Opening a Restauran...
 
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Opening a Restaurant

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blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

Gee whiz. After reading this you'd think that all the restrurants on STT are doomed to failure. NOT TRUE. Look at Oceana. I think finding a good location is key. Someplace with good parking that isn't too hetic or remote. I like the idea of small plates and a "loungey" atmosphere. There aren't many (or any) places like that on STT right now. you're smart to get solid education before starting up. I think allot of people think they can start a resturant and don't know the first thing about running a business or catering to a specific market.

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Posted : March 27, 2013 11:36 pm
dazajj
(@dazajj)
Advanced Member

STXBob, I'm not worried about good management. I've managed platoons of 50+ Soldiers as a PLT leader in the Army. I know how to manage people, when it comes to managing the restaurant part of things, i have the next 4 years to get that down, between going to culinary school and working at a restaurant, i should be ok..

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Topic starter Posted : March 27, 2013 11:40 pm
dazajj
(@dazajj)
Advanced Member

Gee whiz. After reading this you'd think that all the restrurants on STT are doomed to failure. NOT TRUE. Look at Oceana. I think finding a good location is key. Someplace with good parking that isn't too hetic or remote. I like the idea of small plates and a "loungey" atmosphere. There aren't many (or any) places like that on STT right now. you're smart to get solid education before starting up. I think allot of people think they can start a resturant and don't know the first thing about running a business or catering to a specific market.

thanks for the words of encouragement blu4u!!! i was starting to feel like i was living in a fantasy world... but yes i agree with you.. have you ever been to Havana Blue? the owner of that place, Eric Horstmeyer seems to know what he is doing... i'm trying to get in contact with him so i can pick his brain.. i want to open something similar to that place..

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Topic starter Posted : March 27, 2013 11:44 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

Not really, I think more along the lines of anyone trying to get into the biz right out of school, with not having a few years in a working kitchen is going to have a real hard time. And that's stateside, where the economy isn't struggling as badly. I certainly don't think it can't be done, or that dazajj wouldn't be able to make a go of it. My feeling on it is this. Get culinary degree, spend a few years in a working kitchen or many on the islands. Find out what works, what to avoid, and a niche that's not filled yet. Most importantly get an idea of what it is going to cost monthly so it's not such a shock.

I am not in any way doubting his drive or ambition or capabilities in any way. He's a fellow veteran and is capable of nearly anything. The economy and outrageous WAPA on the other hand.....

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Posted : March 27, 2013 11:48 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

Havana Blu is my most favorite restuarant on the island (or pretty much anywhere). I don't think it was cheep to start-up. Another good example is El Quenpo on Viequez. Both of these are island style - fine dinning. El Quenpo is more causal. The interiors make great use of island design and create a definite vibe. The food is fabulous and not what's typically found in resort locations (Typical=veggie burgers, Chicken Fingers, fries and ceasar salad)
Nothing moves fast around here, so enjoying a meal is the main event for a night out. Most of the other popular night spots center around hard drinking and pick-ups. I think a "nice" loungy spot with yummy small plates and the correct vibe would do well. We have a few "good" resturants with good food and alot of "places to eat". In my mind there is difference. I am a good cook and like to eat healthy, so I don't eat out much. I think I'm like alot folks these days. Why go out when you can cook better and relax in nicer setting than going out and dropping $$$. it takes something special to get me out the door. There are probably alot hotel and condo guests that feel the same way. They want to go out but don't want to drop $100 per head or stand in noisy bar.
Last year several restrurants closed the doors. In my opinion, none of them were all that good. Bad locations, bad food, bad vibe, crappy-up keep (like broken plastic chairs), scatter-brained help, lack of business management.

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Posted : March 28, 2013 12:17 am
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

Gee whiz. After reading this you'd think that all the restrurants on STT are doomed to failure. NOT TRUE. Look at Oceana. I think finding a good location is key. Someplace with good parking that isn't too hetic or remote. I like the idea of small plates and a "loungey" atmosphere. There aren't many (or any) places like that on STT right now. you're smart to get solid education before starting up. I think allot of people think they can start a resturant and don't know the first thing about running a business or catering to a specific market.

thanks for the words of encouragement blu4u!!! i was starting to feel like i was living in a fantasy world... but yes i agree with you.. have you ever been to Havana Blue? the owner of that place, Eric Horstmeyer seems to know what he is doing... i'm trying to get in contact with him so i can pick his brain.. i want to open something similar to that place..

Good luck with that. I heard his seed money came from his other lines of business. Try to get job in one of his kitchens--you may learn more.

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Posted : March 28, 2013 12:21 am
crazyflamingo
(@crazyflamingo)
Advanced Member

Blu4u beat me to posting words of encouragement, but here’s my advice:

I say go for it. No one ever says “I’m sorry I followed my dreams” or “I’m sorry I tried something new.” It’s always “I regret not doing………” Definitely listen to the advice of those who have the experience working in restaurants on the island. You can learn a lot from them but don’t let their experiences scare you away. If you are a risk taker like me, discouragement only pushes me to work that much harder to prove that I can do something and make it work successfully.

Good Luck!

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Posted : March 28, 2013 1:32 am
lc98
 lc98
(@lc98)
Trusted Member

There is nothing wrong with following a dream. But you also want to set yourself up for success in doing so. If your dream is to run a successful restaurant in the USVI, then pay heed to the suggestions from the voices of experience in this thread. I wish I had a dollar for every new business owner who's swept down here, spent a ton of cash, and had to fold up shop within a year or two because of unforeseen problems. That's why everyone is telling you to get some experience in both the business and in the islands before starting your own biz; there are too many sad stories out there. Do your homework, and if the reality still matches your dream after you've looked at what is really involved, then go for it! But keep in mind that running any kind of business down here is not a ticket to a slower-paced life. There are ways to get that, but running a restaurant, especially here, will not give it to you.

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Posted : March 28, 2013 1:58 pm
dazajj
(@dazajj)
Advanced Member

thanks for the advice everyone!! will take it all into consideration as i move forward...... Solar panels!!!! researching that next...

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Topic starter Posted : March 28, 2013 4:20 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

There is a thread on here (can't remember it now) not too long ago that went into the ins and outs of doing solar.

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Posted : March 28, 2013 4:25 pm
dazajj
(@dazajj)
Advanced Member

thanks VT2VI, i'll look for it...

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Topic starter Posted : March 28, 2013 4:29 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

dazajj, Are you an LT still? Or have moved up into CPT MAJ land? Feels like during the duty day i should be calling you sir out of habbit. 😛

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Posted : March 28, 2013 5:48 pm
dazajj
(@dazajj)
Advanced Member

hahaha, no need for that here. I'm an LT. I get out in a couple months.. only did a 3 year contract..

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Topic starter Posted : March 28, 2013 6:06 pm
Dreamer71a
(@Dreamer71a)
Active Member

Dazajj -- I am also looking at locating to the Islands within next 2 yrs. Comfort food would be great. I also am ex military - Navy -. If you get it up and going let me know.. I am an awesome homemade mac & cheese you can add to the menu. I will be looking for a job as well. 😉

Seriously, Go for it. Sometimes you have to jump. You can either succeed or not. but you will never know if you don't take the chance. If you able to get the backing and have a great business plan you just might succeed. Sometimes it just takes the right ambition and goal and drive to make it work. 😀

Good luck...

April/Dreamer71a

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Posted : March 28, 2013 6:07 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Gee whiz. After reading this you'd think that all the restrurants on STT are doomed to failure. NOT TRUE. Look at Oceana. /quote]

Oceana is indeed getting up there where longevity under the same ownership/management is concerned but even that's a relative newbie, opening in 2002. I'm guessing the #1 spot probably goes to Banana Tree Grille (formerly Entre Nous) which the Buckalews have owned and operated in the same location for something like 30 years now. I doubt you could come up with more than a half dozen at most which have been in business even 15-20 years but many of us could come up with scores in the last couple of decades which have only managed to last a couple of seasons. That statistic IS more the norm.

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Posted : March 28, 2013 7:13 pm
dazajj
(@dazajj)
Advanced Member

Dazajj -- I am also looking at locating to the Islands within next 2 yrs. Comfort food would be great. I also am ex military - Navy -. If you get it up and going let me know.. I am an awesome homemade mac & cheese you can add to the menu. I will be looking for a job as well. 😉

Seriously, Go for it. Sometimes you have to jump. You can either succeed or not. but you will never know if you don't take the chance. If you able to get the backing and have a great business plan you just might succeed. Sometimes it just takes the right ambition and goal and drive to make it work. 😀

Good luck...

April/Dreamer71a

Thanks Dreamer!! i definitely have the ambition, goal, drive, and backing. Come game time i will also have the right plan. One thing that i might end up doing that i didnt think about doing before, is actually moving down and working somewhere for a year or so... i just have to relook the numbers and whatnot.. but yeah, i might end up doing that. I think that would be a great idea..

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Topic starter Posted : March 28, 2013 8:10 pm
dazajj
(@dazajj)
Advanced Member

oh and yes, i will definitely hit you up! gotta look out for my veteran brothers/sisters!

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Topic starter Posted : March 28, 2013 8:11 pm
VT2VI
(@vt2vi)
Advanced Member

(tu)

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Posted : March 28, 2013 10:01 pm
Dreamer71a
(@Dreamer71a)
Active Member

😎

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Posted : March 29, 2013 4:52 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

There are alot of places which seem to have captured a share of the market. How 'bout utter delight? or the place above the ferry terminal (name)? French town deli? As crapy as Duffies is, and un-appealing as the location is, the place is always packed. Just goes to show what marketing can do.

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Posted : March 31, 2013 6:23 am
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

There are alot of places which seem to have captured a share of the market. How 'bout utter delight? or the place above the ferry terminal (name)? French town deli? As crapy as Duffies is, and un-appealing as the location is, the place is always packed. Just goes to show what marketing can do.

Udder Delite is hoping to stay open despite the closing of the St Thomas Dairy operation but to place a little shack selling (albeit absolutely wonderful) milkshakes in the restaurant category is a stretch. If by "the place above the ferry terminal" you're referring to the Petite Pump Room then it has indeed been around for many years, whether under the same ownership or not I don't know. And, again, Duffy's hardly fits into the restaurant category which the OP envisions. A little place in the middle of a parking lot known more for its bar, loud music and flamboyantly produced frou-frou alcoholic concoctions than a "restaurant". Nor is a deli a restaurant by definition.

There's no dispute that many businesses in many varied categories have stayed afloat through thick and thin but the OP has a dream of a large restaurant in a prime location and history demonstrates the financial impracticality of such a venture here. Best advice to the OP (which he now seems to be considering) is a move here and then working in the business for a few years to see whether or not his plan is viable.

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Posted : March 31, 2013 12:14 pm
AandA2VI
(@AandA2VI)
Trusted Member

In running a biz down here make sure you know the rules as far as employees go. BF says its very different hiring/firing/holding accountable. I'm so glad I'm not in management anymore. Lemme tell you, I did like my job stateside but running anything here or even being in management wouldn't facilitate a laid back beach life which is after all why I moved here. I'm happy to work for someone else and really enjoy my time off exploring other islands and remote spots. Heck I was lucky enough to land a gig with two awesome dudes, snorkeling and showing folks our beautiful island all day. ¡LIKE!

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Posted : March 31, 2013 1:40 pm
blu4u
(@blu4u)
Trusted Member

Ok Old Tart. I was merely trying to give guy some ideas of places that have been successful. I don't know why you'd poo-poo utter-delight, piet pump room, or french town deli or duffys. They all fit the resturant catagory. Good for anyone who can get up every morning, good to work and keep a roof over their head. I don't think it matters if you're serving up shakes or stakes. If you're making money, then mission accomplished.

At each of these places you sit down and enjoy a meal. Each has found it's own niche and seems to do well. Like you I don't know the coming and goings of the mangement. but obiviously, even if the orignal owner isn't in place, he/she was smart enough to sell, rather then be forced to close-up shop and take a total loss. There's no shame in starting a business, building, then selling--in fact that's called success in my book.

The OP seems like a smart guy with a plan. He's way ahead of the curve by doing research on what suceeds v. fails. Alot of the restrurants that have closed lately did't appear to be all that well run.

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Posted : March 31, 2013 2:00 pm
OldTart
(@the-oldtart)
Expert

Ok Old Tart. I was merely trying to give guy some ideas of places that have been successful. I don't know why you'd poo-poo utter-delight, piet pump room, or french town deli or duffys. They all fit the resturant catagory. Good for anyone who can get up every morning, good to work and keep a roof over their head. I don't think it matters if you're serving up shakes or stakes. If you're making money, then mission accomplished.

At each of these places you sit down and enjoy a meal. Each has found it's own niche and seems to do well. Like you I don't know the coming and goings of the mangement. but obiviously, even if the orignal owner isn't in place, he/she was smart enough to sell, rather then close-up shop. There's no shame in starting a business, building, then selling--in fact that's called success in my book.

The OP seems like a smart guy with a plan. He's way ahead of the curve by doing research. Alot of the restrurants that have closed lately did't appear to be all that well run.

I wasn't in any way, shape or form "poo-pooing" those establishments, merely pointing out that they're not in the category of the business which the OP envisages. As far as the "comings and goings of the management" is concerned, I referenced only the Petite Pump Room as the one whose history I'm not familiar with. The others I am, as well as that of scores of others. It's easy to make assumptions and presumptions about running a business here from the outside but, unless you've had first hand experience, you can't possibly understand all the ins and outs.

I'm sure the OP will make the right decision about his whole approach to the concept with due diligence.

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Posted : March 31, 2013 2:12 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

The Hook,Line and Sinker has been owned and operated by the same family since the late 80's - and it was QuarterDeck before that for years with pretty much the same concept.
Sibs has been doing business for a long time too, but has changed owners a couple times over the last 4 decades.
Tickles in Crown Bay has had good longevity, with one change of owners when the previous ones passed away.
Mims has been in business with Mim as the owner a long time.
Victors Hideout has been under Victors ownership for well over 30 years although they did move locations once.
Randy has owned his Bistro for a long time.

I hope Udder Delight can survive - they will have to find a reliable, affordable source for ice cream to do it.

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Posted : March 31, 2013 7:43 pm
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