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restaurant / bar industry STX  

 

Tania
(@Tania)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 16
April 14, 2010 12:00 am  

Hi Everyone,

It's me again still trying to figure out how we will have income after we move to STX. We were wondering how the restaurant / bar scene is there. Is there room for one more? Would this be a business we could do ok at? We are not trying to get rich- just trying to figure out some way to have an income as we plan on this being a permanent move and our savings won't last the rest of our lives. Any suggestions on what type of restaurant or location?

Thanks to everyone!! You are all sooooo helpful here!!!

Tania


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chefnoah
(@chefnoah)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 531
April 14, 2010 12:11 am  

Boy oh boy, what a loaded question!

Property is expensive, WAPA is ridiculous, all food is imported and marked up for excise tax, unless it's a turnkey plan on tons of renovations, with those renovations expect very thick red tape, licensing is a nightmare, and there's a lot of competition.

It's possible. There's amazing restaurants that are both new and seasoned. It takes a successful formula to pay the bills and even make a dollar. There's much more profit from alcohol alone, but most people expect some sort of food from a bar.

You'll get plenty of feedback from this question 😀

Noah


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angel366
(@angel366)
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Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 2
April 14, 2010 1:00 am  

have you ever managed/owned a bar/restaurant in the states? it's a tough tough tough industry and the more experience you have--the better. i don't live in st. croix and have been researching my move--but my family owns a successful steakhouse in the states that has been open for 54 years. my fiance has also been in the restaurant business for 20+ years and is finally making some good money as a food and beverage director at a local country club. is it possible to make a really good income (in the states)--yes. is it easy? NO. there is a lot more to it than just ordering food/liquor and knowing what to do with it...its blood sweat and tears. and lots of lost money. if you know how the business works though---you might not actually lose everything you have and make a an above average living.

--also--please keep your signifcant other in mind. lots of people in relationships aren't built to have the person they love gone every evening and working 60+ hours a week. you can say you'll do it together--but in reality, that's just not feasible.

think long and hard!


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STXBob
(@STXBob)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2138
April 14, 2010 2:13 am  

A lot of restaurants on STX are for sale, which suggests that we have too many. But new, successful restaurants open here every year, so yours could do well too. The best ones seem to have hard-working, hands-on owners. If you let a restaurant run itself, it probably won't last.


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chockman
(@chockman)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 512
April 14, 2010 2:54 am  

Bob I agree with owner participation 100% . I figured that one out a couple years ago. If I ever forget that,please put a foot up my A$$. I'M already to old to be a drunk.


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Tania
(@Tania)
Active Member
Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 16
April 14, 2010 2:50 pm  

Thanks everyone for your comments. We do have experience in the industry and I agree owner participation is VERY important - even state side!! Sounds like it could be a possibility for us. I think our PMV will answer alot of our questions but this is helping us to decide where to concentrate our search time when we are there! Thanks again everyone and have a wonderful day!!


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Uuaww
(@Uuaww)
Advanced Member
Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 132
April 14, 2010 9:43 pm  

Read the STX Restaurant Review topic.

The general consensus is that we can live with higher prices but we expect higher quality.
You MUST stay on top of your servers and cut any bad ones out (and you will hire bad ones).
Location Location Location.
We all complain about the lack of Mexican and Chinese (that don't serve fries); but if your food isn't top notch, it will fail.
Find a niche to fill, we can can get plenty of quality fish here but we don't have a steakhouse; bars breathe life only in C'sted.

My personal opionion is that the North Shore lacks any kind of bar atmosphere place, F'sted lacks fine dining (outside of Blue Moon), C'sted is oversaturated, and the East End lacks everything but fine dining. I would love real Mexican but it has failed every time it has come here. Chinese food here is also lacking but I doubt that is your forte.


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stxer
(@stxer)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 184
April 14, 2010 11:14 pm  

Hi Everyone,

It's me again still trying to figure out how we will have income after we move to STX. We were wondering how the restaurant / bar scene is there. Is there room for one more? Would this be a business we could do ok at? We are not trying to get rich- just trying to figure out some way to have an income as we plan on this being a permanent move and our savings won't last the rest of our lives. Any suggestions on what type of restaurant or location?

Thanks to everyone!! You are all sooooo helpful here!!!

Tania

Welcome to the islands

If you have never been in the restaurant business, I would say...stay away. There has been a recent poster here 'chockman' who is in for a major shock. I spent several years in the resort restaurant business and learned many sad lessons. The most important is that you will probably never make it pay It is a tough no profit business, but be all need learn our own lesson.

You will make more money by saving your money and working for someone else.


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stxer
(@stxer)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 184
April 14, 2010 11:22 pm  

--also--please keep your signifcant other in mind. lots of people in relationships aren't built to have the person they love gone every evening and working 60+ hours a week. you can say you'll do it together--but in reality, that's just not feasible.

think long and hard!

Good comment
I thought I was avoiding the mistakes that others were making.

I ended up bankrupt and divorced

(but happy now) ...years and years later


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STXBob
(@STXBob)
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Joined: 14 years ago
Posts: 2138
April 14, 2010 11:31 pm  

but if your food isn't top notch, it will fail.

Nah. Location, live music, and other factors can overcome that.

Eg: Off The Wall restaurant on the North Shore, STX. Or the Brew Pub in Christiansted.

The food is good, but not excellent, the locations are awesome, the live music is good, and those places are packed on many days and nights.

Your restaurant just has to be appealing in some way. And don't forget to appeal to the locals. They will get you through the thin months.

There has been a recent poster here 'chockman' who is in for a major shock.

Ouch! Just keep in mind who used to run that place (Frank's Lobster Reef) before. Even at its worst, some people went there. If chockman only doubles the level of professionalism, he should be OK. It sounds like he'll do 10x better than Frank.


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chockman
(@chockman)
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Posts: 512
April 14, 2010 11:47 pm  

STXER. Chockman here. I;M coming to prove you wrong. Your saying places like Rowdy Joes,Eat@Cane bay,Off the wall, are all fools and don't make any money. What do I know,well they couldn't be open without making a profit, it is that simple. If you have dreamy eyed visions of laying on the beach while you hire everyone else to do work that you can do yourself,yes you would be mistaken. Get rich quick scheme,hell no.Bust my ass doing what I say . Yes. Why ? Because I can.

Are we going to be a perfect fit for your lifestyle ? I doubt it. I am smart enough to take advice when someone wants to help in their offering of advice. I find all of this negative crap flying around to be nothing more than one persons opinion. Call me out by name ? I'll be there soon enough. I understand everything that is going on there,as well as all of the politics involved. Like I said,we are not building the Ritz and you can pay in cash.

I'M still coming North Shore, and yes we will be a Bar / Grill. Some of you will like me and some of you won't. That's just a fact in life I guess. See you soon.

Chris Hockman


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chockman
(@chockman)
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Posts: 512
April 15, 2010 12:03 am  

Thank you very much Bob. I am going to do my best. I like Bars and I like good food as well as being around good people. I do believe most of us are going to get along just fine. You mention the locals, kind of funny but that is a very major issue for me. If I can't generate local clientele, I'M going down. Tourist can be great but I don't think I can survive on them,give me the local folks or send me packing. Thanks again . If you see the gate open in mid June,come down and introduce yourself.


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stxer
(@stxer)
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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 184
April 15, 2010 1:20 am  

sorry , I didn't mean to push any buttons, I'm sure you will work hard enough to avoid the obvious problems of the business.


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AllMashUp
(@AllMashUp)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 225
April 15, 2010 2:34 am  

Chockman...where is your place going to be? Is it the Lobster Reef that is behind Rowdy Joe's?


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chockman
(@chockman)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 512
April 15, 2010 2:55 am  

STXER. No problem here,at the time it just struck a nerve. Your welcome anytime. I'M fairly confident in the fact that I won't do everything correct the first time. Just don't make mistakes that will laterally break the bank.

AllMashUP. Yes it will be behind Rowdy Joe's. It is the old Frankie's Lobster reef. The Land Lord has really worked the place over, really good. Those of you who had been to Frankie's,might not recognize it now days. He really did a lot of work and I think he and I will have a great working relationship.

I spent 13 months on St John when I was a kid. I have fond memories of the native Virgin islanders. Scotty is no spring chicken these days but he reminds me of the way things were. He is one heck of a nice guy. I realize things have changed quite a bit since I was a kid in the 70's but with a little practice maybe,just maybe we can bring some of that back. I have a lot of hard work in front of me. However my motto is pretty much never surrender.


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margaritagirl
(@margaritagirl)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 539
April 15, 2010 1:17 pm  

Chockman, I love the Lobster Reef location, we use to go there a couple of times a week. Then it started to go down hill once Frank stopped cooking.
I love that you are keeping the mural, all of my friends are on there. I would of been on the mural but we were visiting stateside when the PIC was taken. Damn.
Just a few suggestions, bring in live music every once in awhile that really helps, there is plenty of space there. I loved when Frank use to have some of the members of the high school band play there on Friday nights. Great music. I think he payed them by fixing them burgers and fries. They also had a tip jar. You will need a waitstaff that is friendly, tell them to smile. I know it is hard work, some of the servers I see out there have such bad attitudes that I hate when I have to ask for something. I own my own business and I smile all the time. That's customer service. Believe me it is hard to do everyday but customer service is what makes a successful business. Also, like STXBOB said, remember the locals. We are here year round.
I'm looking forward to patronizing your restaurant.


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chockman
(@chockman)
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Joined: 13 years ago
Posts: 512
April 15, 2010 2:20 pm  

Hi Margaritagirl. I had a long winded reply to your post and my Computer started an automatic update and kicked it all out,UGGGGGGG.

Everything you mentioned is coming and then some I hope. Hiring locals ? Most definitely. Supporting as much local product as possible ? Yes we do. I hunt and peck on a keyboard,so I won't type everything I did previously,sorry. I like being around smiling friendly people,so smiles from the staff are coming. If they can't smile,they can't work for me very long. It really does not matter to me what someone may order,be it a Steak or an order of French fries all will be treated the same. I have some ideas that will benefit the employee's that we are going to try.

I promise to put a smile on your face when we mix you that Margarita,no fancy tricks,maybe a gimmick,but I think it will make you smile. A lot of hard work lays ahead and I look forward to all of it. It only took me 20 years of working for Uncle Sam to decide what I wanted to do with my life when I grew up,this place is it. Smiles you say ? All the way to my grave. I guess my only problem in life has been authority, I can't stand people telling me or demanding what I do. Advice,I like it and it will all be listened to and maybe implemented. I don't have all of the answers so I am coming to work and listen,maybe I can even fulfill a request or two. What kind of business are you into ? See you all soon and thanks for the great advice.


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margaritagirl
(@margaritagirl)
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Joined: 12 years ago
Posts: 539
April 15, 2010 5:19 pm  

Chockman, I sent you a PM.


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