Restaurants are known to be one of the most financially challenging industries to start. This contest is for people who have the skills and passion but not the means to make it happen. Our staff will narrow down the finalists and our customers will be choosing the overall winner. Since starting the contest, we have received both positive and negative feedback. We decided Reddit would be the best avenue to answer questions regarding the contest, restaurant and staff. The contest is open to anyone 21 and over in the United States and Canada, void where prohibited.

The contest ends July 31st, check out our website for more background information on the restaurant. Our Facebook and Twitter.

Contest Video

Proof 1 Proof 2

EDIT - Thank you to everyone who participated with us today! Please share with your friends in the industry and let them decide if it's right for them! Thank you Reddit for the opportunity, maybe I'll see one of you in August, some of you will be hard to forget! ;)

Comments: 166 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

Luckyth13teen169 karma

So I feel like this an elaborate marketing ploy to sell your establishment:

so 150$ x [about at least] 6000 entries = 900,000$ right?

so then minus 25,000$ for the amount given to the "winner" =875,000$ which is by my understanding going towards clearing owed debt but not exclusively...

physical land and property is included too so super rough numbers here, I saw doing some snooping that housing is going for about 80$sqft this restaurant is 2,790 sq feet. I think a restaurant is worth more than a house not sure by how much but I think 125% of a house is a good number to work with so 100$ sq foot so the property is worth [really rough here] $279,000 valued location. edit: 266,700 stated from tax document shown by /u/jpfarre in another comment link here [I didn't think I would guess so close!]

so $875,000- $279,000 = $596,000 and I would say the kitchen via a couple quick google searches says $100,000 would be a nice kitchen setup so down to $496,000 for cost of ownership of company name and assets.

so you in a sense wants half a million for her company [not property at this point] that she says "The minimum number of entries is to ensure that we are able to give someone a debt-free business and $25,000 to help get started!" that you have gone into debt for.

this really isn't adding up in my head to anything more than a lottery with the majority payout going to the lottery owner [regardless of her debts owed]

Can you explain why you feel this restaurant/property/assets is worth an [essentially crowd sourced] million dollars?

SaucyPlatinum-66 karma

I've never stated what the Restaurant is worth - I have stated that all entry fees go towards the purchase of the restaurant that include any outstanding mortgages and allow us to give the restaurant, debt-free, to the winner. The only official appraisal that has been done is from 2010 before the patio addition and was for $425,000.

Luckyth13teen51 karma

But you did state it's worth: minimum of 6000 applicants @ 150$. That's in your document, your condition of requirement.

And you didn't answer my question. Why do you think it worth that, or do you think it isn't worth that

SaucyPlatinum-71 karma

We made a choice to invest in a place that typically you would not find in our area. So is it worth what we have invested?? No, but it would be hard to argue that it is not worth $150 investment if you have the skill to win and own a debt-free restaurant!

milksake50 karma

How is this giving it away???...makes it sound like the contest is altruistic, which it obviously is not. The owner gets a minimum of $900,000 minus $25000, more if entrants are more than 6000. The owner still makes money if the contest is cancelled or if the entrants are less than 6000 since they keep $25 dollars of each entrants.

I am guessing that the owner is having a hard time selling it at the price they want and watched few movies with this same premise. I have no issue with the contest and such but wish the owner was more forthright in their intention.

SaucyPlatinum-28 karma

I feel like my intentions could not be more clear, that is to award someone a debt-free business, which is what the entry fee is for. Upon research you would understand this includes almost 2 acres of real business property on the main highway plus all contents, furniture, fixtures, equipment, liquor license, inventory and $25,000. The $25 is not being pocketed but rather used for contest administration fees including but not limited to credit card processing fees, legal fees, accounting fees, advertising of the contest, etc... In the unfortunate event we would have to refund any entries, the $25 will not even cover the cost accrued in running the contest.
I have not attempted to sell the restaurant but instead wanted to see someone have a great opportunity to Live their Dream like I have mine but without having to worry about initial debt! We have invested over 1 million dollars into a very unique place that I believe is obvious after seeing the renovations, additions and patio that we built. As a business woman, I will be content with a break-even scenario for this business but if blessed with any kind of profit on our investment I will choose wisely on re-investing it in my community. Hopefully this is more forthright.

milksake39 karma

Nope, not more forthright.

The invested $1 million dollars or so has no relevance nor that it comes with furniture, land, and such. It only matters to you and the money that you want returned to you.

Basically what you are doing is selling lottery tickets but thinking of it as "giving it away". Which you aren't since when people think of giving they do not expect the possessor to benefit in a monetary sense. You are simply running a contest, with you and the winner benefitting while many others lose (which I am totally fine with but you guys aren't portraying as such when you say "I am giving it away", you aren't, you are "I am running a contest...").

I also find your "$25 dollars isn't being pocketed because it goes to fees" ludicrous.

SaucyPlatinum-26 karma

We have made very clear this is not a lottery. This is a contest based on skill and ingenuity. The winner is not chosen at random or by luck. The winner will be given/awarded the restaurant and all included assets debt-free.

DrPorkTacoMan31 karma

How much time will your head chef have to process 6000 entries? I mean, each entry will have a dish that includes a recipe, ingredients list, a photo and an essay.

Even if he only gave each entry five minutes each to review- he'd need over two months if he dedicated 40hrs a week to just review them all.

How many tickets have been sold thus far?

SaucyPlatinum-15 karma

I feel like it doesn't matter what I answer to you right now but that you will be unhappy with whatever I say. But since this is an AMA I'm going to answer what I can. We have specifically outlined the judging process in our rules and regulations and we will and are abiding by them. As far as our Chef's hours, he is committed to judging all entries equally and fairly as they come in and he is used to working 80 hours per week... We receive entries everyday, once the minimum of 6,000 has been met it will be announced on all our social media outlets. I'm sorry you feel so negatively about the contest but lucky for you, it's anonymous until the three finalist are chosen so you could still win if you have the skills to compete!

DrPorkTacoMan29 karma

SO give it to us straight- Does the restaurant currently carry more debt than you could sell it for?

How many tickets have been sold thus far?

How many questions/comments in this thread are from people you know?

Do you really think it honest to come in here saying you are "giving" your restaurant away- when in fact you are more/less raffling it to raise funds to get out of debt?

How much will prospective "winner" owe in taxes? You suggest people call your county assessors office to look this up on their own- why not just call them yourself and quit with the shenanigans? Sounds like you really dont want people to know how little your "prize" is actually worth.

I normally dont give a shit about AMAs, but this one hits close to home as I have elderly relatives that have fallen victim to bullshit like this. Not an outright scam, just really scammish.

SaucyPlatinum-18 karma

Now you have hit a nerve, by accusing me of scamming anyone much less, elderly people. Your comments hold no truth, I have answered any and all the questions you have thrown at me even though each one creates a more hostile environment for an AMA due to your exaggerations and negativity!
The entry fee, the minimum entrants, even the fact that I have the option to giveaway the restaurant if we don't meet the minimum is all listed very clearly on all of our social media. In fact, you can not enter the contest unless you have read and agree to all rules and regulations. You keep implying that we are hiding something, but we are not.

DrPorkTacoMan10 karma

So what did Stache appraise for?

SaucyPlatinum-9 karma

The only official appraisal I have is from 2010 before the patio expansion and kitchen additions which amounted to $425,000. This was for the property and building only and did not include any equipment, contents or fixtures.

OmahaVike38 karma

How much debt does the business currently have?

SaucyPlatinum-22 karma

The restaurant will be given away with no debt attached which is the reason for the minimum amount of entries so new owners will take over with no debt and $25,000 cash along with liquor license and real property deed, building, contents, etc...

amstobar32 karma

Since you are essentially setting up a situation where contestants are crowd-funding a restaurant for a new owner, would you mind sharing what your profit would be on the (at least) $900,000 you will receive if the contest fully vests? Please?

I have no doubt you worked your ass off to build such a place, and your story certainly sounds rough, but this last bit of info is what's keeping me from feeling either really good or really bad about this. As others have said, I definitely don't mind a competition if people willingly enter it knowing what they are getting into, but you've wrapped the whole thing up in a hard luck story that is clearly intended do drive support, and I feel like history has taught us things aren't always as they seem. To be clear, I don't at all doubt what you've been through, and please accept my sympathies on that, and you should be compensated for your hard work, but with the contest, honestly, something feels a bit off.

SaucyPlatinum-7 karma

I understand the skepticism and I am glad you are doing your homework before entering. I will make zero profit based on 6,000 entries. ALL of that money will be applied to our original purchase of the property and building, expansion, investor pay-offs, and any expenses owed. Yes, restaurants can be one of the most expensive industries and it is one reason so many do not make it. I truly understand the financial burden it can cause and yes I'm being creative with an honest attempt to give someone an opportunity for their own success! Funny you should mention the hard luck story as I was very reluctant to display that part of my personal life due to the perceptions it could potentially cause, but the fact is I chose to be raw and honest about where I have been and what I am dealing with in life. Honestly, this is the hardest thing I've ever done, putting myself out there to be judged. Thank you for your thoughtful question.

BouncingBettys27 karma

Is your business failing?

How many hours does you manager work and what are their responsibilities? How much do they get paid?

Why isn't your contest open to those who know the business inside and out, i.e staff?

Have you ever owned a profitable business?

SaucyPlatinum-18 karma

No, the restaurant is not losing money but the initial investment makes it challenging to operate with a profit. We have made it our goal to pay off investors vigorously.
My manager works 40 hours on average, not only as a manager but also bartender and server when needed. His pay is personal information and would be against company policy to divulge. Besides, a new owner would determine pay grades for the future. It would be unfair to allow staff to enter as they are a part of the judging process. And yes, I have owned a profitable business.

username_lookup_fail21 karma

Why do you feel the need to use shill accounts to ask softball questions to make you look better in this AMA?

SaucyPlatinum-3 karma

I am using this account and this account only. I promoted our AMA on all our social media accounts so I don't doubt that there are people from Arkansas but I can honestly say I have no idea who any of you people are, but thank you for all of your participation!

Gld4neer20 karma

According to the Polk County Tax assessor, the property and building your restaurant occupies (the property at 1411 Highway 71 North) is only worth a total of $266,700.

Given this fact, how can you claim that you're making zero profit if your contest brings in $900,000?

SaucyPlatinum-15 karma

I'm sure you are aware that the assessment value and appraised fair market value are typically very different numbers in that the appraised value is much more detailed and is used when considering mortgages, etc.. Tax assessments have different laws and are typically, in this area, much lower than appraised values. Our mortgage is based from our appraised value and does not include all expansions and additions.
I stand behind my statement that we are making zero profit with 6,000 entries. As the worth of the restaurant is not an indication of how much is owed, but determining the value of the business is a whole different conversation and is a necessary consideration when selling a business. As we are not selling the business but awarding it to one winner that has chosen to invest $150 to participate, it is well worth it to anyone who enters!

tnethacker17 karma

You should know by now that this isn't a giveaway, but a lottery, but do mind me asking, how much are the salaries for your staff a month? I'm willing to bet that 25k a month won't cover the supplies and salary.

SaucyPlatinum-5 karma

The $25,000 isn't meant to carry the costs, the restaurant is fully functional and can profit immediately the day the new owner takes over. Assuming a new owner would want to make some changes, the $25,000 is meant to help cover those type of expenses. Again, a lottery is a random drawing, this is a contest based on skill and ingenuity. Total payroll runs between 18% - 23% of sales.

kyyuulle15 karma

Why don't you give that money to your staff instead? They worked hard for you!

SaucyPlatinum5 karma

you are completely right, they have worked hard for me and I couldn't ask for a better staff with the least amount of turn-over I've ever had! This is why I did structure in a bonus for every single employee at the completion of the contest! Even though they are willing to stay, staffing will be up to the new owner and this is why I structured the bonus so they would be taken care of whether they worked for winner or not. My staff is very important to me, they have stood by me during some of the best and worst times of my life.

Kush515014 karma

You're giving it away, why not give it to the employees? Make it a co op.

SaucyPlatinum-6 karma

To make it possible to giveaway we had to form the contest and charge the entry fee with a minimum amount of entries. Employees and family of employees are not allowed to enter as they are a part of the judging process. We felt this was the best scenario for me, my staff and the town!

amardesai113 karma

Why don't you want to run the restaurant anymore?

SaucyPlatinum24 karma

I think to be successful you need to be involved daily in every aspect of this business. With my elderly parents now living with me and I became a grand-mother this past year, my time & energy is spread too thin to properly dedicate myself to the business we have built.

wbgraphic4 karma

Maybe they just want out of Arkansas.

SaucyPlatinum7 karma

We actually own another business in town and we are very invested in our community which is why we want to see the restaurant continue in great hands so we can still enjoy it!

tesla2tucker11 karma

Cool idea, but who do you expect to move to Mena, AR. Even for a restaurant?

SaucyPlatinum2 karma

Amazingly, Mena attracts tons of outsiders due to its outdoor activities, beauty, tourism, etc... I personally moved from Dallas to Mena in 2004 and haven't regretted a second of it! It is truly a unique, friendly and affordable place to live!

killerbake6 karma

How do you know the person who wins isn't going to sell everything off?

SaucyPlatinum7 karma

We don't. But that is why I am letting the community choose the final winner. By flying the finalist here to run the restaurant for a day, side by side with current staff and being judged by our existing loyal customer base, I hope it will allow customers to choose someone passionate and skilled to run the business.

haterhurter15 karma

couldn't you put in a stipulation in the contest that they can't sell it for say 2 years?

SaucyPlatinum3 karma

Once the restaurant is awarded, I will have no say in what changes or happens to it. I feel like if I started adding stipulations, I would have found it hard to stop! Also, my lawyers strongly advised against stipulations and to keep the contest simple and straight-forward as possible.

pandabearak4 karma

What is your COG and Labor %?

SaucyPlatinum3 karma

COG runs on average 32%
Labor between 18% - 23%

TenNinetyFive1 karma

What is the idea of giving the restaurant away?

SaucyPlatinum2 karma

The idea is to give someone a debt-free restaurant so they can succeed without the worry of initial investment

samwise09121 karma

On a personal level, what is your favorite movie of all time?

spencerfl080 karma

Hi I'm Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?

SaucyPlatinum-1 karma

Is this your alter ego Spencer?? Green - if you can't tell from the color of the restaurant!

sarcazm1 karma

Hello! My husband and I were restaurant managers for a long time before we finally succumbed to the office 8-5 life.

  1. What is the most stressful part of owning a restaurant?

  2. How many hours per week do you estimate you work as an owner of a restaurant?

  3. When was this restaurant first operational?

  4. If there were any tough times financially, how did you overcome this?

SaucyPlatinum1 karma

  1. I think I respond to constructive criticism very well, but there are times when people can get just down right rude and mean. I am a very positive person and hate dealing with someone that you can't make happy. It is one of the most stressful parts of the job for me. Stress management is definitely one of the top priorities of a restaurant owner, let's be honest, everyday there will be a fire that has to be put out. My personality seems to thrive while fire-fighting!
  2. Restaurant business fluctuates week by week and determines how needed I am in the front of the house or back of the house. As well as catering events, off-site deliveries, etc.. I could easily spend every single minute in the restaurant but tend to work 30 - 60 hrs per week depending on business and staffing. Having a good manager for day to day items helps tremendously!
  3. We opened in April of 2009 originally as Spinelli's Italian Grill
  4. I started with three investors and paid off two of them over three years. During tough times, I have gotten a credit card processing loan to get us through and most importantly paying it back promptly.

MsNewKicks0 karma

How often do you have to deal with crappy customers/customers trying to get free food? Most blatant example?

SaucyPlatinum6 karma

Fortunately, not as often as you would think. We even have a money back guarantee on our food quality that seldom gets used. Example happened last week.. Long, black-haired woman receives food. Eats half, then complains of long, black hair in food. (I'm talking 12 inches of hair) No one in kitchen had black or long hair. No server has black hair. Regardless, her meal was free and she didn't have any problem finishing it all. Hair, it happens, but it wasn't ours!

Hsvayat-1 karma

What would you be most disappointed to see change about the restaurant?

SaucyPlatinum9 karma

I have always loved how unique our restaurant is from our food to our staff who are genuinely happy to be there! This is evident from the first time you walk in and get greeted like a close friend. I would hate to see that atmosphere become sterile, the staff unhappy or customers treated poorly.

joeybdot-1 karma

What's the last great book you read?

SaucyPlatinum2 karma

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin - A friend recommended it and actually we read it together and I loved it!

t-shirt_mcgee-3 karma

What is the name of the first person you kissed?

SaucyPlatinum14 karma

David??, I think, it was sixth grade and I just remember being taught to swirl my tongue -David, if you're reading this THAT WAS AWKWARD!

HDIC-Pappas-4 karma

Is there one type of restaurant that seems to be more successful than others?

SaucyPlatinum5 karma

Mena offers several types of restaurants but I would say the most successful would be mid-priced comfort foods.

SargentSavage-8 karma

First off, I think it's awesome you are giving away the chance of a lifetime to someone deserving. A $150 dollar investment to get a restaurant debt free is a lot more enticing than having to go several thousands in debt and starting from scratch.

My question is: what prompted you to give away what you've worked so hard to build, and why have a minimum number of entries for the giveaway? Thank you!

SaucyPlatinum5 karma

My family situation prompted the giveaway, my time and priorities were not as they needed to be to run a successful business and have balance at home.
The minimum number of entries is to ensure that we are able to give someone a debt-free business and $25,000 to help get started!

MusicMan1970-24 karma

What makes your place different than all the other restaurants in town?

SaucyPlatinum-1 karma

Our Patio can seat up to 90 people and has a full stage for live entertainment that we offer every weekend to featured local artists. It definitely sets us apart from most restaurants in our region. It provides the atmosphere that people love!