Anyway, George was very generous with his time and gave us some advice on making sure that our business is successful and that our customers are happy. Here are some of the highlights:
- Burgers, chicken and pizza are forever
- 5 Guys is a great concept - Most businesses never get to first base, but you just bought your way onto 3rd base. That's great. But it's not 5 Guys' job to get you to home plate. Follow their formula to the letter. Your job is locations and people.
- Make sure the first store is a huge success - the cash from store #1 is what enables the buildout of store #2 and the ability to raise subsequent debt. It is easy to get excited about the challenge of opening so many stores in such a small amount of time, but don't. Get that store right before tackling too many others.
- Hire really good food people - don't skimp on talent who knows the quick serve business. Get someone who knows how to train in languages other than English. I love the food business, and you seem like smart guys and are asking the right questions, but food is the hardest business in the world.
- Don't pick free-standing spots - in your territory, most of them are abandoned gas stations anyway.
- Rent should be no more than 10% of your sales, and preferably closer to 7%.