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Revolver restaurant - Ohio


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i am currently opening an independent restaurant in ohio and was wondering if anyone would be interested in reading about the process. i would be willing to share the financial details and try my best to answer any questions about the day to day happenings and decisions being made.

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i am currently opening an independent restaurant in ohio and was wondering if anyone would be interested in reading about the process. i would be willing to share the financial details and try my best to answer any questions about the day to day happenings and decisions being made.

Count me in. I will be undertaking a similiar opening in the next year, in Indiana. Although I may have some financial backing, I may not. I would very much like to read about the process from a first-hand POV. Thanks.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Sounds great, Michael. I think most of us who hang around here would be very interested in such reports.

Where in Ohio will Revolver be located? Can you give us some background on how the project came to be and some general details about the restaurant's 'theme,' etc?

Thanks! :smile:

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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Sounds great, Michael.  I think most of us who hang around here would be very interested in such reports.

Where in Ohio will Revolver be located?  Can you give us some background on how the project came to be and some general details about the restaurant's 'theme,' etc?

Thanks! :smile:

=R=

the restaurant will be located in downtown findlay, oh. i am returning home(findlay) from an 8 year stay in chicago. i had considered opening in chicago but having a daughter just starting school, so my wife and i felt returning to ohio to open would be the best decision for all. also the benifits of opening in small town ohio i.e. start up costs, less competition, no need for investors.

the concept is modern midwestern food in a mid-century modern atmosphere.

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Sounds great, Michael.  I think most of us who hang around here would be very interested in such reports.

Where in Ohio will Revolver be located?  Can you give us some background on how the project came to be and some general details about the restaurant's 'theme,' etc?

Thanks! :smile:

=R=

the restaurant will be located in downtown findlay, oh. i am returning home(findlay) from an 8 year stay in chicago. i had considered opening in chicago but having a daughter just starting school, so my wife and i felt returning to ohio to open would be the best decision for all. also the benifits of opening in small town ohio i.e. start up costs, less competition, no need for investors.

the concept is modern midwestern food in a mid-century modern atmosphere.

Thanks for illuminating on the reasons why Ohio. I, too, thought about Chicago, until I thought about the costs/beauracracy (sp?) and etc. Plus, I am getting married and want to eventually have kids too, and I really think Chicago is a bad place for that. On a more philosophical level, I don't care much for the herd mentality that surrounds Chicago restaurant culture, and I really want to serve good, creative food to regular people. I know the city I'm moving back to (Bloomington, Indiana) very well, while Chicago, where I've lived the last year-and-a-half, is still more than a bit foreign to me. PLus, I don't particularly want to cook for stuck-up, condescending Yuppies - and to be successful in Chicago, unfortunately, you have to cater to those people.

On a side note, one of my first meals in Chicago was at Green Zebra, and it was absoutely astounding - so much so that I asked to work there on the spot (I was denied!) and then replicated the meal at home the next day - corn mezza lunas, pureed salsify, the whole works. So thanks for inspiring me.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Sounds great, Michael.  I think most of us who hang around here would be very interested in such reports.

Where in Ohio will Revolver be located?  Can you give us some background on how the project came to be and some general details about the restaurant's 'theme,' etc?

Thanks! :smile:

=R=

the restaurant will be located in downtown findlay, oh. i am returning home(findlay) from an 8 year stay in chicago. i had considered opening in chicago but having a daughter just starting school, so my wife and i felt returning to ohio to open would be the best decision for all. also the benifits of opening in small town ohio i.e. start up costs, less competition, no need for investors.

the concept is modern midwestern food in a mid-century modern atmosphere.

Thanks for illuminating on the reasons why Ohio. I, too, thought about Chicago, until I thought about the costs/beauracracy (sp?) and etc. Plus, I am getting married and want to eventually have kids too, and I really think Chicago is a bad place for that. On a more philosophical level, I don't care much for the herd mentality that surrounds Chicago restaurant culture, and I really want to serve good, creative food to regular people. I know the city I'm moving back to (Bloomington, Indiana) very well, while Chicago, where I've lived the last year-and-a-half, is still more than a bit foreign to me. PLus, I don't particularly want to cook for stuck-up, condescending Yuppies - and to be successful in Chicago, unfortunately, you have to cater to those people.

On a side note, one of my first meals in Chicago was at Green Zebra, and it was absoutely astounding - so much so that I asked to work there on the spot (I was denied!) and then replicated the meal at home the next day - corn mezza lunas, pureed salsify, the whole works. So thanks for inspiring me.

i guess i should start by saying this is not the first restaurant opening i've been a part of. in 2001 i had the good fortune to be the opening sous chef at spring restaurant and again in 2004 as the chef de cuisine at green zebra. sue, peter and chef shawn were kind enough to allow me to be involved with almost all aspects of the process from concept to completion. as much as those experiences have helped me you can never be completely prepared for all of the twists and turns involved in opening a restaurant. one major difference is the fact that this time it is my money and reputation on the line. it was easy for me to enjoy the experience of spring and gz because i didn't have the money pressures that the partners did. so now i do and the enjoyment level is greatly diminished.

finding a space for this restaurant was much more challenging than i had anticipated. although there aren't many good restaurants around they all seem to stay in business. i really had no interest in a new build nor could i afford one so i tried the door to door aproach. i just went into existing restaurants that fit the location i desired and offered to buy them. eventually i found someone who wanted out of the business and was willing to sell. the space is very small(1100 sq.ft.) but that is what i needed. since there is a lack of qualified help in this area i need to be able to see the entire room from the kitchen. fortunately the owner was willing to sell on a land contract and we agreed on a price of 85,000. i will try to post some pictures in the near future so you can see what 85,000 gets you in findlay, oh. i know that's peanuts in chicago but it still seems like a lot to me. it was very important for me to buy an existing restaurant. i thought i could save a lot of money if i only needed to do cosmetic changes and also would be able to open very quickly. i still think this was the correct line of thinking but the harsh reality soon set in. the restaurant was run down due to years of neglect and since i know nothing about construction and renovation i maybe took on more than i should have(more on this later).

so i am almost 4 mos. into this project and have finally started building instead of tearing down. on saturday we poured a cement floor. now things are moving.

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Count me in to help and advise, if needed.

I have designed and built a wine list, re-done bathrooms, and tasted lots -- of course, before doors opened.

Good luck! I look forward to hearing how you're coming along!

Laurie

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This would definatly be something worth reading about.

To the second guy David where in Indiana are you opening up if you don't mind me asking?

Bloomington. It's where IU is located, a progressive college town with a burgeoning slow-foods movement (there are slow-foods dinners, featuring chefs from a handful of local restaurants - that draw upwards of 150 guests), surrounded by numerous organic and heirloom farmers, and home to a huge farmers market - at its height in the summer the market draws 5000 visitors a week. Plus, I lived there for ten years and have developed a pretty strong connection to the community.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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What is the population of Findlay? Is it a college town or just a small town?

According to Nationmaster.com, Findlay's population was 40,175 at the time of the 2004 census. You can click on the above link for more details.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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What is the population of Findlay? Is it a college town or just a small town?

According to Nationmaster.com, Findlay's population was 40,175 at the time of the 2004 census. You can click on the above link for more details.

=R=

Thanks. I suppose I could have looked it up. 40,000 is small - I think of Bloomington as small but it's closer to 75,000, I think.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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What is the population of Findlay? Is it a college town or just a small town?

According to Nationmaster.com, Findlay's population was 40,175 at the time of the 2004 census. You can click on the above link for more details.

=R=

Thanks. I suppose I could have looked it up. 40,000 is small - I think of Bloomington as small but it's closer to 75,000, I think.

Well, the numbers hardly ever tell the whole story. I'll bet that there are a lot of nuances about which, I hope, Michael can provide additional details.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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What is the population of Findlay? Is it a college town or just a small town?

According to Nationmaster.com, Findlay's population was 40,175 at the time of the 2004 census. You can click on the above link for more details.

=R=

Thanks. I suppose I could have looked it up. 40,000 is small - I think of Bloomington as small but it's closer to 75,000, I think.

Well, the numbers hardly ever tell the whole story. I'll bet that there are a lot of nuances about which, I hope, Michael can provide additional details.

=R=

i've passed through bloomington and it is a booming metropolis compared to findlay. to be brutally honest, the risk of opening in such small town is huge, but i can't let myself get discourged. when i drive by the packed parking lots of chain restaurant after chain restaurant i can't help think that people want something better. they just haven't found it yet. i truly believe that if you give people a quality product with great service at a fair price, you can be successful just about anywhere. hopefully i can survive the wal-mart mentality and develope a devoted clientel.

one of the main stumbling blocks i've experienced is acquiring a licquor license. it is quite possibly the most bizare and unfair system i have ever seen. the number of licenses issued to a municipality are based on population. so there is a finite #per town. once they're gone it is impossible to get a new one. so in order to sell alcohol you must find someone to sell an existing license to you. currently the going rate is between 40k and 60k. this is insane! i think this is a big reason why chain restaurants are so predominent in ohio. they have no problem spending this kind of cash. are there any other states like this? well regardless i was fortunate enough to find one for the low low price of 45k. thankfully the owner was willing to sell on a land contract with no payments until next may, but a balloon payment of 20k at that time. not to mention a yearly renwal fee from the state of $2,844.

friday is a big day at the restaurant. 3 steel beams weighing a total of 2000lbs. are being delivered. this is my plan to support the 2nd floor. i'm no engineer but everyone seems to agree that this will work. the only problem will be getting them 12ft. off the ground into place. we haven't figured out how to do this yet. but once these are in the building we can go ahead and put the storefront on. i should have preficed this with the fact that the building was built in 1890 and has had little if any structural improvements since.

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[

i've passed through bloomington and it is a booming metropolis compared to findlay. to be brutally honest, the risk of opening in such small town is huge, but i can't let myself get discourged. when i drive by the packed parking lots of chain restaurant after chain restaurant i can't help think that people want something better. they just haven't found it yet. i truly believe that if you give people a quality product with great service at a fair price, you can be successful just about anywhere. hopefully i can survive the wal-mart mentality and develope a devoted clientel.

one of the main stumbling blocks i've experienced is acquiring a licquor license. it is quite possibly the most bizare and unfair system i have ever seen. the number of licenses issued to a municipality are based on population. so there is a finite #per town. once they're gone it is impossible to get a new one. so in order to sell alcohol you must find someone to sell an existing license to you. currently the going rate is between 40k and 60k. this is insane! i think this is a big reason why chain restaurants are so predominent in ohio. they have no problem spending this kind of cash. are there any other states like this?

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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Small world. I recently moved back to Fremont, Oh. ,about 40 minutes north east of Findlay. My daughter, still back in Elgin,Il. is dating one of the original partners of TRIO (RIP). We had the pleasure of dining there with both Shawn McClain and Grant Atchez performing thier magic. When you are open it will be a must see for us as you are well aware of the dining oppertunities that face us here.

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  • 2 months later...

sorry i haven't posted anything in months. it seems like only yesterday i had the grand idea of posting to this forum daily. i guess it's not a total shock that opening a restaurant would be a little overwelming.

i think the restaurant will be open in september. nothing is set in stone. i will definately be opening without a liquor permit. there is a problem with back taxes from the previous owner but it will eventuall be cleared up. we are dangerously close to running out of funds but i think we will skate by. the design of the restaurant is turning better than i expected. the only potential problem is being ada compliant in the bathroom. i've done my best to make it work but the existing space was extremly small and awkward. i think i might 1or 2 inches off on the position of the toilet. i hope they let it slide.

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If anyone can help me with this, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Can anyone explain to me how the process works into getting investors and while making the business plan, do you need to know the location before hand or can you decide that after the business plan has been made and you've gained investors?

Im extremely confused on how it all works... :wacko: ..hope I'm not the only one. :unsure:

"cuisine is the greatest form of art to touch a human's instinct" - chairman kaga

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If anyone can help me with this, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Can anyone explain to me how the process works into getting investors and while making the business plan, do you need to know the location before hand or can you decide that after the business plan has been made and you've gained investors?

Im extremely confused on how it all works...  :wacko: ..hope I'm not the only one.  :unsure:

Actually, you can do it either way. Some times investors just know they want to invest in you and go for it.

As for making a business plan, normally you just have to have several options for locations and budget the estimated cost (and you should probably leave a lot of room for it being higher) into your business plan. This is if you're approaching investors with a business plan. If you get the investors to invest, then it comes down to how much money you'll have versus where it'll fit and where you believe it'll be successful. Some Chefs just approach investors with an idea and several menus to see if the investor will actually put the money into it, and the investors will help in finding a location. If you approach a bank, you will need set numbers and I think a set location (someone correct me if I'm wrong) All in all, yeah, the whole process is a huge confusion after another.

I do believe however that Bull here is his own investor. You could ask David Coonce though how he got his investors.

But back to the Revolver-- how's the construction going and do you have a planned opening date? Also, do you have any menus designed that you could post here?

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If anyone can help me with this, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Can anyone explain to me how the process works into getting investors and while making the business plan, do you need to know the location before hand or can you decide that after the business plan has been made and you've gained investors?

Im extremely confused on how it all works...  :wacko: ..hope I'm not the only one.  :unsure:

Actually, you can do it either way. Some times investors just know they want to invest in you and go for it.

As for making a business plan, normally you just have to have several options for locations and budget the estimated cost (and you should probably leave a lot of room for it being higher) into your business plan. This is if you're approaching investors with a business plan. If you get the investors to invest, then it comes down to how much money you'll have versus where it'll fit and where you believe it'll be successful. Some Chefs just approach investors with an idea and several menus to see if the investor will actually put the money into it, and the investors will help in finding a location. If you approach a bank, you will need set numbers and I think a set location (someone correct me if I'm wrong) All in all, yeah, the whole process is a huge confusion after another.

I do believe however that Bull here is his own investor. You could ask David Coonce though how he got his investors.

But back to the Revolver-- how's the construction going and do you have a planned opening date? Also, do you have any menus designed that you could post here?

My potential investors have all aproached me. I have cooked for them in the past and they are local entrepreneurs I know well. We have no locations scouted yet, and I just have the basic outlines of a menu, but I am in no big hurry, having just gotten married a week ago. I think I am fairly lucky, though, in regards to investors. Banks are skeptical of restaurants.

"A culture's appetite always springs from its poor" - John Thorne

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i did not have investors but i was around when shawn sue and peter were getting ready to open spring. i believe that most of the investors were patrons of trio and the rest were family. fortunately i did not need a business plan because i was not asking for a loan or looking for investors but i do recall chef mcclain going to an attorney and having a prospectus(i think that is the right word) drawn up. which is another word for a business plan that you give to potntial investors. maybe if peter is following this thread he could shed some more light on the situation. i also should add that no bank will give loans for restaurants unless they are secured. but there are sba loans available but those are matching fund loans(i think) i'm sure that that process is extremely tedious and painstaking but it can be done.

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I have a friend who is currently putting together a restaurant. He has a group of investors but no location. He's had a couple of near misses with potential landlords but has not yet been able to succesfully negotiate for a space. That doesn't matter to his investors, with whom he already has ongoing personal and business relationships. They know him and they have confidence in his abilities. But, my friend understands that if this doesn't go well, the investors will never be there for him again. So, he's being extraordinarily dilligent in getting the right location and the right deal for the location.

What I've learned from 'watching' him go through the process, is that there are seemingly countless variables which come into play during the process. Some prospective landlords, who own property where a restaurant occupies only part of the space, are more negotiable if they know that a big-name chef is in the mix. They figure that 'big name' could draw traffic to the location's other retail outlets. I imagine that there's no 'one way' to start a successful restaurant. You've got to work with the resources you have and have the skills to parlay them into your ultimate goal.

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

LTHForum.com -- The definitive Chicago-based culinary chat site

ronnie_suburban 'at' yahoo.com

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