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Running a Restaurant/taking over Bar and Grill at a golf course

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Question
My wife and I just recently purchased a golf course that has a full bar and grill with full menu.  When we purchased the golf course the bar and grill was under a lease by an individual, and my wife and I were debating continuing the lease or hire this individual as a manager.  We take over the business Feb 1, 2013 but I was just informed that the individual has taken a position at another establishment.  My wife and I have over 30 years in the golf industry, but none in the bar and grill industry.  I am very nervous, and want to make the right move.  What do you suggest we do?  We were so geared up to focus on the golf course, and now we have this thrown at us.  Please help or give us some suggestions on were to start.

Answer
Hi Randy,

For novices, the restaurant business can be very, very tough.  Here are a few suggestions.  1) Try to talk with the individual that was the manager.  Has he actually started work elsewhere?  Perhaps you could offer him a bigger, better deal. 2) If he has already left, who took over running the restaurant and bar?  Is this individual (or another that works there) capable of managing it for you? 3) Hopefully, you have reviewed the financials for the restaurant and the bar to determine if it is cash-flowing or not.  If it is, you may be able to hire a manager at a reasonable salary from your local market. 4) Locate a management company that will contract with you to take over managing the bar and restaurant.  Alternatively, find someone that will lease it from you to operate it.

Randy, I do not envy you your situation.  It would have been good due diligence work to make sure that the restaurant still had a viable lease/operator in place that would have extended past your takeover date.  Since that isn't the case, it gives you problems that you just don't need.  Even if you are able to promote a current employee to management or to hire an outside manager, you are very much at risk if you attempt to self-operate the bar and restaurant.  Unless you and your wife want to learn that business, I would suggest that you pursue either #1 or #4 above.

We work with restaurant operators all over the country.  If we can be of help, we will.  You can reach me through my email below and we can talk about your situation - no fee, no pressure.  If we think we can help you we will let you know.

David
dfoster@fosterandassociates.net
(417) 877-0428 office
(417) 849-1903 cell

Running a Restaurant

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David Foster

Expertise

We have been in the restaurant industry for over 40 years and consult with restaurants, casinos and hotels nationwide. We love helping restaurant operators succeed and can answer any questions related to restaurant start-ups, business plans, operations, labor costs, food costs, liquor costs, employee turnover, marketing etc.

Experience

I am a seasoned foodservice veteran with nearly 42 years experience in the industry. My extensive background includes overseeing multi-unit, multi-concept restaurant operations ranging from cafeterias to fine dining, and everything in between. I have a strong hands-on operations and marketing background that give me a unique insight into the “Real World” challenges of the restaurant industry. I have extensive concept development, menu and recipe development and kitchen layout and design expertise. I am effective in analyzing operational needs and identifying practical solutions in today’s very dynamic foodservice environment. In the industry, I am respected by my peers and have served on the Board of Directors of the Missouri Restaurant Association and have been a featured speaker on the subject of Home Meal Replacement at various national events. I also served on the Culinary Advisory Board of the Ozark Technical College as well as serving on the Board of Directors of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Ozarks.

Organizations
Member of the National Restaurant Association, Past Board Member of the Missouri Restaurant Association, Past Board Member of Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Ozarks

Publications
The Consultant, Seasoned Views (a trade magazine for the restaurant industry)

Education/Credentials
Attended Drury College, Springfield, MO, Varsity Management, SRI

Awards and Honors
I have had restaurant projects featured in The Consultant (a magazine for foodservice consultants with worldwide circulation). I was honored for achieving the highest level of management competence by the Selection Research Institute.

Past/Present Clients
Sugar Creek Casino, Classic Rock Coffee Company, Mark Twain Brewing Company, Springfield Brewing Company, Bruegger's Bagels, M&M Grill, Paco Joe's, Holiday Inn, Hilton Garden Inn, Buffalo Run Casino, Golden Corral Corporation, Crosswinds Café, Chinese Chef, Mr. Dunderbak's Old World Market & Café, Bullfeather’s Wings and Grille, Mainstreet Market, Bear Rock Café, Cartoon's Oyster Bar & Grill, T's Redneck Roadhouse, Jim's Steakhouse, Neighbor's Mill Bakery & Café, Crazy Vine, San Francisco Oven, Maria's Mexican Restaurant, Andy's Frozen Custard, The Granite Club, Umi Japanese Steak, Seafood and Sushi, Springfield Grocer Company, US Foodservice, Premium Standard Farms, Smithfield, Dakota Organic, Kraft Foods, Allens, Inc.

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