From Culinary Class to His Own Kitchen
Chef Hilger spent 30 years prepping for a kitchen of his own
It was July 1984 and 16-year old Brian Hilger was sprinting to his first job interview. He was running five minutes late, terrified that he had already ruined his opportunity. To his surprise, he was hired on the spot and became a bus boy for the Venice Inn.
Within days, his love for the restaurant industry had begun, and he told everyone he met, “I love this! I am going to own a restaurant some day!”
Brian grew up at the Venice Inn, climbing the ladder from bus boy to salad boy, trays, pizza, cook, bartender, waiter and eventually manager. His admiration for cooking grew so much that he applied for and was accepted into Metro’s Culinary School, graduating in May 2013. “Culinary school was instrumental,” Brian says. “I learned about food costs, book keeping, and safety issues in the kitchen.”
Thirty wonderful years after the start of his bus boy days, the Venice Inn decided to close its doors. Brian worked up until the last shift.
After the Venice Inn closed, Brian spent time traveling, only to return home remembering he was out of a job and missing the restaurant. Looking for a solution, he picked himself up and returned to his idea of owning a restaurant. A Google search led him to The Firm Business Brokerage, and he eagerly began reading the many Restaurant.
"Culinary school was instrumental. I learned about food costs, bookkeeping, and safety issues in the kitchen."
- Brian Hilger
After meeting with a Broker, Brian had a list of four restaurants specific to his interests. He spent time secret-shopping and reviewing financial information, eventually picking a business and making an Offer. After waiting patiently, the Seller chose another Buyer’s offer, leaving Brian discouraged about fulfilling his dream. He admits to talking himself out of possibility of becoming an Owner.
With encouragement from his Broker, he returned to his restaurant prospect list and performed additional due diligence on the opportunities. He made an Offer on another business, and anxiously waited for the response. This time Brian received the call that said “Foodies accepted your offer!”
With financial support from his family, closing day was within sight. A month into the 90-day transition period, Brian was ready to take over the reins without continued help from the previous Owner.
Foodies is a family affair. Brian works every day at his restaurant. His sister assists with Foodies popular catering and delivery service. There are occasional appearances of his mom who helps behind the register and his dad who greets customers. The original Foodies employees have remained, and Brian values each one of them.
Brian says, “The Caniglia family and Venice Inn taught me everything about the restaurant business and how to run things the old school way.” A picture of the Caniglia family proudly hangs on the wall of Foodies while former Venice Inn regulars frequently stop by for lunch and dinner.
“Business is good. Food costs used to be over 49% and now they are averaging 30%. Overall, gross sales are up and we’re making 25% more compared to previous Owner’s numbers!” Brian hopes to keep increasing sales, maintain great quality food plus add new specials and maybe open a second location in town.
The Firm Deal Review
Reason for Purchase: Always wanted to own a restaurant
Financing: Family-supports investment
Days on the Market: 111
Brokers: Rachael Rand, Listing Broker; Lindsay Novak, Buyer Broker