Posted 18 October 2011 - 10:04 AM
I have quite a bit of experience in raising sums of money like the one you need. I also have some experience in raising money for a restaurant. This info is what has worked well for me, and I learned it from other people who it worked well for also. Do with it what you will...
1. You need very detailed projections for the first year of the business. VERY detailed. I suggest a spreadsheet that lets you present a number of scenarios. (e.g. yield on each brisket, change if the price of beef goes up, goes down, etc.) I would seriously look at bringing in a professional to help get this in line. For the restaurant and bar business, your "upside" is about having full tables all the time. YOu need to show potential investors what the bottom line looks like if you are packed and what happens if you serve only 2 tables on week nights. There can not be too much financial information.
2. Facility - location is everything (as you know). Building a freestanding structure should be the last thing from your mind. Find an already existing location you can use. If it has been a restaurant before, dig and find out why it closed - maybe the location was not very good.
3. Raising money - this is hard, but it has to be done. You need to make a list of EVERYONE you know that does not live month-to-month. Then, you need to rank those people based on how much liquid you think they have. Then you need to pick up the phone, invite them to lunch/coffee and pitch them on the idea. While this may seem awkward, it shouldn't be. Why not? Well, you believe this business will be a success don't you? With every fiber of your being, right? And you will work hard, as much as it takes to make it succeed, right? There isn't a doubt in your mind? Well then why wouldn't you want to ask people for money? You are giving them a chance to share in your imminent success. You are giving them a chance to get in early on this awesome thing of yours that is going to be super successful. The only reason you should feel awkward is if you don't truly believe you will be successful, and if that is the case then maybe you should rethink this whole thing.
ETA _ I lost lots of friends when I raised money for an idea that ultimately didn't work. With the knowledge I have now, I never would have gotten involved in the business. Understand that if you lose people's money it will be the first thing they think of when they think of you. There is no way around it and the ramifications for failurer are real. People who invest money in you for things like this do so because they believe a in you. If you fail them, then they will no longer believe in you. That's a high price emotionally
4. How to structure the fundraising - this model has been used by at least three successful restaurant groups with which I have worked here in Central Texas.
Lawyer creates Partnership and LLC. You are the LLC and serve as General Partner of the partnership.
GP owns 90% of the company, LPs own collective 10%. This values your business at 1.5 Million but your family and friends probably won't get too hung up on this.
PPM created (including accreditation disclosure).
30 shares at $5,000 each are pooled. ($5,000 per share keeps the riff raff out and means that you won't have to deal with 100 different investors wanting updates all the time).
I suggest making it a 2 share minimum, but that's going to more depend on what kind of people you will be pitching.
All money is escrowed until all of it is raised. This motivates you to close the deal and gives investors comfort that you aren't going to raise 10k, spend it, then be out of luck.
No payments for 12 months. This allows you to focus on the business and not worry about cashflow (presuming you are actually selling some BBQ).
Monthly written updates to all investors via email.
Payouts made quarterly with 90% of dispersed cash going to the LPs until their initial investment has been recouped.
Once initial investment has been recouped, split drops to 50/50 until the LPs have DOUBLED their money.
thereafter, payouts are 90% to the GP and 10% to the LP. I've seen it work where the GP can buy out the LPs at this point but that can be tricky.
IF (big if) you can double their money in three years (which would mean you have netted $465k in that time frame) then your LPs will be calling you begging to open another location.
There's a science to walking through windows.