Restaurants have Karma! They really do. Karma isn’t something you see exactly, it is something you feel. A restaurant's Karma is something you feel the moment you walk into a restaurant.
I first discovered the idea of restaurant karma many years ago while working in several college dormitory cafeterias at the Hotel School at the University of Denver where I was a student. We were required to work in three almost identical facilities as part of our work program and I discovered an amazing thing. The feeling of each cafeteria was different even though the facilities and the food were identical. The difference between them, (and the differences were dramatic), was caused by the person managing the facility. The personality of the manager affected not just the attitude of the employees but the quality of the food, the cleanliness, speed of service and no doubt the bottom line. I worked in all three locations and I found myself changing, in a sense, taking on the personality of the person in charge in each facility I worked in.
I have been involved in the restaurant business virtually all my life. I have worked in restaurants, managed restaurants, had ownership in restaurants, and have bought and sold hundreds of restaurants. When I walk into a restaurant for sale I stand back and try to "feel" what is going on. I look at the big picture, and I look at the smallest detail. I look at everything from the smallest detail such as the cleanliness in the cracks of the grout in the bathrooms to the "big picture" items.
I also learn a lot about the restaurant by asking the staff simple questions. When I ask a question, I am not only looking at the answer, I am looking at the attitude of the person giving the answer. Ultimately, what I have learned is that the karma of a restaurant is directly related to the person or persons who have the most control over the running and development of the restaurant. Sometimes the person, who created the concept, is not the person who manages it on a daily basis. Believe me, when you meet the owner and you meet the manager, if there is a big difference between them, you will see it in the operation.
I think that sometimes, an owner or manager is not able to feel his or her own restaurant because they are so integrated into the fabric of the business. In this sense, they can’t see the "forest through the trees".
The way you treat your employees, your vendors, your customers, it all comes back to you. And keep in mind everyone has strengths and weaknesses. A restaurant with a strong tough no non sense owner or manager will have a different feel than a restaurant with a "happy go lucky" type owner/ manager. Trust me, the restaurants will feel different. And chances are, the owner or manager won't even know why. The karma of the restaurant will be a direct reflection of the characteristics of the owner or manager. So goes the person, so goes the karma.
When I valuate a restaurant, naturally I study the financial performance of the business, but I also take into consideration the karma of the restaurant or how it feels when making my estimate of value. I am interested in not only knowing what the results are, but why and what needs to be done to make them better. Understanding a restaurant's karma is just one aspect of the art of brokering restaurants.
About The Author: Jeff Back is the founder of J. Back & Associates Restaurant Real Estate. - specializing exclusively in assisting buyers and sellers with: buying, selling and developing restaurants, bars and nightclubs. View more information about Jeff Back at J. Back & Associates & his listings or phone him direct at 925-736-8200 about selling or buying a restaurant in Northern California.
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J. Back & Associates Restaurant Real Estate was founded in 1988 as the first bay area real estate company to specialize exclusively in restaurant real estate. I am the past President of Charley Browns restaurants and have been involved in the restaurant business for over 35 years. 925-736-8200.
|Timothy Cunha, J.D., Business Broker, Northern California
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|Taj Randhawa, Business Broker Specialist - Gas Stations, Liquor Stores
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Assisting both sellers and buyers of businesses - dealing mainly with Liquor Stores, Grocery Markets, Gas Stations, Smoke Shops, Restaurant Related, Retail Related, Service Related. Serving SF Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento area. Call Harry Sidhu, CBB for assistance at 510-366-6130.
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