04:03 PM
Why would you spend the time stripping it off? if you are installing on concrete I am assuming you are using a floating style hardwood floor. Save your time and place the membrane over the adhesive and then lay the floor.

** my two cents

Well, I'm not scraping the entire thing and getting it all down to nice and shiny concrete. But whoever installed this carpet didn't do a very good job, or they applied more adhesive to old adhesive they didn't bother to get up because there are quite a few high spots or areas with really thick amounts piled up. So, I'm mainly just giving it a once over and really tackling the trouble spots hard, which there are many, because as you said I am using a floating floor so it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect.

Grizzly6
06-04-2013, 04:06 PM
Well, I'm not scraping the entire thing and getting it all down to nice and shiny concrete. But whoever installed this carpet didn't do a very good job, or they applied more adhesive to old adhesive they didn't bother to get up because there are quite a few high spots or areas with really thick amounts piled up. So, I'm mainly just giving it a once over and really tackling the trouble spots hard, which there are many, because as you said I am using a floating floor so it doesn't have to be absolutely perfect.

Makes sense now. Sucks having to clean up other people's shortcuts when you want it done right.

Good luck on the adventure. I wish I lived closer to ya...

marubozo
06-04-2013, 04:59 PM
When do you think you might be open we would love to come and support a fellow BBQ brother and are only about 45 minutes away from you.

I missed this earlier. My ambitious date is toward the end of July. But I know realistically, with delays and people dragging their feet it will probably be some time in August.

Just BS
06-04-2013, 10:13 PM
Great thread ~ Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

I am having dinner tonight with a CPA (wifes friend from USC who knows how to manage money) to see if starting my own biz pencils out. I'll be 50 next year and can retire early, although I'll be leaving a lot on the table if I do....which brings me to my question someone asked earlier. Do you have an exit strategy? If so, can you share it with us. I'm not sure I even know what it is, but I know I'd don't want to work foranother ten years...


As far as exit strategy, this is as much of a real estate play as it is a business. It's a good location for this area, and the price I was able to get it for was below market value. And besides a somewhat small mortgage, I'm not borrowing any other money to get the venture off the ground.

So, my exit strategy has a few options. Even if the business doesn't go gangbusters, if it at least made money and afforded me a modest salary, that's fine since I have a working spouse. So it isn't quite a do or die financial scenario. The second option would be to sell the place. With how much equity I put in with the down payment and the improvements I plan on making, even if the business doesn't flourish, I figure I could sell even for roughly what I paid for it and get most of that equity back. But before selling, my other exit option would be to lease it. The previous owners had two people begging to lease the building while it was under contract and they almost backed out of our deal since the bank was taking so long and wanted to lease it out. So there's probably some demand there. And I'm already a landlord with a rental house and love real estate, so I'd have no problem doing a commercial rental in addition to that.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.... but I am thinking of something a little different. Those exit plans are if the business doesn't do well enough to keep the lights on. I am more interested in, how you're gonna get out of the business once it succeeds. I mean, if you're working 60-70+ hours a week then you're just a pitmaster/restaurant manager (nothing wrong with that). At some point you're going to either train some one to take it over and you'll just collect a monthly stipen (or somethin'), or you sell the business, or ??? Have you thought about that?

Me? I'm old and have spent 30 yrs in a career. I'd like to get something started and then sell it once its establish. Five years max! Sounds like a pipe dream (to me) and not sure if I want to risk something like that but thats another (my) thread that I still need to start...

marubozo
06-04-2013, 10:42 PM
Thanks for taking the time to reply.... but I am thinking of something a little different. Those exit plans are if the business doesn't do well enough to keep the lights on. I am more interested in, how you're gonna get out of the business once it succeeds. I mean, if you're working 60-70+ hours a week then you're just a pitmaster/restaurant manager (nothing wrong with that). At some point you're going to either train some one to take it over and you'll just collect a monthly stipen (or somethin'), or you sell the business, or ??? Have you thought about that?

Me? I'm old and have spent 30 yrs in a career. I'd like to get something started and then sell it once its establish. Five years max! Sounds like a pipe dream (to me) and not sure if I want to risk something like that but thats another (my) thread that I still need to start...

Selling is always an option. I've sold my last three businesses, so that has been a familiar exit strategy for me. But in this venture, if it is successful, I'd be looking to expand locally to maybe three stores in the area. Again, like somebody mentioned earlier this thread, following the McDonald's model of buying real estate and then making money serving food as a bonus.

That's also part of the reason I want to create a system that can run without me. While I plan on being the name and the face of the original location, I want to create processes that enable somebody to be groomed to be able to run a store without needing 10 years of experience running a pit or feeling like I need to be 100% involved with everything.

Bottom line is if it's successful enough that another location, or two is warranted, I want to be in a position to be holding, say, a million dollars worth of real estate in five or ten years that was paid for by the customers that walk through the door every day. Then it doesn't matter if I sell the business as a whole or just liquidate the real estate.

So that's how I look at it. I buy a place and then serve food out of it. Hopefully that makes enough money to keep the lights on and pay me a modest living wage. All the while, every customer that comes through the door is paying down that mortgage so I never have to put another dime of my own money toward it. That's where the real wealth comes from, even if it isn't liquid and in the bank. And then wash, rinse, and repeat if possible.

Obviously, lots of pipe dreaming and I know it will be hell or high water in a couple of months when the doors open and I find that sales aren't what were expected, cash flow is negative, etc. But that's my best case scenario plan, and I've already outlined the worst case. So most likely, I'll fall somewhere in the middle and hopefully just be happy with making a comfortable living doing something worthwhile.

willbird
06-05-2013, 11:46 AM
The problem with buying as I understand it (and only a little) is that buying property is paid for with after tax money, LEASING property is paid for with pre tax money ?

Bill

canoe
06-05-2013, 11:52 AM
have you thought of staining the concrete pad rather than installing a floating floor? It will last longer and can be easier to clean.

marubozo
06-05-2013, 12:22 PM
The problem with buying as I understand it (and only a little) is that buying property is paid for with after tax money, LEASING property is paid for with pre tax money ?

Bill

Not entirely the case. It's true that if you go and buy a place and pay cash, yes, you're using after tax money for the purchase. But most of the time you don't pay in full with cash and it's largely financed. So, those monthly payments are going to have tax deductions for the loan interest, property taxes, etc. With a lease you can deduct the entire amount since there's no principal repayment component.

But the main benefit other than a few dollars here and there for tax deductions is building equity with other people's money. If the business fails after a year and you've been paying $1,500/month rent, what do you have when you close the doors? Nothing as far as the building is concerned. What if you stay in business for 10 years and are successful? Again, even if you did decide to sell or get out, you've paid $180,000 to a landlord for occupancy, and walk away with nothing. Buy the place, put $25k down and let the business income pay off the mortgage for you. 10 years later it's paid off, you only invested $25k of your own money, but have an asset worth $180,000. That's $173,000 profit in your pocket vs. leasing. (numbers are just for illustration purposes)

There are obviously exceptions to the rule, but around here it's usually cheaper, or at least not much more expensive to buy. And that's a no-brainer since that means everything you do to improve the building and pay off the loan means ultimately, most of that money will eventually find its way back into your pocket rather than lining the pockets of a landlord.

have you thought of staining the concrete pad rather than installing a floating floor? It will last longer and can be easier to clean.

I'm doing that in the kitchen. It has some awful linoleum tiles in rough shape, so we're stripping that down and just staining the concrete, which was actually suggested by the health department as well.

But for the dining area it's a small expense to put in good looking laminate wood flooring. Looking at just $1,500 in materials, and it will be pretty much just easier to clean. And that's a small price to pay for something that will significantly improve the look of the dining room and give it a nice and warm feel.

Tsevg9
06-05-2013, 12:55 PM
This is an awesome thread. Just spent an hour reading through it all. I'm excited to keep an eye out on your progress. Good luck in your endeavors and smoke on Brother!

Piggy_Tummy
06-05-2013, 03:12 PM
Road Trip!!!

I agree with this one! Im a little bit closer than PA but still would be a fun trip :D:clap:

smokemaster1
06-06-2013, 04:52 AM
Good luck on the venture. You've got a great plan!

Just BS
06-23-2013, 05:57 PM
How's things coming along?

coastal
06-23-2013, 07:04 PM
Great thread. I am going to print and save this to reference

marubozo
06-23-2013, 07:49 PM
How's things coming along?

I was going to post an update later this week when hopefully a few things get done, but overall things are moving frustratingly slowly.

Finding builders, contractors, or anyone willing to do work has been a huge roadblock. It's taken over three weeks to even get somebody to return my calls. I don't know if people are just too busy or what, but it's driving me crazy. A ventilation guy should be coming by in the morning to give me a quote on relocating the exhaust for the smoker, so that's a start.

Otherwise I've just been doing any work on the place myself that I can. I ended up and completely gutted the bathroom and am redoing that myself. Should be primed and ready to paint tomorrow or Tuesday. And we just got back from Lowe's and dropped off the new vanity, toilet, and a few other things to complete that job.

We also unloaded a pallet of flooring tonight that will be going in the dining room, but that is going to have to wait to go in because of the pending construction on that one interior wall.

The new sign outside should be installed early this week, which I'm excited about because when people drive by and see the new sign, that will get people talking. There is already a lot of talk and rumors floating around about the place, so I'm looking forward to the buzz it will generate.

So, hopefully later this week I'll have some pictures of the progress with the new sign, finished bathroom, etc. And hopefully have somebody committed to the construction and a better time table for completion.

lance0623
06-24-2013, 09:22 AM
Loved reading this thread; please update often!

marubozo
06-24-2013, 10:55 AM
As I've come to expect, the HVAC guy never showed up this morning like he said. So now I get to play phone tag and listen to excuses and try to set up another time.

And another surprise this morning, I pulled in and noticed my dumpster is gone. The trash company apparently removed the wrong one. There's another dumpster out back by the barn that the previous owners had brought in to clean out the barn and it's still there.

It's always something. But the good news is the new floor is going to look great in the dining room, especially with all the natural light the building has.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/1045039_449338321828265_937045552_n.jpg

nthole
06-24-2013, 10:57 AM
That flooring is beautiful! Very nice choice.

Uncle JJ
06-24-2013, 02:35 PM
This thread is captivating for all of us who ever even considered opening a Q joint. It should be a course for an MBA. Please keep sharing the details. Thanks for being the guinea pig!

Banjoe
06-24-2013, 06:02 PM
I'm looking forward to walking on those new floors.

Pyle's BBQ
06-24-2013, 08:48 PM
One step foreward, one step back and one sideways. Good luck with the contractors.

Packmanjim
06-24-2013, 11:32 PM
Great thread, you are doing great.

TowersOfFood
06-25-2013, 05:34 AM
Good Luck, Wishing all the best!!!!!!!! Just remember love what you do and do what you love.

Fake Farmer
06-25-2013, 06:18 AM
Great job! Love following your progress. Stay encouraged. In no time you'll have a new problem of too many customers and not enough seats.

Slamdunkpro
06-25-2013, 08:17 AM
Regardless of what the people tell you on DIY network or HGTV, removing carpet that's glued to concrete is not as easy as they make it seem. Long two days getting that pulled up, and now it's time to scrape all the adhesive stuck to the concrete. Ugh.

But this was one of the major projects, and hopefully it will be all cleaned up and ready for the wood flooring in a few days.

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5324/8950472347_b8b08c34cf_o.jpg

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5349/8950472277_abbea4caeb_o.jpg

The scraping SUCKSSSS!!!!

Tell me about it. I already stocked up on blades because I can see this is going to take a while.

A buddy of mine is a contractor and he uses a diamond grinder on a hand grinder to get it off.

Terazzo grinding machine. Maybe you can rent one.

You may have already discovered this but you can't get yellow carpet adhesive up with a grinder, the mastic just gets soft and gums up the stones. This (http://masticremover.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=61&category_id=13&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=64) is what we used when I did my office space. It turned a 5 day job into a half day job.

Paulie G.
06-26-2013, 12:46 PM
Best of luck to you. As a former restaurateur. I now do only catering, my blood pressure thanks me for it.

marubozo
06-26-2013, 03:41 PM
You may have already discovered this but you can't get yellow carpet adhesive up with a grinder, the mastic just gets soft and gums up the stones. This (http://masticremover.com/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage-ask.tpl&product_id=61&category_id=13&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=64) is what we used when I did my office space. It turned a 5 day job into a half day job.

Thanks for the tip on this product. I don't think I'm going to need to go that route, but it's nice to know there's something out there. I was able to use the scraper to even out any major imperfections. And now with the floating floor and pad, hopefully I'll be good to go.

And in other news, just another day of unpleasant surprises. Ventilation guy finally showed up today, but didn't have much good news for me. The smoker simply cannot go where I had planned on thanks to all of the immovable, or incredibly expensive to move duct work directly above my proposed location.

There's only one other place to put it and that's on the opposite wall. And of course, that was all laid out for all the fountain machine equipment, CO2 tanks, etc. In fact, all the lines were already plumbed and ready to go from the last place, so reconfiguring that should be a fun project. :rolleyes:

And the electrician is still MIA. Called the general contractor today and even he can't seem to track him down.

And of course, still no sign installed.

Overall, it's just been one of those weeks so far. But oh well, we're having a party here at the house this weekend and I'll get to cook a lot of BBQ, so that will help ease the pain.

Dilly767
06-26-2013, 07:26 PM
I have been enjoying reading your progress. I used too do hvac and saw that you said it would be costly to move ductwork for your smoker install. If you can post some pics of where the ductwork is in the way maybe I can point you in the right direction.

Just BS
07-02-2013, 05:23 PM
Overall, it's just been one of those weeks so far. But oh well, we're having a party here at the house this weekend and I'll get to cook a lot of BBQ and drink a lot of beer, so that will help ease the pain.

Fixed it for ya... Keep fighting the good fight!

marubozo
07-11-2013, 09:44 PM
Just a quick update since it's been a while. Frustration levels are high, though subsiding a bit after some progress this week. I am just amazed at the lack of customer service these builders/contractors/skilled trades people exhibit. How hard is it to return a phone call? How hard is it to spend 30 seconds firing off an email to explain why you missed your deadline/appointment? Drives me crazy.

Anyway, it's weeks late, but the replacement sign is up:

http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5539/9264385949_a9848f5ae9_o.jpg

About as good as we could do given the size and dimensions of the panels. I still want to put a big sign right on the side of the building, but that will probably need to wait. But at least now the old restaurant sign is gone and people can now see that something new is coming into the space.

And since all these contractors keep dropping the ball, I was put in touch with an actual restaurant designer and consultant who's been doing this for nearly 40 years. He came out walked through everything and said he's going to bring one of his guys out hopefully tomorrow or this weekend to finalize some measurements and equipment needs. He said he could have the work done in about three weeks, so that's promising news at least.

He also blew my mind when he found a space that we could put a SP unit through the wall. That will save a ton in terms of having to relocate the existing exhaust, and save even more space in the kitchen by having the unit mostly housed outside, so I'm excited about that.

Oh, and I've pretty much finished the bathroom remodel and it looks a hundred times better. I'll try to snag some pics the next time I'm there.

Pyle's BBQ
07-12-2013, 12:26 AM
I think you are being too nice with your contractors. Do they know you don't have an opening date? If they do they can always blow you off. Hopefully your new guy will keep on top of things. I would work on a open date and give everyone that deadline, otherwise there is no hurry to get anything done. I know we started from scratch and I don't know if that made a difference, but it took us a little over 8 weeks from the day we bought our first piece of equipment to open. I know this doesn't help you, just trying to give you some ideas.

Hoping things get better over the next few weeks.

NickTheGreat
07-12-2013, 07:27 AM
Glad to hear it. I work with contractors at work a lot, and you can't always count on them to stick to their word. Unfortunately, that is a "squeaky wheel" type of thing, and you probably aren't being squeaky enough :-P

Just BS
07-18-2013, 07:10 PM
How's it going?

I've seen contractors wait a week to see if any one has bid on your project. If there hasn't been any bids they know they can ask what ever they want. If there have been bids, they will try to low ball the others....of coarse they can't do it at that low cost and then they try to squeeze every dime out of you that they can. That's why the good ones are booked solid.

marubozo
07-18-2013, 08:03 PM
How's it going?

I've seen contractors wait a week to see if any one has bid on your project. If there hasn't been any bids they know they can ask what ever they want. If there have been bids, they will try to low ball the others....of coarse they can't do it at that low cost and then they try to squeeze every dime out of you that they can. That's why the good ones are booked solid.

Eh, it's going. I met with a restaurant consultant last week who stopped by and he claims he has a few contractors that he uses that do nothing but restaurant work. We went over everything, gave him the drawings, spec sheets, he took measurements, etc. and he said he would get a guy out there in a few days to take a closer look and put a bid together, and said it was probably just a 3 week job tops.

Well, here we are almost a week later and after calling and emailing him every day about what the hell is going on, I haven't heard from the guy yet. Like you said about the wait a week thing, I think I'll call him tomorrow and if he doesn't answer, leave a message and say I had somebody else come out this week and explain that I wanted to give him one last shot before I go with the other guy, even if he doesn't exist, and see if that changes his tune.

In the meantime, I've also been using my wife to hit up all her contacts at work and have a few more names, so I'll be back on the phone making calls and just play the numbers game until somebody steps up. I just never expected it to be this hard. I thought the economy was in the crapper and people were out there begging for work, not the other way around.

Other than still working on that, I did get all the shirts ordered for the staff, and to sell to customers, and those should be in next month. Frivolous in the grand scheme of things, but it's one more item off the list. One thing at a time I guess.

oifmarine2003
07-18-2013, 09:14 PM
The problem with buying as I understand it (and only a little) is that buying property is paid for with after tax money, LEASING property is paid for with pre tax money ?

Bill

Lease payments are fully deductible whereas only the interest on a mortgage is deductible. So, all the money you pay on a lease for the year is taken off of your gross profit at the end of the year and can keep you from paying a lot of taxes if you are successful.

landarc
07-18-2013, 09:34 PM
Uniforms, even if they are t-shirts and jeans are not frivolous, not the critical path, but, a nice clean appearance, and uniform look, does a lot to make a place look like a place I would want to eat. One of the men who taught me to cook, would remove his meat apron, and put on a clean apron to serve people. He said he felt like it meant he respected the customer, and he figured nobody want to eat food from a guy in a dirty, stained apron.

marubozo
07-18-2013, 09:41 PM
Uniforms, even if they are t-shirts and jeans are not frivolous, not the critical path, but, a nice clean appearance, and uniform look, does a lot to make a place look like a place I would want to eat. One of the men who taught me to cook, would remove his meat apron, and put on a clean apron to serve people. He said he felt like it meant he respected the customer, and he figured nobody want to eat food from a guy in a dirty, stained apron.

Oh yeah, for sure it's important. I mostly meant in terms of all the big items left unfinished, the simple task of designing and ordering uniform shirts seems like a drop in the bucket.

But yeah, there's something to be said about a place where the staff all have a clean and matching look compared to leaving them to their own devices when it comes to getting dressed in the morning.

Just BS
07-19-2013, 12:38 AM
Lease payments are fully deductible whereas only the interest on a mortgage is deductible. So, all the money you pay on a lease for the year is taken off of your gross profit at the end of the year and can keep you from paying a lot of taxes if you are successful.

How does that work???? You cant write off any of the principle payment as a business expense? Doesn't make sense to me. Would it be "creative accounting" to put the old lady as the owner of the business and then lease it to her while you pay the mortgage?

oifmarine2003
07-19-2013, 06:42 AM
How does that work???? You cant write off any of the principle payment as a business expense? Doesn't make sense to me. Would it be "creative accounting" to put the old lady as the owner of the business and then lease it to her while you pay the mortgage?

That is what a lot of people do........

Grabnabber
07-19-2013, 06:57 AM
I believe one could create an LLC that would carry the mortgage and the "tenant" could pay rent which was in excess of the mortgage payment.

Could certainly be the same person/people.

It would be important to talk with an accountant/attorney in your state, though, as I am drinking right now and can't be trusted. :mrgreen:

oifmarine2003
07-19-2013, 09:20 AM
I believe one could create an LLC that would carry the mortgage and the "tenant" could pay rent which was in excess of the mortgage payment.

Could certainly be the same person/people.

It would be important to talk with an accountant/attorney in your state, though, as I am drinking right now and can't be trusted. :mrgreen:

Exactly how it is done. BTW, you are drinking at 6:57 a.m.? And you didn't invite me?:-P

oifmarine2003
07-19-2013, 09:22 AM
I believe one could create an LLC that would carry the mortgage

NEVER hold the mortgage in your personal name and not in the same company as your business. Limit your liability by having a separate LLC for just the mortgage.

oifmarine2003
08-06-2013, 02:10 PM
How does that work???? You cant write off any of the principle payment as a business expense? Doesn't make sense to me. Would it be "creative accounting" to put the old lady as the owner of the business and then lease it to her while you pay the mortgage?

Think of it this way. If you are leasing something, at the end of the lease term you will have no asset (i.e. the building) to show for it. All of that money has gone to basically renting it from someone else. On the other hand, if you were to buy it, those same payments you are making are leaving you with a piece of the asset. With each mortgage payment, you have more equity in the building. At the end of 15 or 30 years,depending on the mortgage, you will have an asset that you own (the building). If you leased it for 30 years, at the end of the lease, you would have no asset. That is why lease payments are deductible.

Also, you can write off property taxes if you own the building but not if you lease it.

wjwheeler
08-06-2013, 05:45 PM
A restaurant is like a boat. Everybody needs to own one in their life.
I wish you the best. A friend fulfilled his lifelong dream and opened a BBQ joint here. He is doing very well.

Keystone
08-06-2013, 06:05 PM
A restaurant is like a boat. Everybody needs to own one in their life.
I wish you the best. A friend fulfilled his lifelong dream and opened a BBQ joint here. He is doing very well.

Whereabouts in Cleveland? I'm not too far from there, and up for a road trip.

Bamabuzzard
08-06-2013, 07:52 PM
Think of it this way. If you are leasing something, at the end of the lease term you will have no asset (i.e. the building) to show for it. All of that money has gone to basically renting it from someone else. On the other hand, if you were to buy it, those same payments you are making are leaving you with a piece of the asset. With each mortgage payment, you have more equity in the building. At the end of 15 or 30 years,depending on the mortgage, you will have an asset that you own (the building). If you leased it for 30 years, at the end of the lease, you would have no asset. That is why lease payments are deductible.

Also, you can write off property taxes if you own the building but not if you lease it.

Interest portion of the payment is also deductible if buying.

oifmarine2003
08-06-2013, 07:55 PM
Interest portion of the payment is also deductible if buying.

That is correct b/c the interest paid is not equity, merely a fee for financing.

Georgiaboy98
08-07-2013, 12:08 PM
Good luck to you! Updated pics?:icon_smile_tongue:

Eggtastico
08-07-2013, 12:15 PM
A restaurant is like a boat. Everybody needs to own one in their life.
I wish you the best. A friend fulfilled his lifelong dream and opened a BBQ joint here. He is doing very well.

If it flies, floats or f*cks. Its cheaper to rent it than owning it.

TheBear
08-07-2013, 12:16 PM
All the best to you. If I'm ever down that way I'll be sure to stop in

marubozo
08-07-2013, 02:12 PM
Good luck to you! Updated pics?:icon_smile_tongue:

Sorry, nothing worth taking pictures of at the moment since the place is still all torn up. But, I do have a quick update. I finally have a contractor on the job and work will be underway shortly. Right now I'm just trying to coordinate the smoker delivery with the builder who will be cutting the hole in the wall and installing it.

But all in all, it looks like we'll be done by the end of the month, barring any further delays, and then it's all up to when I can get the final inspection from the health department.

So, my fingers are crossed.

daninnewjersey
08-07-2013, 02:21 PM
If it flies, floats or f*cks. Its cheaper to rent it than owning it.

That's some funny sh*t...:mrgreen::mrgreen:

marubozo
08-07-2013, 02:50 PM
Well, the bad news never seems to stop with this project. Can't get the smoker delivered until September 27th. That is, unless I can find one sitting around somewhere. Or more likely, I need to come up with a plan B.

I've got the biggest headache right now.

gtr
08-07-2013, 02:57 PM
I've been through a pretty extensive remodel of our house, and while it's nothing on the scale of what you're going through, something that was helpful to me was to know that there would be a day when it was all done and the building troubles were over. That day didn't come even vaguely when when planned, but it did come eventually and everything turned out fine. It can be a totally exasperating experience, but it is an experience that will come to an end.

marubozo
08-12-2013, 11:57 PM
Thanks, guys.

Just a quick update since a few things are starting to fall into place finally. Contract signed with the builder today and fingers crossed, work will begin next week. It's expected to be a 3 week project, but you know how that goes. The list is somewhat extensive with a new drop ceiling and lighting in the rear kitchen, new flooring in the dining room, new walls and new order/pick-up windows, and the most important, a hole cut in the exterior wall for a through the wall smoker installation with new ventilation and outside enclosure.

So, while the delay on smoker delivery was a blow, I think in the end if we can get the interior all squared away, by the time we finish the painting, cleaning, decorating, and stocking the kitchen, the smoker will arrive just in time and we'll be on track for an October 4th open date. Granted, it's a few months behind schedule and I hate missing out on the tourist summer season, it's better than nothing.

Finally, I've got four cords of wood being delivered this week. A couple cords of oak on Wednesday, and a few of apple on Saturday. It's going to be a brutal week or so stacking wood, but at least having the wood here and ready to fire will feel like we're one step closer. It's like I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, even though it's still quite faint.

Oh, and thanks to 82's BBQ for helping put on the CBJ class on Friday. It was a long trip, but with some idle time with this restaurant nonsense it was nice to meet some other people interested in BBQ and finally get my CBJ cert.

Bbq Bubba
08-13-2013, 06:13 AM
Well, the bad news never seems to stop with this project. Can't get the smoker delivered until September 27th. That is, unless I can find one sitting around somewhere. Or more likely, I need to come up with a plan B.

I've got the biggest headache right now.

What smoker did you end up with?

coastal
08-13-2013, 09:22 AM
Have you got all the city/county/health permits squared away? What was that process like. That can Sometimes be the worst of all.

Did you have to pay a impact fee for the water/sewer/road for restaurant? Around here restaurants have the highest impact fees and it can kill a project

marubozo
08-13-2013, 12:48 PM
What smoker did you end up with?

A southern pride 300.

Have you got all the city/county/health permits squared away? What was that process like. That can Sometimes be the worst of all.

Did you have to pay a impact fee for the water/sewer/road for restaurant? Around here restaurants have the highest impact fees and it can kill a project

Well, fortunately, I did most of that stuff even before I bought the building. So I had the health inspector and township inspector meet with me on site before anything else to get their thoughts, see what would need to be fixed, etc. So, that has minimized a lot of those headaches.

Also, I'm located outside of the city, don't have sewer, etc. so there are even far fewer hurdles to jump through there as well. And thankfully, since the building has been a restaurant for decades, there was no need to worry about zoning changes, occupancy changes, other fees and permits, and so on.

sbshaveice
08-13-2013, 01:39 PM
Did you do the sign design? I really like it. Hated the previous owner's name and design.
Your building is cool too, though it doesn't look commercial -- looks like a converted house. That the case? Hope to see shot of the new floors, I like your pic of wood. What is it? Wood flooring is not cheap.

I like the wisdom buried in the section on the HD's walkthrough prior to purchase. I think one needs a relationship with the HD, you don't have to be sleeping with the inspector, but some people make it an adversarial thing. That won't work. You lose. Know their name, and them knowing you're earnest and not a corner cutter is the best approach.

marubozo
08-13-2013, 02:05 PM
Did you do the sign design? I really like it. Hated the previous owner's name and design.
Your building is cool too, though it doesn't look commercial -- looks like a converted house. That the case? Hope to see shot of the new floors, I like your pic of wood. What is it? Wood flooring is not cheap.

I like the wisdom buried in the section on the HD's walkthrough prior to purchase. I think one needs a relationship with the HD, you don't have to be sleeping with the inspector, but some people make it an adversarial thing. That won't work. You lose. Know their name, and them knowing you're earnest and not a corner cutter is the best approach.

Thanks. My sister in-law designed the logo. She's a graphic designer, so I take advantage of free work wherever I can. :mrgreen:

And yeah, I'm not a fan of the exterior of the building. It's always been a restaurant and isn't a converted house, but the cheap blue siding sure makes it look like one. One day I hope to change that, but I just need to get the doors open first.

The flooring is laminate, so it actually wasn't too bad. It came out to a little over $2 per square foot. Has a 5 year commercial warranty.

And while I'm here, one more quick update. My t-shirt designer just emailed me a proof of one of the shirt designs. Can't wait to get them to all my friends and family and beg them to walk around town with one on every day for the next two months. :mrgreen:

http://i39.tinypic.com/1zxa24y.jpg

RangerJ
08-13-2013, 02:18 PM
Glad to hear things are moving along for you! Pits have my trailer held up as well.

I'll be following along and wishing you much success!

trza
08-13-2013, 03:00 PM
This is a long thread, and I admittedly haven't read through it all...but did you find insurance? I've found that the Independent Insurance Agents are the place to be most of the time. They tend to be smaller, so service is a big deal to them. And their group arrangement gives them access to many insurance companies that they can write policies with. That's a lot of market to shop with a single application.

marubozo
08-13-2013, 03:06 PM
This is a long thread, and I admittedly haven't read through it all...but did you find insurance? I've found that the Independent Insurance Agents are the place to be most of the time. They tend to be smaller, so service is a big deal to them. And their group arrangement gives them access to many insurance companies that they can write policies with. That's a lot of market to shop with a single application.

Yes, insurance was a bit hard to come by. I worked with a local broker who had access to many different companies and specialize in commercial policies. Ended up getting coverage with Auto-Owners Insurance company.