Running a Restaurant/sweat equity


Unsure if you can help with this but closest I've found in the categories.
I've owned nightclubs for 25 years and own a 4COP license.  I closed my last and planned to open another but didn't want to carry the full perational burden alone.  I got together with soeone I've known and trusted a long time who had no money to invest but was a master carpenter.  It took several months and 3 different business plans and lease negotiations to secure a location.  It had to have some walls taken out and mid-remodeling done which my partner did as his contribution.  He did a beautiful job but I paid for everything, including additional laborers and at times even his gas.  During the months it took to complete I put in as many or more hours researching pos systems, cameras, finding needed equipment and a million other things.
He was to manage when we opened but that was a huge mistake.  I still have to be there nightly because he hasn't a clue and isn't teachable.  He just gives "tours" of what he did and tells people he is the owner.
I tried from the start to get his hours but he didn't want to provide them and talk with him about what he thought his reasonable percentage should be. I'm now forcing him to give me something or said I was having the accountant issue all stock to me.  He has spent several days trying to come up with something (still unreceived) but decided he should receive an amount that would equal the cost a demolition remodeler and a project manager would make for the 2 1/2 months. I want to be fair but I could have paid an outsider probably less to do the work he did.  I have all the knowledge, the license and the ideas.  All he basically did was carpentry.  I am just waiting for him to give me 7 days a weeks hours of 24 daily!
What is a fair method to figure the work he has put in?  I believe it will get to the point I'll have to buy him out as he will be entitled for equity for acting as manager while I have had  to hire someone to actually do it or was worried I would lose it!

Hello Jayne, Sorry for the delay - I was just now ping'd about the pending question - must not have received your original message.

I think you have made up your mind. If he is "clueless and unteachable" he is a poor partner to have. It would have been better to settle the partnership slices before the doors opened, but here you are. He probably thought he could make a better deal for himself by stalling. Pick a price for his carpentry contribution and pay him. Pick a price for his help in opening/running for you and pay him. You can't count on getting out of the relationship you established on the cheap, but it is worth much to dump a difficult partner. You can find many talented folks to run your place for you, but this partnership will eat at you until you solve it.

Lesson learned - in business - plan the divorce before the kiss.

Best of luck, Chase

Running a Restaurant

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Chase LeBlanc


I am the author of the new book, HIGH IMPACT HOSPITALITY: Upgrade Your Purpose, Performance and Profits! I am also the founder and CEO of Leadagers LLC (leaders who manage, managers who lead, "leed/i/jers") a hospitality industry consultancy. Our primary focus is in upgrading the purpose, performance and profits of restaurants, bars, food & beverage outlets and/or nightclubs. We have expertise in operations, start-ups, training, in-house leadership development and positive customer service experiences. 720.269.9537


My 30+ year hospitality career started as owner/operator of a nightclub development and management company. After successfully selling that business, I led within a variety of national and global operations as General Manager and multi-unit Regional Manager and I have also served corporations as Vice President and President. My extremely broad range of experiences includes leading training stores, entertainment complexes, fine dining establishments, high-volume theme restaurants, quick-service restaurants, dance/night clubs, comedy clubs, college taverns, dueling piano bars, pizzerias, high-volume sportís bars, live music showrooms, retail stores and gift shops, fast-food concessions, catering/banquet facilities and high-volume arcades.

"Staffing Doctor" columnist for Hotel F&B Magazine Top 10 - Core Hospitality - Quick Serve Leader - Wise Words - Inside F&B And have been a featured blogger for In addition to my new book High Impact Hospitality, I have been a contributing writer for and/or my properties have been featured in Cheers, F&B, Food Service News, Hot Spots America, Military Club & Hospitality, Nationís Restaurant News, Night Club & Bar and Top Shelf.

Attended the University of Colorado for three years and left to open my first nightclub at the age of 21.

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