What's new

Mitsurugi-w

Arcade Admini-Moderator
Staff member
Legendary
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
6,691
Reaction score
6,278
Location
New Bern, NC USA
What's the word @Mitsurugi-w? I see your profile shows you are back in North Carolina and you mentioned you aren't in the restaurant business any more. Are your restaurants autonomous now or did you decide to sell off the businesses. Just curious. You know we support you brutha.
Ready for another story-time?

Well in a nutshell it didn't work out. I knew it would be a challenge considering the issues going on when I got there. On a personal aside, I am not a big city kind of guy. I much prefer the smaller cities and will most likely live in a small town or out in the country for the rest of my life. I just don't like being on top of other people all the damn time. I knew this about myself before I took the job but I had to try. I would always be wondering "what if" if I had not tried.

So I got to Ohio and I thought I had a place to stay but when I go there the apartment complex told me:

"Oh, we just put you on the waiting list. You'll need to wait until an apartment comes open."

"How long is the list?"

"About two months long."

Fuck. Ok. I've got to find someplace else. So I began looking immediately. I stayed in hotel rooms for the first four nights which for some odd reason were very expensive even though I was on the outskirts of Cincinnati. About 20 miles from the city. 4 nights = $700..... I did end up finding an apartment near one of the stores. It was bigger and more expensive than I wanted but it turns out I needed the extra space for my shop plus this complex was much more quiet than the other one. I only moved there with the stuff I could fit in the car so I would need to buy furniture, etc and make another trip or two to NC to get more things. BTW my car's AC broke half way to Ohio so once I settled in I immediately had a $600 car bill. It was summer and I'm not going to drive around sweating all my life. lol. So things did not start out great.

Now I finally get into the stores to begin work. This was interesting. The one store I was told would need a complete overhaul actually had a decent staff. The manager needed to go but I was told that ahead of time. The guy I replaced there (one of the owner's partners) had rehired this lady to be a manger and allowed her to negotiate a deal that was complete shit to us. More details on that soon. On top of the shit deal we had with her, she was a drunk. You could smell alcohol on here at 9am. She was also the laziest fucking manager I had ever seen. Our managers work hard, and they do whatever necessary to make things go smoothly and keep the guests happy. For example, if the kitchen is in the weeds her solution was to stand at the expedition counter and bitch at the cooks that they are moving to slow. The correct thing to do is to jump back in the kitchen and actually help them get the food out until they are caught up. It's called servant leadership. You make sure your employees have the tools they need to do their job correctly and efficiently. That means you might have to sacrifice a little of yourself to make your staff happy. It comes back to you in good ways and it's just the right thing to do for your fellow human being sometimes.

So our company operates a bit differently. We want to build our company from the inside. We want to give normal people the opportunity to own their own business and be successful. But also they need to prove that they are willing to work to be successful. hat does that entail? Well here are some basics:

---A manager is expected to work between 55-60 hours a week. This is necessary in the restaurant industry. Especially if you are not fast food. We don't bring in McDonalds money. Nowhere near it. Managers do the job of two to three people and wear many hats. I was often the repair guy at both of my stores. Saved a ton of money that way. Once you get a good staff you no longer need to work that many hours because your staff will help you keep your numbers in line (food and labor).

---A manager schedule is typically open to close 4 days (Stores open at 11 and close at 9), two half days, and one day off. Every successful owner in our company did this on their way up and continued to do it after they became an owner. If you own one store you manage and own it. Can't afford to pay someone else to. Nature of the business.

---In the event of an emergency (such as a snow day in the south) the manager will need to work even if it is their scheduled day off to make sure the business is open and running. I often ran a store completely by myself on snow days. The bills continue to be delivered even if it is snowing. If I only make $200 dollars on that day, well, a bill got paid that wouldn't have if I closed completely. Same for hurricanes, obviously closed during the storm but we wasted no time once the storm passed to evaluated the stores and get them open. Often before any other restaurants got open. I took pride in this.

Now here is the deal this guy made with this lady to hire her back as manager:

---Two full days a week off

---off by 7pm every day (you will NEVER run labor this way because you must pay a full staff to be there for dinner since you leave in the middle of dinner...might as well leave at 5pm every day...)

---Salary 5K more per year than I WAS GETTING PAID


So on to the next store. This store I was told had a good manager and just needed tweaking. I was told up front about the biggest challenge here: $7k a month rent!!! And they signed a 7-YEAR LEASE!!!! Business-wise that is fucking stupid even for a busy store, which this was not. The home office told them to not sign the lease but they did anyways. The guy that I replaced had asked the restaurant on the corner about their sales. They told him they did 1 million per year. He decided that we could do that also and decided 7K was fair. He did no other research. He did not find out how many other restaurants were in the area and how many restaurants had left the area recently (chains bigger than us had packed up and left). Fucking idiot.

That corner restaurant went out of business a month after this store opened.....

So the manager of this store was actually a very hard worker. But she worked harder than she needed to. She did not take the time to properly train her people. IF she did she would not need to do everything herself. This store also stayed open until 3am on two days a week as it is right across the street from University of Cincinnati. Look, we just plain are not designed to do this. We have one manager per store. We do not have paid assistants. We have employees that are in line to become managers that assume those roles but this store did not have a pipeline because she did not train people well. So she would often work from 10am to 3am because college kids like to call out of work.

She also hated the guy I worked for. She was friends with the owners of this store and she thought that the master franchisee had screwed them over. Well it's my opinion that people who want to make a bunch of money with no effort and no experience should NOT buy a restaurant. So they did it to themselves.

I tried to help her staff get better by showing them new ways to do things and tried to make her life easier but she would change everything back the moment I left and tell her staff to ignore what I taught them. I even worked a few of those late night shifts so she could take off even though I hate drunk people and especially spoiled drunk college kids. So I ended up with a problem here I did not expect as well. She was very personable and the home office thought she was great. She wasn't.

Less than two months after I got there the manager of the first store quit. She didn't like that I was making changes. She fought against me naming a head waitress or head cook (she wanted ALL control). My job was to build the store and BUILD STAFF. So good riddance. She had a really good cook there that had been there since the store opened. So I talked with him and he agreed to become the manager. He was young but he worked hard and was willing to learn and gadammit he could fix ANYTHING. Amazingly intelligent kid. He is still the manager there now. He is still learning and often has trouble holding people accountable but managing people is the hardest part of any leadership role.

So I expected the lady from the first store to leave, what I didn't expect was for the manager of the other store to quit less than two weeks later. So my boss there bought that store from the owners ( to relieve their debt) and the manager REFUSED to work for my boss and quit with no warning. She knew the sale was taking place but did not tell us she was not going to stay. So I was stuck managing the store for a month. Something I did not want to do. We had noone to take her place.

My boss there ended up hiring this guy from outside the company (always a mistake). Again very little research was done on this guy. I had time to train him for a few weeks before I finally came back home for Thanksgiving. The first time back since I had left. Months longer than I had expected. I knew the store would be slow because all of the college kids would be back home. That wasn't a problem. I returned home. My dad had been having health issues. He seemed ok when I returned home Wednesday. Thursday he had trouble standing up. Friday he went to work. Saturday night he started hallucinating and we took him to the hospital. Sunday he was dead. This turned my world upside down. I still kinda blame myself because he did not want me to leave for Ohio.

I took a few weeks off and returned to work. I knew the manager my boss had hired had to go. He was a bad person who used his employees up. He was all about himself. Not the type of person we want in the company. My boss gave him a ton of chances but just would not get rid of him. Months went by. Things there did not get better. I went on vacation to Wrestlemania in April. I had no idea it was happening but the first day I left the home office bought the Ohio region from the guy I was working for. I went from an Area Developer to just and area operator. Also, since I now worked fro the home office I no longer had the autonomy I had before. I had to answer for everything I did and had to get approval for most things. This was pretty much the beginning of the end.

Now that my boss was gone I decided to replace that manager with a cook from the other store. This guy had also been there for a very long time. Basically he worked two week and then his wife decided he was working too much. This sis a common problem we face. Spouses don't look at the opportunity, they only see the now. So once again I was stuck managing a store. I managed the store until I left in October last year.

In August there was a Master Franchisee conference and they held it in Cincinnati. So it was the first time the home office had been there since I got there. The VP came a day early and did not have a good first impression at the other store. The manager allowed a guy to have a beard which is strictly forbidden by our dress code (clean-cut, all american) The employees agree to this during the hiring paperwork. They have to sign the agreement. So that employee quit when they told him he had to shave. Bad first impression. I hadn't seen the kid since he was hired so I was unaware. They came over to my store and gave me a few things to clean but not much else.

Saturday morning was a culture seminar at the University store. All employees from both stores were invited. The CEO wasn't happy with how my staff looked. It's very hard to hire good looking people there. I tried. College kids didn't want to work there since we paid less than every other restaurant near campus. He also thought the store looked dirty though the VP the day before said it was ok other than the few things I needed to take care of, which I did. I knew that they were not happy with me when they left but they didn't say anything to me. Three weeks later I finally got the call I sorta expected. I week earlier one of the other area operators from NC stopped through surprisingly. I'm not stupid. I know they were letting her see if she wanted to take over in Ohio. They didn't tell me this but I knew. They called me and told me they would be replacing me in Ohio. I asked if I had a position back in NC. They said "No".

So I was basically fired for the first time in my life. I worked out my remaining time, never burn bridges. I helped my replacement get acclimated. And I was prepared to be done with the company at that point.

I spent my last three weeks helping my friend Jesse get his newest location of Arcade Legacy opened in Newport , Kentucky. Then my brother flew in from DC to help me move. Jesse gave me a dual monitor playchoice-10 machine for helping him. It's one of my grails and I will restore it soon. I moved back to North Carolina at the end of November.

In December they asked me to buy one of my two stores back in North Carolina. The store is now struggling since the manager I had there quit. But I'm just not sure I want to go through a manager schedule in the restaurant business anymore. So I'm trying to decide what to do with my life now.

Open a Barcade?

Open a retro game store?

Import and sell cabinets?


I'll find out soon I hope. Sorry for the wall of text.
 

kuze

Champion
Joined
Jul 22, 2015
Messages
1,884
Reaction score
1,285
Location
DFW
What a shitty situation, sorry all that happened to you Mitsu.

Definitely sounds like the departure was for the best though since they clearly did not treat you right after how hard you've worked for the brand and for how long.

I hope you get to do something arcade related as a profession!
Open a Barcade?

Open a retro game store?

Import and sell cabinets?
230cdy.jpg
 

twistedsymphony

Enlightened
Staff member
Immortal
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
9,998
Reaction score
9,323
Location
NH, USA
I feel like a Barcade would play well to your strengths/experience. I don't know that there is enough demand importing cabs to make a living out of it, but it would be a decent supplemental income in addition to whatever else you're doing.

I have seen some retro game stores with an attached arcade, no idea what those places make for profit but I'd suspect it's not as lucrative as a barcade and probably a lot more work (constantly hunting for cheap carts and equipment).
 

skate323k137

Grand Master
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Messages
1,328
Reaction score
891
Location
Michigan
My friend who ran a local retro game shop for ages just closed up this year. He sat down with me and many other regulars and literally showed us how he had to prop this place up with his other store (restaurant) for the last year or two. Too easy to use ebay and craigslist now, no reason to leave someone a 50% margin at a brick and mortar :(

There is one shop around here doing OK but even they are phasing out the older systems in favor of ipods and tvs and shit.

Mits, I wish you the best man.
 

Derick2k

Immortal
Joined
Nov 14, 2015
Messages
8,113
Reaction score
6,514
Location
NYC, USA
1. Open a Barcade?

2. Open a retro game store?

3. Import and sell cabinets?
Why not all 3 :thumbsup: If not, 1 & 3 for sure.

I think a Barcade is very much inline with your skillset ;)
And importing cabs/games yourself can only help.
Plus you have the backing of this community :thumbsup:

But yeah, sucks how they played their cards, but that is the reality of most big/franchise businesses.

Whatever you do brother, best of luck and much success, if you need any help you just let me know :thumbup:
 

Mitsurugi-w

Arcade Admini-Moderator
Staff member
Legendary
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
6,691
Reaction score
6,278
Location
New Bern, NC USA
Jesse makes more profit from his arcade/game store than from the Barcade. The barcade brings in more money but there is higher overhead (licenses, etc.)
 

RealMFnG

Legendary
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
4,389
Reaction score
3,308
Location
Northern California
I remember hearing about your father. I know how that feels brutha. Sorry about that. Hearing this after knowing you lost a parent, well just reminds us all how unfair life can be. But there is no need to remind you that you aren't descended from weak people and that this setback is just temporary. Reading the first post of this thread describing a high school teenager who started out dropping fry's to owning the joint is proof of that.
Sorry for the wall of text.
No need to apologize for that. I asked for it. It is inspirational. Not that I want to hear about your tribulations and take joy from it, but that I know you will make something of it and look forward to hearing about it. So thank you for that. And I know the wall of text helped you too. Articulating emotions into words rationalizes them into thoughts. Then your brain can solve those thoughts emotions alone just turn into problems; it's therapeutic. I am sure you felt the weight lift a bit as you typed the last words of your post. So you're welcome too :)
So I'm trying to decide what to do with my life now.

Open a Barcade?

Open a retro game store?

Import and sell cabinets?
Whatever it is brutha, I know the delay is partially because a break is needed. The other part is the desire to be original. Barcade, retro game store, importing/selling cabs, all these things someone somewhere is already doing them. Might I introduce a new word to the lexicon: Retrorant!! --Trademark pending-- Might be right up your alley given the last 20 years of working experience. Look forward to hearing about it. We support you man.
 

jugu

Professional
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
838
Reaction score
277
Location
San Jose, CA
Cryptocurrency! Heard it's on sale...



Man, what a ride. Wish you nothing but the best.
 

zero238

Grand Master
Joined
Nov 3, 2015
Messages
1,011
Reaction score
523
Location
Raleigh, NC
Went to see a if one of the empty buildings was for sale but it's already under contract. The only one left is 400k and it's 4 buildings combined and won't separate them. Time to save up!!
 

xodaraP

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 21, 2016
Messages
4,416
Reaction score
3,051
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
This is the difference between a manager and a leader.

You're a leader Mitsu and unfortunately the company wanted to change over to managers because managers make the money by reducing costs - which in turn reduces the quality of staff, number of staff, quality of service, quality of food in a restaurant etc.

What the company wants (as is common when franchises get larger) is yes men. People who will do whatever the company tells them to make more money for the company no matter what.

I understand why it happens, companies are there to make money - but it's a shame when it becomes all about the money.

A leader is never afraid to say when they think a wrong decision is being made and will always do what is best for everyone
 

skate323k137

Grand Master
Joined
Jul 23, 2015
Messages
1,328
Reaction score
891
Location
Michigan
This is the difference between a manager and a leader.

You're a leader Mitsu and unfortunately the company wanted to change over to managers because managers make the money by reducing costs - which in turn reduces the quality of staff, number of staff, quality of service, quality of food in a restaurant etc.

What the company wants (as is common when franchises get larger) is yes men. People who will do whatever the company tells them to make more money for the company no matter what.

I understand why it happens, companies are there to make money - but it's a shame when it becomes all about the money.

A leader is never afraid to say when they think a wrong decision is being made and will always do what is best for everyone
This info should come in the adult human being training manual
 

Mitsurugi-w

Arcade Admini-Moderator
Staff member
Legendary
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
6,691
Reaction score
6,278
Location
New Bern, NC USA
well it's not really that. Hwy 55 is all about people. Developing other leaders was my job. The numbers will follow if you have good people. I hadn't built as many people as I should have honestly. It's not that I didn't try. It's just very hard to get people to buy into our culture when the base is so far away. 90% of the owners started as minimum wage employees. It's hard to get that across. Here in NC we see it every day.

Bottom line is closing the store was not an option. They are stuck with the lease for 4 more years so they need to find a way to break even. I was there for over a year and I didn't get it done. They tried something else. I don't appreciate the way it all happened in the end. I still love the company and the people at the top are good people. It is a great company. Ohio just didn't work for me.
 

SNK-NEO-GEO

Enlightened
Joined
Jul 21, 2015
Messages
3,189
Reaction score
1,840
Location
Virginia
Thanks for sharing; that was a ride...

I would not recommend any of these as a full time gig and only source of income. I visited a few Barcade in PHX AZ and not that many customers, Dave and Buster was the place to go, they have it all in AZ. Retro game store, Have you seen the prices for retro games? way to expensive to build an inventory and make some kind of profit.. I was looking to get some SNES games and OMG, they are expensive and that is from craiglist. import and sell cabinets, there are only a few of us (population) that are into these type of thing/toys; the interest will dry up way too quickly.

The opportunity to buy your own restaurant might be something that you should reconsider since you know the industry and you know how much that particular restaurant can Net you since you used to manage it. But it will all depends on, rent, operational expenses, yearly profit etc.. and how much you need to borrow from the bank and at what rate.

Fuck it.. what am I saying... dudddddde, if you have no wife and no kids just do whatever you want and enjoy the ride...if it is just you, do't stress and let it play out..You only get one life:)...
 

jugu

Professional
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
838
Reaction score
277
Location
San Jose, CA
Seriously consider a venture that can utilize your restaurant and arcade knowledge. Although I would never let anyone eat near my machines.
 

RealMFnG

Legendary
Joined
Mar 27, 2016
Messages
4,389
Reaction score
3,308
Location
Northern California
Seriously consider a venture that can utilize your restaurant and arcade knowledge. Although I would never let anyone eat near my machines.
But drinking Modelo's around them is ok.
 

xodaraP

Enlightened
Joined
Sep 21, 2016
Messages
4,416
Reaction score
3,051
Location
Gold Coast, Australia
well it's not really that. Hwy 55 is all about people. Developing other leaders was my job. The numbers will follow if you have good people. I hadn't built as many people as I should have honestly. It's not that I didn't try. It's just very hard to get people to buy into our culture when the base is so far away. 90% of the owners started as minimum wage employees. It's hard to get that across. Here in NC we see it every day.

Bottom line is closing the store was not an option. They are stuck with the lease for 4 more years so they need to find a way to break even. I was there for over a year and I didn't get it done. They tried something else. I don't appreciate the way it all happened in the end. I still love the company and the people at the top are good people. It is a great company. Ohio just didn't work for me.
It's important to challenge yourself, even if it doesn't work out - it just really sucks that it ended the way it did. There should be more like you
 

Darksoft

Staff member
Immortal
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
9,227
Reaction score
10,789
Location
Poland
Definitely a lesson learnt! Sorry all that happened to you.

I agree that a restaurant of your own would be the thing. Not a franchise but rather a dinner with higher prices and less rotation than a fast food would have.

Also, I would definitely go for the import thing. You'll get support from the community here. Maybe do a group buy here and get into the costs all the logistics from going to Japan to check the cabinets and organize transport. Then you can decide if you want to go further this road.

In any case, having those cabinets imported can help you with the rotation if you have a Barcade or a Retrostore (Definitely dont mix food with cabinets).

So my advice goes to #1 import, #2 open a restaurant of your own #3 open next door a barcade where you can show your recently imported cabinets.

Keep us updated.
 
Top