FOOLS my story if you can!!(BET ME)

Because of another thread I just read I thought I would start a topic of discussion that will make many laugh(at me), but hey…

OK…I am EXTREMELY embarrassed by my fool tax story, but here goes…please, please don’t criticize too much…i’m still stinging.
Back last March a guy I had met opened a pizza shop a few blocks from my house. He seemed like a nice Jersey guy, had been in pizza for 20+ years, had a pizza shop in this city 20 years ago and moved back to Jersey but decided to give it another try. HIS food was awesome, he made his own sub rolls, dough etc, great fresh toppings, used only Grande and Stanislaus products, etc. I was ordering about three times a week but the problem was he would open for a week, close for four days, open three days, close five days…no consistency but he was always slammed when he was open. He didn’t have a menu made, was very disorganized and I told him I would help him when I got out of work(I was a nurse manager for a homecare company). I designed his menu, organized a few things and we became quick friends. About May he offered me a partnership…I did a background check on him(came up clean) and asked around(everyone told me he was a great guy). I thought about it and then the middle of June I agreed. I put in my notice at work and took a deep breath…JUNE 29th he disappeared…everyone looked to me to keep the business going including my wife. I HAD NEVER MADE A PIZZA IN MY LIFE and only helped him top a few…He was going to teach me the business. I immediately took it upon myself on a busy night and learned extremely fast. After four days he popped up and he wouldn’t tell me where he had been but agreed to come to work that evening. HE LIED…disappeared again for a week…this time I demanded from a few of his friends/employees and they informed me he had a “crack” problem. I tracked him down and threw his keys at him…HE in turn offered to sell the business to me with only $6000 down and $2000 a month for six years($150,000 total) I SAID OK… OK…all of you seasoned pros…go ahead…all at once…LAUGH!!! Now, remember, no business plan, no pizza experience, no BUSINESS experience…I WAS A NURSE!!! Well, I worked the business blindly and by some miracle, seen the business go from $5000 a week average and brought it up to $7300 a week average(until April and my average has dropped to $6400). I worked three months with no paycheck, lived off of my hard earned savings and managed to stay alive. People raved about the food, the remodeling, the quicker customer service and the CONSISTENCY. Now…I managed a small paycheck after a few months but food costs and payroll were eating me up. I was there from open to close seven days a week but was being taken advantage of by a few of his friends/employees that convinced me that I needed them around for so many hours(they are gone now)…fast forward a few more months and now I have learned how to control food costs, labor costs, learned how to order, inventory, and sell pizza,pasta, and subs…I had to change the name because every bill collector and lawyer kept coming to me for money, the equipment he sold me is worth about $60,000(if that). YES, I am paying a HUGE fools tax and by some miracle I am making it. AT $7300 a week i was too inexperienced to control food costs and labor costs, I made it through all of his help quitting or getting fired by me. I work about 80 hours a week and now with food costs and labor under control I am better of at $6400 than I was at $7300. I look to the future with hope and have no idea how I made it through so far. I have learned so much. I will be glad to tell more of my story if anyone is interested but I think everyone gets my point…has anyone paid a HIGHER fools tax??? and before anyone asks…yes, I am still paying him per our agreement, I think if i offered him $65000 right now added to what I have payed him he would probably take it because I told him I have wisened up but no I haven’t got a business plan and can not get a bank loan(another story…keep reading) so I am stuck paying him. While the monetary “fools tax” is high…there is one added tax that is higher…one of the cooks was a close friend of the old owner, I kept him on because he was teaching me a few things but has since been fired because before he left, he came to work drunk(without my knowledge until after the fact) he was showing my 8 year old son the bread roller and pushed my son’s hand into it, crushing his fingers and sending us to emergency surgery. That happended Dec. 2nd and while the physical injury is gone, the psychological injury remains as does the $12000 medical bill because I couldn’t afford self pay insurance. This of course, coupled with numerous credit inquiries over the last year has effectively dropped my credit score to about 630 and without a business plan I can’t borrow change for a cup of coffee, let alone borrow money to get him out of the picture completely. OK, I went off course a little, sorry…Well, this is my story…

that 12,000 should be deducted from his end, and if someone did that to my child at work… i dont want to say what would happen. my employees know that we have alot of family and they come to the restaurant, they have so much to do for the business they dont need to take care of my family, to a point. good luck

This is your prime example of not doing your homework. I would try to get out of that agreement somehow. Either tell him your selling the store, or going to fold. Is the agreement well documented?

Your basically going to support his habit for the next 5 years. However your sales are OK, and if u want to stick around, i would focus on driving more business into your store, giving great service and serving great food.

We all make mistakes, and we all learn from them. Your not alone.

IM not going to criticize because Im kind of in the same situation except I dont owe him no $, I owe all my bills be glad your at 6000.00 a week Im struggling to reach that anyway. I would get 5000.00 and offer it to him telling him thats all you can afford or your going to have to close . A crackhead will take it happily trust me, and when hes ready to take that $ have a paper to sign to get you out the deal. Hes a crackhead which means his habit makes him think DUMB!!!

Now THAT is an archetypal example. I grimanced rather than laughed . . . I hate to hear about stories like this, especially the injury. You hit the nail on the head that the money is only PART of the price we all paid.

I sure hope you find a way to buy out your sale contract and stop the bleeding. Sounds like you are driven and have a good head on your shoulders. That’s the sort of thing that overcomes the hole we dig to start out. Keep throwing that dough.