Dave Query has built a highly successful restaurant group at Big Red F. His restaurants (Zolo Southwestern Grill, LoLa Coastal Mexican, Jax Fish House – two locations, West End Tavern, Centro Latin Kitchen & Refreshment Palace, and Happy and The Bitter Bar) are very popular, and if you’re in Denver or Boulder, you’d be missing out if you didn’t visit them. Dave has been at it for over twenty years, and he’s learned quite a bit along the way about what it takes to be successful in the restaurant business, including how important it is to be careful who you choose as your investors…
If you are looking for investors, what do you look for and what do you avoid?
Well, it’s like going out on a first date. If you’re in your mid-twenties, or thirties, and you’re dating with something bigger in mind, that’s the same as finding an investor. So when you get those weird hits, and those weird personality charges, and those weird ego comments, run fast and run far, because that shit will only get worse.
There’s an interesting dynamic in any industry when it comes to raising money. There’s this whole song and dance thing that happens between investee and investor, where when you’re hungry for money, you’d fucking wash the guy’s car, mow his lawn or do whatever you can do get his or her cash.
And then as soon as they write that check to you, the dynamic changes, to where they’re genuinely concerned about your health. They’re interested if you’re finding enough time to take off. They’re worried about your marriage. They want you to spend time with your kids. Because, you know, your health is their health.
It’s a funny switch that happens with intelligent, integrity-ridden investors who are in it for the bigger picture. You’re always going to have these people that are just totally cash driven, and they really couldn’t give a shit what your personal life is like. But I’ve been fortunate enough not to have any of those kinds of people involved in my businesses.
So you’ve really got to think about your long-term success when you’re interviewing these investors, because much different than a tech firm or something that you might be investing in, this is a very interactive investment for these people. They’re in your place, representing your brand, walking around the community, telling people that they are your partner and an owner.
Dave is a colorful guy, and his interview is full of great advice on this topic and others. You’ll learn more from him soon, when Restaurant Owners Uncorked his the street.
The Schedulefly Crew