Sharing Your Cafe's Kitchen

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QUESTION FROM: Sarah in MA

“I own a small cafe and have a sushi chef offering to come in and do sushi during our slow hours.

She would use our kitchen and our staff would ring in the product and we'd take a % cut.

She'll handle prepping and ingredients and all that. What % cut would you be looking for off her prices.

I'm not worried about any of the other logistics, just wondering what you think a reasonable % would be for me.”


HH ANSWER:

Although you’re not worried about any of the other logistics, I would be remiss in not first mentioning the need to carefully review your Lease (if you have one) or engage a lawyer to examine what liability and responsibilities you have to your Landlord (if any) and to see what’s feasible without being in violation, default or breach of your Lease.

I would suggest either A) 8% of their Gross Sales (based on actual POS reports) and insist on you being named on their insurance policy (as a landlord would be) or B) hire them as an independent contractor with gen liability and E&O policies in place and then pay them a commission of 90% of all items sold.

Just sure to have some agreement in place consistent with whatever you make your own/other new hires agree to re: hours of operation, attendance, standards of service, standards of conduct, POS / cash handling, day dotting and serve safe protocol in BOH, reservation policy, cleaning, basic knowledge of your own restaurant since it’s possible they will interface with your guests or potential guests, etc...and an ability to back out of the deal without notice and without consequence / being held completely non-libel should things not go the way you hope.

Additionally, I’d have them sign an agreement that you are able to use their name, likeness, photos of food, etc... in any promotional capacity but they agree not use your restaurant’s name, logo, likeness, telephone number or address in any physical or digital manner not approved by you in writing.

You have to limit your exposure in situations that can dilute or damage what brand equity / reputation you’ve spent time and money to build. That being said… if it works out, you might want to consider a partnership / developing a new hybrid concept together.

Good Luck!
Josh