Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Restaurant for Sale"

I spent a large part of the last weekend checking out 5 restaurants that were up for sale in Bangalore - a friend of mine wanted to see if he could get a bargain and jumpstart his business quickly. Kindly see my previous post on this topic to understand my perspective on buying a restaurant that is for sale - http://restobizindia.blogspot.in/2011/03/buying-existing-restaurant-business.html.

Here is my assessment of the ones I checked out this weekend.

1) "iT***e" Restaurant in Belandur (Green Glen Layout): This small restaurant located amidst a thriving residential area was interesting. Started just about 2 months ago, the owner had shut it down primarily due to operational difficulties with staff. This restaurant would work well as an all day Darshini or Sagar (interior changes required especially in the customer seating area to suit a Sagar) or as a low cost multi-cuisine restaurant (the restaurant can pretty much be used as is) with a strong delivery and take-away model. If you get the place at a bargain, it may be worth considering.
Pros: Low Rental, Reasonable Kitchen space and equipment, Ground Floor.
Cons: Sale Price (owner looking to recover entire investment made), Location is poor for a typical restaurant (will only work for select models).
2) "P*****i" Restaurant in JP Nagar: This is a large multi-cuisine restaurant (2800 sft) that has been running for over a year now. Though the restaurant is in on the 2nd floor, visibility is excellent, is located at a major intersection and a lift facility is available. This place can work as a reasonably priced restaurant with a bar (like a Bhagini) - liqour license will need to be obtained. Alternately, the space can be split into 2 parts and 2 restaurants can be created in the space while using the same kitchen to dish out the 2 different cuisines - e.g. Indian and Chinese.
Pros: Reasonable rental for such a large place, Large space for kitchen, Location has potential
Cons: Second Floor, Interiors have a worn-out look (so investment needs to be made in renovation), Kitchen plan needs work (which means more investment).
3) Taste of Punjab in Whitefield: This place was Spice'n'wok for a few months, and Saffron Patch for about a year prior to that. Located on the 3rd floor of a building that has clearly been built for offices poses a huge disadvantage for this space, though there are some positives - great frontage on the main road, ample parking (in front of the building and in the basement), generator back-up for the entire building and very low rentals for such a space in Whitefield. This place will work for a fine dining concept restaurant (especially one that is already established and has brand recall) - significant investment will need to be made for the interiors (including possibly installing a capsule lift).
Pros: Very low rentals, Parking
Cons: Access to the floor poor (narrow alleyway, small lift), 3rd floor, Significant interior investment required.
4) P***i Restaurant in Banasankari 2nd stage: This is a very old run-down restaurant in not such a great location, but on the Ground Floor. This space will work for a Sagar or a Darshini - but the entire place has to be worked upon (including the kitchen space). So you will need to consider this as leasing a building and doing everything from scratch.
Pros: Low rentals
Cons: Nothing in the restaurant can really be used (old & worn-out), location not great for non-Darshini/Sagar type concepts.
5) S****K Restaurant in Koramangala: This was an interesting one. The restaurant is on the First floor of a corner building in a decent street (high footfalls). The restaurant interiors are not bad (can suit multiple reasonable price concepts). There is a very large kitchen and cooking area on the 2nd floor. The BIG negative is the customer access to the restaurant - very narrow staircase and alleyway. Just this access issue makes this space unsuitable for a restaurant. The only model I see working here is a low priced "Mess" style restaurant with a very strong delivery focus.
Pros: Reasonable Rentals & Sale Price expected, Highly usable space, Separate pantry near the restaurant area.
Cons: Customer Access, Operational issues with cooking food in the 2nd floor and bringing it to the first floor.

At the end of this trip, I am even more convinced that buying a restaurant that is up for sale is not such a good idea, unless you get the place at a bargain/throwaway price AND the rentals are ridiculously low AND you are convinced that your concept will surely (200%) work there.

I will try and track what happens to these places in the next several months and post an update. 

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