HOW TO: Setting up for success
Functional by Design: Bars
“Food may have the big name-making potential, but any restaurant operator will tell you that when it comes to adding energy and boosting profitability, the bar is the star. Markups and margins on liquor are exponentially better than those on food. What’s more, liquor isn’t perishable, and a tight team in a relatively small amount of space can run a highly profitable bar.”
Feature of the Week: FE Design and Consulting
“With 19 years of experience in the business, Eddie and his team have quickly become the experts on the issues that truly matter to restaurant businesses. His experience and sage advice is a crucial element to get restaurants up and running and functioning efficiently.”
The Benefits and Challenges to Opening a Small Restaurant
“Tiny homes, tiny cottages, tiny living—tiny is big these days. Small and intimate is quickly replacing big box chain dining as diners seek better experiences for their bucks. The benefits? Patrons say they assume food will be better in a more intimate restaurant, that more attention will be paid to guests, and that the ingredients will be sourced locally”
Meet the Most Important Restaurant Guy You’ve Never Heard of
“Ever wonder why L.A. bars close at 2 a.m.? (If you think this city has no nightlife, you’ve obviously never been to Coffee Bean at 9 p.m., the joke goes.) Turns out it’s a state law leftover from the end of Prohibition that never got repealed.”
How to be more productive by delegating and empowering your team
“Business leaders may think that it’s easier and faster to get things done themselves. But delegating to your team is not only essential for growth—it helps empower employees and connects them to the bigger picture.”
Extending Last Call to 4 a.m. – What Potential California Nightlife Rule Changes Mean to a Hospitality Expert
“Once all the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed, it’s important to note business won’t boom immediately. It will take some time for the public to catch up but when they do, it will be absolutely worth it.”
What Does Downtown Need, ‘Fast’ Eddie Navarrette?
“Downtown’s changing very quickly, and I can’t expect it to stay the way I remember it and want it,” Navarrette, 40, says. “Great cities like San Francisco and Sydney have thriving, pedestrian-friendly, safer neighborhoods where there’s a lot of resources and amenities. I’m so happy to see there’s now a real Downtown happening in Los Angeles.”
What Would A 4 A.M. Last Call Look Like In Los Angeles?
“It’s the age of Uber. Drunk driving is on the decline. I think a 4 a.m. last call would go a long way towards making L.A. a nightlife destination. I know when I moved here from New York I immediately felt the loss,” Nick Theodorakis, a film producer who lives in West Hollywood, told LAist.
5 Essential Tips For Entrepreneurs Opening A Small Business
“Opening a business can be an intimidating endeavor. From creating a viable concept to implementing cost-effective processes to ensure continual progress, building a business takes time, strategy and the right kind of advice.”
4 a.m. Last Call Proposal Gets Some L.A. Love
“The LOCAL Act recognizes that cities like Los Angeles could benefit — if it chooses to do so — from developing a plan to expand nightlife in neighborhoods like downtown L.A.,” Wiener said in a statement. “By taking this nuanced approach to empower — but not require — local communities to extend alcohol sales hours, we can support nightlife in California while also recognizing that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution for each and every city in our great state.”
CALIFORNIA’S LAWS ABOUT RESTAURANT BATHROOMS ARE MORE PROGRESSIVE THAN L.A.’S
“Last September, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1732, a bill requiring all single-stall restrooms in the state of California to be designated “gender-neutral.” It is the nation’s most inclusive restroom-access law, and it went into effect on March 1.”
PLACELIST: SALSA DANCING IN L.A. WITH EDDIE NAVARETTE
“Fast Eddie of FE Design shows us where hips don’t lie in Los Angeles: When the sun goes down, the permit specialist behind some of LA’s trademark landmarks like Lemonade, Sprinkles and Hotel Erwin transforms into a professional salsa dancer.”
INSIDE THE ARTS DISTRICTS HUGE NEW BREWPUB/SKEEBALL JOINT
For decades, people came to Traction Avenue in the Arts District in search of discount electronics. Gideon Kotzer, the namesake of Crazy Gideon’s, became something of a local legend for his outlandish TV commercials — he’d literally smash a TV to show how crazy he is for having such low prices. Crazy Gideon’s closed in 2010. Now, the electronics have given way to beer and skeeball. The Arts District Brewing Company, a project from nightlife magnate Cedd Moses’ 213 Hospitality, began serving in mid-December.
NEW INITIATIVE AIMS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES WITH L.A. PERMITTING BURDENS
The Department of Building and Safety has done a good job, but what hasn’t changed much is wrangling in other departments and agencies, said Eddie Navarette, chief consultant for FE Design and Consulting, who works with businesses to navigate the red tape at City Hall.
“Hopefully, the city of L.A. will be open to hearing feedback from organizations dealing with these types of problems with restaurants,” Navarette said.
“These initiatives are on the right track,” he said. “I feel they put some of [the restaurants’ concerns] in there, which is really great.”
TANGLED LOS ANGELES PERMIT PROCESS HAS RESTAURANT OWNERS HOWLING
“Seventy percent of my clients have already signed a lease and are in some sort of trouble,” says Navarrette, who handles the cases of 50 to 100 restaurants per year and calls himself a “permit specialist extraordinaire.” He guides his clients through the maze of requirements and represents them at the right offices.
Navarrette believes that the root of the problem lies, in large part, with the number of cooks in the kitchen, but he also says there is a hierarchy of projects that is skewed toward helping big business. “Successful restaurants can pay lobbyists money, and these guys will take city officials to lunch,” he says. “There should be the same type of assistance available to small business owners.”
TALE OF THE TAPE
Eddie Navarrette knows all about the mess—he’s among the dozen or so “expediters” who are hired by restaurant owners to stand in lines and deal with the permits and inspections. “The first thing I ask potential clients is if they’ve signed a lease,” says Navarrette, who is known in the trade as “Fast Eddie” (he got his nickname playing in a rock band). “If they have a lease, there’s no turning back. If they don’t, I’ll sometimes discourage them from moving forward.”
WHO ON EARTH IS RESTAURANT RAINMAKER “FAST EDDIE?”
BlogDowntown charts the ongoing journey of Two Bits Market, a sandwich and organic ingredient store in the Alexandria Hotel, which like many local businesses is doing its best to navigate the bureaucracy of opening a food-based project. Beset by permitting pains and crushed under labyrinthine laws, owner Brandi Lozano sought the help of Eddie “Fast Eddie” Navarette, which like Two Bits, is another name that sounds like it bounded out of Guys and Dolls. Who is this restaurant rainmaker with a hat full of miracles?
ONE LONG ROAD FOR TWO BITS MARKET
Brandi Lozano, owner of the future Two Bits Market, has been pouring her heart and soul into opening the store for more than a year. “I learned a lot of humbling lessons learned in the process,” she said. For Lozano and her two business partners, the permitting process has been a struggle from day one. “I warned her that it would take a lot longer than she was anticipating,” said Vianey Delgadillo, Lozano’s business partner and owner of the Down & Out. “I didn’t want to hear it,” added Lozano. In March, Lozano told blogdowntown that she hoped to open in May, but that was before delays in preparing the space came to light.
Lozano and her partners decided to pursue a different way of getting permitted. They turned to Eddie Navarrette, owner of FE Design, a professional expediter firm that helps restaurant owners through the permitting process.
“They call him ‘Fast Eddie.’ Where I was stonewalled, he was able to get answers and move everything along,” said Lozano. “Unfortunately, what Brandi went through is a typical roadblock from the Bureau of Sanitation,” said Navarrette.