Restaurants being sold
I've noticed several restaurants in C'sted being sold. Does anyone know if this is due to a large decline in business or do owners turn over that often. Also is this happening with the other businesses. When I was down a few weeks ago it looked slower than in the past but didn't think it had affected the economy that much.
There are always restaurants and bars on the market. Some of them have been listed for sale for years without selling and others change hands frequently. We have had fewer tourists on the island this winter, due at least in part to the mild winter the east coast has had, but the majority of income that the restaurants and bars make here is from year around residents rather than tourists.
The wife and I are considering either buying or opening a restaurant in the Virgin Islands. She has experience as an operator and grew up on STX.
The Aristocrat Café and Tivoli Gardens appear to be recent listings in the MLS. I’m wondering about the ones that aren’t listed. I have seen spaces and businesses listed in the VI Daily News, The Source, and Island Trader from time-to-time.
We’ll be taking a closer look at business opportunities when we visit the islands early next month. If you are aware of an existing or closed restaurant (on either STT or STX) that isn’t listed, we’d definitely like to take a look. Thanks in advance for all your suggestions and help.
This is no way trying to put anyone down but why is it there are so many restaurants for sale on stx and always so many people willing to buy one even before they set foot on island. The turn over rate for restaurants is worse the stateside. Food costs are MUCH higher, labor goes from being unreliable (not showing up & drinking on the job) to criminal (theft), most locals do not eat out as often as statesiders do and tourism has seem to have gone down every year in the last couple. STX seems like an horrible place to start a restaurant for me, maybe it'll change in 5 years if any of these resorts get built. But who knows if even that will definitely happen?
I often have the thought that someone who came in and started a new restaurant instead of just taking over an old one would be better off much of the time. The old restaurants come with a lot of baggage in most instances, from a record of frequently changing hands to past owners having upset employees and/or customers, etc. The food and beverage industry here has all the complications it has on the mainland with some added twists thrown in. Even so, there are successful businesses to prove that it can be done if the right people are in charge and have the right concept for their business. Some of the successful ones aren't even in the greatest locations, so venue isn't the most important facet. There are parts of the island with very little available and yet many of the customers live in those areas (east end, for example). There are kinds of cuisine that can't be found here but that would be popular if well prepared and reasonably priced. Many of our more popular restaurants are difficult to get into on many nights of the week, so there is room in the industry for more players to participate without spreading things too thin. There are buildings in C'sted that could be renovated for restaurant use and there are always a few existing restaurants for sale. Styxx hasn't been serving food in some time and it would be nice if someone came along and managed to work a deal to take over their location and serve a good menu. The boardwalk is a popular hang-out place for residents and tourists alike. My personal feelings about Tivoli Gardens is that their lack of available parking is one of their biggest problems at bringing in a lot more business.
The new manager at Carambola Beach Resort is searching for a new chef to take charge of revamping their food service now that the resort is a Marriott Rennaissance property. We may soon finally have some high quality food available on the north shore! The bar food at various places is OK for what it is, but bar food does get old.
as a restaurateur in the business for over 30 years I have worked in the Islands most of my life (and worked here on STX also).....it is a simple problem (my opinion)......STAFF........without a good Consistent product and staff to serve it , no restaurant will succeed .........location location location is and has always been the rule, so the Bar food restaurant's that rape the costumer and embarrass the average palate seem to be the norm..........the food that tourists are used to in the states can not be found here and the service standards that have become the norm here are just embarrassing .......... food is not more expensive here , you can get anything here you can get in the states.........alcohol is much cheaper.......rent is average as well as power and gas..........so you can be successful if you are patient , can wait in line for hours and have been in the business and know the rules........12 hours is a half days work and a dime on the dollar is great money.....................there are a few of us here who are still looking for the " right " spot also............good luck on the hunt...........
Staff is definitely one of the key ingredients that makes some restaurants succeed against all odds and others fail despite what appeared to be a good business plan and menu. Tutto Bene consistently has one of the better staffs on the island and is always packed no matter what time of the year. Some places tend to be filled to capacity many nights even with cruddy service and mediocre food just because the location is popular (Brew Pub springs to mind).
The wife was raised on STX and grew up in the business. We’ve been talking about this for the last couple of years and she has mentioned some of the same issues that have been brought up on this forum.
I’ve read this board for a long time and come to realize that is staffing is an issue for just about every service business on the island. My wife has said that it’s very difficult to fire someone on the islands. It’s not that you can’t do it. The problem is that word gets around that you’re not a good place to work.
Food costs are high. Rent is high. However, the thing that is most difficult is the very long hours. My wife knows that the food and service will suffer if she’s not there every minute that the restaurant is open.
An ideal situation for us is to find a closed restaurant that has some equipment. That’s a more attractive proposition than a going concern. We made a trip to the islands six months ago and came very close to finalizing a deal. It was an ideal location that had been available for a couple of months but was leased the week that we were there.
I appreciate all the comments and suggestions. There are easier ways to make a living but this is what we have decided to do. I’m hoping that one of you good people could e-mail or post an opportunity that you might know about so we can put it on our agenda next month.
there are plenty of empty and full restaurants for sale all over the island........I would be thinking of my concept vs location.......who and what type of customer and cuisine do you want to serve.......totally different clientele at both ends of the island.......remember you will need front and back of house staff to run your concept........so size does matter.....also food cost here on STX is no higher than any where in the states, in fact it is lower .At the beach bars you pay $9 for a burger that costs less than $1.50 to put on the table,not a great per-plate profit but a good food cost and you pay $4 for a rum drink that costs $2.50 a bottle.......personally i would think of what kind of restaurant you want to run, then look for a empty restaurant where that specific clientele lives or is willing to drive to...... .......