OK, Dishers. We certainly learned a lot about the food reality TV business over the last week, didn’t we? Lord, I’m glad that soap opera is over. Let us now turn our attention a bit closer to home where another lovely lass in our fair city is attempting fame and fortune.
I’m talking about Ms. Gina Campisi, who is now in the process of getting the doors to her first restaurant, Fedora, open to the public. Last time, she shared some of the problems she faced securing permits. This week, she focuses on the finer points of how to find a location for a restaurant. Gina, you go girl.
“The Road To Nowhere”
Most people who want to start their own restaurants go about it in a systematic and somewhat logical way, with the starting point being a location. Perhaps somewhere they have seen that looks like a high traffic, highly visible, or under developed area, or even a new area that has a buzz surrounding it. Not me. (Jump with her, now)
My partner and I set out on a cold Dallas morning, at noon, the crack of dawn for those of us in the restaurant and bar business. We knew that Plano and Addison were a no as the one caveat for the location was close proximity to family and friends. (After stuffing yourself on complex carbs, no one wants to drive more than 15 minutes to find their pillows. Or at least that is our family credo).
Choice number one was McKinney Avenue. Starting at the north end, we endured the numerous orange cones and strangely Formula One-like curves and geometrically challenged configurations that define new construction, all in the spirit of looking at For Lease signs. And while we spotted many, it took several attempts at circling the block to actually be able to decipher the cryptic symbolism of the “REAL ESTATE SIGN”. Suffice it to say that these signs were clearly based on the SnellenChart for visual acuity used by an ophthalmologist. I needed better glasses, or a visit to Dr. Booth…that much was clear. Or perhaps the realtors might want to consider using a font that those of us who haven’t studied iconography are familiar with and sized larger than an electron. Just a thought.
The next challenge is to start making the calls……my first message to the realtor was a series of ums, short periods of silence, followed by another um. And I always felt I was an articulate person. Clearly, there were questions to ask that the giggles from my partner in the seat next to me told me I had not articulated. Not even close.
The four important questions to ask are as follows:
How much leasable space is available?
How much per square foot?
How much is triple net going to be? (A Triple Net Lease is also known as Net NetNet Lease or NNN Lease. This is a type of net lease in which the tenant pays all or part of the taxes, insurance, and maintenance associated with use of the property. These fees are paid in addition to the tenant’s regular monthly rent)
When will the space be available?
Well, I did receive a call back rather quickly, but perhaps it is because the only relatively coherent thing I had mumbled was CAMPISI.
Needless to say, as with everything I have learned in the last few months, I quickly became a pro at talking the talk, and was soon spewing forth such gems as Load Factor, Building Core, and BOMA. Sexy, right?
This search continued for several weeks, and many “almost deals” went belly up for a variety of reasons. Discouraged and ready to forget the dream, my broker asked me to look at a downtown space, in spite of my earlier reservations. And thankfully, I did so.
One Arts Plaza.
One Arts Plaza is the spot! From the cool people at the development company (Billingsley Group) who were truly interested in the concept, to the amazing tenants such as Paul Pinnell from Dali Wine Bar, who actually has given me wonderful help and advice, it all just came together, and I knew we had a winner. So I signed on the dotted line, and my adventure began. To say nothing of the anxiety, sleepless nights and the nail biting. But the road to nowhere is no longer.—Gina Campisi