buying a restaurant


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
No I've never bought a restaurant, but we can sure talk about it. Or do you need us to talk you out of it? :D

Joined Jan 5, 2001
Peachcreek, congratulations!

For all you naysayers out there (myself included :blush: ), Peachcreek is a perfect example that it can work. Restaurants don't necessarily have to suck the soul out of you. Not everybody can/should own a restaurant. It takes more than just a dream and a good chef. You have to be realistic, expect and be prepared for the very worst case scenario, and be able to bounce back quickly. It's difficult in this industry to seperate emotion from business. That's probably why so many restaurants fail.

Peachcreek, I hope you'll share your progress with us.
Joined May 9, 2003
I didn't buy one, but I turned an old fire station into one...does that count?

I agree with Anneke for the most part...As for sucking the soul out of you, if you do it right, it IS your soul.
Joined Oct 28, 1999
Never bought one either, but got to convert a building constructed in 1824 into a 100+ seat tavern. Stripped the place down to the studs and built from there...
Joined Sep 21, 2001
We have our building. It was an auto parts store for over 60 years. We will be starting the remodeling process beginning next month. We will be incorporating some of the old auto junk into our motif. Which leads to me to the first point:
1. When buying or starting a restaurant things will take at least 3 times longer than you expect. So figure that in from the get-go. An be patient. The time will come when you really will be tweaking out and even though things may seem bad don't worry. The bad part is still a little ways down the road.
The building is 6200 sq ft, of which 3500 ft will be the restaurant and the downstairs 2700 ft we will sublet. It will make a great retail area. We are hoping to put in maybe 1-3 stores (apparel, or outdoor clothes, furniture, antique mall?) and do like a micro-mall downstairs to help with additional traffic. The building is located on the single busiest foot traffic block in the downtown. Like they say- "Location, location, location".
That is as far as we have gotten. We have been busy at our Pocatello restaurant this month (our quiet summer isn't quiet this year) and things won't really get moving for a little while. So my next task is to design my kitchen. And I can get whatever I want in there, so I have my pile of catalogues out, pricing convection ovens, ranges, prep tables etc.
Joined Jan 24, 2003
Ive run plenty & like peac says location.
a friend of mine opened a very successful sandwich bar in london, he spent a week with a people counter recording footfalls all day.this gave him an idea as to how many & when,
Never be afraid to go for it just dont overstrech yorself both financially and with your offering.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
Location is important, but you also have to understand why location is important. Of course you don't open a bistro in Timbuktu and expect people to flock in. There are also certain kinds of restaurants which seem to be non location dependent.

First piece of advice here is to never, ever, EVER, take over what we called the "dead restaurant" space as your first restaurant. There is a reason why so many restaurants have failed in that location. If you can figure it out, good. If not, don't even try.

The first thing to look at is fixed costs in terms of dollars, not percentages. This will give you a rough idea of the volume you will need to make this work. Do your research on real estate in the area or you can simply ask what the lease is on the place and then estimate utilities and other stuff. Multiply this by three and write it down. Next look at the seating. Multiply this by 2.4 (the average amount of turns per day, lunch and dinner for a full service family restaurant). Look in the NRA sourcebook and other publications for other numbers if family restaurant doesn't fit your concept. Now figure out how much your average ticket price needs to be. It should be close to your first figure. If it's lower than the first figure you need to do some work.

This is of course just an estimate. It will give you a feel for how a restaurant is doing but for the nitty gritty you really need to look at the real numbers over a period of time.

Good luck!

Joined Apr 13, 2003
the brother and i have been conceptualizing for years on what we want to do. the bottom line is in this town "gourmet" has quite a different meaning then anywhere else. fine dining restaurants do not work in this town unless they have been arround for years with a well established local chef. don't get me wrong, we have some nice places but there simply isn't any more room for a fine dining place. we have come up with everything from chicken wings on campus to gourmet(yes, very gourmet) pizza in the rizzy area of town, and the latest is a scottish brew pub (yes we are 50% scottish). it's amazing how many concepts can and do work 50 miles away in new orleans that wouldn't fly for a week in baton rouge. opening a new restaurant is 50% guts and 75% stupidity arround here. we had to accept long ago its better to be a well trained chef making pizza then a well trained chef with no customers for you french eatery. my favorite concept is the pub because our concept is strong and it will be an extremely fun place,,, but is will be terribly expensive to do right. buildings in this town are either restauant dead zones, or extremely expensive for a startup opperation. when we brainstorm on these ideas there are two constants- location and clientel( DONT OPEN A WING SHACK IN THE COUNTRY CLUB) if you really want it-- go for it-- just know what your getting into
Joined Jul 18, 2003
Ok that my one one and only true Dream :D
to have a place all mine own,.... to be able to but my heat and soul in to it

but for right now i'm stuck in a no whare going job....... but at lest i can dream ....cant I;)

one of these day I'l have my veary own place .....
Joined Mar 3, 2002
I owned my own place for 2 years, scenerio in which I worked my *** off and my partners were useless!!
Try purchasing used equiptment with warranties from restaurant eq. specialists. It will save you a fortune. Also spruce up on your plumbing, electrical repair, and maintenance. It will save you a bundle. Good Luck!! I wish you the Best.

Joined Jun 13, 2002
Been there, done that several times. Each time had different circumstances involving the opening.

So, I decided to embark on a journey on the Internet, by creating to help and assist other restaurant professionals with the process.

Just about EVERYTHING you need to know about the process, and how to go about it "right", not just go about it. We have all of the legal and regulatory information you will need to get off the mat, broken down by each state in the country (Canada is coming soon).

Swing by and take a look around,

Have a good one,

Joined Jun 4, 2003
Hey, I forgot I posted this thread lol must have had 3 glasses of wine that nite lol. It sure takes a long time to go through the process. Ive been at it for 3 months now and we still have a long way to go. The ins and outs of financing is something else. SBA is our only way to go. I cant wait to open, tho. Im thinking about getting a job til I actually get the darn thing if in fact that happens. Im pretty confident tho. Ill keep u posted, in the mean time wish me luck
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