A new venture

Post
Raine
Cheeseburger
2005/04/24 13:36:20
We just purchased a restaurant. Now a ton of questions, like picking the right food broker, finding the right hushpuppy mix, finding the right employees. Any feedback welcome.
Lavanda
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/24 14:09:47
Raine, congratulations! Where is it located and what wil the name be?
Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/24 16:15:59
In Indian Trail, NC

EB's Bar-B-Que
http://ebsbbq.com/
nvb
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/24 17:19:39
I'd sit down with as many brokers as I could and go over products, prices and their knowledge of the industry. Find the right one because they can be a valuable tool for you.

Hushpuppies? I use frozen ones from Sysco. With all the foods we have to prepare I can't bog myself down with mixing and dropping them. I get lots of compliments on them too.

Good luck with employees. My manager came with the store and in the 18 months of owning it we have seen many come and go. I was told from the start that running a crew of only a few people left you vulnerable because they knew how bad you needed them. I've had a couple like that who was shown the door to their surprise. So, using a few extra part timers may benefit you in that aspect.

Good luck and congrats!
lleechef
Sirloin
RE: A new venture 2005/04/24 21:57:54
As far as pricing goes, basically all the food brokers are the same.....a buck higher on a case of Heinz ketchup and a buck lower on a case of something else. I prefer Sysco because their sales reps are usually pretty darn good......and your rep is EVERYTHING!
As for the employees.......get ready to be the biggest baby sitter on the planet. Sysco won't drive you nuts. Your customers won't drive you nuts. But the employees will drive you CRAZY. I've tried a thousand things to get around this problem. Hire more qualified help, pay a higher wage: they're Prima Donnas. Hire less qualified help, pay less: you get what you pay for. Round and round. Good luck!
dreamzpainter
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/24 23:11:17
Good help is hard to come by no matter what the business, landscaping, painting, restaurant or office, all have the same difficulty. About all you can do is keep a stack of applications handy, wade through the chaff and hopefully find the kernal that fits..
markolenski
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 01:14:00
Not to be a smart ass but your asking questions you should have asked before you bought the place.
Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 10:45:20
We have to some degree, but since we have been on this search for about 5 years now. Kinda hard to line up employees, etc when you don't know exactly when you will need them. Now we need them.
Theedge
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 12:51:28
I think I might have said this on another thread. But when I have to hire someone I throw some garbage out in front of my building. It’s interesting to see who bends over to pick it up. I have a friend with rental property, he won’t rent to people if they pull up in a filthy car. I think picking up on some of these subtle clues can help you make hiring decisions. Now if I could just get the firing part down. I had a successful person (gazillion dollars) tell me once that he’s never once regretted firing a person. Funny story though, he fired a guy he saw standing around talking on the phone to long one day. Turns out the guy was a truck driver, didn’t even work there.
Scallion1
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 13:31:32
I've had to fire people since I was 15, working for my father. Not an easy thing for a 115 lb. stringbean to lay off a big bricklayer. That being said, over the years I've come to agree with your gazillionaire buddy. Once you have that bad feeling about someone in the pit of your stomach, pull the trigger. It's like the old saying about the best deals you ever made were the ones you walked away from.

When I do have to fire someone (and I'm not talking about a spur of the moment, outraged thing, like finding a guy walking out with a couple of rax of lamb in his bookbag) I find that the important thing is not to make it personal. My buddy used to have to work himself up into a frenzy of manufactured, and largely groundless, hatred for the prospective firee, which was always obvious and made everyone resent my buddy.

What I try to do is get the person in my office, or in the walkin box, someplace private. I say something like "Sorry, Pete, but this just isn't working out for either of us. I'm going to have to make a change. Nothing personal, Pete; I wish you the best of luck in your next gig." It's important, in these litigious days, to avoid giving the person you're firing ANY little bit of grounds for a suit. Don't say that he/she was incompetent, or had body odor, or anything else that you can't PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt (e.g., show that the person was repeatedly late by producing his time card). And never mention race, age, size, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc, unless you have the burning desire to buy your lawyer a new Benz.
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 14:27:07
Why was this the place you finally decided was right for you and your situation? what made it an appealing buy?
Congratulations! It sounds Cool. Where is Indian Trail? I've never been to North Carolina.
Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 15:55:52
It is in a good location, major thoughfare, easy accessable from major hwys/interstates, growing area, no competition for BBQ. BBQ a big seller. Price was in our budget, fully equipped. It is in the next county which has lower taxes, etc easier municipalities to deal with.
dreamzpainter
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 18:38:24
quote:
Originally posted by Raine

It is in a good location, major thoughfare, easy accessable from major hwys/interstates, growing area, no competition for BBQ. BBQ a big seller. Price was in our budget, fully equipped. It is in the next county which has lower taxes, etc easier municipalities to deal with.
I don't see anything about "Its what I really enjoy doing" I don't care if its a Q shack, a 5star restaurant or stripping the highway, if you don't enjoy your work..............
UncleVic
Sirloin
RE: A new venture 2005/04/25 19:28:50
quote:
Originally posted by Scallion1

I've had to fire people since I was 15, working for my father. Not an easy thing for a 115 lb. stringbean to lay off a big bricklayer. That being said, over the years I've come to agree with your gazillionaire buddy. Once you have that bad feeling about someone in the pit of your stomach, pull the trigger. It's like the old saying about the best deals you ever made were the ones you walked away from.

When I do have to fire someone (and I'm not talking about a spur of the moment, outraged thing, like finding a guy walking out with a couple of rax of lamb in his bookbag) I find that the important thing is not to make it personal. My buddy used to have to work himself up into a frenzy of manufactured, and largely groundless, hatred for the prospective firee, which was always obvious and made everyone resent my buddy.

What I try to do is get the person in my office, or in the walkin box, someplace private. I say something like "Sorry, Pete, but this just isn't working out for either of us. I'm going to have to make a change. Nothing personal, Pete; I wish you the best of luck in your next gig." It's important, in these litigious days, to avoid giving the person you're firing ANY little bit of grounds for a suit. Don't say that he/she was incompetent, or had body odor, or anything else that you can't PROVE beyond a shadow of a doubt (e.g., show that the person was repeatedly late by producing his time card). And never mention race, age, size, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc, unless you have the burning desire to buy your lawyer a new Benz.


The firing someone part of the job is what really sucks... I still remember my first one, a gentalman 40 years older then me... But I had that anger built when he wouldnt listen and kept throwing it in my face. Would make for an intresting topic on how others have handled these situtations.. Some are easy, some are hard...

Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/26 08:22:40
The I enjoy it is what got us to looking. However not every place was suitable, just because we are doing what we like. Lot of things had to work for us, to increase the enjoyment.
1bbqboy
Filet Mignon
RE: A new venture 2005/04/26 09:45:18
Raine,
What about the meat? Do you have a separate meat man/distributor? Does your new venture fit into a traditional
"NC" category, or are you going to expand the BBQ parameters?
Hope you don't mind us peering over your shoulder. It's more fun than the "Apprentice."
Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/26 10:55:58
Probably will get most of our stuff from SAM's will only need a broker for the item SAM's doesn't carry. Unless a broker can do us better.

BBQ will be pretty much tradional NC bbq. We will also be doing brisket, chicken, bbq hash, smoked turkeys and hams.
confrone
Junior Burger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/26 14:01:16
quote:
Originally posted by Raine

We just purchased a restaurant. Now a ton of questions, like picking the right food broker, finding the right hushpuppy mix, finding the right employees. Any feedback welcome.
just wanted to let u know i went to your website. YOUR FOOD is picture perfect.. wow makes me so hungry. good luck in your venture. if that food tatse as good as it looks u will make a gazillion dollars.
Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/26 15:09:49
Thanks for visiting! From what everyone tells us the food is as good, if not better than it looks.

Looks like the website will need some updating/overall now. Anybody out there do web design, that would be willing to help out a start-up business?
UncleVic
Sirloin
RE: A new venture 2005/04/26 20:51:33
quote:
Originally posted by Raine

Thanks for visiting! From what everyone tells us the food is as good, if not better than it looks.

Looks like the website will need some updating/overall now. Anybody out there do web design, that would be willing to help out a start-up business?



he he... ship over several pounds of Que, and I'll work on it as long as the food lasts!

Scallion1
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/29 14:10:01
Raine,
This isn't going to be a pleasant post, so let me say that I wish you the best of luck and mean no disrespect.

If you've already bought the place, and have been looking for a long time, this is an expensive time to be doing research. You should have gotten in touch with your reps, tested hushpuppy recipes, spent a few weeks reading the help wanted ads to see what local wages are, etc. etc. etc. You're probably paying either rent or a mortgage now, and could have done all this stuff on your own dime.

Wages are, for sure, a comparison thing. You need to know the market. But you should also have a labor budget. No matter what the guy down the road is paying his fry cook, if you can only afford $400/wk, then you'll have to keep looking until you find someone who'll work for that. And, on the subject, keep any resumes you get in a file; expect to turn over your entire staff at least twice, maybe three times in the first six months.

And, just to finish up in the same vein, I think it's pretty ballsy to ask for free website design from a bunch of strangers. I could do it, but why in heaven should I take time from running my own business to help a stranger? Should have been part of your pre-opening budget, no?

Sorry to be so blunt, but that's just how I feel.

Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/04/29 15:29:02
First off, most brokers aren't gonna talk to you unless you are a company. We've doing this search for 5+ years and have learned a lot during that time. Reps come and go, the one we would have started with 3 years ago or 5 years, might have moved on by now. Plus we have to wait 6 weeks to get the BBQ cooker, so we have that time to do these things I NOW need to do.

We know folks who employee cooks, etc but they work for the big corporate chains, so I think they probably pay a little more. Some things been a little hard to nail down as the amount of employees needed depending on the size of the place we ended up with. We have looked at a good number of buildings, and some wouldn't have required or had room for more than 2 or 3 people.

This opportunity happened quick, and we needed to move, so the normal turn around time has been a lot shorter.

I didn't ask for FREE web design, I asked if anybody might be willing to help out a start up business for a reasonable price. I know a number of people who are in that line of work, but way too expensive at this point. And it is not something that has to be done before opening. I can do it myself, but was looking for a more professional job.
dreamzpainter
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/01 12:49:52
For a web design you might check a local technical college, students are always looking for portfolio fillers. When it comes to distributers try to stay local, you can get chips, condiments etc from sam's, bj's or costco but try a local butcher for meats , bakery for breads etc.
Ort. Carlton.
Filet Mignon
RE: A new venture 2005/05/01 15:43:19
Raine,
You might also want to open for breakfast. Tending a pit is not a part-time thing, and generally somebody's gotta be there in those earlier, before-lunch hours anyhow... the real deal with breakfast is just to break even on the proposition, from what I've been told for years.... Plus, if you're on a major commuter route, having breakfast biscuits to go with a drive-up window might make you a bunch of money - and win you some evening customers for your 'cue.
Make sure you have Jamison's Livermush around. You might be surprised how many livermush sandwiches you'll sell in Indian Trail if only you have the item on the menu. (I make livermush jokes here on this site often, but I love the stuff - and my comment here is totally serious.) The BBQ places in Lexington don't offer that side item, but in other places - more to the west of Charlotte - they do. One restaurant owner in Gastonia told me that some of her customers would eat a full breakfast or a plate lunch (depending on the time of day) AND a livermush sandwich... I guess that's a Gaston-Cleveland County thing....
Good luck in your endeavor. Keep us posted as to where you are and when you open and I'll try to get out there next time I visit Charlotte - which might be sooner than either of us think.
Not Wanting A Mecklenburger Right Now (But You're Across In Union County Anyway), Ort. Carlton in Ever-Amazing Athens, Georgia.
Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/02 09:15:20
Yeah, we are thinking of doing breakfast, and thinking of having livermush (we love it). If we can find a breakfast cook. We also make a smoked livermush burrito (it is great!)
chef joe
Hamburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/03 01:19:38
Raine - GOOD LUCK!
It's tough, but it's also fun as long as you keep the attitude, you'll have memories from this for the rest of your life. We've had restaurants, bars, steak joints, seafod houses, breakfast nooks, etc, for the past 30 plus years. The best advice I can give to you is to make sure that you always have an escape route. Ask yourself questions???? If this does not work, then how do I get out of it without taking a beating? Here's what I know, for what it's worth:
THE LESS EMPLOYEES THE BETTER.

SPECIALIZE IN SOMETHING THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS IN THE AREA.

AN OLDIE BUT A GOODIE! - "KEEP IT SIMPLE"!

TRUST IN YOURSELF AND YOUR IDEAS.

HOT FOOD HOT & COLD FOOD COLD - NO EXCEPTIONS.

ABSOLUTE CLEANLINESS, FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM, ESPECIALLY THE BATHROOMS, THESE REFLECT ON THE ENTIRE OPERATION AND AT MOST TIMES IT IS THE FIRST IMPRESSION OF YOUR PLACE.

THE FOOD IS IMPORTANT, BUT SO IS PERSONALLITY, NOT ONLY THE PLACE BUT ALSO YOURSELF - BE BIGGER THAN LIFE! A GREAT BIG HEELO AND AN EVEN BIGGER GOOD-BYE! INVITE EACH CUSTOMER BACK. LEARN THEIR NAMES AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS NAMES, AND WHEN THEY COME BACK, GREET THEM WHEN THEY WALK IN THE DOOR BY THEIR NAME.

Raine, just a few things to tnink about, I've just catered a party for 180 and I am beat, but if your interested in more info, I'll get back to you, I'll,probabaly evn stop by to see you this summer. KEEP THE FAITH & GOODLUCK - CHEF JOE!


Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/03 09:17:31
Thanks Joe! You have pretty much summed up our way of thinking.

dreamzpainter
Double Chili Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/03 13:50:19
Just a little more food for thought....Be careful what you chose for interior decoration.......The sandwich shop my wife runs is a bought back francise store, the people who had opened it are realators and altough smart business wise had little concept of how the food industry operates or flucuates($$$$). The shop is primarily decorated in red and white but the main dining area floor is tiled and grouted in a grey that no matter how often its cleaned looks grungy. The bathrooms are also done with grey tiles which gives them a dark, dirty, confined feel. Luckily the food is enough of an attraction for locals and long time regulars but for first impressions the store is in line for a massive makeover!!!
Raine
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/03 14:44:45
This place is all setup and ready to go, We will not be changing much. Maybe throw some table cloths on the table, change the pictures to a more BBQ theme, add shelves to display all our trophies. The place was just outfitted about 15 months ago.
MissKitty
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/03 15:35:10
Oh .... my ... word. Indian Trail. That's where my boyfriend lives ( and not me sadly ) I can't believe it ! Hehe sadly although he will be studying 3d modelling design graphics in the autumn I don't think he knows enough about web design to help you out. Ill ask though,( also I have another friend who definitely does have the knowledge but he's pretty snowed atm. I will check with him tho.) Hes a terrific breakfast cook ( and good cook full stop ), I can testify for that ! and I would recommend him to you on those grounds but I think his sleeping hours would be a little erratic for ya

You look like you have a terrific range of food there :) Only wish I was there right now to sample it ! I will have to send Eric in my stead though. That really looks like his kind of food ... he loves Q and smoked food ( as well as having a thing about Italian food )

I'll send him the link to the site.... good luck and keep us posted, let us know when you are up and running.
klkruger
Junior Burger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/17 12:54:37
First, congrats, Raine, on your new venture. I wish you every success (and will be sure to stop by when I'm in your neighborhood).

I may be going out on a limb here but, to me, your most important back-of-house person is your prep cook, whether that's you or someone else. A good prep cook can whip up a batch of hushpuppies in no time. If you want to distinguis your operation by the quality of your food then be careful what (if anything) you select from the giant food service providers. For instance, I've had Sysco's frozen hushpuppies cooked in their 'oil blend', and that's what they taste like--food service hushpuppies cooked in food service oil. Their mayo is lousy to me--as well.

I'm not saying don't use them necessarily (they're great for paper products!) just be aware--you don't want to compromise your fine looking (and tasting, I'm sure) product. If you have to charge more to make your product the way you want to then do so--and note it proudly and prominently on the menu. Too many places fail by starting out good, then lowering the quality of their ingredients to save money. They rarely last long after that.

Again, best wishes and best of luck to you.


Kevin
jojobeans
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/17 13:46:23
quote:
Originally posted by Raine

We just purchased a restaurant. Now a ton of questions, like picking the right food broker, finding the right hushpuppy mix, finding the right employees. Any feedback welcome.

I have spent 25 years working as a manager and have seen where an incompetent employee was fired and got major bucks in court because the employer failed to document the actions that led up to the dismissal. One person I know actually was fired from the Postal Service and got his job back after two years with full pay and any overtime he would have worked. The settlement was enough to buy two new cars cash! This is not an isolated case and it happens more often than you think! I had to attend a seminar given buy attorneys which tell you in detail how to fire an employee. The best advice I can give you is when you hire an employee you hire him or her not with the intension of firing them. You can not expect them to have the same enthusiasm as you do! It’s your business not there’s, that’s number one! Number two is you must train them and they must know what you expect of them (Your rules). Write them down and have them sign it and give them a copy. Last but most important, ANY discipline must be corrective in nature or you will look like you are beating them up. If after nothing else works and you do let them go they need to know why. If it is for a health department issue like not washing after leaving the rest room you need to document it and have them sign it, if they don’t sign it just indicate it on the paper employee refused to sign. Always have a witness present! Never, Never ever take a woman into your office to discipline or fire by yourself!
Good luck, Its not that hard and most people that work for you want to do a good job If they do Tell them so with a gift, Free meal, ball game tickets, etc.. a little honey goes a long, long way. Your employees are who will make you successful.
jojobeans
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/17 14:02:54
quote:
Originally posted by Raine

Thanks for visiting! From what everyone tells us the food is as good, if not better than it looks.

Looks like the website will need some updating/overall now. Anybody out there do web design, that would be willing to help out a start-up business?


Be glad to lend a hand with the web site, Shoot me an email and we can go over a few design flaws you have as well as the strong points you should keep. Over its ok! The BBQ looks very good I have worked a few of those cook offs and I know how hard it is to make them happen. We did first and second place two years in a row at the DC cook off as Blue & Grey BBQ, it was fun!!
bassrocker4u2
Double Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/27 07:25:32
raine, good luck on your adventure. many of us here will offer all we can in a positive way. just post questions and ignore the negative responding idiots. i too, have a bbq place. i have posted in another thread about my woes with sysco. i reccomend u.s. food as a provider. they have great meats for bbq, and tons of other items you may need. i also get stuff from sams, as they may be better priced. just shopping around, i save a couple hundred bucks a week! good luck, dont worry! just enjoy the ride........
michael
Scallion1
Cheeseburger
RE: A new venture 2005/05/27 08:19:02
just post questions and ignore the negative responding idiots. i too, have a bbq place.

"negative responding idiots"????

nice mouth.