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.

The Things We Stash


We’re moving to a new office space next month. So that means cleaning out 13 years worth of desk junk.

Things found in my desk:

  • A number of 3.5-inch floppy disks (at least one dating back to college)
  • Sports Illustrated that came out right after Saints won the Super Bowl
  • three or four newspapers printed right after Katrina
  • a Ray Nagin in Your Pocket key-chain
  • a Ka-Bar knife
  • two rolls of toilet paper
  • complete set of Burger-King-issued toys from The Simpsons Movie (still in their individual bags);
  • bacon wallet (not really bacon, just looks like it)
  • check book from two banks ago
  • student-loan repayment booklet (long ago paid off)
  • chimp clock
  • set of plastic office chimps
  • plastic gorilla
  • assorted stuffed primates
  • Palm Pre
  • Maytag Man (and his dog) bobble head
  • Frank Perdue bobble head
  • George W. Bush bobble head
  • Kia hamster figure (wearing a Hamstar hooded sweat shirt)
  • a number of bottle openers
  • assorted thumb drives with lord-knows what own them
  • a hand-written list of old log-in/password information, including one for MySpace (I tried; it no longer works)
  • and a cassette tape of an interview I did with Gene Simmons from KISS in which he called men today a bunch of pussies because they get married and do what their wives tell them.