Opening a bar

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Starting a Business? Consider These States

Want to Open a Business in 2023? Consider These States

by David Klemt

Philadelphia skyline at sunset

If you’re considering opening a restaurant, bar, nightclub, eatertainment venue, or hotel in 2023, you should consider these states.

As it turns out, according to Forbes, one state is the home to a major KRG Hospitality market: Philadelphia.

Per Forbes Advisor, Pennsylvania is among the top five states for starting a new business next year. In fact, the Keystone State ranks number four.

To make their list, Forbes analyzed all 50 states through the lens of five categories:

  • Business costs
  • Business climate
  • Economy
  • Financial accessibility
  • Workforce

Within those categories, Forbes examined 18 metrics. The result, as already stated, is that just three states rank ahead of Pennsylvania for this Forbes list.

Top 25 States to Start a Business in 2023

Below you’ll find how the top half of the list shakes out. Indiana, Colorado, and North Dakota claim the top positions. A low cost of living and “a business-friendly climate” put Indiana in the number-one spot.

One interesting reason that Pennsylvania ranks comes down to funding for entrepreneurs. Per Forbes, “total small business loan funding in Pennsylvania is double that of the national average.”

  1. Washington
  2. West Virginia
  3. Rhode Island
  4. Idaho
  5. Utah
  6. Wisconsin
  7. South Carolina
  8. Virginia
  9. Hawaii
  10. Mississippi
  11. Missouri
  12. New Hampshire
  13. Massachusetts
  14. California
  15. Connecticut
  16. Delaware
  17. Ohio
  18. Illinois
  19. Montana
  20. North Carolina
  21. South Dakota
  22. Pennsylvania
  23. North Dakota
  24. Colorado
  25. Indiana

However, the list above is interesting for another reason: the recent addition of consultant Kim Richardson to the KRG Hospitality team. Not only is Kim representing our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, office, she’s our rep for the Northeastern region of the United States.

That means she’s serving Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Or, put another way, Kim is representing KRG in six states on the list above. (Pennsylvania is in bold above, while the other Northeastern states on the list she’s representing are in italics).

Proceed with Caution

Now, a word of reason and caution. Just because someone tells you that a particular state or city is the best place for your business doesn’t mean success will follow automatically.

It really doesn’t matter how great the idea for your concept happens to be—long-term success in this industry takes hard work. And that work starts with the planning phase.

So, no, you can’t just throw a dart at the Northeastern states or a map of one of the states on this list and open your restaurant, bar, or hotel there. Site selection involves more than contacting a commercial real estate agent, viewing a few locations, and signing a lease.

There’s a long list of tasks that you must complete in the planning stage before you ever open your doors. An in-depth feasibility study, a KRG Hospitality specialty, identifies the best location for a specific concept. In actuality, the feasibility study includes several smaller tasks that must be completed.

Again, this is simply to determine the best place for a particular concept. There are many other tasks you must complete, each of which KRG is here to help you accomplish.

So, while this list is interesting, there’s much more for your consideration.

The Bottom 10

Since I know you’re curious, below you’ll find the ten states that represent the tail end of the Forbes list:

  1. New York
  2. New Mexico
  3. Vermont
  4. Michigan
  5. Oregon
  6. Florida
  7. Nevada
  8. Kentucky
  9. Oklahoma
  10. Kansas

Now, another word of caution. These states rounding out the list of 50 doesn’t mean they’re “the worst” for starting a business.

In fact, we’ve had great success in Florida, as one example. So, take this list with a grain of salt: there’s much more to consider for a hospitality concept to give it the best odds of success in any market.

Image: Dan Mall on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Most-stressed Cities in the US

These are the Most-stressed Cities in the US

by David Klemt

Deflated smiley face balloon in street

There’s a simple argument to be made that one characteristic the happiest cities share is being among the least stressful to live.

Yesterday we took a look at the happiest cities in the US, according to WalletHub analysis. Click here in case you haven’t yet read that article.

Today, let’s check out the most- and least-stressed cities in America. As with their happiest and least-happy cities list, WalletHub ranks 182 cities based on stress levels.

Of course, “least stressed” doesn’t mean “stress-free.” Nor should it—some stress is good for us. After all, stress can push us to perform our best, bring out our problem-solving creativity, and even energize us.

The rankings below may surprise you. Like me, you may even find yourself raising an eyebrow and disagreeing with some of them.

However, it’s a compelling list worth reviewing if you’re an operator, leadership team member, hospitality professional, or in the site-selection portion of opening a restaurant or bar.

The Top 25 Cities of Stress

When determining their results, WalletHub ranked 182 cities according to four main categories. Those categories are: work stress; financial stress; family stress; and health and safety stress. The categories consist of 40 key metrics in total.

I think it’s safe to assume that no city wants to be in the top 25 of this list, or even the top 50. Neither, I’m certain, does any city want to wear the crown of “Most Stressed US City.”

Unfortunately, someone must be number one. Below, the top 25 “Cities of Stress,” per WalletHub:

  1. Cleveland, Ohio
  2. Detroit, Michigan
  3. Gulfport, Mississippi
  4. Baltimore, Maryland
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  6. Memphis, Tennessee
  7. New Orleans, Louisiana
  8. Birmingham, Alabama
  9. Louis, Missouri
  10. Toledo, Ohio
  11. Augusta, Georgia
  12. Jackson, Mississippi
  13. North Las Vegas, Nevada
  14. San Bernadino, California
  15. Fayetteville, North Carolina
  16. Akron, Ohio
  17. Wilmington, Delaware
  18. Houston, Texas
  19. Montgomery, Alabama
  20. Shreveport, Louisiana
  21. Cincinnati, Ohio
  22. Newark, New Jersey
  23. Mobile, Alabama
  24. Columbus, Georgia
  25. Indianapolis, Indiana

Alas (I don’t get to use this word much), Ohio has four cities on this list. In fact, the Buckeye State has two cities in the top ten.

Of course, Ohio isn’t the only state with multiple cities in the top 25 stressed cities. Alabama has three cities among the top 25. Also, Mississippi and Louisiana each have two cities on this part of the list, unfortunately.

Cities 26 Through 91

As you’ll see below, Ohio shows up a couple of times in this portion of the list. However, so do a handful of other states.

For example, ten Texas cities land on this part of the list. That means Texas has 11 cities among the “top” half of the most-stressed US cities.

  1. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada
  3. Huntington, West Virginia
  4. Springfield, Missouri
  5. Dover, Delaware
  6. Norfolk, Virginia
  7. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. Newport News, Virginia
  10. Washington, DC
  11. Dallas, Texas
  12. Richmond, Virginia
  13. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  14. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  15. Bridgeport, Connecticut
  16. San Antonia, Texas
  17. Atlanta, Georgia
  18. Glendale, Arizona
  19. New York, New York
  20. Tucson, Arizona
  21. Columbia, South Carolina
  22. Columbus, Ohio
  23. Knoxville, Tennessee
  24. New Haven, Connecticut
  25. Brownsville, Texas
  26. Rochester, New York
  27. Casper, Wyoming
  28. Vancouver, Washington
  29. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  30. Jacksonville, Florida
  31. Corpus Christi, Texas
  32. Charleston, West Virginia
  33. Henderson, Nevada
  34. Phoenix, Arizona
  35. Modesto, California
  36. Wichita, Kansas
  37. Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  38. Little Rock, Arkansas
  39. Moreno Valley, California
  40. Louisville, Kentucky
  41. Stockton, California
  42. Spokane, Washington
  43. Fresno, California
  44. Miami, Florida
  45. Kansas City, Missouri
  46. El Paso, Texas
  47. Salem, Oregon
  48. Hialeah, Hawaii
  49. Los Angeles, California
  50. Fort Smith, Arizona
  51. Fort Worth, Texas
  52. Denver, Colorado
  53. Arlington, Texas
  54. Buffalo, New York
  55. Greensboro, North Carolina
  56. Bakersfield, California
  57. Fort Wayne, Indiana
  58. Providence, Rhode Island
  59. Tacoma, Washington
  60. Port St. Lucie, Florida
  61. Lewiston, Maine
  62. Laredo, Texas
  63. Cape Coral, Florida
  64. Grand Prairie, Texas
  65. Garland, Texas
  66. Aurora, Colorado

Cities 92 Through 137

This is where things begin to turn around, at least mathematically. This is the “bottom” half of the list.

Or, to phrase it another way, this section starts identifying the least-stressed cities in America.

  1. Portland, Oregon
  2. Ontario, California
  3. Lubbock, Texas
  4. Reno, Nevada
  5. Huntsville, Alabama
  6. Sacramento, California
  7. Amarillo, Texas
  8. Albuquerque, New Mexico
  9. Tampa, Florida
  10. Long Beach, California
  11. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  12. Fontana, California
  13. Tallahassee, Florida
  14. Las Cruces, New Mexico
  15. Worchester, Massachusetts
  16. Orlando, Florida
  17. West Valley City, Utah
  18. Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  19. Peoria, Arizona
  20. Riverside, California
  21. Mesa, Arizona
  22. Nashville, Tennessee
  23. Des Moines, Iowa
  24. Nampa, Idaho
  25. Tempe, Arizona
  26. Irving, Texas
  27. Oakland, California
  28. Grand Rapids, Michigan
  29. Charlotte, North Carolina
  30. Rancho Cucamonga, California
  31. Boston, Massachusetts
  32. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  33. Honolulu, Hawaii
  34. Oceanside, California
  35. Pearl City, Hawaii
  36. Anchorage, Alaska
  37. Warwick, Rhode Island
  38. Virginia Beach, Virginia
  39. Cheyenne, Wyoming
  40. Petersburg, Florida
  41. Chesapeake, Virginia
  42. Billings, Montana
  43. Lexington-Fayette, Kentucky
  44. Durham, North Carolina
  45. Santa Ana, California
  46. Jersey City, New Jersey

Cities 138 through 182

Finally, we reach what cities, according to WalletHub analysis, experience the least amount of stress.

  1. Salt Lake City, Utah
  2. Aurora, Illinois
  3. Santa Clarita, California
  4. Glendale, California
  5. Manchester, New Hampshire
  6. Paul, Minnesota
  7. Garden Grove, California
  8. Pembroke Pines, Florida
  9. Yonkers, New York
  10. Chandler, Arizona
  11. Oxnard, California
  12. Juneau, Alaska
  13. Anaheim, California
  14. Santa Rosa, California
  15. Chula Vista, California
  16. Charleston, South Carolina
  17. Raleigh, North Carolina
  18. San Francisco, California
  19. Huntington Beach, California
  20. Omaha, Nebraska
  21. San Diego, California
  22. Gilbert, Arizona
  23. Scottsdale, Arizona
  24. Rapid City, South Dakota
  25. Austin, Texas
  26. Seattle, Washington
  27. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  28. Missoula, Montana
  29. Boise, Idaho
  30. Nashua, New Hampshire
  31. Plano, Texas
  32. Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  33. Lincoln, Nebraska
  34. Portland, Maine
  35. Irvine, California
  36. Burlington, Vermont
  37. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  38. Bismarck, North Dakota
  39. San Jose, California
  40. Columbia, Maryland
  41. Fargo, North Dakota
  42. Overland Park, Kansas
  43. Madison, Wisconsin
  44. South Burlington, Vermont
  45. Fremont, California

Twelve of the cities on this part of the list are in California. Further, the least-stressed city in California: Fremont. If you read yesterday’s article, you know that WalletHub ranked Fremont, California, the happiest city in the US.

Image: Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Which Cities and States are the Happiest?

Which US Cities and States are the Happiest?

by David Klemt

Yellow smiley face ball

As an entrepreneur and operator evaluating a market for a first location or expansion, it can help to know where people are happiest.

Equally as helpful: Knowing the cities and states that are the least happy. Not, necessarily, so an operator can avoid these markets.

Rather, one’s concept may be a ray of stress-free sunshine for a given community. Providing a great workplace with a positive culture can work wonders for both the happiest and least-happy places. And as the cornerstones of the communities they serve, restaurants and bars can improve their guests’ quality of life.

We’ve looked at the US cities with the greatest inflow and outflow (which can reveal happiness levels), as identified by Redfin. And we’ve checked out the best US retirement cities, researched by Clever.

Now, we’re taking a look at which US cities and states are the happiest and least happy, according to WalletHub. In case you’re unaware, personal finance site WalletHub researches a vast array of topics. You can browse them here.

Happiest Cities

While determining which are happiest, WalletHub identified the happiest 182 cities. Obviously, that’s a far cry from how many cities are in the US.

According to one source, there 19,495 cities, towns, and villages across the country (per data from 2018). Of those, 4,727 cities have populations of 5,000 or more. A total of 310 cities have populations of at least 100,000, and only ten are home to one million people or more.

So, living in any of the 182 cities WalletHub suggests one is pretty happy. However, these are the ten happiest cities, in descending order:

  1. Fremont, California
  2. Columbia, Maryland
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. San Jose, California
  5. Irvine, California
  6. Madison, Wisconsin
  7. Seattle, Washington
  8. Overland Park, Kansas
  9. Huntington Beach, California
  10. San Diego, California

As you can see, six of the 10 cities are in California. In fact, 29 of the 182 cities on this list are located in the Golden State.

To create their list, WalletHub analyzed several metrics that make up three main categories: emotional and physical well-being; work environment; and community and environment.

Fremont, CA, is number one for emotional and physical well-being. The top spot for work environment goes to San Francisco, CA. And the number-one city for community and environment is Casper, Wyoming, which is number 79 on the list overall.

Least-happy Cities

Again, understanding that there are more than 19,400 cities, towns, and villages in the US alters the context of this list a bit.

Living and operating in one of these 182 cities indicates a person is living in a happy city. Basically, it isn’t the worst place to live if it’s on this list.

At any rate, let’s look at the 10 cities that make up the bottom of WalletHub’s list. Or, the “least-happy” cities, at least as far as these rankings are concerned.

  1. Detroit, Michigan
  2. Gulfport, Mississippi
  3. Memphis, Tennessee
  4. Huntington, West Virginia
  5. Montgomery, Alabama
  6. Cleveland, Ohio
  7. Augusta, Georgia
  8. Fort Smith, Arizona
  9. Mobile, Alabama
  10. Shreveport, Louisiana

Happiest States

WalletHub also ranked 50 states to determine the happiest and least happy. I checked, and, yep, that’s all of ’em! I will say it’s a bit disappointing they didn’t include Puerto Rico, but it isn’t the 51st state (yet).

WalletHub focused on 30 metrics to rank the states, which make up three main categories: emotional and physical well-being; work environment; and community and environment.

In descending order, the happiest states in America are:

  1. Hawaii
  2. Maryland
  3. Minnesota
  4. Utah
  5. New Jersey
  6. Idaho
  7. California
  8. Illinois
  9. Nebraska
  10. Connecticut

Hawaii doesn’t just take the top spot overall, it also claims number one for emotional and physical well-being. Utah takes first for work environment, and community and environment.

Rounding out the “happiest half” of the US are:

  1. Virginia
  2. South Dakota
  3. North Dakota
  4. Massachusetts
  5. New Hampshire
  6. Iowa
  7. Delaware
  8. Florida
  9. Georgia
  10. North Carolina
  11. Wisconsin
  12. Washington
  13. New York
  14. Maine
  15. Wyoming

Least-happy States

Conversely, the following are the least-happy states, starting with the unhappiest:

  1. West Virginia
  2. Louisiana
  3. Arkansas
  4. Kentucky
  5. Alabama
  6. Mississippi
  7. Oklahoma
  8. Tennessee
  9. New Mexico
  10. Missouri

Filling out the least-happy half of the country are:

  1. Alaska
  2. Michigan
  3. Ohio
  4. Indiana
  5. Texas
  6. Nevada
  7. Vermont
  8. South Carolina
  9. Kansas
  10. Arizona
  11. Colorado
  12. Montana
  13. Rhode Island
  14. Pennsylvania
  15. Oregon

In terms of the three metrics WalletHub analyzed, West Virginia is ranked last for emotional and physical well-being. Unfortunately, Mississippi is last for work environment. And Texas comes in last for community and environment.

Image: chaitanya pillala on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Leasing Game: Terms & Conditions

The Leasing Game: Terms & Conditions

by David Klemt

Rich Uncle Pennybags graffiti

Understanding the ins and outs of the leasing game means knowing the meaning of several legal and industry terms.

Winning at this game also requires a deep understanding of everything that’s in your lease agreement.

I addressed the importance of negotiating your lease (and more) yesterday. Today, let’s go over the terms you need to know.

A Warning

Before I run down a list of terms (as in phrases), let’s go over other terms you need to understand.

Namely, the terms for which you negotiated before you signed your lease. Let me reiterate: You know all of this before you sign your lease.

Do not sign anything unless you understand every word of every sentence in every paragraph on every page. If that seems overwhelming, pay a lease agreement attorney to analyze and advise you on a lease. It’s worth the spend, and please do this before you sign anything.

Why a lease agreement or real estate attorney? Because a lease agreement is a legal document. You don’t sign legal documents without knowing what’s in them.

Some Context

Based on the number of hospitality professionals that descended on Las Vegas last week, trade shows and conferences are back in full force.

KRG Hospitality attended the 2022 Bar & Restaurant Expo, formerly the Nightclub & Bar Show.

Friends of KRG, Invictus Hospitality (IH), presented a handful of sessions during the show. One of these was “Understanding the Leasing Game & How to Get Ahead.”

As I wrote yesterday, IH principal Homan Taghdiri hosted the informative session. He shared a wealth of knowledge every operator, new or veteran, should know.

The first bit of information was this: Know that you have the right to negotiate your lease. If someone tells you otherwise, they’re lying or they don’t know what they’re talking about.

As for the second piece of advice, see the section above this one.

Know These Terms

In this context, “terms” means words and phrases. Below is a list of terms that Taghdiri addressed during his session.

Note that I’m not sharing definitions, I’m sharing recommendations from Taghdiri’s session.

  • Tenant. This is you—individually—if you don’t have a business or other properties for a landlord to go after (sue).
  • Guarantor. You can negotiate the removal of your personal guarantee. As an example, Taghdiri suggested a clause stipulating if you pay on time for ten years, your personal guarantee is removed. After all, you’ve proven yourself for a decade.
  • Security deposit. Again, you should be rewarded for proving yourself and your concept. Negotiate a security deposit burn-off, like a month of security deposit removed from every year of the agreement.
  • Use of space. You need to know the following: current and future use(s) of the space; exclusive and competitive uses; obtaining conditional use permits and licenses. Bake in the ability to pivot, adjust, or modify your agreement. The pandemic exposed how important it is to understand use of space in several markets.
  • Force majeure. Another element exposed by the pandemic. Including a pandemic specifically as a valid force majeure trigger is a smart move on the tenant’s part.

Moving into the Space

Are you building the space out or is the landlord? Is it a combination of both?

Who’s responsible for delays? Is the landlord responsible for upgrades or refreshes over time?

You need to negotiate for and understand the following:

  • Premises delivery. When do you get the space? What’s the scope of work that the landlord must complete for delivery of the space? Is there a tenant already in the space? If so, when are they leaving? What if they don’t leave on time?
  • Landlord’s obligations. Is the landlord responsible for the HVAC, mechanical, electrical, and/or plumbing systems? Are they responsible for the roof on the building, the windows, and maintaining ADA compliance? Who’s responsible for the common areas, such as the parking lot and the lot’s lighting? As an example, how often are they required to repair, refresh, or resurface the parking lot?
  • Insurance requirements. You need to know what coverage, deductibles, and exclusions you’re agreeing to before you sign your lease. Taghdiri recommends asking for the proposed insurance clause and sending it to your insurance provider. If you can’t afford their insurance requirements, you can’t afford the space and need to walk away.
  • Miscellaneous. What are the security requirements for the space you’re occupying? For example, if you’re a nightclub, the landlord may stipulate how many security personnel must be working on certain days during specific hours of operation. Speaking of which, what days are you required to be open? What’s the minimum number of hours you must operate each day of the week? Should you find yourself in a shopping center with anchors, what happens if an anchor leaves? Are you required to address sound abatement?

Avoid Pitfalls

Understand the following before you sign anything:

  • Nobody can force you to sign a lease. Since there’s no such thing as a standard lease, you don’t have to accept whatever the landlord offers. If you don’t like the terms, don’t sign the lease.
  • Remember, a lease agreement is a legal document. Fully review and understand the terms. Never sign anything blindly.
  • Brokers aren’t “bad” but they’re not necessarily putting your needs before their own interests. If you’re going to work with a broker, find the right one for you.
  • Just like you need to find the right broker if you go that route, you need the right legal representation. Legal fees are worth it to understand your lease agreement. Just make sure you’re going to the right person to review it and give you advice.*

Combined with a willingness to negotiate (and walk away if you can’t get the terms you want), an understanding of the terms on this page will put you ahead of the competition. Happy space hunting.

*The information contained in this article does not represent legal or financial advice from any representative of KRG Hospitality, Invictus Hospitality, Bar & Restaurant Expo, or Questex.

Image: BP Miller on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

This is How You Win When Leasing

This is How You Win When Leasing

by David Klemt

Vintage sale or lease sign in Minnesota

At this year’s Bar & Restaurant Expo, the Invictus Hospitality team tackled a crucial step of any project: The lease.

Invictus (IH), friends of KRG Hospitality, know a thing or two when it comes to leasing a space. Principal Homan Taghdiri is a tenacious negotiator.

Case in point, an Invictus project in Orlando that opened during the pandemic. The space was owned by the city, which can certainly complicate matters. Taghdiri sunk his teeth in and refused to let go—for seven months. That’s crocodile or Komodo dragon patience.

The result? Favorable terms and massive cost savings.

Taghdiri presented “Understanding the Leasing Game & How to Get Ahead” at Bar & Restaurant Expo 2022. You know this show by its former name, Nightclub & Bar.

Knowing that when Taghdiri smells blood in the leasing water he’ll clamp down and death roll until he gets his way, I attended his session.

Before we dive in, know this: If we disagreed with the IH approach to leases, we wouldn’t share their tips. The information below would cost, as Taghdiri points out, about $2,000 coming from an attorney.

Of course, neither KRG Hospitality nor Invictus Hospitality is providing legal or financial advice in this article. I’m just passing along information, as IH was doing during their session.

Leasing Dos and Don’ts

If you take nothing else from this article and Taghdiri’s session, make it this tip: Do negotiate your lease.

“You have to negotiate your lease,” says Taghdiri. “It is a must.”

Not you should. Not you can. You must negotiate your lease. Neither of us can emphasize this enough.

In fact, it’s your right to do so. Which brings us to our first leasing don’t. Do not believe anyone who says you can’t negotiate a lease.

“Anyone who tells you that you can’t negotiate your lease is lying to you,” says Taghdiri.

And if they’re not lying, they just don’t know what they’re talking about. Either way, don’t listen to them. Walk or run away.

Also, do your due diligence. Knowing what you’re getting into before signing is on you. Taghdiri recommends you ask the following before signing anything:

  • What generation is the space? Is it brand-new? It’s first generation. Did the first tenant leave? It’s second-generation, and so on.
  • Is the space totally empty?
  • Does it have space allocated for gas, electric, etc.?

Ideally, you’ll find a second-, third- of fourth-generation bar or restaurant space. Why? They can provide massive cost savings to you.

Do fight for the terms that are important to you. These include amount of the lease, the length of the lease, and any incentives.

However, don’t over-negotiate your lease. Do put yourself in the landlord’s position. They’ve invested significant capital developing the space and they need an ROI. Pick your most important terms and negotiate them. You risk a landlord walking away from a deal if you negotiate every single item and make things difficult.

Lease Types

So, you’ve found your perfect space. Do you know which type of lease you want? Not certain which is right for you?

No problem, because Taghdiri broke them down during his session.

  • Standard. This is the easiest to explain because it doesn’t exist. A particular landlord may have “standard” lease, but their isn’t one that spans the industry.
  • Full service gross is the easiest of the actual leases. Everything is negotiated and clear in the lease, and you simply pay the agreed-upon amount.
  • Triple net is the opposite of the FSG lease. You pay your base rent. Then, your landlord passes on operational costs to you, which you also pay.
  • Percentage Rent. Basically, this is a hybrid lease. You pay base rent plus a percentage of sales. For example, you may pay natural breakpoint on top of base rent. This type of lease can be beneficial to newer businesses. However, some landlords do not like percentage rent leases.
  • Modified gross is, basically, any lease that isn’t an FSG. This is the most common lease, and it’s most easily explained as a modified FSG.

First-time operators or owners entering an unproven market will likely want to first focus on modified gross or percentage rent leases. However, FSGs are certainly attractive.

Length of Lease

Landing on a lease amount that you can live with is only part of the battle. Far too many people overlook the length of their lease, focusing too hard on the amount.

So, let’s take a look at some crucial factors you need to consider before signing anything.

  • Base Term. Let’s say you’ve invested several million dollars into your project. It’s sort of hard to imagine paying that investment off in two years, isn’t it? So, a two-year lease probably isn’t ideal. Give yourself the time you most reasonably need to open your doors and make money. Again, don’t focus solely on the amount of the lease.
  • Option Periods. Taghdiri explains term options thusly: “Jump into the pool safely before knowing what’s in it.” The real-world example is easy enough to understand. Agree to a three-year lease but bake one or two (or more, if you want or can) five-year renewal options into the agreement. Doing so means that you can trigger the renewal prior to the term’s conclusion. In other words, the landlord won’t be able to (easily) kick you out if you want to keep leasing the space. Just be aware that your landlord will likely also want to bake new terms into the agreement along with the renewal options.
  • Early Termination Rights. When it comes to this element, Taghdiri explains that this may be limited to longer-term (ten years or more) leases. Essentially, it’s what it sounds like. You should be confident in your concept before you even get to the lease stage. However, it’s not a bad idea to have an early exit plan in mind. So, you may be able to sign up for a long-term lease but bake in an 18- or a 24-month termination clause. Just remember that if you don’t exercise this agreed-upon right within the timeframe, you’ll be responsible for the original term of the agreement.

The Million-Dollar Question

You likely have a burning question searing itself into your brain right now. It’s a common question: “How much rent should I pay?”

There are a few ways to approach a satisfactory answer. The bullshit answer is, “Whatever you can afford for the space you really want.”

That’s the first step toward blowing a budget, blowing out already razor-thin margins, and skyrocketing costs.

One way to approach the how-much question is due diligence and comparables. What are the comps in your selected area? What are people paying in the neighborhood? What’s best for your business, and is that identified in your pro forma?

That said, Taghdiri did present a general lease amount rule. Try to keep your rent at 11 percent of gross sales, or less. Ten percent is even better, obviously. Anything less than that and you’re a master negotiator.

Image: Randy Laybourne on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

New Operators Can Reject the Old Models

New Operators Can Reject the Old Models

by David Klemt

Thinking differently planning concept with light bulb on chalkboard

There’s no reason new hospitality business owners and operators have to do what’s always been done.

In fact, new owners and operators are in a prime position to create entirely new business models.

If we’re going to change things and set the industry up for success in the future, we need to pursue different ways of doing business.

Industry Pioneer and Icon

Lynnette Marrero, widely known as a pioneer in this industry, is enjoying a career that should inspire all hospitality professionals.

After getting her start as a cocktail waitress at New York City’s storied Flatiron Lounge, she transitioned to bartender. In that role, Marrero was able to learn under Flatiron Lounge co-owner and bartending sage Julie Reiner.

She has created and consulted on world-class, award-winning cocktail programs. If you find yourself in New York City, plan to stop into Llama Inn and Llama San to experience Marrero’s menu programming.

Marrero is a James Beard Award and Spirited Award winner, a Dame Hall of Fame inductee, and the co-founder of high-speed all-female bartending competition Speed Rack.

Perhaps most importantly, she’s a mentor and an innovator helping to shape the career’s of new bartenders and hospitality pros.

And on episode 54 of the Bar Hacks podcast, Marrero encourages new operators to think differently about how they run their businesses.

New Models

Specifically, Marrero explains that new owners and operators are in a position to run things differently from the start.

“I think it’s a lot about changing your structures from the beginning. Don’t feel pressure to have to go into models that already exist,” says Marrero. “You can build new models and you can think about new ways.”

Making impactful change from the very beginning requires a change in how we think about running restaurants, bars, hotels, and other hospitality businesses.

“What does ownership look like?” asks Marrero, providing examples of new approaches to ownership. “Can you start a place that’s more profit sharing for staff? Can you build that in from the beginning?”

Offering further considerations, Marrero suggests that new owners and operators consider operational elements such as earned equity and co-op-style ownership.

In theory, such structures, which are certainly far from the norm, may lead to significant reductions in turnover, boosts to staff morale and engagement, and a more dynamic team. Putting different structures in place rather relying on the old models can lead to building teams invested in helping owners grow their businesses for the long term.

Change is Necessary

While established operators can certainly make changes to their existing operations, Marrero says that it’s easier for new businesses to do so.

In part, this is because investors know going in what the labor structure is, for example. They therefore also understand how the payback structure will work.

And that’s just on the investment side of the equation. On the labor side, new structures make it easier to recruit, hire, and retain staff.

Solving labor shortages leads to operating at full strength for full days rather than relying on shortened hours. Staff are less overwhelmed and costly turnover is reduced.

It’s easier to do things the way they’ve always been done. But rejecting the old ways can be far more fulfilling and profitable for everyone involved.

Image: Pixabay on Pexels

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Introducing the KRG Start-up Calculator

Introducing the KRG Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator

by David Klemt

The KRG Hospitality Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator banner

We are incredibly excited to announce the launch of a helpful new tool for new and veteran operators alike: the KRG Hospitality Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator.

It couldn’t be simpler to use, and it will give users an idea of how much funding their project will require.

Just enter the square footage you desire or that you know you’ll need. Then, our brand-new calculator generates more than 40 key costs for your review.

Know Your Numbers

New or veteran, single unit or multi, success in this business requires an obsessive knowledge of numbers.

Costs, in particular, are operators’ eternal opponents. People incur the greatest costs before they ever open their doors for business.

Now, that’s just common sense on one hand. Securing a location, kitting out a kitchen, building out the front of house—these are five-, six- and sometimes even seven-figure endeavors.

However, on the other hand, the massive costs that come with opening a new restaurant or bar are often the result of surprises or insufficient planning.

That’s where our calculator comes in.

Here to Help

There’s a reason that the KRG Bar & Restaurant Start-up Calculator populates more than 40 fields.

That reason is simple: preparation is key.

For instance, does your current plan budget for utility deposits, business insurances, opening F&B inventory, soft opening and launch month strategies, the complete array of construction or renovation costs?

Here’s a real-world example of our calculator at work:

Let’s say you want to open a 2,200-square-foot pub. At the minimum, you should budget at least $2,547 for business insurances and nearly $8,200 for opening F&B inventory. And you’ll likely want to set aside at least $14,806 for emergencies.

Try it out for yourself today!


As with any online calculator, this free calculator is to be used as an initial reference point. Every project is unique in its own way. Property and leasing costs, equipment, and renovation costs will heavily fluctuate based on market, concept, and the status/condition of a chosen property.

Image: KRG Hospitality