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Old 10-05-2008, 01:12 PM   #21
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Have her cook you a lot of meals and tell her the food is terrific.
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
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Old 10-05-2008, 01:17 PM   #22
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It sounds very risky even with some previous experience running a similar buisness.

The big problem is you are risking a huge amount of principle, these are the 55k equipment costs, and then I would imagine there would be some other costs, like supplies. There are many investments which do not require putting any work into them at all, have very low probabilities of losing it all, and will easilly return 8-10% on average over the long term. So you essentially are losing 10% of your upfront costs every year the buisness doesn't work out...and if the buisness fails? You lose that 10%/year amount for the rest of your life.

Also, while you are not risking your largest source of primary income, it is still a fairly large chunk of your normally expected primary income, this is not additional secondary income. So you are also taking income risk.

Then you are taking a mortgage risk, how likely would it be that you be able to sublet to someone if the buisness fell through? Does the rental offer even allow for subletting?

Despite all this though, if you feel the location is perfect, there are lots of people with money to spend in the area, you have a firm buisness plan in place (which you have verified by researching other succesful similar buisnesses), know exactly what your potential costs/profits, have a backup plan if things do not work out, and your wife has explored other oppurtunities involving food preperation (like catering), then it sounds like it may be worth a shot.

Just do your research and check all of your options before making such a huge decision, do not rush it.
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Old 10-05-2008, 04:56 PM   #23
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Are there other ways that your wife can get the "compliment the cook" high? Here's my thought:

1. Cook for an existing outfit.
2. Cater
3. Teach cooking classes at a community college or adult ed class. Not much money here, but LOTS of adoration and acclaim.
4. Work at a B&B. More intimate setting, less stress (since it's just breakfast).
5. Run a food booth at festivals. Intense, but only on weekends, leaving the rest of your time free to live.

I personally wouldn't tackle a restaurant without a well-written business plan and serious fire in the belly.

Also, why is the current place closed? If it's a great location, someone would have snatched it up. We have places in town that are serial failures, and only rarely does someone make a go of it in those places.

Finally, I'd do a check of your local health laws. If the equipment in there doesn't meet code, you're going to have a huge expenditure right up front. Not worth it. See what the latest health inspection says.

Good luck with your decision!
"You'd be surprised at how much it costs to look this cheap." -- Dolly Parton
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5-Year Lease
Old 10-05-2008, 05:21 PM   #24
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5-Year Lease

I'd think about an alternative business to buy -- the one that sells 5-year leases for new restaurant tenants. Can't lose!

- Bryan B.
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:25 AM   #25
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Even in good times I would advise you not to do it because of the hours you need to put in and the fickleness of the "non-branded" restaurant business, and in the current market I would definitely tell you no.

I own a small business (14 employees, 10-12M in sales historically-- not now), and for the first time in the 14 years I have owned it I am really starting to struggle-- lost 20K last month. People are just frozen and putting off all bigger-ticket buying decisions in my area.

Owning your own business is a great way to build a big nest egg, but I would only buy one that is already up and running. Also, make sure you are very well capitalized. I think my business will make it, but it kills me to have to feed it with my personal funds now.
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Old 10-06-2008, 12:33 PM   #26
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Restaurant work is tough- I did it in HS and went to college so I would not have to do it again.

I could only imagine the work of running the restaurants I worked in. And I am guessing times have changed with fewer english speaking help in kitchen, competition, economy and similar.

If the restaurant works, you might have a quick path to early retirement. But if it fails you might be working for the rest of your life (to pay off the debts incurred and similar).

What is the location of the restaurant and why is the location available?
Light travels faster than sound. That is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak. One person's stupidity is another person's job security.
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Old 10-06-2008, 01:58 PM   #27
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I'd give some thought to what Urchina said.

Perhaps there is a non-profit place that needs a cook volunteer? Your wife could volunteer 2-3 days a week, get the satisfaction of helping, and you might even get a tax deduction for mileage for her driving.

My wife has wanted to own a bookstore for years. After we retired, she started volunteering at a non-profit (library) bookstore. She loves it, and we dont have the stress of worrying about keep our buisness afloat.

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