Home' Bars and Clubs : BAC MarApl 2016 Contents PICKING YOUR
BC You know you're ready when
you find the right site. And you've
got the cash.
JM Property really dictates your
moves, especially in the current
market. You can be eager and ready
to open that second venue but
if you don't find the right site it's
bored. When we start to get bored,
we're like 'well, what are we going
to do? We need to do something
else'. When we had filled the place
up with taxidermy [Shady Pines]
and there was no more taxidermy
around nearby we were like 'oh, ok'.
ME From my side it was more
about what deal we could get. Site
is very important as well and we're
always thinking about the area
SPEAK REAL ESTATE SPEAK
ME Getting a rent free period is really important, you don't
want to be paying rent before you open the doors, shit happens,
but a really good rent free period, and sometimes they will offer
a contribution as well, to the fit out. That can sway a deal and
obviously help you to build what you want to build.
HW Be careful with a contribution clause though as they often
sting you on the other end with rent. And don't get emotionally
attached to a venue either. We did that with Bondi Hardware. You
need to be strong enough to let it go and walk away. If you're
ready to walk then you have always got the upper hand in a
negotiation. But if you fall in love with it and you're not willing to
let it go, then they'll smell it and it's over.
JM I think we're all really fluent at reading real estate
proposals now because we've all looked at so many. I remember
when I first started -- real estate people aren't the easiest people
ally confusing. Go out and ask people, I've had quite a few people
bring me deals and you know it takes experience to work things out -- what does that rent free period equal for you? What are
your terms and what are your options? When is your market review and when does it come up? All of those things for people who haven't looked at
them a hundred times, they go 'the rent is really cheap', yeah but you've got a market review in two years and you're in the middle of a hotspot so it
will triple. Sometimes it's really hard but it's an amazing industry to be in and when people come and ask me to look at things I generally always help
them out. Take your time. Kittyhawk took us five months to sign the deal, and you have to be prepared for it to cost you a lot in legal fees and even
to get to the point where you let it go, it can cost you five to 10 grand and you have to let it go. But you have to be smart. Take your time and seek
the right advice. A lawyer and an accountant are your best friends.
BC If you're a first time operator you usually don't have the sort of credibility to negotiate with the landlord but as you get a reputation, the
landlord wants you. They want a long term tenant in there and they know you've done other venues so they're willing to negotiate a bit harder. Our
first venue, Bondi Hardware, has not nearly the same deal that we're doing now when we open venues because we were nobody back then.
FINDING A NEW HOME
JM Location is definitely key and depending on what you want to do -- everyone will have an idea of
what they want to do for the next venue, they might not have a theme but they have an idea -- is what
you choose. With Kittyhawk, opening soon, I always wanted to do a much bigger cocktail bar, a monster
cocktail bar, and when that location popped up it was a hotel licence, was a pub, in the back of my mind
I didn't know what the theme was going to be but I had an idea and you just have to consider, will that
idea work in that location and can it survive -- look at the rent, look at all of that. Pull every site apart
that comes across the table and see if it will stack up and work for the right amount of time and the
right amount of investment. You have to be in there all the time too, in a 60 pax -- if you want to pay
yourself out of it, you have to be in there all the time working it. It's hard -- the lockouts put you in a bit
of a corner right now when you're looking at existing sites. Once one pops up we're all of us all over it
and then it's a matter of who's willing to pay what and how quick you're willing to move on something.
It's a difficult market.
BC Location, that is definitely one, and making sure the site has a bit of character to it. You can
always build character in but it helps a lot if the venue has character before you move in there. But what
comes first? Theme or site?
AF I reckon both. And I think a deal too. Having a space that's already got a license and a DA is
imperative. To go through a whole DA process is a nightmare and no one really wants that. So snap onto
anything that is a good deal, that already has a licence, already got services, toilets, electricity, those
are big pluses. Something that is really important to us is scale as well. Finding the right size is really
hard and it's got to have all the nuts and bolts as well. It's hard to make good money on a bar that is 60
pax and under. You can do it, but you've got the same staff as you do in a 120 pax bar.
HW We did Bondi Hardware from nothing. We'll never do that
ain. We knocked it over in about six months, which isn't too bad.
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