Another week, another story from Bruce Buschel, the Times resto-blogger extraordinaire. In this update, Buschel tells his doubters that yes, he does have a business plan for his future fish-only Bridgehampton restaurant. He looked to the greats for inspiration, analyzing why places like Nick & Toni's, Laundry and David Loewenberg's trio have been so successful over the years, when many have not. Two years ago, Buschel crunched the numbers with an industry vet, only to crunch them again and again, after the recession set in, Lehman Brothers went under, and Mark Bittman wrote an article about why no one should be eating fish. Four contractors later, the restaurant started to take shape, and a business plan, one the Buschel believes to be pretty good, was finalized.
Avoid a hefty key fee and a long, ever-increasing lease by buying a place with important permits in place. Eateries are finite around here and therefore always in demand. Every penny spent will come back one way or another. If the restaurant fails, change the concept or rent the space or sell the property. Create a folksy place with funk.
Assemble a crackerjack team.
Open the best fish restaurant in the Hamptons (where none exists west of Montauk).
In October, after your first full summer season, sit down and read the numbers, not the tea leaves. You will know where you went astray and where true you stayed. Adjust.