Last week I spoke with Katie Arcieri from the Annapolis newspaper, The Capital, about the challenges of opening a new business during these difficult economic times. Here is an excerpt from Sunday’s article:
Sheila Laderberg, a co-owner and founder of Punk’s Backyard Grill, which is opening its first fast-casual restaurant at Westfield Annapolis mall in the January-February time frame, said her company lined up its equity investments a year ago, but noticed that lending restrictions got tight.
“The underwriting requirements and the guidelines got stiffer,” she said. “We felt very fortunate that we had a bank that was supporting us, especially as a startup restaurant.”
Despite the poor economy, Punk’s has not cut staff members, portion sizes or the quality of its product, she said.
The restaurant concept is centered around re-creating the American backyard cookout with meals including shrimp skewers, slow-roasted pulled pork and burgers. The restaurant’s prices – between $11 and $13 – allow Punk’s to offer higher quality foods such as artisan sausages and all-natural ground beef, she said.
Labor costs aren’t as high because the restaurant has a less formal atmosphere without waiters, she said. She added that the poor economy may actually help the restaurant run more conservatively.
“We just have to step up and make sure that we are watching every penny,” Ms. Laderberg said. “Now there’s really not the cushion that there was before in terms of managing your costs. It’s even more critical that every bun that you order is delivered.”
Click here to read the full article “Businesses opening in tough times face anxiety, advantages” by Katie Arcieri.