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Our first business venture - The Red House

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by wez130, Jul 27, 2018.

  1. Beren

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 30, 2004

    Posts: 2,705

    Location: Auckland

    Nah I was a muppet, we were in Paihia and thought you were there. We are going up to Cape Reinga Tomorrow and staying in 90 mile beach... Hope to come in on the way past the day after.
     
  2. [FnG]MUGnolia

    Pancake

    Joined: Aug 29, 2007

    Posts: 25,105

    Location: Beads?

    Hey dude. I can't remember how well versed you are in Kiwi holiday periods but the summer holiday silly season hits NZ between mid December through to at least mid January. People are simply not around - they've gone abroad or up north or down south or wherever, and those who have returned to work will be in jandals and shorts for another week before things get almost back to normal by the end of Jan. I'm not at all surprised that you're not busy because even those people travelling will be be doing cafes on their trip back/away rather than anything like your place.

    Now, if come February things are still quieter then you might have an issue but everything seemed to be going well, Christmas hit, and I'm sure you'll be back up and running like normal once everyone is back to normal :)
     
  3. wez130

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 10,537

    Location: Matakana New Zealand

    You didn't ring did you? Someone called to book a table but thought we were in Paihia!
     
  4. wez130

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 10,537

    Location: Matakana New Zealand

    Really hope so!

    We put an offer on tonight on our facebook page offering a free beer to anyone who can finish our full rack of ribs. Not had a single customer tonight, it's really worrying.
     
  5. [FnG]MUGnolia

    Pancake

    Joined: Aug 29, 2007

    Posts: 25,105

    Location: Beads?

    Offers won't work when no one is there to take you up on the offer :) I know nothing about hospitality but if it were me, I'd be managing staffing levels and costs down to fit in your reduced opening hours, keeping a 'lite meal' option on the go and banging out as many flat whites as I could ... which will not be many. Let us know how the next two weeks go :)
     
  6. D.P.

    Caporegime

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 28,935


    The issue with any restaurant/bar/cafe, especially those that are not in a very busy downtown area, is massive fluctuations in demand. As Mugnulia says, you have to optimize staffing levels and operating costs. Quiet periods are the norm, and you have to minimize losses.


    Also, i don't know what it is like in NZ, but in Europe restaurants are closing down in record numbers. It is certainly not a business I would enter expecting success to be straightforward. Ypou also have to make sure you sell a service that the public wants, not what you personally would like. You seem very motivated to try out new things to attract customers. But how much market research have you done on this? Do people really want a karaoke? I would certainly avoid any place that even advertises karaoke. Live bands sound good, but not everyone wants loud music. For those that do, how many want to drive out to your restaurant?
     
  7. fretted

    Hitman

    Joined: Jan 4, 2010

    Posts: 528

    Have you thought of offering free flights from the UK to forum members with every meal bought? I'm sure that some of us might take up on that offer :)
     
  8. randomshenans

    Capodecina

    Joined: Sep 11, 2009

    Posts: 10,311

    Location: France, Alsace

    Agreed. :D
     
  9. Hades

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 19, 2002

    Posts: 21,083

    Location: Surrey and London

    Whereabouts are you located? Is there any other trade you could attract? For example renting the space out during the day to someone to host a yoga class, etc? Or offering coffees and sandwiches for commuters passing in the mornings? There is quite a trend for digital nomads nowadays so how about advertising to that market to get some people using your tables and wifi during the day while selling them food and coffee? Is there any spare storage space you could rent out?
     
  10. Beren

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 30, 2004

    Posts: 2,705

    Location: Auckland

    Yeah that was muppet features truly. Going to head up to you in the weekend instead all being even.
     
  11. wez130

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 10,537

    Location: Matakana New Zealand

    We are trying all sorts of ideas, i'm hosting a poker night next Thursday which should be fun, had some interest in that so we'll see. We've been doing flyer drops and we are trying our best to improve the kerb appeal outside on the road too. We're reaching out to mums, looking at a 'doggy day care' thing for dogs and their owners, anything that will work.

    Had a bit of a better day today, still nothing to shout about but on a par of what we'd usually do on a Thursday i guess. Social media interest is up there but not many seem to follow through for some reason, maybe i'm spamming it too much! We had a guy come in before xmas enquiring about subleasing some land off us which would have been great for us but the landlady has put a top to that for some reason.

    Haha

    Just be aware, we've got 2 massive 30+ cover tables on Saturday so i'm going to be really busy. However, we've got live music on Sunday afternoon from about 4.30pm if that interests you :)
     
  12. dirtychinchilla

    Sgarrista

    Joined: May 2, 2011

    Posts: 8,440

    Location: Woking, Surrey

    Regarding the karaoke, I'm no business expert but would it not make more sense to hire someone to do it once or twice, and if it builds traction then purchase the gear yourself? Could be a $700 investment instead of $2k, and someone professional to show you the ropes.

    With regards to your signage, personally I'd just reach out to the landlord and tell them what effect you think it's having on you. Presumably it's in their interest that your business is strong because it ensures that you'll renew the lease next year or whenever your tenancy ends.

    Very nice of you to drive people home btw. I'm convinced getting back from the pub is what motivates the self-driving car industry.

    I hope it starts to build up again for you.
     
  13. wolfie138

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jun 8, 2013

    Posts: 1,910

    is it worth you sweet-talking local newspaper critics to come for a meal to get a review, or have you already done that?
     
  14. Maccy

    Commissario

    Joined: Nov 23, 2004

    Posts: 34,075

    Location: Back in Blighty

    To add to that, is there anyone nearby that has a good social media following who could come in and help promote it for you in return for a free meal?
     
  15. wez130

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 10,537

    Location: Matakana New Zealand

    The investment - or return on investment would still be better than hiring someone a couple of times, one thing we are definitely doing is open mic, it is popular here so the gear will get used. We've been quoted from a friend $200 a time for them to host the open mic, so even that on it's own would still be worth purchasing tjhe gear. Then we've got brewers coming in to talk about their beers, and we're talking about battle of the brewers where the brewers compete against each other. There are 4 local breweries which we use, and all the brewers live in the same house so they know each other and have a good craic so that will be interesting. So all in all, the $2k investment will be worth it rather than hiring people for different events.
    All in all, even if it doesn't work, we would still not lose more than $700 it would have cost to hire someone twice if we sold the gear, it holds its value very well, going from experience.
     
  16. wez130

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 10,537

    Location: Matakana New Zealand

    Good to meet you today, hope you got home safe, and hope we lived up to your expectations :)
     
  17. Beren

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 30, 2004

    Posts: 2,705

    Location: Auckland

    Definitely, you have a really great spot there and the food was awesome.

    You know about the signage, you need to get a sign up at sheepworld...

    Also it doesnt cost much to print an A2 sign, the traffic really backs up into Warkworth and people are driving slow enough to read them. Pick the best review or your lunch deal and stick it far enough up the road that someone can have a quick chat with anyone else in the car (or themselves!) and decide to come in. It might seem a bit wierd to a Pom... But everyone else down SH1 is doing that.

    Otherwise you have a good team a good menu and you definitely know how to cook.

    Keep the faith, I know you have had a hard couple of weeks but I think you will do ok there. We will definitely be back and bringing some friends to spread the word.
     
  18. wez130

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jan 31, 2004

    Posts: 10,537

    Location: Matakana New Zealand

    Cheers for the kind words, we try haha. We've had a pretty good day today, it's been fun, but more importantly, we're generating more business from family of those that came today as they are planning to come back for parties too, which is great!

    I hear what you're saying about the review, and we have taken it on board and it's something we will do very soon.
     
  19. Beren

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 30, 2004

    Posts: 2,705

    Location: Auckland

    Awesome, also saw that dumb review sometimes people are just idiots and the internet lets them have an opinion. Dont let them grind you down!

    Jen said that perhaps you need to focus on the place having one crowd, the toys in the corner and the family fun days are pushing one way and perhaps the live music etc is going another. Not sure myself, but she is sometimes good at thos stuff.
     
  20. MassiveJim

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Feb 22, 2014

    Posts: 1,444

    Are you referring to the facebook review ?
    smacks of a false review to me. (likely from a competitor)