I'll just repost what I wrote at PMQ:
I took a look at the place. Here is the story.
It's a tiny rathole. That's fine; I did not want to start big. It used to be a Jerry & Joe's. This is a fairly good chain.
1. Blodgett oven, two-deck, 650°. Stones cracked. It will handle three 16" pies per deck. I'd say the decks are about 48" by 36". It's ancient, but I suppose it will make pizza as long as the gas flows.
2. Three-door refrigerator. Did not spot a brand name. It's about eight or nine feet wide, and it's maybe seven feet tall.
3. Three-door prep station with a polyethylene (I think) surface for pizza. Did not see a brand name.
4. Household fridge.
5. Two small microwaves.
6. Hoover planetary mixer. I think it got the name because it was made during the Hoover administration. Could not tell the size in quarts, but it will accept a batch of dough requiring 22 lbs. of flour.
7. Gural 120V slicer.
8. Two big stainless prep tables.
9. One small prep table, occupied by slicer.
10. Two-door beverage cooler, probably the property of Coca-Cola.
11. Phone system.
12. Three-compartment sink.
It has two small round tables with two seats each. No beverage fountain. No range. No conventional oven. The only thing he does not own is the Coke cooler.
Here is the deal with the lease. I misunderstood. It does have a lease, but the lease is locked at $975, provided I take over. The problem with this plan is that it has seven years left on it.
The place is in unincorporated Dade County, so I don't have a lot of city regulation to drive me crazy.
Minimal parking, although there is unlimited public land across the road, and people use it.
There is really no dry storage, but the refrigerator is so outlandishly huge, I could keep a lot of stuff in it.
I have not seen the books, but they claim they grossed around $650 per day. The cost of the gas will probably be higher than the figure they quoted earlier; they got a 20% discount as a franchise.
Here is my take. This is not a fantastic deal for $20K. If the business tanks, I'm stuck with a seven-year lease, and it's very hard to find new tenants these days. The equipment is not worth $20K. The goodwill is virtually nonexistent; it basically amounts to local knowledge that pizza is available at this address. I'd be starting from scratch.
I think the real story here is that this guy wants out of a lease, and he doesn't want to sell the equipment piecemeal. I suppose the lease would not be a problem if I incorporated and the business died with no assets, but that seems like a cheesy way out.
I'd say this deal is worth more like $5K, purely for the cost of the dubious equipment.
The up side is that the potential for a financial catastrophe is pretty limited.
One thing I learned: a business in an unincorporated area is a good thing. This place delivers to all sorts of over-regulated, posh areas, but it does not have to answer to their politicians and bureaucrats.
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I have to admit, it's tempting. If I could get in dirt cheap, I could go up there and run the place by myself for a few months, just piddling around as a relatively affordable hobby. If it caught on, I could hire lackeys and flunkies and stooges and extend the hours and try to make some money.