Tomorrow morning we are meeting with Brian Abbey from DCM, who will be our GC for our Marlborough store opening. Last week, Marc and I spent several hours with Five Guys' construction guru Brian Gill going through every inch of the architectural plans and kicking off ordering. Basically, we order the equipment and then Brian and his crew are responsible for receiving and of course installing it all.
The franchise-restaurant equipment list creation is pretty systematic and pretty painful, and that's even if your architect has labeled things very clearly on the drawings. Most don't. Basically, Brian (or your favorite frachisor) goes through the architectural blueprints inch by inch to come up with what we need to order. For us, this includes:
- fryers and fry baskets (one set for blanched fries -- blanching is key to great fries)
- walk in coolers
- refrigeration systems
- tables and the "15 minute" chairs, thus named because you don't want to spend more than that sitting on them
- legs for the tables (yes, these are a separate order)
- soda dispensers and icemakers
- work stations
- kitchen utensils, including fry cutters and grill accessories
- ketchup dispensers
- POS (point of sale) system
If this doesn't sound fun, it's not. Each has its own set of vendors, none of which supply credit of any kind, in this or any other type of financing environment. 5 Guys has approved (or owns) most of these vendors, but in some cases, is changing its mind week-by-week on what constitutes an "approved" order. For example: we had to get approval for our fry basket order and were informed by 'corporate' that the certain type of fry basket we were instructed to by is actually NOT approved by TRAINING or OPERATIONS (their capitalization, not mine). And you thought the TSA was hard to deal with.
Luckily BB&T, our financing partner, is making paying for these items as simple as possible by pre-funding invoices as we send them. This is better than the usual standoff between waiting for things to arrive before they get funded, but not being able to order anything without 100% cash up front. How is someone supposed to run a business that way? It makes you wonder how anyone who doesn't already have credit can start a business in this environment.
So after a lot of hard work, we are ready to roll on construction. For posterity's sake, here are a few pictures of what the site looks like before we begin construction. I have also included a few pictures of the signage both on the strip center's main sign, and in the window.