Opening a Vegan Cafe - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 09-08-2005, 05:49 AM
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I work as a receptionist in a bank (for the summer break) and a couple of months ago, a lady came in looking for a business loan. I got talking to her in reception, and she told me she was starting up a vegan cafe. Having never met a vegan before, I gave her my number and said Id love to get involved in the project.



Apparently her business plan was perfect, it is a gap-in-the-market for our area and she got the loan. Now she has premises and is building up a good network of suppliers. I study marketing and advertising at university, so I designed her a (bloody good, if I do say so myself) logo and shop sign. My dad knows someone who makes shop signs, so I got her discount on that, and because my dad owns a timber merchants, he helped with the shop fitting (I think he was just glad I found a vegan friend because Im always complaining I have none)and gave her loads of discounts.



I helped her put together a menu, suggested, a Smoothie and Juice bar and generally put forward my ideas and some recipes. I never expected anything back I was just glad to have met other vegans, and the project gave me something to be excited about.



This morning she came into the Bank and requested we get a meeting room together. She then proceeded to pull contracts out of her bag that would give me a 2.5% share of the business. She said shes so grateful for what I have done and loves my enthusiasm and wouldnt have been able to do it without me. She was in a rush and just left me with a pile of papers.



I really dont understand contracts. My dad doesnt really want me to get involved any further, because he wants me to concentrate on my studies and he thinks Ill end up having to put my own money in. He said he thought it was just a fun thing for the summer and not to let it get serious. But I have really enjoyed this, and I am going to love working there when it is up and running. Its something I really believe in. Provided it does well, I think we could make something of this.



I have loads of ideas like introducing vegan-friendly clothing as a sideline, and Jill hopes to open other cafes. I really dont know if I should go for it. I was thinking maybe I could have a year out from study to work on this, and then go back. But my dad is really against it. Sorry this is so long, but what would you do?
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#2 Old 09-08-2005, 06:08 AM
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dude, just go for it. You know that if you don't get involved, it'll really take off and you'll be kicking yourself later. If you do decide to go for it and end up losing a few bucks in the end, eh, oh well... you'll get over it. If you feel like you're getting in over you head, just use common sense. Man, I wish I had an opportunity like that... good luck in whatever you decide
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#3 Old 09-08-2005, 06:10 AM
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Aww thank you. I am 90% certain that I want to go through with it, it's just convincing my dad that it's viable. It's not even the money as such, it;s the fact that I'm doing something I believe in rather than sitting learning about an industry (the media) which I do not believe in.
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#4 Old 09-08-2005, 09:09 AM
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This is so neat! I need to post a ton about it (sorry).



What I've seen in my generation (the one before yours) is a large number of people who go through years of expensive schooling only to realise shortly after graduating that they don't like their chosen field, or can't find work in it. They have huge debts and they're approaching 30 and many of them are left where they were after graduating highschool, wondering what they should do with their lives.



I would suggest finding out more about what you like to do before investing so much time in higher education, which means that I'm all for your proposed adventure in business. Even if it flops, you'll gain valuable insight on the kind of life you're suited to. If it succeeds, you'll get your start.



I'm not saying that your father is wrong; he obviously wants what's best for you and you should consider what he has to say very carefully. But at 19, the decision is yours. This isn't the kind of opportunity that falls into your lap with regularity, and sacrificing a year now is less costly than sacrificing four years and $??,000 to university if it ends up being wasted.



Ideas for talking to dad: Ask him if he's familliar with the current situation facing 20-somethings looking for work. Go on the net and find some articles on the subject. Ask him what long term effect the recent hike in gas prices will have on the economy and how many layoffs will follow. Show him the local want ads and point out the types of availabilities and wages being offered. Listen to what he has to say instead of just trying to convince him he's wrong, the two of you might figure something out that you hadn't thought of.



I don't know your whole situation, it's just my $0.02. Good luck and keep us posted!
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#5 Old 09-08-2005, 09:23 AM
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Thanks, I feel much better now! I'm not really interested in my university subject (media and marketing with advertising and design) and made a mistake in choosing it. I need to explain this to my dad. Sometimes we have difficulty communicating, as we've very alike, both stubbborn. I have always wanted a job that I love, and belive in, and I would be more likely to get this from the cafe than from any career I have post-degree.
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#6 Old 09-08-2005, 09:49 AM
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I'm excited for you!



I'm sorry I don't really have any advice for you except to caution you that the restaurant business is a very risky one. Restaurants of all kinds fail for a number of reasons. If you do decide to get involved, be very careful.



Again, I'm excited for you, anyway!

*this space not for sale*
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#7 Old 09-08-2005, 10:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carrot View Post

I have always wanted a job that I love, and belive in, and I would be more likely to get this from the cafe than from any career I have post-degree.



That's what we should all aim for, but I hope you aren't writing off the value of a formal education. It seems that your schooling has already proven valuable, since that is what helped you get your foot in the door in the first place. Your "year off" plan sounded ideal.



Maybe before finalizing your decision, you could have a talk with Jill about what your role will be in the cafe, how long you'll be needed, what does she think about you returning to school in a year or fitting an education around your duties at a later date, that sort of thing. Then you'll have a more concrete plan to present to your father. It isn't written in stone either, you are free to change your mind if things aren't working out as you'd hoped or you find it isn't for you.



Also, what Amy said. It probably won't be your career, but it's a good first step.
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#8 Old 09-08-2005, 02:38 PM
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I can't offer any advise, but I think that's a great idea and that if you think it's something you will enjoy I say go for it. Make sure you know what you're getting yourself into of course.
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#9 Old 09-08-2005, 02:45 PM
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aww that definitely sounds like it would be a ton of fun!!



go for it!! i'd love to own or hell, work, at a vegan restaurant at some point in my life.
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#10 Old 09-08-2005, 03:36 PM
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In this job climate it is really a risk either way. I agree with Qwerks that it provides an excellent opportunity to take the time you need to see if you will enjoy this sort of work as well as getting you a start in business. I don't regret my degree, even though it is useless...but then I never had an opportunity like the one you describe and would certainly take it now if it was presented!



Show your dad how serious you are about this proposition by doing some more research and getting your "plan" together in even more detail. Grownups like plans
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#11 Old 09-09-2005, 12:20 AM
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I think you should totally go for it. Im in the process of writing a business plan for my Vegan retail store/cafe too as well..



You can do it while studying.. You just have to learn to make a committment. Its a decision you will make.



Goodluck!
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#12 Old 09-09-2005, 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by ProudVegan View Post

I think you should totally go for it. Im in the process of writing a business plan for my Vegan retail store/cafe too as well..



You can do it while studying.. You just have to learn to make a committment. Its a decision you will make.



Goodluck!



It is so exciting isn't it?! I think i shall have the year out, that way my dad can see that I'm not completely abandoning my education. Then I will review it at the end of the year out.
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#13 Old 09-09-2005, 05:03 AM
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If it's something that you believe in, then definatly go for it.

And CONGRATULATIONS its a great opportunity and sounds like you've definatly earnt it!
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#14 Old 09-09-2005, 02:37 PM
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i think that this is a good opportunity. you can put in your contract that the number of hours per week that you put into the business is no greater than X number of hours while you're in school and that the entirety of your equity will be your talent and sweat equity, no monetary requirements.



this will reach the two concerns that your dad has and protect you as well. If the contract is basic that you own 2.5% of the business based on your previous sweat equity (the fun work you did this summer) plus your future sweat equity--then definately outine the number of hours that that sweat equity is. Any hours over this should be somehow paid or whatever once the business gets off the ground.



also remember that you can always renegotiate contracts or she can buy you out. 2.5% of a business is not much now, but it could be a lot more later. And it could also be a larger share of the business if you are putting in more equity and work. So, you can always renegotiate later.
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#15 Old 09-10-2005, 01:49 AM
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Wow carrot that is awesome. Nicccccccccce. I want to start my own Graphic Design business .



I wish I could visit your cafe .





Monika
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#16 Old 09-10-2005, 03:31 AM
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wow that's so great!! the more vegan places out there, the better...



i'd say go for it, but just be REALLY careful when signing contracts. if you have any friends or your parents' friends that are lawyers, i'd consider asking them to look any contracts over. just my advice, since i worked at a law firm and witness countless people get screwed over in contract stuff.



good luck and congrats!
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#17 Old 09-10-2005, 03:36 AM
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I think it's awesome! I love that you were just helping her out with everything for fun and she offered you a share of her company--that's so awesome.



I'd probably do it!
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#18 Old 09-10-2005, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carrot View Post

I work as a receptionist in a bank (for the summer break) and a couple of months ago, a lady came in looking for a business loan. I got talking to her in reception, and she told me she was starting up a vegan cafe. Having never met a vegan before, I gave her my number and said Id love to get involved in the project.



Apparently her business plan was perfect, it is a gap-in-the-market for our area and she got the loan. Now she has premises and is building up a good network of suppliers. I study marketing and advertising at university, so I designed her a (bloody good, if I do say so myself) logo and shop sign. My dad knows someone who makes shop signs, so I got her discount on that, and because my dad owns a timber merchants, he helped with the shop fitting (I think he was just glad I found a vegan friend because Im always complaining I have none)and gave her loads of discounts.



I helped her put together a menu, suggested, a Smoothie and Juice bar and generally put forward my ideas and some recipes. I never expected anything back I was just glad to have met other vegans, and the project gave me something to be excited about.



This morning she came into the Bank and requested we get a meeting room together. She then proceeded to pull contracts out of her bag that would give me a 2.5% share of the business. She said shes so grateful for what I have done and loves my enthusiasm and wouldnt have been able to do it without me. She was in a rush and just left me with a pile of papers.



I really dont understand contracts. My dad doesnt really want me to get involved any further, because he wants me to concentrate on my studies and he thinks Ill end up having to put my own money in. He said he thought it was just a fun thing for the summer and not to let it get serious. But I have really enjoyed this, and I am going to love working there when it is up and running. Its something I really believe in. Provided it does well, I think we could make something of this.



I have loads of ideas like introducing vegan-friendly clothing as a sideline, and Jill hopes to open other cafes. I really dont know if I should go for it. I was thinking maybe I could have a year out from study to work on this, and then go back. But my dad is really against it. Sorry this is so long, but what would you do?



I think you should get help looking at the contracts and really decide if this is something you want to do. I think it could be awesome if this is where your interest lies and that you'd be happy doing something you love. I think if you can work at something you love you absolutely should.



B
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#19 Old 09-10-2005, 11:02 AM
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I agree with everyone who talks about getting a lawyer to review the contracts. I don't know much about these things, but what would happen if the business fails? Is it more than just lost money? Does it hurt your credit score? Would you be responsible for problems with the restaurant in case of an accident (fire that hurts or kills someone, etc... make sure the business has enough insurance, etc.) Other than that, it sounds great! Good luck!
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#20 Old 09-10-2005, 11:07 AM
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This is really great news. Just wonderful.

How can you eat anything with eyes? ~ Will Kellogg
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#21 Old 09-10-2005, 11:36 AM
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so where will this vegan café be? If I find myself in leeds, i'll have to come visit!
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#22 Old 09-10-2005, 09:07 PM
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I would check on any possible liabilities. If it is a standard corporation and you own 2.5 % of stock, that should be cool. However, if it is not a corporation but a partnership, you might now be equally responsible for any debts incurred including the loans she took out from your bank. I don't know how a S-Corp would work or a non-incorporated company. Please just have some responsible party take a look see on your behalf. Maybe your Dad knows someone that look at them cheap/free.
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#23 Old 09-10-2005, 09:49 PM
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I just wanted to add congrats and good luck!!
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#24 Old 09-10-2005, 10:28 PM
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congratulations !

i say go for it you only live once
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#25 Old 09-11-2005, 01:56 AM
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So when do we get to see your design?
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#26 Old 09-11-2005, 02:16 AM
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That sounds really cool! I'd definetely go for it (after talking with a contract lawyer to make sure I'm not getting taken advantage of).
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#27 Old 09-12-2005, 01:43 AM
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Thank you every one for your support. The cafe is in Huddersfield, and it's going to be up and running, hopefully by Christmas.

My dad's solicitor is looking over the contracts and I am going for a meeting with him on Tuesday so that I know exactly what I'm getting myself into...other than that, though, my dad's agreed to my 'taking a year out and seeing how it goes' idea, although he is still a bit sceptical. I am so excited.
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#28 Old 09-12-2005, 01:45 AM
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This sounds like a dream come true, as such, take bethanie and kpickell's advice and have that contract looked at by a lawyer, if you haven't already signed it. The small price you'd pay for a good local attorney just to review it for safety will be worth every penny, considering the opportunity and your belief in the project.



Good luck!
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#29 Old 09-12-2005, 03:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by epski View Post

This sounds like a dream come true, as such, take bethanie and kpickell's advice and have that contract looked at by a lawyer, if you haven't already signed it. The small price you'd pay for a good local attorney just to review it for safety will be worth every penny, considering the opportunity and your belief in the project.



Good luck!



Yeah my dad has a solicitor and he is looking at it today or tomorrow, because there's so many clauses and complicated language I don't know where to start. Why can't contracts just be in plain English??

It does sound like a dream come true, I just hope there's no catch. It's something I really want to get involved in.
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#30 Old 09-12-2005, 04:17 AM
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Good luck carrot! Sounds really cool
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