The Café Symmetry Dilemma:
Elmo’s Diner in Carrboro, NC has been a popular and profitable restaurant for over 20 years. Cindy McMahan and her business partners had a dream of opening a second restaurant and it was almost crushed when their SBA loan application was rejected. Their banker told them, “You don’t meet the SBA loan guidelines for restaurants.” They would later find out that there is no such thing as SBA loan guidelines specifically for restaurants.
After being rejected by their current bank, Cindy was reluctant to pursue other lenders; “I was gun-shy about approaching other banks. I didn’t want to get the team’s hopes up and then have them crushed again.” The Elmo’s management team had worked together for over 10 years, “One of the primary reasons for wanting to open a second restaurant was to create growth and larger ownership opportunities for my managers”; said Cindy.
What MarketVigor Did:
The Elmo’s team worked with Joe Battle, who was able to help them become “capital-ready.” He took the time to explain their funding options and what they would need to prepare in order to be attractive to lenders. Joe took an active role in writing the Café Symmetry business plan and developing a loan application package. With Joe’s guidance the loan package went out to selected lenders who were receptive to working with restaurants.
What Happened Next:
Three banks offered to loan Café Symmetry the $700K needed to open their dream restaurant! “I couldn’t wait to call Cindy when the first bank term sheet came in”; said Joe. “I knew what receiving funding for the restaurant would mean to her and the rest of the folks at Elmo’s”. The team then received term sheets from two additional banks, and ultimately decided to move forward with BB&T. The new restaurant will be called Café Symmetry. It is a fast, fresh-casual dining restaurant concept for busy people who care about what they eat. A hybrid concept operating between the fast-casual and traditional sit down casual dining restaurants. The grand opening is scheduled for spring of 2015.
Being able to work with clients who are pursuing their dreams, and doing the right thing for their employees and community is what we like to do at MarketVigor.