For Patrick Saurette, the owner of the Marc Restaurant Group Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada -- operator of the four-year-old Marc Restaurant, a French bistro -- the resources he discovered on RestaurantOwner.com have added some much needed focus and perspective particularly during this startup phase.
When Patrick was preparing to open his new restaurant, a colleague familiar with RestaurantOwner.com's business plan template suggested he take a close look at it. "We had both been at this business for some time, and know we do not know it all and can always use a helping hand. My approach to RO was, if I learn one thing from the subscription, it will have paid for itself."
Once Patrick utilized the template, he recalls, "I received a major boost of confidence in the accuracy of my numbers and how we derived the information. Our accountant was very impressed with the fine detail, and suggested the final documents were perfect to show our investors without any further input from him. It saved us $3,000, I am positive."
One of the lessons that Saurette -- an industry veteran since age 14 -- has learned along the way is that, "While you think you know the business, you don't always know the business end of it. The benefit for me was to be able to see, almost at a glance, when you make an adjustment in the business plan template" what the effect would be. "It was zeroing in on worst and best case scenarios. So the main reason that I wanted to take a look at it was to make sure that we were down to the penny on most everything."
The template and the book that accompanies it, he recalls, "drew out a lot of interesting things like, 'Don't forget about what an industry average of takeout containers would be. Or what's the industry average of per-square-foot or per-chair revenue?' It made me look at things from a little bit more of an analytical perspective. 'Is this really an achievable number?' Because you can put numbers in and fool yourself. But, 'Really, am I accurate enough on my educated 'guesstimation' of this?' That helped me remember some numbers, be accurate with everything, and make sure that I didn't forget anything."
Access to RestaurantOwner.com's resources especially helped on the big-ticket items like payroll, leaseholds and the other monthly and fixed costs. "That's a big chunk," says Patrick. "I spent a lot of time on it, and at the end of the day you put the pencil down and you kind of go, 'I think we've exhausted everything. I think we have everything covered properly here.'"
While Patrick admits to us he doesn't look at the numbers as often as he should, he nonetheless checks them regularly to give him perspective when forecasting. "Where are we? Where did we want to be? Where do we see ourselves in the future? We actually exceeded expectations a little bit. I played it safe, but I preferred to play it safe and to have overshot a wee bit, but not too much."