They've already made an offer to the current occupants of the space, but the final decision is the landlord's since, without a lease, any offer becomes void, similar to what happened with us at the Lincoln Square location.
I do have an 'in' with the landlord in this case, but the ownership is a group and they're ultimately going to do what's best for them, from a business standpoint, regardless of my personal relationship with one of the owners. So if they decide that the other concept will work better in that location, that's what they'll go with.
It'd certainly be nice to have options, but at this point, I'm thinking that the Evanston location I looked at last week is the the better location for us.
I went by there on Saturday, which was a very rainy day, and the streets were dead. But this past week was finals week at Northwestern, so most students have likely left town by now. Then I swung by there again on Sunday, when the weather was beautiful, and the streets were hoppin'; tons of people out and about, shopping, walking, etc. And that's with the university kids gone for summer.
The rent is higher there, and so is the buy-in, but, ultimately, I believe our volume would be significantly greater in Evanston, enough to counter the higher expenses and then some. I did some number-crunching and it wouldn't take much of an uptick in traffic from what I was expecting on Lincoln to offset the added expense of Evanston, and then, once that money is offset, the rest is profit. Volume always makes things easier, numbers-wise.
The listing of the restaurant that's in the space now claims that they do $390k in gross annual sales, and that's with what I consider to be a fairly weak concept. That's about double what I estimated for our first year on Lincoln, so it's a nice-sounding number.
I'm going to take another look at Evanston this week, when the restaurant's closed, and so I should have a much clearer picture of what the start-up will entail there, but from what I've seen so far, I'd only have to add a couple pieces of equipment--deep fryers, an ice cream freezer, maybe a stand mixer or a meat grinder--and do a little painting/decorating. It's exciting to think that I could put in about $5k and a month's work and get the place open and running.
I will wait and see what happens with Western/Armitage, but I'm thinking that I really want to make an offer on Evanston this week.