After 7 years, my investment in a sushi restaurant has ended with a buy out from the primary investor/owner. My best friend, chef/owner wanted to keep running the restaurant, but it no longer fit my long term investment of time and money.
What I learned from this experience
- Running a restaurant is very difficult because of the long hours, low margins, a lot of temporary/short term staff and unpredictability of the enviroment around you.
- Going into with a friend, much less your best friend is great when things are going well, but fraud(sp?) with challenges when money and different priorities are at odds with each other.
- Getting into a LLC without legal respresentation to write up clauses for clear exits makes exiting the LLC messy and non-deterministic and will tear apart any friendship.
- Restaurants can be profitable, but not a huge money maker and it’s usually a labor of love.
My friend wants to continue running the restaurant after buying out all 3 investors, I think he will do well for himself.