Leading The Hospitality Industry Into The New Millennium

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you offer packages of services or can I select only
the specific services I need or desire?

Both. Once we determine the "scope of services" your project requires, we then identify our services that best fit your needs.
When several services are required, economies typically allow us
to propose fees that are lower than if the specific services were contracted individually. For larger jobs such as turn-key development jobs, the savings realized can be significant.

You do not have an office in my immediate area. How will that affect your services and fees?
Over the years, we have assisted clients throughout the world. Our offices are located in the Northeast United States, but we frequently travel to clients' sites located outside of our geographic locations. Travel expenses are typically paid for by our clients. Because our offices are located in major gateway cities, transportation expenses are easily minimized and we do not require seating and accommodations beyond coach class. When reimbursable travel is required for a project, our proposals always include estimates of the number of meetings and/or site visits needed to complete a job. Regardless of where a project is located, we provide the same high level of service. We utilize the latest communication and computer technologies, so we stay in constant touch with our clients, offices and resources. In fact, today's technology has reduced costs to clients with the ability to communicate and transfer documentation by computer and fax.

Do you subcontract any of your work?
Together with our allied design firm, we have extensive resources available to us, so most projects can be completed entirely in-house and thus, subcontracting is not necessary. Occasionally, we do subcontract work. When we do, it is our responsibility to ensure that the work is completed to our standards. We take pride in being a "one-stop" resource for hospitality businesses, and we enjoy the responsibility of managing all parts of our clients' projects, no matter how big.

What differentiates your services from those of general business consultants and accountants?
We advise hospitality businesses only. As specialists, we have a wealth of industry-specific knowledge and experience you won't find in accountants and general business consultants. The hospitality industries - restaurants, foodservice, lodging - are unique and come with their own unique challenges, operating standards and requirements. Our professional staff have extensive industry experience as well as advanced degrees in hospitality management, finance, marketing and management. Our unique combination of education and industry experience makes us more qualified than business generalists.

I want to start a restaurant. What will it take and how much money will I need?
We're asked these questions frequently and the answers are not simple. When considering starting a restaurant business, you must first be clear as to why? The restaurant business is very difficult with a typical failure rate of eight out of 10. To succeed, you must work long hours, much longer than most businesses. However, the potential rewards of a successful restaurant business are great ... with hard work, you can earn a nice living and build equity in a viable business. Whether you have restaurant experience or not, the question remains the same - Do you want to and have what it takes to commit yourself to a difficult business that can offer larger rewards after several or more? If you can answer yes, than you need a feasibility study and a Business Plan to get going. The question on cost is not as easy to answer because cost depends on many variables such as: Are you buying an existing restaurant or building from scratch?; Are you looking for partners, investors, bank loans, or possibly a combination of these?; How big is your restaurant going to be? ... and so on. Feasibility studies and business planning can help answer these questions and tell you how much it will cost and what you need to put in. We can help.

I have other consultants working on my project but may want you to assist. Do you work with other consultants?
We do. This is sometimes the case with large projects that require several specialists. Many projects require the interface of lawyers, accountants, and other specialists. We enjoy working alongside other professionals who can help achieve the project's goals. If other foodservice consultants are involved, we look for a clear delineation of the roles of each firm.

My project is confidential. How do you handle confidentiality?
This question is not unusual, especially for new developments or concepts. At the request of our clients, we'll gladly sign confidentiality agreements. In addition, our Standard Client/Consultant Agreements include clauses that require the return of all documentation and materials provided to us by our clients.

What do your services cost?
We have fee ranges for most of our services. when asked to submit a proposal for services, we then consider the elements that affect pricing such as scope of work, timeline required, etc. and then we propose our fees based on this analysis. Every customer has different needs. We build our consulting packages around your specific needs and budgets. You tell us what information you need and want... we tell you what we can offer, package it for you, and tell you what it will cost.

Do you provide services on "spec" or commission?
As a rule, no. From time to time, we discount our services with a written guarantee of future work, however we do so only after we've established a relationship with the client and have enough information to make an informed decision as to the level of risk we are incurring.

How do I get more information?
We will be happy to discuss your project with you and explain all of the services that we can provide. At that time, you may request a written proposal that will detail our understanding of your needs, the services and deliverables we will provide, our fees and timeline. Contact us by email at sales@whitmanlane.com.