It's my second career also. I was in law enforcement for 29 years and had been cooking BBQ for 25 of those. I used to sit around in my office and daydream about retirement and opening up a BBQ joint. However, I had not planned on it this quick. An administration change made me decide to go ahead and retire.
I guess I had part of my plan thought out because I had been purchasing restaurant equipment for the previous five years. Anyway, after two months of sitting around and just messing with my show pig business Mrs. Slick thought it was time for me to do something with myself, so I started looking for a restaurant location. My plan was to to build my business from the ground up, but then I found an established BBQ joint for sale.
I got to work there a month before sealing the deal and got to know most of the regulars. Did kinda feel bad about lying to them, though. Everyone was pretty vocal against me changing the recipes, so I would tell them that I wasn't, while knowing just about everything was going to change slowly. After several months I guess I was doing something right because my business had just about doubled, and those regulars were enjoying the changes.
As time went by I knew that in order to grow more I had to make some changes. My kitchen back then was two deep fryers and a smoker making it difficult to prepare anything but BBQ. Back in February of this year I grabbed both cheeks and put in a full kitchen in order to have a grill menu. So far, it has worked great and my business is still growing.
Now I'm just waiting on my first million.