The Royal Tiger Sports Grill
Intro to Concept
In their efforts to attract the younger demographic groups necessary to sustain population, small communities across the country have made hospitality establishments a central part of their community revitalization efforts. Unfortunately, limited dining options in Bay Minette have pushed many residents to leave their community regularly to eat in Daphne, Spanish Fort, and Mobile. For some families, working professionals and college students, this means leaving their community daily to spend their time and money elsewhere. To fill this void, Bay Minette should recruit an owner/operator to open a sports bar and grill off of Highway 31 near Coastal Alabama Community College. This location is prime for investment and redevelopment because it is vacant land right off the major highway coming into town and is also located in a federally designated Opportunity Zone. Ideally located on the first floor in a mixed-use building including market-rate apartment units, the appropriate restaurant concept – well executed and reflecting the local cuisine and sports culture – stands to serve as both a cornerstone for the Bay Minette community with potential draw from the rest of Baldwin County and beyond (e.g. “beach goers”).
The Royal Tiger Sports Grill
Based on community demographics, regional tastes, restaurant industry trends and overall economic development in Baldwin County, the new restaurant in Bay Minette should be designed as a family-friendly sports grill. Confirmed by results in two community surveys and three public input sessions, the sports grill concept should be well-received by residents and visitors alike. The “sports grill” verbiage is intentional and speaks to an emphasis on food rather than alcohol sales. Given the potential location of a new restaurant in a mixed-use building, as well as the desire to keep the restaurant family-friendly, this plan focuses on an “eatertainment” model – a growing trend for the 18-54 age demographic who are frequently seeking out engaging eat and play environments in restaurants across the country.
Paying homage to the community’s local public high school, the working name for the restaurant in this plan is The Royal Tiger Sports Grill. The primary dining area for The Royal Tiger should seat 100+ people with a mix of high top and low top tables for four that can be easily configured to accommodate groups. Additionally, the restaurant should feature a sleek minimalistic décor boasting 8 to 12 flat screen televisions with Direct TV and NFL ticket subscriptions — ensuring everyone’s favorite team and/or sport can be seen on a screen. If the proposed facility can accommodate it, a private space for parties and group events for up to 50 people is highly recommended.
The Royal Tiger Sports Grill should focus on creating a profitable menu which leverages local sourcing and provides Alabama bar and grill favorites. It should debut a well-conceived, two dozen item regular menu to meet the growing demand for an on-premise restaurant experience with the value pricing, large portions and emphasis on protein Alabamians expect.
Menu offerings can include:
- Fried Catfish
- Gourmet Burgers with premium add-ons
- BBQ Shrimp
- Pulled Pork, Po Boys and other local feature sandwiches
- Seasonal and local feature chowders and salads
- Brick Oven Pizza
As a starting point, the target average table check for on-premise patrons should be $15/person. This assumes a 70/30 percent food and alcohol mix. The average entrée will be $9 to $12. The price of the average appetizer will be $5, domestic draughts $4, craft beers $6, and signature cocktails $6 to $8.
Delivery is not recommended, however an easily accessible online order strategy, with convenient carry-out is important.
Because of the size of the community, the owner/operator will likely need to fulfill many operational roles. Staffing will be one of the most challenging issues and may well drive more than its fair share of key operational decisions including hours. It is for this reason a lunch/dinner emphasis is initially recommended. Weekends, particularly game weekends and post-school events, will be revenue sweet spots. A Sunday brunch offering is also recommended. While alcohol service is legal until 2:00am, The Royal Tiger should maintain restaurant, not bar, hours.
|Hours of Operation:|
|Sunday||10AM to 2PM brunch menu; 3PM to 9PM regular menu|
Many successful restaurants still operate with razor thin profit margins and most consider themselves doing well if they post a net profit of 5%. Alabama’s 8,600+ eating and drinking establishments represent $9 billion dollars in annual sales, but if one extrapolates that down to daily net profit, the average Alabama-based eating or drinking establishment (with a 5% profit margin) is netting just under $143 per day in profit. That’s not much margin for error, so knowing the profit margin on every menu item is imperative when creating a menu. To increase chances for long term success, The Royal Tiger Sports Grill team should work hand-in-glove with an established food distributor to develop the initial menu and continually take advantage of all menu engineering tools. It is imperative to know the profit on every menu item all the time and to recalibrate as necessary.
|Square Footage||Capital Costs||Projected Annual Sales||Net Profit|
Secure developer for mixed-use building
City of Bay Minette, Steering Committee
The City of Bay Minette and the Steering Committee should pitch prospective project (including incentives) to local developers to gauge interest. Secure developer to begin creating buildout concept for mixed-use building.
Recruit owner & operator
Partner with Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association to recruit experienced owner/operator. Work with city, local foundation(s) to secure incentive package. If owner is not the operator, negotiate favorable deal structure.
Develop restaurant buildout concept
Owner(s)/operator, developer, architect, engineers, local financing institution
Restaurant owner/operator should negotiate long-term lease (at least 10 years) with building owner. Address interior recommendations for sports grill. Work with local bank to assist with gap financing to retrofit restaurant space.
Secure capital to complete buildout
Owner(s)/operator, Opportunity Alabama, local financing institution
For the mixed-use building (including multi-family units and commercial space for the restaurant), the project overall could be structured as a qualified Opportunity Zone investment. The owner should partner with Opportunity Alabama and local financing institution to structure this deal, especially if the project ends up being in a low income census tract and is eligible for both Opportunity Zone investment and New Market Tax Credits.
Develop marketing strategy, hire/train staff, and open doors
Owner(s)/operator, Coastal Alabama Community College (e.g., culinary program)
Design all marketing materials, using preliminary business plan as a starting point. Share photos and videos of construction progress to generate excitement. Hire staff (some can likely be recruited from Coastal Alabama Community College). Hold soft opening events. Celebrate with grand opening.