Seeking opinions about opening a place

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by sherman452, Aug 25, 2014.

  1. sherman452

    sherman452

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    A business opportunity has come up to start a small restaurant (with possible catering opportunities) in the Buffalo area. This guy owns a bar with a full commercial kitchen attached to it and is looking to rent out the kitchen/ dining room. He has been asking us to rent it from him ever since we met him this winter. We've passed each time. He's had three people come in and try to run something out of this kitchen since then. For one reason or another, he has asked them to leave. He just called us again, offering great terms on rent and wanting to work with us no matter what. The place could have fantastic potential, but then again, it could not.

    Opinions???

    My husband and I are both chefs, lots of experience. We are both currently unemployed, but have had several good interviews, recently.

    It's the age old question in this business... Work for yourself or work for someone else?
     
  2. panini

    panini

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    I'd defiantly seek the reasons for the previous people leaving. Is he giving you 100% complete control no matter how the business goes? 
     
  3. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    That's not a good sign.  You should try and contact them.  It might be one of those "you are such a good cook you should open a restaurant" kinda things.
     
  4. sherman452

    sherman452

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    Thanks for the responses.  We are meeting with this guy today and we have A LOT of questions for him.  As it stands right now, we have no real interest in pursuing this!
     
  5. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    I would be hesitant to lease a kitchen attached to another enterprise, too many potential loose ends for my comfort. In my experience, partnerships are hard enough and this wouldn't even really be a partnership. I don't know it just raises lots of red flags to me.

    Let us know how your meeting goes, your experience from it has the potential to be a good learning tool for the rest of us.
     
  6. sherman452

    sherman452

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    Well, we met with the guy yesterday.  This is actually our third meeting over the past 9 months.  Usually, after he has asked someone to leave, he will give us a call.  My husband and I have a lot of experience, like I said, and we are also not loose canons, so I think he wants someone in this kitchen that can be a little stable.  He volunteered several stories about bartenders and cooks getting arrested, lots of drug problems, underage drinking...

    The problem during the meeting was his "duck and parry" of a lot of the questions we had, namely insurance and who would be responsible for any incident involving the building, grounds, etc. if someone got hurt.  He told us he was "self-insured" and would not be responsible for any incidences like that.  HUGE red flag.  I don't know what "self-insured" means and I was under the impression that landlords must carry insurance on their property.  Can anyone clarify this?

    At any rate, the location has enormous potential, could have been a little gold mine, but we will not go near any kind of business arrangement with this guy. 
     
  7. panini

    panini

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    Sherman452,

     Doesn't sound so good guys. Sorry. If he were self-insured he wouldn't have to be meeting with you guys about this matter. UNLESS he meant he had his own insurance. Landlords usually don't need to carry anything else but building ins. He might be renting the bar to someone else.

    If you guys are unemployed then I don't see how it would hurt to have something drafted up to protect ya'll and present it to him, General liability insurance is pretty inexpensive and you can probably get some with an agreement or lease.

    I don't know. It's a shame to let potential go down the drain, but I understand completely.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2014
  8. sherman452

    sherman452

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    Yes!  It's the age old question of work for yourself or work for someone else.  Don't we all have dreams of working for ourselves?  BUT, this guy just didn't seem like he was on the up and up.  I don't think he carried insurance on the building.  The start up for this place would be small, but it would be all we had and we just didn't like the risk of it.  We hate to pass it up, but think it was the smart thing to do.

    Thank you so much for all the responses.  Getting validating from fellow professionals helps in the decision to turn this thing down.  Besides, I just had a great interview yesterday at a great little restaurant in our town, and so I might be getting back in the restaurant chef saddle again.  Yikes!
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    This  arrangmentt barely works, you become enemies quick