Super nervous! Opening Restaurant on shoestring budget in 4 months, no deadline but expectation to o

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by vic cardenas, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    I am opening a small golf course cafe and I am just about to open. I am licensed and ready to go with food but just about to apply for my liquor license (should read 3.2 beer)... (in UTAH nonetheless!), and trying to get my insurance agent and city business license coordinator to change minor details for my license application. I am just spinning and am trying to relax.... Doesn't seem to be an outlet anyhow.... Just trying to play video games to ease my mind. The DABC is very particular and they just make me nervous because a 3rd of my sales are riding on it. Let me explain... 

    If I get my DABC license application in by the 10th of this month (Friday), I will get my beer license by Feb 28th. Bueno on that. But if my Ins. Agent and my Business License Coordinator don't get these papers I need, I will miss the DABC license deadline on the 10th and that means I have to apply for March 10th meeting session and will get my DABC beer license by March 28th instead! The Men's League at my golf course starts in Early-March and it makes me nervous to think about getting my Beer License on March 28th!!!. The men's league need Beer!!! 

    The snow is melted here and I am fully licensed to do business with food but I really don't want to open for a few days more... if I can help it ...(there will be few customers so early and only do about $100 gross on days like today, tomorrow, next week probably). Even though I need the money and my bank acct. is drained. I am also trying to set up my Pepsi acct. at the same time and that has been a rigamarole with them. So, I have no food, no beer, No Fountain Pepsi and very few potential customers and my brain is racing trying to open this tiny restaurant in a matter of a few days and just dealing with a few snafus getting open.

    Any advice for a chef/restaurant owner on days like today????  

    I feel like I should just go buy a bunch of Sandwich Ingredients, Bread, Hamburgers, candy, muffins, donuts, Bottled Pepsi, canned soda, Ice Tea, Energy Drinks, etc... and open up shop and just cook a few sandwiches for a few happy customers.  

    My wife and kids are no help in making me feel better while I wait on Pepsi, Insurance Lady, Business License Lady, etc.... What am I to do the next few days? I'm going crazy! LOL
     
  2. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Goodatcha and congratulations. I remember those days of jumping through hoops trying to open my place. Hurry up and wait. I was sure I would go postal and wind up on the six o'clock news. All I can tell you is...breath deep...this too shall pass...repeat as necessary. In my case, it was necessary continuously :~)
     
  3. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    First, Congratulations on your new adventure. What an exciting time.
    Second, A little trick I learned years ago. If you aren't already, get a logbook, the kind with dated pages, and write these things down.
    I find it helps keep my mind at ease and organized to have recorded when I did things and remember when to do things. You can right down on
    future pages things you will need to do on that date. When appropriate, Include details like invoice numbers and check numbers, contact info, etc.
    So on Jan.6, Filed application for license with Mary Smith phone 555-5555, Paid fee with check # ?
    Third, put the serenity prayer in action. Ask yourself how you can be proactive about any given situation. "What can I do to move things along?"
    If there is (file necessary paperwork, call back to check on application, fix the stove,), then get on it.
    If there is not, then don't worry about it. If you have done what you can, that's all there is.
    I realize this is easier said than done but if you can manage it, you'll sleep better.
     
  4. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Just keep busy. If one issue is at a slow down, go on to the next thing. If you are constantly feeling like you are making progress on any front towards your opening date at least you aren't wasting time. Feeling paralyzed is the worst thing to feel.
    So... while you are waiting for your licenses get everything else in order. Opening and operating are an inevitability- so treat it so!

    It sounds exciting! Good Luck!

    Peachcreek
     
  5. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    Use this lag/waiting period as a time to network in the community. Get out there and raise awareness in the public and business owner sectors of your "soon to be" presence in their midst. Investigate the possibility of getting on a local news segment.
     
  6. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Ah sweet memories.....

    One good thing I never had to do was mess around with liquor licences.  In general N, America is pretty stupid about liquor licensing, but Canada has some of the stupidest, inane, liquor laws( ie, illegal to sell alcohol to patrons standing up,,,).

    I was doing the nervous shuffle after I sunk in well over $200,000 in infrastructure upgrades to an old restaurant.  We aced the plumbing inspections, aced the electrical inspections, but City hall would not issue us an occupancy license, which we needed before we could get a business license.  No explanation given, countless phonecalls made, no idea what the hold up was.  So one day I purposely swore off coffee for 12 hrs, trotted down to s*itty hall, and started bugging people untill I got answers.  It was the receptionist for the plumbing dept. that found the hold up: The restaurant had a legal suite upstairs, and the previous owner had swapped the address from upstairs (1508) with the address downstairs (1504) In most asian cultures 4 rhymes with death, and 8 is very auspicious, the guy just swapped number plates 20 years ago and figured it was O.K..  After I changed the address on all my paper work, I got my occupancy within 2 days.

    But that doesn't mean everything went well. I still had my final health inspection. Meh, I would ace that one, a totally rebuilt kitchen, all new appliances, all requirements met, Haacp plan approved prior,  even a locker for cleaning stuff and a power washer out back.  Health inspector wouldn't pass me because our brand new pass-through Hobart d/washer was one degree off on the final rinse.  I started to talk with her, but she was firm, I blew up and showed her the "before " pictures of the kitchen, which she had personally passed (a condition I insisted  before purchase) just two months earlier: Naked overhead lightbulbs, crumbling drywall and flaking paint on the ceiling, no hand sink,  undersized (and patched) grease trap, a rusted out low-temp d/washer leaking bleach all over the place, a Garland range rusted so badly it was sagging in the middle and you couldn't open the oven door, a two door refrigerator--the sole refrigeration for the place--looking like it came out of the X-files prop locker, etc.  She walked out.   So I called the boys from Hobart (still had two installments to make...) and got them to tweak the machine.  Called for another inspection, this time the inspectors boss comes in.  He takes one look at the kitchen, whips out the form, signs it and hands it to me.  This time I kept my mouth shut....
     
    peachcreek likes this.
  7. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    Yes, trying to stay organized is my #1 priority. This is my 3rd business and it is still something I struggle with. I think it is just a constantly evolving process for most business owners/Managers of companies. Good advice! 
    As you and chefwriter stated, I'm just trying to keep things moving along... as much as I can. I think that is why I am so stressed out about it, because I am depending on other people to kick the can right now. I am paralyzed. I'm going to go shopping right now to buy non-perishable/frozen items, just so I can get something done today. I'm waiting on a call-back from my insurance lady and I'm about to punch holes in the walls just waiting for her call or email.  
    Good advice, both of your posts! I own another little business that needs constant promotion or facebook/instagram prodding (this foodservice business I'm opening has a captive audience and we do get pretty busy). I think I might take the time to market my other business and hopefully that will take my mind off things.  
    Aw geeeeeeezzz, that's funny. I lucked out and got a pretty nice health inspector. He just had me fix a few little things and was never really picky about some things that I anticipated they would not like. I guess I've been pretty lucky so far in the licensing process. I was awarded the contract November 14th and I've just had to deal with the 3 major holidays since then. I'm pretty lucky to get my business up and running in the few short months since then, while dealing with everybody's constant vacations during the holidays. I'm counting my blessings, that's for sure! The county even bought me a new refrigerator because the last one (the last company was using a residential-style fridge) would not pass off on the health inspection. So, I'm happy for the most part. 

    Good advice on all fronts. These comments really eased my mind, so thank you to all! 
     
  8. chef brah

    chef brah

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    what about supperclubs?

    i earn from hosting private dinners for 8-10 people...3 course meals when i am in between jobs etc.

    its a casual affair but i dont compromise on the experience and usually call a friend to help with prep if time constraint.

    lot of my friends who retired young as chefs and got into white collar jobs due to family or financial reasons do supperclubs.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2017
  9. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

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    Great idea! I am searching for more ways to generate more revenue out of this little place. It's been tough, so far.

    Very little business, so far... 

    I am offering mid-grade fresh-ground filter brewed coffee and I'm realizing after costing it out and hearing feedback that they seem to only want and need Folgers! SMH

    It may make financial sense... Many of my days out in my old food truck business, I would gross higher than I have after being open for 2 weeks here at this golf course here in the off-season. I'm rotting away down there but I have to be open, by contract, when the golf course is open. I am offering a few different sandwiches and burgers but I am starting to get spoilage, so I am having to cut the menu down considerably... already. 

    I've already had my first banquet customer contact and it was a pretty awful, to say the least... Trying to two-bit swindle me left-and-right like I've never dealt with banquet clients before, he seemed to assume I was pretty green and did not understand math. I was just mostly silent and agreeable but red-faced the whole time. LOL... I'm not really sure if I can offer him much of what he was asking for.

    Basically, he wanted a 5-day breakfast and lunch event for 60 ppl. and was asking if I would be able to offer steak and eggs for breakfast and then burger buffet for $10 a head for each day, per person! Meaning, less than $5 each meal.... Then he said he would offer me $1500 for the entire 5-day event (that's 600 meals!). You do the math on that one. Clue, $1500 is not $10 a head. LOL! Then he found out I was hispanic from my last name, so he asked me, "You could probably do some carne asada burritos then for breakfast, right?".  He even stole a bag of chips from me! .....ROFL.... I was just floored. My face must have been beet red (or is that beat?) the whole time!  I have dealt with hundreds of different banquet clientele in my career, and that was by far the most off-the-wall one yet. I really haven't even told you half the story with this guy, but that's all you need to know. 

    ------------

    I also think I made a big mistake to get Sysco and Alsco accounts going so early. My Sysco contact is really pretty good... but with Alsco I am going to have to put them on 'stop order' for a while. I setup Pepsi acct. but will have to delay order for a bit. 

    Also, Utah DABC is giving me hassles because I have two schools pretty closeby. One of their measurements came up short....

    I am going to have to have a hearing with the city. Don't get me started! I have tons of would-be customers already upset that I can't sell beer. 

    Meanwhile, my pockets are getting pretty dry... I just barely opened! I'm starting to see that I will have to borrow about $3000 just to get by for the next few months and I'm grossing fewer than $25 on some days here. I grossed $14.25 before I called it quits, today! My wife can't even work now because she is stuck with the kids, so I can be stuck at the golf course all day to make $14!  

    I've done a bunch of financial forecasting before I bid on this place but I am seeing them slowly unravel and realizing I can't spend money on anything now. Even offering mid-grade filter coffee at this "Cafe" is starting to look like a pipe dream of mine!

    I have to get non-golfers and other little events in this place right away, or I'm screwed! SMH>>.....#**%&!