Our first restaurant build out - before and after!

69 Replies

Hello All, 

The commercial RE forum seemed like the best place to post this.

I just wanted to share before and after pics of our first bar/restaurant build out!  This is our first project and we have certainly learned a lot!  We went from a gutted space that was basically an old industrial building and we built out a full kitchen with walk in cooler/freezer, 70-tap draft beer system (not yet installed in the after pic), full bar, and 80 seats inside with an additional 35 seats on a 600 sqft covered patio.  This is the first of 12 units that we will be building, and after many delays and unexpected problems we are FINALLY going to be opening our doors.  I have certainly learned that things never go as planned, and you have to be able to adapt very quickly in this business!  Enjoy!

@Dave Hurt

A gutted industrial to food service. I just can't imagine the type of traffic & customer base that you can be attracting to these industrial zoned location.  

The area must be changing to fit this type of investment. Can you describe a little more on the location & market; so I can understand a little better.

Also interested to find out what is your cost/seat.

Yes - echo the sentiment, would love to hear more details if you can share -- general location, (are you the property owner, contractor, restaurant owner, etc)?

Something I'd like to learn a bit more about. 

Going to throw a wild guess and say the delays were due to permitting/local officials?  HA

Thank you @Richard Dunlop and @Ryan W.!

@Tom Yung it is in an area has transitioned from an old warehouse/industrial district to a hip neighborhood for young professionals with hundreds of new luxury apartment units, retail shops, restaurants, etc.  The space was functionally obsolescent and the highest and best use was definitely restaurant or retail - it just required a heck of a build out!  

@Shane H. we are actually the restaurant owner and YES the delays were due largely to permitting and local officials.  It is in the South End area of Charlotte, NC.

Good for you Dave! My family bought an industrial sewing facility and built out I nto a Polish restaurant up here in the metro Detroit area. 25 years later it's still   turning a nice profit.

Good luck with the new venture, I'll have to stop in once we're moved into the Charlotte area! With 12 more units planned, you must be franchising? Something I always wanted to get into...

Cheers!

Very cool. What is your experience in the restaurant business? Are you going to be working in the business? What led you down this path? How did you finance it? Bank, Private investors, etc? What is the breakeven timeline? Stabilized ROI? Would love to hear more about the story. Building looks great.

Originally posted by @Dave Hurt :

Hello All, 

The commercial RE forum seemed like the best place to post this.

I just wanted to share before and after pics of our first bar/restaurant build out!  This is our first project and we have certainly learned a lot!  We went from a gutted space that was basically an old industrial building and we built out a full kitchen with walk in cooler/freezer, 70-tap draft beer system (not yet installed in the after pic), full bar, and 80 seats inside with an additional 35 seats on a 600 sqft covered patio.  This is the first of 12 units that we will be building, and after many delays and unexpected problems we are FINALLY going to be opening our doors.  I have certainly learned that things never go as planned, and you have to be able to adapt very quickly in this business!  Enjoy!

Great looking place and best of luck in your business venture! It truly is a accomplishment to get that first one up a running, and seeing the customers enjoy the atmosphere.

 I have had alot experience with a couple fast casual restaurant/bar build outs in the Atlanta area. Those headaches will never go away for you next build outs. Be strong and firm on your LOIs and be on top of city codes. And know those the long sleepless nights of going over budget will be coming :-)  

Apologies for the delay everyone - it has been opening week and needless to say...a bit hectic!

@Greg Mucha thank you!  Yes we are franchising - this first project has certainly had its bumps along the way, but we will take what we've learned and apply it to the next to (hopefully) have a smoother build-out and opening!

@James Slaughter haha you are right!  I find that I have more and more 'luck' the harder I work!  I see you're in Davidson - if you're ever in the South End area let me know!

@Jasmine S. thanks!  Today was our first day open to the public and it went well.  If you stop by please let me know what you think of it!

@Katie Neason lots of questions!  We used a combination of bank financing and our own capital.  I have worked in the industry, but have never been an owner.  I was led down this path basically when the opportunity presented itself to secure the franchise rights to a large territory through a partnership.  As of now, I still have a corporate job, so my role is more behind the scene, but as we grow I will transition into the business full time.

@Dawn Brenengen the restaurant is called [redacted].  It is an upscale craft beer bar with a full kitchen, wine, and cocktails.  We would love if you stopped by next time you're in CLT, and of course let me know!

Thanks so much @Mike Carino !  It was definitely a gratifying experience today to see all of our guests enjoying themselves - now the real work begins!

Hey @Dave Hurt so excited to hear the doors are open. I may try to make it out that way tomorrow but if not you'll certainly see me before the weekend closes I'm looking forward to spending my money on burgers and brews for a BP brother! 

Congrats and of course CHEERS!

Looks great!  Good luck on the rest of your journey...also, put Journey in the juke box.  It seems to be a universal bar prerequisite.

Is anyone interested in meeting up at [redacted] this Friday between 12- 2pm. I am looking to build relationships and network with like minded people. I can be reached @ 704 293-2587 Justice

Decades of experience in all facets of the restaurant industry before getting into real estate.

It is a very hard business.

Right now you have the "New Factor" as a restaurant. Do not get overly excited by lot's of business to check you out. That Is nothing that isn't normal.

I see owners hands on in the beginning and things are going well. Then owner get comfortable and believe things will hum along with the status quo. Biggest thing I see is they get cheap in the kitchen and use great products but have so-so cooks preparing the meals.

I want to repeat as it is that important. Many concepts have test kitchen facilities where they test product with quality ingredients and believe it tastes amazing. When sales fall flat at  a store location they can't figure it out. It comes down to execution of the product. You could have meat at 20 a pound costs but if prepared wrong it can taste like crap. Conversely if you have only decent ingredients but a great chef the dish can be made to taste great.

It is as much about skill as the products used. I eat out a lot for business and pleasure. I would rather wait 20 minutes longer and have poor service and excellent food then get good service with fast food that tastes poor to okay.

Consistency of excellent food will be a major key to your success of the restaurant. Your biggest killers to your bottom line will be keeping rents in place and increases over the years if you do not own the space, labor cost policies with people asking for 15 an hour, and having FFC's ( fixed food contracts where you have set food costs even in a rising market ). FFC's are huge for small operators because it is the big boy's advantage in that if food costs soar you can't pass along all of that to the consumers so it starts eating into your bottom line.

Another factor is long term planning. Right now the asset is new and fresh. Over the years it will get older and older. Classic mistake is the owner will hoard cash and live fat for years and make good bank. They will not allocate 80k per year over 10 years for a re-image.      

Good looking project! Thanks for sharing.

That looks like an industrial clearspan-type building with a steel frame and curtain walls. Is that right, and did it make the conversion any easier than with a traditional building?

Would you be able to share any data on square footage and improvement cost per sq ft?