Okay, so all my life I've heard that 9 out of 10 restaurants fail in their first 2 years and that you should never, ever, go into business with your friends. So my best friend and I have decided to go into the restaurant business together.
A little background so you don't think I'm totally whacked. As kids, while I was waiting tables, my partner became the fastest line-cook I ever seen. Next he went to the Culinary Institute of America in NY (probably the finest school of it's kind). Since then he has spent time as a route salesman for the leading food purveyor, turned around a smaller restaurant as head chef... then moved into Sou and then head chef at an enormous lodge and is currently the corporate chef for a 10 store chain. My point is, he's very, very qualified.
That makes one of us.
Now I've been in several businesses as some of you know, and generally my strength is in streamlining productivity with a "one right way" simplicity that boosts sales numbers while eliminating the problems and hassles that stem from inconsistency. I've little doubt that I can train and maintain a meticulous staff for the front of the house that will learn to embrace the methodical rigidity of a system that 'once upon a time' earned me a 23.5% tip average while serving excellent food in a spotless, classy environment.
I'm smart enough to know that those are the easy parts and little else. Come April 12th my partner and I will shadow the existing Chef and General Manager for a week before replacing them. Both are being moved to another one of the current owner's other restaurants, so they should be extremely helpful. Our theory is to first learn their system and menu so we don't fix anything that isn't broken during a ramp up period while building and testing the new menu and postpone the grand opening until we're sure we've got our sh!t together. Why not make some of the bigger mistakes before
changing the name?
So, as those of you who've done this probably realize by now, I have no idea what I'm doing!
The current owners are carrying the financing so have a vested interest in our success. They are being as cooperative as possible in making this a smooth transition. Thankfully, they have this property under it's own corporation so we can purchase it lock, stock and barrel as a whole instead of having to set up all new accounts with purveyors and whatnot. They'll simply pay their bills off prior to the take over date, and then we'll just replace the personal guarantees. Does that make sense?
Today, we applied for a fresh LLC to be taxed as a Sub S that we'll eventually shove the entire business into. This way we're able to establish new relationships immediately and absorb pieces of the existing business incrementally. This should save a little money and hassle as there are some things up June. Does that make sense? Now comes the hard part. What the heck am I supposed to do about licenses? (HELP!) Can I use the existing ones, or do I need a new:
State unemployment #
ETC Ad Nauseum
Does anyone know where I can find a check list and answers to these and other questions about startup requirements? I don't recall when I last felt so ignorant.