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Questions & Answers

Posted by George Kapogianis on 2014-05-07 14:50:15
Title: When out is the option but darkness appears... I’ve been a successful restaurateur for the past 9...
Category: Leadership

When out is the option but darkness appears... I’ve been a successful restaurateur for the past 9 years with my Father. I grew up in the business and seen the sacrifices my Father made to help support my brother and I. Both my Father and I built our current restaurant from the ground up. I had a marketing job a 3M Canada when I approached him to get into business together. He takes care of the back of house and I take care of the front of house. We’ve been a great team, with our share of battles over the years. He plans to retire next year. We don’t have a succession plan in place, as our initial agreement was to get out in 5 years. 5 years turned into 9 as we’ve diversified and invested in commercial/residential real estate. We wear all the hats in the restaurant (owner, manager, HR, marketing, accounting, buying, selling, opening, closing, etc.). This has allowed us to lower our payroll and invest in things such as real estate. You’re probably thinking, why not take over the restaurant? We’ve been looking for quality cooks for 5 years. Working in a small Town near larger City’s is tough for recruiting quality cooks. Wearing all the hats has put us at a disadvantage for times like this when my Father plans to retire. Removing my Dad would be a burden to the restaurant. I could step in my Father’s role in the back of house and hire a front of house manager, but my passion isn’t to continue owning the restaurant. I’m still looking for my passion in life. My work experience far outweighs my college education. Guess, my question is where do I start? Should I go back to school? If so, for what? I’m young and have a family to support. My ideal transition would be with a market leader building a brand with some flexibility to be home to watch my little guy’s soccer game. I’m lost as to where my work experience can get me outside of the restaurant business. I’ve focused 9 years of my life to become successful in the restaurant industry; I’ve lost touch with the outside business world. What I do enjoy about entrepreneurship is the daily moving, shaking and creating.

Answer:

Lisa Taylor
2014-05-15 17:19:54

Hi George,
Thanks so much for your question which asks about succession planning for your family business as well as deeper concerns about how you will explore, find and land the right next step in your career.
Let’s start with you, since you deciding what you want to do next in your career will make a difference to what happens with the restaurant.
In your question you highlight many talents that you have, from partnership to operations, from success in a tough industry to customer facing relationship building. Aside from owning the restaurant, you can still experience the “moving and shaking” you enjoy about being an entrepreneur. You could start another business or you could seek out an existing firm that has a highly entrepreneurial culture.
Before you take any action to seek out a next step or register for a training course, I highly recommend you take some time to consider the criteria you need to have met with your next move. Challenge Factory calls this the career SweetSpot and it includes your passions, talents, needs (including the soccer games) and market. You can learn more about finding your Sweetspot here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc113jYT3Es
Jim Stewart, President of ProfitPath, a Toronto-based consulting firm that works with many family businesses takes a practical approach the options you have related to the restaurant. He advises:

"Since your father plans to retire next year and your passion isn’t to continue owning the restaurant you have 3 alternatives. Find someone (maybe other family members) to run it; sell it as a going concern; or close up.
If you don’t want someone else running it, selling offers a better return on 9 years’ work. You might have enough time to get the best price possible if you start work now. Or, just put it up for sale and negotiate the best deal you can get.”

By focusing on what you want and then exploring what to do with the restaurant you will be able to build a plan that sets timelines to the changes for you and your father so you each have time to prepare for what comes next. Best of luck.

Lisa Taylor, President, Challenge Factory Inc


George Kapogianis
2014-05-16 15:28:25
Followup question:
Hi Lisa, First off, thank you. Exactly what I needed to hear. The restaurant is for sale and has been for almost a year. There is a small market of buyers out there for restaurants…even profitable ones like ours. I watched your youtube video and visited your website. Your formula and coaching is exactly what I need to find my true work passion. Would you be willing to coach me in my journey? If so, what is the best way to contact you? Thank you, George

George Kapogianis
2014-06-12 11:37:24
Followup question:
Hi Lisa, I contacted your office last Friday (June 6). I have not heard back from you. Could you kindly contact me at your convenience at 519-476-7966. Thank you. George

George Kapogianis
2014-06-12 11:37:33
Followup question:
Hi Lisa, I contacted your office last Friday (June 6). I have not heard back from you. Could you kindly contact me at your convenience at 519-476-7966. Thank you. George

George Kapogianis
2014-06-12 11:38:00
Followup question:
Hi Lisa, I contacted your office last Friday (June 6). I have not heard back from you. Could you kindly contact me at your convenience at 519-476-7966. Thank you. George