The Ken Wheaton Restaurant Consultancy
Photo courtesy of “potential past.”

I may have been inspired to start a new business. For a low fee — certainly lower than the competition — I’ll work with folks thinking of opening a restaurant and save them thousands and thousands of dollars.

But first, a word about my inspiration. Recently, someone opened up a buffet joint in Bay Ridge, right around the block from us. This wasn’t a sudden move. There’d been signs in the window promising its arrival for well over a year. “Coming soon,” the signs said. “Buffet!” And so, in the middle of November and after a week of papering the neighborhood with menus, someone opened a restaurant located between a laundromat and the Brooklyn Bad Ass Academy (yes, that’s a real thing).

I’ve seen four customers in that place since and they very well could have been employees or family members. This, despite the increasing proliferation of signs in the windows advertising brunch and discounts for police, firemen and senior citizens. I’ve walked by during the morning, during lunch, at night — on weekends and weekdays. Nothing.

Sure, the place could have been opened as a money-laundering operation, a tax write-off, a front for the Indian mafia or something like that. But I suspect some guy thought to himself, “I’m the one who’s going to make an Indian buffet restaurant work in this weird location.”

So here’s my business idea. I become a consultant. Aspiring restaurant openers (I HATE the word restaurateur for some reason. Where the hell did the n go?) will come to me, I will take their money, then sit them down and say, “ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY? YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS OPENING A RESTAURANT! WHO’S YOUR CUSTOMER? WHERE’S YOUR FOOT TRAFFIC COMING FROM? WHERE ARE YOU MARKETING? ENJOY THE RESTAURANT FOOD BECAUSE YOU’LL BE EATING OUT OF CANS AFTER THIS THING GOES BELLY UP!”

Cara often calls me The Dream Crusher. It’s about time I put that skill to use. (Though that’s pretty much what editing is.)

Maybe I’ll be more polite than that. Maybe just send this video.

I feel it would be a real service. And I’m not going to be greedy about it. I’m only going to charge $5,000 or 10% for what you were planning to spend to open your restaurant — whichever makes you happy.

For this low fee — about half what 40 hours worth of restaurant consulting would cost from someone else — you get:

  • A tax deductible business expense.
  • Savings of anywhere between $50,000 and $500,000 depending on location.
  • Better credit — after you repay the loan you know you already took out without consulting with anyone else first.
  • A roof over your head — because you won’t be taking out multiple mortgages on your house.
  • Time to find a job that doesn’t require you to work seven days a week 365 days a year and/or manage ego-raging chefs, snotty high-school and college kids who think they’re better than you and border-line criminals.
  • A firm guarantee that your spouse will not spend the rest of you marriage (however long it may last) asking, “What did you do to us?”
  • The knowledge that you actually did spend money pursuing your dream.
  • The ability to tell friends, “Yeah, I looked into opening a restaurant, but my consultant said it wasn’t the way to go right now. I might invest in alpacas.” (Don’t invest in alpacas.)

Sounds like a win-win for everyone involved. Now all I have to do is go find some prime Manhattan office space. I need to look legit.

I Know What You Did: My Facebook Business Plan

I’ve stumbled upon a foolproof way to make money on Facebook.

You know how you’re cruising through your Facebook feed and there are a handful of folks going on about “kids these days,” and the “lack of respect,” and the laziness and the drugs. Or they’re spouting Bible quotes and friending Jesus as if they’re some sort of digital-realm street-corner preacher?

You know how more often than not, those people weren’t exactly angels back in the day? In fact, they were the exact opposite? Your high-school pot dealer is now a cop? The girl who had morals as loose as a meth addict’s teeth is now going on about the sanctity of marriage and the length of skirts?

Oh, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And hey, people change. I get it. But times are tough. A guy’s gotta make money. So here’s my extortion business plan.

Step 1. Find all such friends on Facebook.
Step 2. Figure out which ones have teenage children.
Step 3. Friend those teenage children on Facebook.

Now you have two choices. You could offer to sell information to those teenagers — information about what their parents did in high school or college. Maybe even photos. Or video. This was my original plan. But then it occurred to me: That’s not where the big money is. Teenagers don’t have a lot of cash. And what cash they do have is usually from their parents in the first place.

No, the action is with the parents. You go to them and say, “Hey, friend! Long time no talk! Love your status updates! Did you know I was friends with your kids on Facebook? Did you know I have a photo of you from that time you thought you were on Girls Gone Wild but it turns out it was just some redneck with a video camera at Flora-Bama? Would be awful if that were to fall into your kids hands? P.S. Here’s a link to my Paypal account.”

And since I’m not friends with everyone on Facebook, you can start your own franchise. We’ll all be rich!

Granted, there are some flaws with this plan. The first is that there may be some evidence out there that can be used against you. Maybe you were the one who got a DWI for driving a tractor into the Walmart. Or you were the one who had an inappropriate relationship with the math teacher. Then again, if you’re like me, you’ve always been a moral reprobate and never bothered to hide it from your children.

The second is — and I’m no lawyer — this could possibly be illegal. So fair warning and all.