While Stephen Starr’s restaurant Washington Square lies dormant on one side of Washington Square’s dramatic Ayer condos, there are signs of restaurant life on the other side of the same building. New York chef Jared Stafford-Hill tells us he’s planning to open Cafè Comptoir, an informal 60-seat restaurant and cafè that would be open throughout the day, on the northeast side of the Ayer. According to Stafford-Hill, the project is 85 percent financed, with the owner of the Ayer space as one of his partners, and he’s still looking for investors to fill out the other 15 percent. He’s put together a website which provides a remarkably frank look at the behind-the-scenes search for start-up restaurant money.
As of right now, Stafford-Hill is $120,000 short of the $800,000 budget he needs to open, but he’s crunched the numbers for interested parties:
“Café Comptoir is a good investment, as quick repayment is a high priority. Total repayment is projected between quarters 7 and 8, giving the investor a full return before 2 years. After repayment, the share drops to 70%, so a $10,000 investment would roughly make $4,000 a year indefinitely, a $100,000 investment, $40,000.”
Café Comptoir is as serious about controlling costs as it is creating tasty food. Our projections are conservative; actual sales will most likely be higher, but we’ve rounded down to be safe. Our goal is to keep the profit between 12% and 15%, ambitious for a restaurant. Careful attention to controllable expenses is most important, as sales fluctuate, the budgeted percentages will remain.”
Stafford-Hill, who was chef at New York’s Bobo and also worked at Hearth and Insieme, became intrigued by the idea of opening a restaurant in Philly while visiting his friend chef Steve Gonzalez (who’s about to open Zavino, which is still waiting on its liquor license). Philly’s affordability, proximity to the countryside and the availability of ingredients, and its restaurant community all appealed to Stafford-Hill. “It seemed like a good opportunity to have the restaurant I’ve always dreamed of instead of the stripped-down version I’d have to open in New York.”