MARTA Referendum How it Works for Business hosts Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini having a conversation with Eric Christ and Paige Havens looking for their Sage advice and perspective.
How to Position Your Small Business to Grow Sales During and After COVID-19 [Podcast]
The pandemic has changed customers and their buying habits. That’s without question. So how do you talk to them now and in the next normal time? Open Window Marketing founder Lisa McGuire joins Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini to discuss brand positioning and more.
Marketing Tips for Small Business Owners to end 2020 strong.
- The 3 Customer Profiles of 2020 – how your customer has changed
Customers have shifted from pre-pandemic to the pandemic to the next normal. How can you possibly know what to say?
- Why traditional marketing no longer works and how to move forward.
Traditional marketing talks about the features of the product and why they are the best choice. In our noisy world, you need a new approach.
- Why your personal brand is even more important to help you drive more revenue
Timestamp, where to find it in the podcast:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:03:10] – About Lisa
[00:04:01] – Marketing Mistakes
[00:05:43] – Changing Clientele
[00:09:33] – Importance of an Online Presence
[00:16:14] – Clarifying Your Message
[00:21:14] – Traditional Marketing
[00:23:57] – Spending and Personal Branding
[00:30:17] – Marketing Done Correctly
[00:31:52] – Closing
“And the big idea to take away from this is the customers that you’ve had no longer exist.Lisa Mcguire
They are now pandemic customers. They have new problems, they have new priorities. So what
do you need to do in your business to shift your product line and offerings? To meet these new
problems, or if you still connect with their problem, how do you need to shift your message?”
Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and
tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with
Transworld Business Advisors, and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital
Marketing and the publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico, how are you doing?
Rico: [00:00:47] Good Karl. It’s a beautiful day considering how much rain we had the other day.
Karl: [00:00:53] I know, I know. This storm has gone past and now we’ll hopefully get some
better days going ahead. Things are getting cooler for the fall. Why don’t you introduce our
Rico: [00:01:04] Yes. Our lead sponsor is Hargray Fiber. Hargray Fiber is a Southeast based
company that does internet connectivity. They handle fiber optics, which is the main drive of any
internet home or office, right? So they’re in the communities that they serve as well. So they’re
not your cable guy, right? They’re not a company that just has an office there. They’re involved
in the communities that they’re in, whether they’re involved with local companies. So for
example, in Peachtree Corners, they’re involved with Curiosity Lab at Peachtree Corners with
the city. They’re providing internet connectivity to a lot of companies in the area. So if you are
interested in Fiber optics in a company that’s local that has a local presence, and that can give
you the tools you need, like smart office tools to be able to operate your employees at home or
in the office, reach out to HargrayFiber.com or you could go to Hargray.com/Business. And they
have a promotion going on, a thousand dollars visa gift card for those companies that qualify
becoming a client of theirs, so check them out.
Karl: [00:02:10] Oh, that’s fabulous. Everyone needs more internet, more speed and I’m glad to
have good businesses like Hargray in our community to help business owners with that. Today,
I am honored and pleased to have a great guest. In this fourth quarter as we’re coming in,
rounding out 2020, most business owners have seen all sorts of impacts. Some have grown,
some have stayed the same. Some have actually seen some reduction in their customer. What I
know for sure if you’re going to have a great fourth quarter and start off 2021 well, you’ve got to
focus on growth. And today we have Lisa McGuire here to talk about how small business
owners can really focus their marketing and sales efforts in concert. To help them really have a
springboard to their growth in 2020 through 2021. Hi Lisa, how’re you doing today?
Lisa: [00:03:07] I’m doing great Karl. Thank you so much for having me.
Karl: [00:03:10] Oh, pleasure. Well, Lisa McGuire is a business growth and adviser. And a
marketing consultant with Open Window Marketing. And I’d love for her to introduce herself and
tell a little bit of how she helps people in business.
Lisa: [00:03:25] So, one thing we know is when business owners started their business, they
wanted to do the work they love. They didn’t necessarily want to wear all the hats that a
business owner has to wear when running a business. So what I do is I come in and help them
determine how to figure out who their ideal client is, how do they connect with that client, what
message does that client need to hear, to be able to engage with them, and then how to grow
their business through marketing that works. And then it filters into the other areas, productivity,
the mission of their company, the culture of their workforce too.
Karl: [00:04:01] Wow. Well, I’ll tell you, I look at a lot of P&Ls for business owners. And one of
the things that really becomes apparent, I look at how one business owner spends on marketing
and ask some questions about that. And then I look at another one who may not do a lot of
marketing. You’ll hear a lot of, I grew my business through referrals and so on. And I realized
there’s a big difference when you look at the performance of growth, those that focus on that
marketing versus those that don’t. But when they start business, they didn’t really think about
that. What are some of those mistakes you see business owners making when it comes to
marketing their business in general?
Lisa: [00:04:45] Yeah, just kinda marketing their business in general. What they’re looking at,
they’re looking at, okay, what is it that I have to sell and how can I push it out to get as many
people to buy it as possible? They’re not looking at it from the customer perspective of what do
they need to hear. All they know is I’ve got this many widgets to sell, or I’ve got to book this
many billable hours, and what can I do to make people buy from me. And so what they end up
doing is they’ve got this message they repeat over and over that isn’t connecting with their
clients. They put a lot of money into tactical things. They’ll do Facebook ads, they’ll pay a lot of
money for SEO to get people to come to their website. But what happens is the message that
they’re using either to get people there, or once they are on the site, it’s not converting because
it doesn’t matter to the customer. They talk about features. They forget about them.
Karl: [00:05:43] Wow. Well this year, has gotta be really interesting. For many businesses
because of the pandemic, their customers might have change. Either new customers are
coming through or what their existing customer needs have changed. How would you walk
someone through looking at a situation like that?
Lisa: [00:06:04] Yes, this has been a year that was unthinkable. We never could have imagined
it. And so if you think about back to January, February, we had pre-pandemic customers. Things
for going along, if you remember just a couple months before that we were celebrating a new
decade, there were all kinds of analogies, the 2020 vision, we’re going to make this the decade
that really makes the difference. And then the unthinkable happens. We have this global
pandemic. And really the whole world, as far as the business world in the United States, just
kind of came to a standstill. You know, we were in a period, if you remember back think when
they said, if you just quarantine for a couple of weeks, we’ll get through this. And so it was
uncharted territory. So here’s what we found with businesses. They did one of three things.
They either continued with their marketing as usual. They used a different message and pivoted
their message. Or they said nothing at all. So if we look at those three things, continuing
marketing business as usual would tell their customers you’re insensitive to what’s happening in
my life. Why are you going on acting like this world has not changed? The ones that went quiet,
what happened is they made a space for other businesses to come in and take their place. But
the businesses that won, the businesses that did well, were businesses who first of all
acknowledged what was happening and became very empathetic to your customers. You know,
there was and continues to be, but initially a lot of fear. A lot of anxiety, anxious, you know,
what’s going to happen to my business? What’s happening with my family? Am I in danger with
my health? So making sure that you really understand that customer and who they are was
really critical. So we heard a lot of messages, we’re in this together. You know, we’ve heard the
new normal, we heard all of those things to really unify our market place to be able to reach
them. But now we’re what, six months into the seven months into this, I guess, because it’s six.
Now you’ve got a third type of customer. You’ve got the customer that is realizing, okay, this is
our new way of life for now. You know we’re moving forward, so what can we do? Our whole
world has been disrupted. If you think about it or work lives, our home lives, how we consume
media, how we purchase, what we value up, like everything has been shifted. So what can we
look at what the customers, what they need now? And what the big idea to take away from this
is, the customers that you’ve had no longer exist. They are now pandemic customers. They
have new problems, they have new priorities. So what do you need to do in your business to
shift your product line and offerings? To meet these new problems, or if you still connect with
their problem, how do you need to shift your message? And that is the advice I would give
business owners heading into 2021. If you’re using a pre pandemic message, you’re talking to a
client who is no longer existing.
Rico: [00:09:33] Lisa, do you, what do you find from the clients that you talk to from the
companies you talked to more effective? You know, as far as business goes, what tools are
they implementing? What are they changing that they weren’t doing before the pandemic?
Lisa: [00:09:51] Well, I think the thing that has become very apparent to business owners is if
you did not have an online presence, you need to have one. You know, I’m very active in
networking and in those first couple of weeks, people were trying to figure out how do we
network if we can’t go to coffee? How we will reach people? How are people going to find me?
And you know, if you look even at restaurants, they had to do a quick of it. How do we get
people to consume our food? How do we make them feel like they’re safe? So being online and
making sure that your customer experience online is seamless. That has been the big shift that
I’ve seen with most people is figuring out, okay, how do I go online and switch my products.
Rico: [00:10:38] You know, what’s interesting. I think in the restaurant business especially, it
was easier, right? Because you had Yelp, you had Door Dash, you had Grub Hub, you had all
these businesses. If you wanted food, you could, you would go out and you’d find it. You know,
where you could go. The problem is with, you know, with a place like a yoga place or a soap
maker type of store, it’s difficult, right? Because people aren’t quite looking for that and they may
want it, but they just don’t know. So there’s that two-sided edge to that right? You do, but I agree
with you. You have to be online, but it’s way more difficult for some businesses than others.
Lisa: [00:11:17] Yes, it definitely is. So we saw a lot of people in the health and fitness space go
online and start having virtual yoga classes, things such as that. We found brick and mortar
stores suddenly had to have an eCommerce site. But the other thing too, we have this
opportunity of where we may have been marketing within a geographical area, is now we could
extend our services, you know, you can network nationally or internationally. I’m working with a
couple of clients who did work with local Atlanta businesses or local Atlanta clients. And now
their clients are all across the United States. So how do they find them? How do they reach
them? How do they connect with them?
Karl: [00:12:01] It’s easy to understand the power of being online. And I visit businesses and I
look at their websites all the time and it’s a pandemic in itself how bad some of these websites
are. People don’t put a lot of attention. When you look at a website, someone doing it right, what
are some of the things? Maybe not technical, but what are some of the things that you find helps
business owners be more reachable and successful online?
Lisa: [00:12:33] Yeah. So the first thing, you know, as we talk about websites, Karl the thing I
would invite people to do is if you think you have a great website, look at two or three of your
competitors and go to their websites. And what you’re going to find, it’s very likely you’re all
saying the same thing. So what you have to do is figure out how am I going to stand out?
There’s a couple of different ways to do that. So the immediate piece of advice I can give all
your listeners today, you can go and do this and start making money tomorrow. Make sure you
have clear call to action buttons. And you want them all over your homepage. So you want one
in the upper right hand corner. In that hero shot area. You want one in the middle of that hero
shot area and make sure those call to action buttons are a different color than the rest of your
website. Make sure they’re the same color throughout as you cascade down the page. As you
scroll down the page make sure there’s always a call to action button in the screen as well as in
the upper right hand corner. Because here’s what happens, the visitor may not be ready to
purchase from you or maybe ready to take the next step with you initially, but as they scroll
down the page and start learning more about you, Oh, now I want to know more. And so you
want to make it convenient. We call that call to action button, your cash register. So why would
you hide your cash register in the back ladies room? You want to make sure they’re all over the
place, right? So that’s something you can do to start making money today. So that’s one thing, if
that’s helpful to you.
Karl: [00:14:13] Yeah, that’s great advice. The other thing is, there’s this thinking around Google
pay-per-clicks and Facebook ads and so on. How do they, how do business owners use those
to integrate with their website?
Lisa: [00:14:28] Yeah. So there certainly is a place for paid ads. And you know, the thing is, is
you start with your website. You want to make sure that Google recognizes your website as a
quality website. So I’m going to answer your question, Karl, but I’m going to kind of connect
these two. First of all, Google’s going to try and watch and monitor to see, are people when
they’re on your website, are they staying on it long? If they can register that they’re staying on it
long, that signals to Google, there is quality content on there. So again, your message is so
important. So when you go to a website, you should be able to immediately know what the
business does. It is astounding, the number of business websites I see, I can’t tell what they do.
I have to know what you sell. What do you do for me? Making sure that you are updating
content. And so that would be having a blog on your website, talking about topics that people
have questions about. And, you know, people say, I don’t know what to write in a blog. Think
about this, what are the top five questions people ask you about your business? Those will be
your first five blog topics. And so putting those on there, that’s going to give you some organic
reach with SEO in that. But then when you get to ads, paid ads, that’s when you can drive
people to your website whether it’s Facebook ads or Google ads. And I recommend not trying to
do it yourself, work with a digital marketing specialist who knows what they’re doing. I believe in
paying experts for what they know so well.
Karl: [00:16:14] There’s a subset of business owners that I know struggle in this space. And it’s
in the professional services. Lawyers, accountants, etc. Very smart, very talented in their
profession. But when it comes to marketing themselves, maybe not as strong. And their content
can be confusing to the layman. Finding the intricacies of tax law for how to get out of speeding
tickets or whatever that might be. For those types of businesses, how can their messaging on
their website help them? What would be something they can do to guide people in?
Lisa: [00:16:54] Yeah, so a really great way to do that because, you know, here’s the thing we
want those experts. And when you need someone like that, you want someone who knows what
they’re doing, who knows all the intricacies and you know, the ins and outs of how to practice
their profession very well. But what happens is when you speak with them, because they are so
educated and they’re so good at what they do. You’ll find a lot of times they tend to use what we
call insider language. So they’ll use industry terms. And when they start using those, the person
reading the website or the person listening to the message, what goes on in their mind is they
say, I don’t know what that means. So they either get stuck trying to figure it out, what are they
talking about? Or they just stopped listening because it’s too much work to try and keep up with
the person communicating the message. So that is one thing I would advise for those folks, is to
stop using insider language. To make your language, make your website as if a 10 year old
could read it and understand it. You want the language to be that simple. You’ll be able to bring
in your credibility and authority the longer people stay on your website, but that would be the
first thing I would suggest. The second thing I would suggest is make sure that you really get to
the problem that your customer has. And here’s the thing, traditional marketing was talking
about the business. Today, great marketing is being known for the problem that you solve. So I’ll
use a tire store for an example. This one I use quite frequently. So if I sell tires, I am not selling
tires. That’s not the problem I solve when somebody needs tires. The problem I’m solving is
someone needs to have a vehicle that is safe on the road because they have quality tires. The
problem I’m solving is someone has to turn in their car for a lease and they’ve got to update their
tires so it meets qualifications. So look at for the customer, what is that pain they are
experiencing? How is it making them feel? And being known for solving that problem, that is the
way that you go in as a professional service provider and speak to them.
Karl: [00:19:20] It’s interesting, as you’re saying that, it made me think of this concept around
demand generation and leading the customer to discover or clarify the problem they have and if
you’re the person that helps them do that. And a lot of professional services, I talked to
someone the other day, a client the other day, and they were concerned about, they took out
PPP loans and EIDL loans this year. And so as they’re going through, I mentioned to them, they
have to process or apply for forgiveness. They looked at me kind of shocked. You mean it
doesn’t happen automatically? And so I know lots of financial advisors and CPAs and
accountants and folks that help in that area. No one’s talking about that problem that’s out there
that people may not know. And is that an example of some blog and/or content around that
particular problem that would help someone find a professional service site?
Lisa: [00:20:25] That is a very timely and perfect example, Karl. Because, so these people
walked into these situations, you know, okay, this is great. You’re telling me I can get this
money. How does this work? They were very good about leading them to it, but now is the next
step of now you’ve got to apply for forgiveness. Well, these people don’t know how to do it.
What does that look like? How do I? Is there a way I could do it and mess it up? Please help me
figure that out. So that is the next step of when the bank says okay, now it’s time, wherever you
were able to secure. It says, okay, now it’s time to start moving it along. We have no idea of
what that means. So you’ve got to spell that out as well. Yeah. Great example.
Karl: [00:21:14] Well, if I can ask a little about some of the more traditional forms of marketing.
This year, I don’t know how many movies were released between March and September, but no
one’s watching ads between movies anymore. What did the role of these other different
vehicles, whether it’s ads and papers and magazines and those types of direct marketing. What
role does that play in marketing today? And should people still be investing in those?
Lisa: [00:21:47] So, yes, there’s a lot of different types of marketing. And that’s the thing when
you talk to someone that has a marketing company that can mean a dozen different things, a
dozen different directions. And people are always looking for quick fixes, but I really, you know,
the way I describe marketing is imagine you were going on a cross country trip, you know, you
know, your goal is to get the other side of the country. You would not think of getting in your car
and just starting to drive without putting gas in the tank and making sure you have snacks. You
might, you know, plug in your GPS where you’re going, or, you know, you’ve got your Google
maps, you make a plan. You don’t just start getting, you don’t get in your car and just start
driving wherever you want. Well, that’s what people do with their marketing. So, okay I need to
market. Maybe I’ll try direct mail. Oh no, no, we don’t do direct mail because you know, I don’t
use direct mail. So why would anybody else use that? But even here’s a really great rate or
maybe I’ll try these Facebook ads and I’ll boost the post myself. Well, maybe so they’re all over
the place. So the first thing I would recommend for any business owner is to just sit down with
someone who knows what they’re talking about in marketing and develop a strategy. You know,
come up with a 12 month plan, a six month plan, a three month plan. Allocate some budget to it
because your business will grow in one of two ways. Your business is either going to grow by
innovating. So that’s changing up, pivoting, doing something better. Or it’s going to grow by
marketing. So you’ve got to make that investment one way or the other. And when you start
seeing traction, that’s when you’ll have, you know, more to be able to boost from. But you’re not
going to have that traction. You’re going to be wasting your money if you start going into
different areas that don’t apply to you. And I think what happens a lot of business owners,
they’ve got their buddy that did this, or they know of this other company, their competitors doing
this. They think they need to do it too. And that’s probably the worst thing they can do.
Karl: [00:23:57] I’ll offer up, if I could add to that, for business owners out there. There’s three
numbers I’ll share, 4, 8 and 12%. When I look at a P&L for a business and I’m looking at trend
over time, I notice how much percentage of their revenue to spending on marketing and I look at
their growth rate. And what’s often, if you want to benchmark for mature business, that’s been
around and known for a while. Some of those can get away with between 4 to 8% spend on
marketing. If they want to grow. If they want to stay flat. They don’t have to spend on marketing,
but if they want to grow their top line revenue, 4 to 8% is what your competitors, what other
people are spending normally grow. If you’re a new business or you’re a business that needs
some explaining or new to an area you’re talking about 8 to 12%, range depending. If your
product is known, but you’re a new company offering something that’s known, you might be
able to get away with 8%. If you’re offering something new and no one else is offering it and you
want them to build awareness. You’re talking close to 12%. I offer those numbers because it is
extremely consistent looking at the spend on marketing correlating to how people grow their
business. Now, the ones you’ll always have a family friend that says I spend nothing on
marketing and my business keeps growing. That is the anomalies. They’re innovating, they’re
doing something different, or there’s something that’s giving them a competitive advantage. Or
they are marketing without spending. So talking about personal branding, talking about other
ways to gain audience without spending for it. Can you comment a little bit on that?
Lisa: [00:25:48] Yes, sure. This is one thing that as we have been in this situation, we’re seeing
a lot more people on LinkedIn. I don’t know if you’re active on LinkedIn or not, but we’re seeing
a lot more of that. And there’s a lot of people that don’t know how to use LinkedIn and how they
can really leverage it. So, you know, here’s the thing that I tell people, particularly when you’re in
an industry that there’s a lot of other people that do what you do. People don’t want to do
business with business. They want to do business with people. And so what makes your
business different from every other business out there is you. And so being able to feature your
zone of genius, being able to show your authority, your expertise, your credibility. One way to do
that is to really work through a personal branding process. Now, personal branding is not all
about saying, Hey, look at me. It’s not about becoming an Instagram influencer. It’s not about
being any of those. It’s really being very strategic about understanding. How do you show up
online? Is that how you want to show up online? What do you need to do to shift that if it’s not
where you want it to be and how can you position yourself as a credible expert that people
would trust to do business with you? So that is something that I really encourage people to do.
Whether you work for a company or whether you own your own business. The only thing you
own when you leave your business is your personal brand. So it’s well worth the investment to
spend the time to do that.
Karl: [00:27:19] I love that you mentioned that. I’m curious about your thoughts on integrating
your personal brand or your personas, if you want to call it, professionally and personally.
LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of these, Tic Tok. They have different use cases for
different application. But I’ve seen more people, especially in 2020, there’s a lot of issues out
there that people are commenting on. Whether it’s social justice or gender or race or other
political items, things about climate change, and others. People are voicing their opinions across
spectrums that’s interweaved with their expertise in their business. Any thoughts on how to
manage that. And is that a good idea or? Well, what do you, what would you advise people to
do with that?
Lisa: [00:28:13] You know, it’s what I advise business owners is what I’ve always told my
children. Anything that you’ve put out there online will follow you and could be found. And if it’s
something that you aren’t willing to put on a billboard and have your grandmothers see, then
don’t put out there. If it’s not something that you’re not willing to share in your next job interview,
don’t put it out there. There are filters, but still there are way to, you know, there are ways to get
through those. And you just always have to be conscious of whatever you are putting out there
represents who you are, and it does follow you. So there are appropriate channels. And then
there are ones that maybe you need to just have a conversation with a friend.
Karl: [00:29:00] I’m curious about, there’s a professional sphere, but there’s all these businesses
that are coming up in this entertainment mixed with business. So you could take the example of
a local ice cream shop or fitness business, where it is a business and they have customers, but
it’s also a culture and a group and a community that they’re building that reflect certain beliefs
and their personal. How can those types of businesses leverage both social media and how
they brand themselves?
Lisa: [00:29:35] Right. So it’s a great opportunity and I don’t want to, you know, imply that you
always have to stay buttoned up. I think you have to really look at who is your ideal client. Who
are you trying to attract? If you are on LinkedIn, you’re trying to attract a different crowd than
what you’ll probably find on Instagram, or Pinterest, or Tic Tok, or Facebook. Those all have a
different feel to it and different clientele. So if you are an ice cream shop and you’ve got music
going on, you’ve got certain culture or whatever, they’re trying to attract the audience. They
need to be who they are. They need to be authentic. They need to be transparent. But they also
need to be respectful of their audience.
Karl: [00:30:17] I’m also curious, just comment and maybe Rico as well. When you interact with
people online in a lot of your publications, in your content out there, have you found examples of
people doing it really well? Can you give us an example where you saw people blend those
different personas well online?
Lisa: [00:30:42] I can’t think of one person that comes to mind right now, but here’s what I see
as a trend. It’s people who are sharing their expertise. They’re generous and they’re humble. So
they’re out there, they’re being servant leaders. They understand what their customers need.
They’re very generous with it because they believe in the law of reciprocity. You know, if I give
to you and I’m giving freely, and it’s this valuable, imagine what you’re going to get if you pay to
work with me. I mean, that’s the message that they’re sending. So I think that is a great lesson
for all of us, is we are here to serve in our businesses. We’re here to serve our clients and one
way to attract clients is to let them see what you’re about. Let them experience you before they
pay you anything. I think that would be a good model to follow.
Karl: [00:31:41] That would probably be about 1% of politicians by my guess.
Lisa: [00:31:45] Yes. They don’t fall into that trend very easily.
Karl: [00:31:52] That’s fabulous advice. Well, I’d like to, if folks wanted to get in touch with you
and learn more about just marketing and ways that they could improve for themselves, what are
some ways folks can get in touch with you?
Lisa: [00:32:06] Yeah, absolutely. So I am on LinkedIn. It’s Lisa McGuire. I’m also
Lisa@LisaMcGuire.com. And they can also call 678-520-7660.
Karl: [00:32:26] Well, as we’re getting into fall and you’re starting to get busy with helping clients
grow. Are there anything you have coming up or what do you have coming up over the next
quarter? What are your plans?
Lisa: [00:32:36] Yeah, so I’m really excited. I am a StoryBrand certified guide, so I’m affiliated
with the StoryBrand company and they have a sector of their business called Business Made
Simple, BusinessMadeSimple.com. And so, it is a series of online courses. They really propose
it’s the same thing as an MBA only we’re going to save you $50,000 from that MBA. It’s a one
year subscription or when you’re licensed for $275. And they have courses on creating your
mission, marketing message, productivity, communication, scaling your business. So I am being
certified as one of their Business Made Simple coaches. So right now I’m in the process of
clients, coaching clients, or really business growth advising is what I do. I think there’s a lot of
coaches out there. And a lot of coaches end up being cheerleaders. This is not the case. I really
believe on providing frameworks and valuable tools that we can help make a difference in your
business grow. Whether it’s in revenue, whether it’s in culture, whether it’s just the business
owner growing as a business leader and becoming more proficient in what they do.
Karl: [00:33:50] Oh, that’s fabulous. As you mentioned when we started, a lot of people get into
business to do what they love and that’s their operational expertise and they started making
money there. I think the lesson is to transform or to grow into becoming a true sustainable
long-lasting business, you’ve got to evolve. And so the other pieces in the tool belt that you’ve
got to build is some financial smarts, some marketing smarts, how to recruit people, some HR
smart to really become a fully well-rounded business leader. And if there’s a way for them to get
it without spending $50,000 and taking a year or two off to get an MBA. I think that’s a good ROI
on investment. So thank you for sharing that.
Lisa: [00:34:36] Absolutely, yeah. Thank you so much.
Karl: [00:34:41] I want to thank Lisa McGuire, who is a business growth advisor and a marketing
consultant with Open Window Marketing. Thank you for your insights for sharing your
experience and to help every business owner figuring out little nuggets of things they can do to
improve their business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta
Peachtree, and we are going to continue to help business owners post this shutdown period of
the pandemic. Figure out their best way to grow their business, improve. We can do that by
helping them to franchise their business. We can do that by helping them to acquire their
business. And for those that are ready to relax on a beach somewhere, we can help them find a
buyer and help them get their business sold. So you can reach me at KBarham@TWorld.com
or you can visit us on our website at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Hey Rico, why don’t
you tell us what you’ve got coming up.
Rico: [00:35:39] Sure. First, I want to tell people that I totally enjoy talking to Karl off-camera
because I learn a lot from Karl, okay? I own my own business or businesses and, invaluable
insight from Karl and along with our other guests. I mean, Lisa has some good, great, valuable
insight here. And you know, we’ve done what, 40 of these?
Karl: [00:36:00] We’re up to 47. We’re going to hit 50 soon.
Rico: [00:36:06] There’s a ton of sage advice out there that we’ve learned. So I’m always happy
to be on a show like this, where we get more because I’m constantly learning. I own my own
business marketing, MightyRockets.com and everyone that watches this show knows that. We
publish Peachtree Corners Magazine which is coming out again every six weeks we sort of wrap
ourselves around the next issue and we put this out six times a year. So the next issue is
coming out around the first week of October. And we’re going to have great backyard retreats.
We’re profiling five local backyards that we feel are exceptional for a variety of reasons. So
we’re doing that. We’re doing a pets and their people give away, and that’s going to be a pull out
in the next issue as well. And we’re going to have probably get 4 or 5,000 pictures of people and
their pets that have been submitting. So we have this contest going right now. So if you haven’t
entered, go to our Facebook page or to our website, enter it. All you have to do is submit a
picture of you and your pet. And, you know, tell us a little bit about you all. And then we’re going
to pick three winners at the end of that. So we’re doing that. We’re doing a bunch of other
stories within that publication. It’s going to be chock-full things as it usually is. And you know, I’m
still working with clients as well, doing some of their marketing online content and stuff. So if you
need to reach me and you want to be able to do some of that work and you need someone to
do it, MightyRockets.com is the place to go. LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com is the place to find
the magazine and our family of podcasts. And I just launched the CapitalistSage.com website
just to begin exhibits. So it’s shallow on content right now. We’re adding all the podcasts that
we’re doing, that we’ve done. So you’ll find some of that there. We’re going to be adding over
the next few weeks. So check that out, leave your name and email address. And certainly you’ll
be reached back out to it again.
Karl: [00:38:09] And if I can, I want to spark an idea in honor of the theme of today, marketing. I
think you’re still accepting ads. If somebody would like to do ads for the magazine, you can
reach out for that? So for people in Peachtree Corners surrounding area, if you want to increase
your visibility, traditional marketing methods also still work. But you can reach out to Lisa to help
you with your messaging and Rico, if you’d like to have an ad added.
Rico: [00:38:38] So if you do, our deadline is, well our deadline is September 22nd for the print
magazine for the October, November issue. But you know, we come out six times a year. Plus, I
mean, it’s not just print. You get exposure in a variety of places, you know, online on our
Facebook page on Instagram, on Twitter, on LinkedIn. So if you’re an advertiser with us and
you have that type of package, we’re providing some of that online as well.
Karl: [00:39:05] So if you didn’t get the message, post pandemic, your customers have changed.
You need to talk to them. So take advantage. Thank you everybody for joining us today on the
Capitalist Sage podcast, you’ll find us on all of your streaming channels. iTunes, Spreaker,
iHeartRadio, on YouTube, on Facebook. Just go and explore Capitalist Sage. And, you know,
pick up something, apply it, and we’ll be happy to continue to give you great episodes. Thank
The Pharmacy Business and People’s Access to Prescriptions During COVD-19 [Podcast]
How did one pharmacy owner navigate COVID-19 and still provide access to medicine for their clients? Dr. April Hang, owner of Peachtree Pharmacy joins Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini on the Capitalist Sage.
Phone Number: (678) 691-9079
Address: 5270 Peachtree Parkway, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092
Social Media: @PeachtreePharmacy
Timestamp, where is the podcast to find these topics:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:02:33] – About Dr. April Hang
[00:04:21] – What Makes Peachtree Pharmacy Different
[00:06:09] – Business Impact of COVID
[00:11:52] – Getting into the Pharmacy Business
[00:16:02] – Dealing with Insurance
[00:17:01] – The Future of Pharmacy
[00:27:53] – Balancing Business and Home Life
[00:28:37] – Closing
We (work) for local patients and that way, you know, we can manage and keep that closeApril Hang
relationship as if they’re a family. Make sure everything’s okay.”
Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and
tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with
Transworld Business Advisors and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets Digital
Marketing and he is the publisher of Peachtree Corners Magazine. Hey Rico.
Rico: [00:00:47] Hey Karl, great to be here. We might as well jump right into it and I’ll tell you
about our lead sponsor for the show, for the family of podcasts. And that lead sponsor is
Hargray Fiber. They are a large Southeast company involved in fiber optic cable, internet
connectivity. Don’t think of the cable guy because they’re not that. They’re a company that’s
right in the communities that they serve and providing variety of services, including that
connectivity to your team that’s out in the field teleworking. They provide it whether you’re a
small business or you’re an enterprise sized business. And they provide tools like smart office
that can keep your team working, both whether they’re in office or they’re out there at home,
wherever they are working for you and getting sales done and getting work done. So check
them out HargrayFiber.com or Hargray.com/Business, and find out how you can get your
thousand dollar gift card, visa gift card from them once you get involved with the company. So
we want to thank them for being our sponsor.
Karl: [00:01:51] It’s funny how so many people are operating from home, learning from home.
And so having great internet and fiber optics is super critical. So thank you for Hargray Fiber for
supporting us. Today I am honored to have Dr. April Hang who is the owner of Peachtree
Pharmacy right here in Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett County, Georgia. We’re gonna
continue on our series, talking with small business owners about navigating through 2020, the
pandemic and all the things that have been happening in our community. Dr. Hang, how are you
Dr. Hang: [00:02:27] I’m good. Thank you for having me on the show. I appreciate and feel
honored to be here.
Karl: [00:02:33] Well, I’m just happy to have you. And the fact that you’re in the medical health
field of operating a business here is really important considering what this year has been like.
Why don’t you start off by introducing, tell us a little bit about yourself and why you got into
Dr. Hang: [00:02:52] Well, I worked at CVS as a high school student. And I saw the pharmacist
and you know, it intrigued me to see these crazy names and what they treat. So I just kept
wanting to learn more. Then I got into pharmacy school at Virginia Commonwealth University
and graduated in 2002. We moved to Atlanta in 2009, when my second child was born and I
continued working for CVS and when I was pregnant with my third child in 2011, that’s when I
said, okay, I’m just going to open my own business because I’m just tired of all the red tape.
Karl: [00:03:37] I could imagine so many people go through that same journey in opening their
business. What made you choose this area to open it and what do you find, what do you find
that you like most about being your own business owner?
Dr. Hang: [00:03:50] I actually got into business so I can have more time for the kids and more
flexibility. So I wanted to be able to have a stable income and have the flexibility to be there for
the kids. So it’s, you know, I knew initially it was going to be more time consuming, but then, you
know, as time passes it’s, you know, it’s a lot better now.
Karl: [00:04:12] Yeah, no, I appreciate that. Are your kids here locally? How many kids do you
Dr. Hang: [00:04:18] I have three children.
Karl: [00:04:21] Very good. Well, it’s so cool to be part of the community that you’re in. So you’re
operating you live in the community as part of that. Often people aren’t as familiar with some of
the independent pharmacy. I wonder if you could share with us some of the things that make
your pharmacies different than some of the chains like CVS, Walgreens and others.
Dr. Hang: [00:04:42] We compound at Peachtree Pharmacy, which is the biggest difference,
which is making customized medications for you or your pets or animals that you have. A lot of
the compounding we do right now is hormone replacement therapy and vet meds. So that’s one
main difference. We also do blister packaging, which I’m sure you guys have heard that Pillpack
was bought by Amazon and they’re trying to do blister packaging. We do that for local patients
and that way, you know, we can manage and keep that close relationship as if they’re a family.
Make sure everything’s okay, put in the right time position of their blister packs. So I don’t know
if you’re familiar with what I’m talking about.
Karl: [00:05:30] No, I am a little bit, but it’d be interesting. Have you seen more need recently for
being able to provide that more customized service to your customers?
Dr. Hang: [00:05:45] It really depends on where they’re living. If they’re in a personal care home,
then they, it’s mandatory that they get blister packaging. If you’re still living at home, it’s a
personal choice to have that convenience. So you’re not filling your medicine tray yourself. So
that’s an advantage that we have.
Karl: [00:06:09] Excellent. Well, I’m curious to ask you a little bit about this year and when the
news of the pandemic started coming out. When did you first hear about it? And did you think it
was going to have an impact on your business initially?
Dr. Hang: [00:06:27] I actually did have an impact as far as PPP goes at the beginning. We had
a program where it would upload things onto Google saying we had certain things like M95
masks. So we had a lot of questions about M95 masks and, you know, hand sanitizers and
things like that initially. We also have increased deliveries now since the COVID and then
patients are asking me to go outside and give them their flu shots in their cars so they don’t
have to come in and interact.
Karl: [00:07:07] So, since this all started, where did your, probably your physical center in the
central service, did you close down at any point during?
Dr. Hang: [00:07:17] We did not. We just put procedures in place. Started requiring masks, just
following the CDC guidelines. There were people that, you know, embraced it and there are, of
course, people that are not embracing it or they’re against wearing masks.
Karl: [00:07:33] So now that it’s kind of normalized to some degree, if you want to call it that, are
there changes you’ve made in your business that because of this, that you’ve implemented,
that’s had an impact either on your employees or your customers?
Dr. Hang: [00:07:51] I don’t really feel like that it’s been impacted much. I mean, we did, like I
said, put up the plexiglass and made social distancing and one entrance and one exit. But as far
as the business goes, it’s been pretty stable. You know, depending on what’s coming out in the
news about COVID, sometimes they would say something about azithromycin so then all of a
sudden there’ll be a back order of that because it gets in the news or Plaquenil. You know, just
certain things, whatever the news says and all the physicians, they try to write for themselves,
you know, write for their families.
Rico: [00:08:40] As far as supply chain goes, were you finding yourself in need of certain
medicines or in short supply of certain things besides the masks and stuff like that.
Dr. Hang: [00:08:51] I know there was a shortage on Plaquenil for a while and azithromycin
because that’s the main two things they’re using to treat in the hospitals. But I think it’s
normalized now so we can compound it. I do have the powder where we can actually make the
Plaquenil in capsules.
Karl: [00:09:13] It’s going to ask for those, what are those used for? What are the treatments
Dr. Hang: [00:09:18] Azithromycin is an antibiotic. And then the Plaquenil is for like auto immune
usually like lupus. And this type of inflammation, auto immune diseases.
Rico: [00:09:33] So most medications, most prescriptions that have been coming to you, though,
you’ve been able to fill and all that? Pain medications, other things along those lines.
Dr. Hang: [00:09:43] Right, right. Yes.
Karl: [00:09:46] So I’m curious as you follow what’s happening with vaccines and some of the
treatments and therapies coming out, how do you prepare your pharmacy for an anticipated
demand when different drugs are, you know, getting approved or being, how do you manage
that process? What information and sources do you use to know what you need to have in
Dr. Hang: [00:10:12] We just follow the CDC guidelines. So whatever comes out, we try to follow
that. As far as like sources of medications or vaccines, everything is pending, so there’s no
nothing really credible out there. So I can’t really comment on it.
Karl: [00:10:30] It got it. Testing. Do you get involved with the testing that they’ve been talking
Dr. Hang: [00:10:36] We do not test at the pharmacy. There’s a little bit of fear with the staff, so
we don’t test. You know, they have small babies and families or their parents live with them. So,
you know, they have their, their personal consent, so I don’t enforce it. But I just make sure they
let the patients know where they can go and get access. I know that, you know, I have a contact
that can come out. They have a mobile bus and they’ll do both the nasal swab and the serology
test. And the difference is one tells you, you have it. And one tells you, if you had it.
Rico: [00:11:17] So antibodies you’re talking about or is that something else?
Dr. Hang: [00:11:19] Right. Correct.
Rico: [00:11:21] And there’s a place that does that here in Peachtree Corners even?
Dr. Hang: [00:11:25] Well, I can, I mean, I’m trying to get them to come out on, the mobile bus.
It’s actually with Dr. Heavenly Kimes and her husband, Dr. Damon Kimes. So, and yeah, they
are local and they’re reality TV people as well.
Rico: [00:11:44] We are in the reality show ourselves, right.
Karl: [00:11:52] This whole year feels like it’s been part of a reality show. For young people out
there that are thinking about businesses and careers to go with, what are some of the reasons
people might go into pharmacy, either owning or becoming a pharmacist?
Dr. Hang: [00:12:10] There’s so many different parts to the industry that people don’t know
about. There’s working for pharmacy manufacturers and you can be a medical science liaison
between, you know, the public or the hospitals and the pharmaceutical company. There’s PBMs,
pharmacy benefit management organizations that handle your insurance and tell you what
you’re going to pay for or not pay for. You can work for those companies. You can work for
wholesalers as pharmacists. The hospital, obviously, different areas of the hospital. And then
there’s something called closed door pharmacy, where they deam a list of packaging just for
senior facilities. There’s a lot of different avenues.
Karl: [00:12:56] What’s a good way for folks to get started if they wanted. If I was a young
person or if you were advising younger folks, high school, college, what are some things they
can do to start getting experience, to see if it’s a right fit for them?
Dr. Hang: [00:13:09] I know personally for me, we have students come in and ask to volunteer,
but there are some state regulations where you have to be minimum age 18 to actually be in the
pharmacy. You have to register with the state just to be a pharmacy technician. And once
you’re registered, then you can come behind the counter and kind of shadow and learn. You
know, I would just recommend finding a local independent pharmacy that would take, you know,
take you as a student or as a shadow.
Karl: [00:13:44] How was the prospect in the industry? Is there a shortage? Is there excess?
Trying to find people, has it been difficult?
Dr. Hang: [00:13:54] It’s actually excess in pharmacists at this time. So, you know, jobs are a
little bit harder to find. You know, people are graduating and then the salaries are going down
because of the abundance of pharmacies schools letting out students.
Karl: [00:14:11] What do you think drove that? Is driving that?
Dr. Hang: [00:14:15] When I went to pharmacy school, there was a shortage. So as time went
on, more schools opened up and you know, they started producing more students. And now it’s
just an overabundance of pharmacists.
Rico: [00:14:31] Do you think that, if someone wants to get into the business, right? The
pharmacy business, it’s intensive, I’m sure, investment to get into it. Besides you need someone
that’s licensed to do it.
Dr. Hang: [00:14:43] Right.
Rico: [00:14:44] Does it have to be owner licensed to be able to get into this business?
Dr. Hang: [00:14:48] No. You don’t have to be a pharmacist to be an owner of a pharmacy.
Rico: [00:14:54] Okay. And you’ve bee, I mean, Peachtree Pharmacy has been around for how
long has it been now?
Dr. Hang: [00:15:00] Six years now, since I opened the store.
Rico: [00:15:03] Remember we used to go to CVS and there was some issues about getting
how CVS handles certain types of medications and inventory. Unlike retail, they do not track
their inventory and they can’t even let you know they have certain things unless you come into
the store to ask them. So this is one reason we decided to come to Peachtree Pharmacy
because, it’s just we felt that we were talking to someone closer. More assistant. And it was just
a better experience. No drive-through, but that’s okay. You have to be aggravated with…
Dr. Hang: [00:15:40] Well, we come outside. Even though we don’t have a drive through, I’ve
been outside to bring people their prescriptions.
Rico: [00:15:49] And you guys deliver too.
Dr. Hang: [00:15:50] Yes. If it’s a parent and your child is sleeping in the back they’ll say, bring
my medicine outside. Like of course, no problem. So yeah.
Karl: [00:16:02] Well, what’s something about the business of pharmacy, that most people
wouldn’t know, realize about it. Is there anything that could make it surprising to folks?
Dr. Hang: [00:16:13] I think that the amount of time we actually spend on the phone with the
insurances, trying to get you your medicine is the most challenging thing. Just because a
physician writes for something doesn’t mean your insurance is going to pay for it. So then that
becomes an issue. It could be two, three days before you get your meditation. You’re just
coming out of the hospital and you might rebound and go back into the hospital so you had your
medication? So there’s, it’s just insurance is making everybody’s life hell.
Rico: [00:16:45] Yeah, and some of them will cover the generic, but not the brand right? And
some people want the brand versus the generic because they feel maybe the brand works
Dr. Hang: [00:16:56] Right. But you’re not allowed to have that choice with insurances.
Karl: [00:17:01] So you managed to keep track. So now that 2020 is kind of continuing, I’m
curious about looking forward to the future. Do you see things that you can do differently or, as
you go into the future with your business?
Dr. Hang: [00:17:19] I think I learned, since a couple of years ago, I had a senior coming in my
store, this is somebody’s grandmother, somebody’s aunt, sister, cousin, you know. And she
handed me a prescription for marijuana. And it said a ratio of 1 to 30. And it’s one dropper at
that time for dementia. And I didn’t know how to help her. And I felt so bad when I can’t help
someone, I feel really awful. So, I got on the phone. Put her son on the phone who was in
California and he was really upset and he’s like, where can I send her to get this? She really
needs, it helps her stay at home by herself, it helps her with her daily activities or activities of
daily living and things like that. And I was like, all I could do was apologize and say I don’t have
an answer for you because we’re in the Bible belt. You’re out in California. It’s different.
Karl: [00:18:27] So, what is, are you able to, provide CBD or medical marijuana here in
Dr. Hang: [00:18:35] Medical marijuana is not accessible. CBD is very accessible anywhere and
you can get it from gas stations, to the smoke shops and, Peachtree pharmacy. You have to
educate yourself. You have to understand what the effects are. It can interact with your
medications, you know. Depending on how much you use, there’s the risk of having a positive
drug test. So it’s just, you have to be able to educate your patients on the proper use.
Karl: [00:19:14] Where would folks would go to learn more about that? Like, let’s get educated
on some of the benefits. What treatments for that? Is that a conversation with the physician?
Are there online sources for information?
Dr. Hang: [00:19:28] Honestly, I am on this thing right now where I want to educate other health
care professionals about it. Because most of them don’t really know. I mean, there’s so much
out there. There’s a DNA test you can do to let you know what ratio is best for what condition.
So they have that for, you know, general, big pharma medications, but they also have it for the
CBD and PAC as well.
Karl: [00:19:55] So does the doctor have to write a script for that or is that something people can
come in and get without a prescription from a doctor?
Dr. Hang: [00:20:05] They can come in and get it at Peachtree pharmacy. It’s just a, it’s actually
a cheek swab and it’s from a company called Endocanna out in California, Los Angeles. And so,
kind of met them at a conference and kind of partnered up. Because I wanted to be able to offer
a kind of service for all the patients not just big pharma meds. But offer, you know, all the
benefits of CBD that’s emerging on market right now.
Rico: [00:20:36] And April, you’ve been involved with some of the politicians in the area too,
right. Lobbying, but so bunch of legislative work. So who have you been working with and how
is that going?
Dr. Hang: [00:20:49] I actually am not officially a lobbyist. I’m officially a constituent. So when I
go there, I’m going for me personally, as a pharmacist and not representing any company. But
you know, the intentions I have to help people. So when they were talking about access to
medical marijuana, I did speak and say, you know, you have to have pharmacists involved,
make sure that they review everybody’s meds because there are drug interactions. And, you
know, they don’t teach you that in pharmacy school. All the knowledge I have, it’s stuff I’ve read
or just learned about.
Rico: [00:21:28] Really? They don’t teach you about it?
Dr. Hang: [00:21:31] They don’t teach you about Marijuana in pharmacy school.
Karl: [00:21:37] Not in the classroom. So what types of treatments or things that people are
coming in for CBD and similar?
Dr. Hang: [00:21:53] We have like this CBD oil. I don’t know if you can see.
Rico: [00:21:59] Is that peach?
Dr. Hang: [00:22:01] Yes. It’s peach relief CBD oil that we sell. We have capsules, we have
topicals. We have dog treats, you know. And soon to come we’ll have get goodies products in
Karl: [00:22:15] What types of conditions does it help with? What types of patients would find
Dr. Hang: [00:22:22] Honestly, any patient. With headaches, depression, anxiety, sleep
deprivation, you know, anything.
Rico: [00:22:33] And you said you do that, you say you do that DNA swab, and that’s supposed
to help with that ratio of medicine that you’re able to apply right?
Dr. Hang: [00:22:46] Right. So in a perfect world where I see the future going is that, you’ll have
this DNA tests and then you have to have more customized medication that works for you
based of your genetics. So you know what your body can process and not process. Because if
you don’t have the enzymes to get rid of the drug in your body, it is the beneficial test. But this
DNA tests are very expensive.
Rico: [00:23:17] Yeah. I don’t think most people realize that. Yeah, most people, if I’m not
incorrect, don’t realize that medicine even antibiotics or mainstream medicine that people hear
about only work on a percentage of people. They’re not, you know, people assume that they’re a
hundred percent effective, but no medicine is that way. And they’re usually, probably only 80%
Dr. Hang: [00:23:38] Right, right. And your body can only absorb so much. So like on CBD oil, if
you take or consume any kind of CBD product, you only absorb 6%. And I don’t know where I
read that, but that number is in my head.
Karl: [00:23:56] Does it matter, like, you know, proportionate to the size of the person or is it just
their genetics in there.
Dr. Hang: [00:24:02] It’s their genetics, like you have in your body, what they call the
endocannabinoid system. And so that’s CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors. So CB1 receptors is
your central nervous system. And that’s where THC, that’s where the THC usually binds. And
that’s why you have the psychoactive effects. However, with the CB2 receptors, that’s more on
the peripheral, the body and the organs. So if you have some kind of inflammation, they’ll help
you and kind of get back to normal and get to homeostasis.
Karl: [00:24:38] Wow. Well I know there’s been a lot of different folks that are providing that. You
mentioned gas stations and so on and…
Dr. Hang: [00:24:47] Right.
Karl: [00:24:48] Do you know if they’re doing anything to kind of gain greater control because
there could be contamination. There could be, you don’t know what the source is, is some of the
risk that I’ve heard about. Can you tell me a little bit about some of the risk factors of procuring it
in the wrong place?
Dr. Hang: [00:25:06] Well, there’s a lot of mislabeling. I know like if you have a CBD product and
you’re not sure that it says what it says on the bottle, you can actually send it to Georgia
extracts and they’ll test it at UGA and Athens and let you know what’s inside.
Rico: [00:25:27] Because this is not prescribed or anything. There’s no FDA approvals, there’s
no Georgia State quality control of it?
Dr. Hang: [00:25:37] There is the farm bill and that’s just with the hemp flour. But I honestly
haven’t read the entire farm bill, so I couldn’t comment too much on. But I know it’s to help
regulate the actual growing agriculture, like keeping pesticides out of it.
Rico: [00:25:53] Right. Do you see, April, do you see whether, if marijuana becomes legal in the
state of Georgia, at least medicinally legal, if not recreationally legal, do you see that as
something that Peachtree Pharm would be selling? That, you know, alongside the CBD oil and
Dr. Hang: [00:26:17] It’s actually in the bill HV324, and you know, when, when the state gets the
infrastructure set up, there’ll be sold at certain specific pharmacies and how they decide that will
happen after they set up the infrastructure for access.
Rico: [00:26:37] Well, so every pharmacy or just certain pharmacies?
Dr. Hang: [00:26:41] My understanding, it’s going to be certain pharmacies. They’re right now,
they just hired an executive director to create the infrastructure for oil. And so once that gets set
up and people start applying and they start growing, while they’re doing the cultivating, they’re
going to decide or the pharmacy is going to decide. Okay who, which pharmacies?
Karl: [00:27:10] I mean, if you look into the future, how big can that industry you think get? I see,
I hear a lot of different, you know, ideas around a widespread, people might use it for all
different applications. Have you thought about how big that could be and how it might impact
Dr. Hang: [00:27:33] Honestly, it would help people get off their medications. So I mean, if
people would learn a little more about it, they can probably reduce their medications. But they
have to make sure, you know, the doctor knows. The doctor is educated or the pharmacist is
educated or the nurse.
Karl: [00:27:53] Well, I know as we look into the near future, people are being impacted because
kids being home and everything else. How are you balancing all of the demands on you?
Business, your family, have you figured out things to help you manage through this strange
Dr. Hang: [00:28:13] I mean, I, you know, I’m lucky and I have a supportive family. I have my
parents living with me and then my husband is very supportive. So, you know, I’ve been lucky.
I’ve been able to, you know, go back and forth and stay home if I need to. So I’m just home
more. I miss going to the movies.
Karl: [00:28:37] Yeah, I think we all do, but when I hear that they’re starting to open up in some
locations and getting back. But between that, sports being thrown off schedule, I don’t know
what part of the year we’re in sometimes based on all of that. Well, I want to thank you so much
for joining and talking a little bit about, you know, the impacts of the pandemic on your business.
Help educate us a little bit about CBD oil and the alternatives that are available. More than
anything, I consider you and your staff are frontline, first responders. People needed help and
through this year, they needed to get their medications and it’s small business owners like
yourself that I’ve done just a great job of keeping people well as best they can. So if you haven’t
been thought, thank you from one of your clients. I like to do that for that. Well, how would folks
reach out? Why don’t you tell us your address and how they can find you social media phone
number? Just if you want to reach out and learn more.
Dr. Hang: [00:29:55] Our phone number is (678) 691-9079. Our website is
www.PeachTreeRX.com. We’re also on Facebook, under @PeachtreePharmacy, and also
Karl: [00:30:13] And what’s your address and where would we find you here in Peachtree
Dr. Hang: [00:30:18] It’s 5270 Peachtree Parkway where the new Lidl that just opened up in that
Karl: [00:30:26] Well, absolutely while we definitely encourage folks to take a visit to Dr. Hang
and her staff, and, you know, just want to thank you again for being on our show today.
Dr. Hang: [00:30:36] Thank you, I appreciate it.
Karl: [00:30:38] You’re welcome and stay safe please. Well, I’d like to just segue into what we
have coming up. We’ve got more of discussions as we talk about the end of 2020. We’re going
to have some podcasts talking about, you know, what do you do now as you’re getting to the
end of the year to grow your business. And so stay tuned, follow us on all of our different
channels. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Both myself
and the rest of the folks on my team, we help talk to business owners, help them figure out how
to improve and grow their business, whether it’s through acquisition or for those that are ready
to do something else, how to exit their business. Feel free to reach out to us online
www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree, or you can email me at KBarham@TWorld.com. Rico, why
don’t you tell us about what you have coming up?
Rico: [00:31:41] Sure. We’re working on the next issue of Peachtree Corners magazine. And
we’ve got a strong set of stories, hopefully coming in there. We’re actually doing a pet and their
people issue as well. So we have a giveaway that just started running today and 3 winners,
$700 in prizes. Submit a picture of yourself and your pet, and you’ll probably get into the
Peachtree Corners Magazines next pull out in the next issue. Plus, we’re doing the story about
backyard retreats, you know, everyone’s home there during COVID-19. So if you have a fire pit,
you have a beautiful backyard, we’re checking out five of them in Peachtree Corners and we’ll
share where those are and what they look like. And we’re asking 50 people almost, we’re
asking everyone actually and hopefully we’ll get 50 of them, about what they’re thankful for this
year. Besides, you know, we’re thankful for family and friends, for sure. But what also are we
thankful for during these times. So we want to find that out. Remember, this is the October,
November issue. So we’re doing Halloween and Thanksgiving. Yeah, so that’ll be fun. So we’re
working on that. So if you guys want to check out the last issue, which April was part of that last
issue, she was one of several people we profiled when it came to diversity in our community.
You can find that online at LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. Follow us on
@PeachtreeCornersLife, the Facebook page, where we’re doing these podcasts from. Our
YouTube channel you should subscribe to that as well, because this way you can get alerts
when we go live there and when there’s more videos posted there as well. And you know, I do
work with a lot of different companies handling their social media, video production, whether it’s
product videos or other types of production work, and obviously producing podcasts as well. So
you can check me out at MightyRockets.com for that, or find me on LinkedIn or Google my
name because there aren’t that many people called Rico Figliolini. You can find me anywhere.
Karl: [00:33:39] Well, thank you for all that you do. And please do check out the magazine
online. There might be some still out there to pickup if you haven’t and just keep up with what’s
going on in the community and get to meet and learn the folks that make up your community.
Thank you again, Dr. Hang for joining us today. Everyone have a great day.
Rico: [00:34:01] Thank you.
The Impact of COVID-19 on the Future of the Restaurant Business
Clifford Bramble, author of “Within Our Walls” an “inspirational story for the restaurant industry,” and the founder and owner of Hungry Hospitality joins Karl Barham and Rico Figliolini to talk about the current state and the future of the restaurant business. Recorded socially safe from the City of Peachtree Corners, Georgia
Social Media: @HungryHospitality
“No matter what industry you’re in, you have to learn and do the job before you actually become an owner of the job. Or the owner of the business. So if somebody wants to get into the chef position, they have to learn how to cook. If somebody wants to learn how to do the business side, they have to learn the front of the house stuff. So it’s really important that they still have to be working for somebody to learn from somebody. They can do it in school, but they’re going to learn a lot more on property, inside a restaurant.”CLiff Bramble
Where to find the topic, timestamp:
[00:00:30] – Intro
[00:01:49] – About Cliff
[00:03:35] – Why Restaurants?
[00:07:22] – First impressions of COVID
[00:09:19] – Doing Things Differently
[00:14:07] – Finding the Right Information
[00:17:52] – Reopening
[00:18:57] – Looking to the Future
[00:25:21] – Restaurant Real Estate
[00:29:20] – Getting into the Restaurant Business
[00:31:12] – Closing
Karl: [00:00:30] Welcome to the Capitalist Sage Podcast. We’re here to bring you advice and tips from seasoned pros and experts to help you improve your business. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors, and my cohost is Rico Figliolini with Mighty Rockets, Digital Marketing and the publisher of the Peachtree Corners Magazine. How’re you doing Rico?
Rico: [00:00:47] Hey, Karl. Good. Thanks.
Karl: [00:00:49] Well, why don’t you tell us a little bit about our sponsors today?
Rico: [00:00:52] Sure. Let’s go right into it. Our lead sponsor I want to thank is Hargray Fiber. They’re a major company in the Southeast that handles fiber optics, internet connection at the speeds you need. And also because they handle, because they’re right in the community, they’re not your cable guy, right. You could call them up, they’ll be right out there. They’re very attentive to their client’s needs. Whether you’re a small business or you’re a large enterprise business, whether your employees are working from home or home and office, they’re providing all the smart office tools that you need to be able to do the work that your company needs to be able to get sales done. So check them out, they’re HargrayFiber.com. Or you can go to Hargray.com/Business and check them out because they have a thousand dollar Visa gift card going, promotion. And you may be one of those if you hook up with them. So check them out. Thank you to Hargray Fiber.
Karl: [00:01:49] Thank you. Thank you Hargray for continuing to sponsor all of the podcasts here. Today I’m excited to bring back a guest that joined us when we started this, if you remember. Cliff Bramble, founder and owner of Hungry Hospitality here in Gwinnett County. He’s here to talk a little bit about his perspective and experience and thoughts on business, small business in particular restaurant. 2020, it’s been a tough year for so many businesses. And in particular, you’ll see a lot of restaurant business being impacted. But I’ll tell you, being able to understand the history and what makes things work, is a great conversation to just show how we could support small business and maybe even talk a little bit about what it’s gonna look like post COVID. So Cliff how’re you doing today?
Cliff: [00:02:41] I’m doing great. Thanks for having me on.
Karl: [00:02:43] Well, many people might already know you and so on, but I’d love for you to share your background with folks so they can understand the many, many things that you’ve done in your career.
Cliff: [00:02:55] Absolutely. So, I live in Peachtree Corners. So I’m around here quite frequently. I was, I had the Nobel Fin going for quite some time until COVID came in. So I’ve been in the restaurant business for many years. I cofounded Rathmines Restaurants many years ago. And in the meantime, after that, ended up opening up Noble Fin. And now I just started a new company called Hungry Hospitality because, Noble Fin, I had to close it. Which isn’t a good thing, but we had to do what we had to do to start with COVID. But being in the restaurant
business and also real estate and also investing, I’ve been working with businesses for many years and I really enjoy it. It’s always a fun thing to do.
Karl: [00:03:35] Well, that’s what we’re here to talk to is the small business owners. We know it could be lonely owning your small business and having others to be able to share ideas with talk, to get ideas from, we know is very helpful. And so, why don’t we jump right in? And I’m curious when you did all your experience in a restaurant, what are some of the things that attracted you and many people to the restaurant business? From a business perspective, why do you think people get into that?
Cliff: [00:04:03] Well, you know, there’s a lot of glory in restaurants. A lot of people love to be in it. There’s, you know, there’s many people that will say, Hey, I’d love to open a restaurant. I don’t know about right now, but over the years they always have. But there’s always a lot of excitement. There’s a lot of adrenaline that’s going on. You know, there’s that. You’re around some nice people all the time. You’re around people all the time. And some people think it’s just an excitement thing all the time. You’re always excited. There’s always something going on. And although there is, you still have to run the business, with the HR and the hiring and all the other aspects that go into it. But the restaurant industry, it will come back. It’s having a challenge right now, but it will come back and there’ll be just as many people in it.
Karl: [00:04:44] Yeah. Over the years, I think one of the things is I always associate restaurant with creating memories. People get engaged, they have family feasts, birthdays, mother’s day, father’s day. And no matter what is happening in the economy or the world, people are going to want to celebrate with other people. They’re going to do it over food. And so we know that that’s going to sustain over the long term. What are some of the things that people, when you think about restaurants, they don’t know about the restaurant industry that you think they should for folks that have been in it for awhile?
Cliff: [00:05:18] Well, a lot of people may, again, people think it’s a fun industry. You, number one, you have to be there when you open up a restaurant, you really have to be there most of the time, especially if you’re independent. If you’re working with five and six other restaurant groups or you own it, and you have the luxury of hiring people because you’re a very profitable organization, you will have less time within the restaurant and more time operating the company because somebody still has to run the company. But the options are, is that people don’t see the hard work, the sacrifices that go into owning a restaurant. If it’s your kid’s birthday and you own a restaurant and you’re opening and it’s Friday night, you probably have to be there. It just depends on what people’s version and definition of fun and excitement is, but there’s a lot of hard work that you have to be there all the time.
Rico: [00:06:09] You know, I remember when we did a podcast, not too long ago, about your travels to Italy. Yeah, that was fun. I mean, you shared some pictures. You talked about the food and all that. Do you miss any of that? Do you miss being, you know, I know it’s only been a
little while. You know, but sometimes I feel like people leave a business and it doesn’t take long for them to miss it. Like a few days even.
Cliff: [00:06:34] Yeah. It’s interesting. You mentioned that if somebody asked me that the other day, just yesterday and he said, Well, are you going to get back into it? And I said, listen, I’ve been doing this for about almost 40 years. And, I’d love to say that I want to jump right into it, but I have to tell you I’m having a good time not being in it right now. So, you know, what you do realize is all of a sudden you realize all those things that you really couldn’t do over the years and you missed, all of a sudden they’re back at you. But you do miss the, you know, the fun of the excitement on a nightly basis, meeting all the different people. Because you do meet a lot of people in the restaurants and you have a lot of friends in the restaurants or acquaintances. But the other thing you miss is you miss the good food. So we cook at home all the time now.
Karl: [00:07:22] I’m curious when all, COVID-19 started to happen, where did you first hear that something was happening? How soon did you hear something was happening? What was your first thoughts and reaction to that?
Cliff: [00:07:35] Well, I’m involved in investments and financial side as well. And I’ve been, I started watching it in December to be honest. And, so in December I really watched it and in January I became obsessed with it. To a point where, I was up at three 30 in the morning, reading news from other countries, from that all the way to the East or the West, wherever it was. That was already happening and I was watching it. So for the month of January, I watched it and I read. I read a lot of information about it and I kind of warned a few friends of mine. I said, you know, if this comes over here, restaurant wise, we may end up having a big problem. Now I didn’t know how big of a problem it was, but watching it escalate, I took a lot of screenshots basically when the John Hopkins first started tracking. It had, there was two people. I have a screenshot with two people in the United States have it. And then it continued to go up and up and up. So, you know for me, I started watching it in January really, really, more so than December. But when I had over at Noble Fin, I did tell my staff in January. I advised them I said, listen guys, if this comes over here, it’s going to affect everybody. So start saving your money. And actually quite a few of them thanked me later on. And they said, man, I can’t believe that. But we did save our money and thank you very much. So I watched a lot of it in January. And then obviously in February when it started to pick up, you know, it just continued. I think the financial markets, in my opinion, kind of ignored it in January. You know, just paying attention to it, wondering what was going to happen on the hospitality side. It took a mind of its own and obviously where we are now today.
Karl: [00:09:19] Yeah. I remembered you actually being one of the first ones to talk about it and, you know, we were chatting and you were starting to do that early March, late February, early March. But I don’t know that people really understood how long this would be around. And we all didn’t know enough information about how we responded and how many. There was a time there were country that had a spike and then they got it under control and everyone thought that that’s what happens. But decisions and choices and behaviors and all these things played in.
And we’re a big country with a lot of complexity to it. 50 States, a lot of different approaches to tackling it. So, when you knew that it was going to impact your business, I know there are things you can do generally. Is there anything looking back, you’d advise the restaurant industry as a whole or people that are leading large in the food and beverage space, things that a year ago, you know, hindsight’s always 2020. Things that a year ago, things that could be done to prepare, if something like this were to happen. What would be some of the things in the food and beverage space that good business people could do? Could have done?
Cliff: [00:10:38] Well, one of the most important parts really for me, was making sure you had enough cash flow in a situation like this or any emergency situation. And, you know, I’ve worked with my accountant and it’s very interesting. Making sure that you have enough cashflow for three or four months. And most people in the, you know, we’re all in the same boat. Most people in the United States only have two or three months worth of a fund saved. In a restaurant the same exact thing. You do have to treat it as a business because that’s exactly what it is first. The fun of the restaurant has to come second. But having the cash in bank and making sure that you have enough for an emergency situation, honestly, it helped me tremendously this time. Now obviously you can not predict what’s going to happen how far along this is going to go. But, there still are, you know, we’re still in the pandemic. There’s still restaurants that are having challenges, especially in different segments. So you know, when it comes down to it, in my opinion, no matter what business you’re in you always have to plan two, three, four, five months worth of cashflow to make sure that you have that. Because when you need it and you don’t have it, you can’t get it.
Rico: [00:11:46] Let me ask you something. You know, I don’t think the restaurant business. Is immune to things, right? They’re listeria outbreaks, the salmonella outbreaks. Those are common. Every day there’s always a recall somewhere in the country for something. Especially romaine lettuce. Well, romaine lettuce from Arizona, I guess, or wherever it comes from. It’s like that one place, you know. So you have all that going on and then you have the pandemic on top of that because you have the normal stuff like that. So do you see this coming back? I mean, they’re talking about it coming back again. You know should restaurants are planning out for this type of thing beyond the money? You know, how do you plan the health wise? How do you keep things clean? And not that you know, a pandemic this may not matter, I guess the cleanliness. But how do you, what do you see there?
Cliff: [00:12:42] Well, I wish I had a crystal ball. I really do, but you know, restaurants in general are clean. You know, we clean them all the time. You have a cleaning crew or you have an outside company who comes in and cleans it. So it just, it really depends, but you still have to remain diligent on what you’re doing and you have to continue to train your staff.That’s there and make sure the management is on guard. Make sure that everybody’s paying attention. Because it, you know, what happened to me over at Noble Fin is really the reason why I ended up closing the first time in March was because somebody walked in. And then they had a party of 10, but they came from out of town. They called up two days later and they said, Hey, by the way, I think I may have COVID. You may have to tell your staff. So that was a real big
eyeopener for me when I’m dealing with hotel guests from the Marriott locally here, and, you know, the international companies that are around Peachtree Corners and Gwinnett. That was a big eyeopener. So you know, keep being diligent about listening and watching what’s going on and listening to your staff because your staff will tell you a lot of what’s going on. But more importantly, you have to continue to remain diligent and be clean and make sure you’re paying attention to everything around you. You can’t just be paying attention to your four walls within that restaurant. You have to be paying attention to what’s going on in the business world as well, because it does affect restaurants.
Karl: [00:14:07] That’s a good point. Early on information was flowing from so many sources to help guide you on restaurant safety and protocol. What was the right source to listen to? How do you figure out who to pay attention to?
Cliff: [00:14:24] That goes right about now too, we’re still trying to figure it out. You know what? The Georgia restaurant association has a great page on COVID. So, you know, any restaurant, or individual, or an employee of a restaurant or hospitality field, they can go onto the Georgia restaurant association webpage. And they have a great COVID, it’s a webpage with all types of resources on it. So that was something that I really paid attention to because they were very keen on keeping that up to date on a daily basis. Even though every day something came out differently. They were very good at keeping their website up.
Rico: [00:15:01] What did you, did you find useful the other resources that the association provided? I mean, obviously the restaurant industry is different than other industries because of the employees. And just the nature of sustainability and all that product. When it came to the Cares Act, to PPP, to loans, to payroll. You know, when business is not happening, was that any of that useful to you? I mean, I know you did a lot for your employees. God knows. I think anyone that lives in Peachtree Corners knows that Cliff Bramble, Noble Fin. You guys really, you really employed your employees as long as you could.
Karl: [00:15:39] And the community.
Cliff: [00:15:41] We did. We did. I honestly, I mean, we did pay attention. You know, when the Cares Act came out, I was very much aware of that coming out four or five weeks ahead of time with my fingers crossed because I told my staff the same exact thing. Hey guys, this is, if this comes in, I’ll be able to help you guys for this much longer. And to be perfectly honest, I mean, I kept a lot of the staff on. I couldn’t, I think 26 staff members on for the nine weeks that we were closed and they got their paycheck. You know, and that was important to me because we opened back up, everyone of those employees was back there to work. Which is a great feeling. So, you know, so yes. The other items that were out there and the people that, you know, friends of mine in the business world also. You know, from my banker to my accountant, we were all kind of talking about the same exact thing. So, we all help each other. And, there was a lot of guys in the restaurant business that I spoke with as well. We had a few, what do they call the zoom meetings, right? We had a few of them. Which were pretty cool because everybody
really helped each other. And I think that’s what the industry is really needing right now, is people to help each other being in the same industry.
Rico: [00:16:50] Well, was it a little scary at one point when they were sort of changing the rules of the game a little bit? Like you had to spend it all in eight weeks and then you could spend it in 24 weeks. Maybe some of it’s forgiven, maybe not some of it, that formula was changing. Was any of that scary?
Cliff: [00:17:07] You know what scary could be a word, but confusing is more of the word. There’s no question about it. I mean, you try to become an expert at this stuff because you know, you’re learning about it, but you’re trying to learn as much as possible. And, I have several, you know, several email friends that would send me information. Hey, this is what’s going on. My banker would send me information. I would go to treasury.org. I would go to all the different government websites and pull down the latest information. But man, confusing is the word, because, you know, one day you go, wow, this is fantastic. And next day you’re up and down. And honestly, you know, you think you lose sleep when you have a restaurant? Go through COVID and own a restaurant, you’ll really be losing sleep. And that’s probably with any business too.
Karl: [00:17:52] Right. I wondered when you reopened and people started coming back, what were some of the, you know, the response the community gave as people started going back out to restaurants and as you walked around town? What was your general sense and feel on how people felt about it?
Cliff: [00:18:10] You know, we opened back up May 25th. It was eight weeks after we had first closed. And I think we were one of the earlier ones that we opened up. And I felt that at that time it was probably a good time because I didn’t know how long this was going to continue. But the people who came in, I have to tell you, we had a very, very supportive clientele and a lot of the people who had frequented the restaurant over the years, they were the first one’s back. Yes, there were some people that came in with masks. Yes, at the very beginning. But we did everything that we possibly could to make the people feel comfortable. But when it comes down to it, you know, the people who came in, they were very supportive. They were very happy that the restaurant was back open. They enjoyed the food and they came back a couple of times. But as the confusion set in, you saw less and less of them.
Karl: [00:18:57] Yeah, yeah. I know people are happy now. If you fast forward to today, restaurants are open and people are going out to eat. Yes, the world’s changed a little bit, there’s a little bit more spacing and so on. But I’m looking in the future, there’s a short term where, you know, until, vaccines are available and so on. We’re going to school dealing with this, we’re working dealing with this, we’re living our lives dealing with this. What do you think the restaurant industry is going to look like over the near short term? And I’m going to ask you, what do you think it’s going to look like a little bit further on? How does this change how
business owners approach food service, delivery, in dining experience. How do you think this could change it? And any of them for the better?
Cliff: [00:19:42] You know, the restaurant industry, I think right now is changing on a daily basis. But, you know, we’ve gone through a lot of different changes in the last six months. Let’s face it. We went from being like, for example, you got quick service, you got full service, you have fine dining, you have fast food. And what happened for me, for example, was you know, we went through the whole process of, okay, let’s see if we can continue with the sale. So we started to-go stuff immediately. And then from there you started selling stuff online and then people started ordering it online. But now you go into the future and all that stuff is still happening. Where there’s a lot of people eating outside. But let’s face it, it’s 95 degrees outside. At nighttime it’s fine. I know a couple of places that they set up their patio and outdoor front, and they look really, really cool. And people do dine in them. But the future-wise, I mean, you’re looking at home delivery. You’re looking at more chefs cooking at home, chefs from restaurants maybe doing meal preps. And that’s already happening. You know, and there’s also a lot of virtual cooking classes as well that’s going on. Where chefs or restaurant owners are doing the virtual cooking classes from their kitchen or they’re doing a zoom cooking class, basically. So the nice part is, is it’s working and people are going with it. What’s going on in a year from now? I don’t know. I mean, there may be some consolidation, but there’s also a lot of companies out there with some pretty deep pockets. That are looking for good brands to purchase with great locations because the restaurant industry, it’s not going anywhere. It will consolidate, it will change, but it’s going to come back. Sooner or later it will come back. But we are dependent on the hotels, just like hotels are dependent on us. And I know in Peachtree Corners there’s still one, at least one hotel that I know of that is not open. But this is people in this area, the less traveling we do, it does provide a challenge for what’s going to happen now or in the future as well.
Karl: [00:21:38] I’m curious. In New York I saw some areas of New York city shut down the streets and allow the restaurants to go out into the streets, where they get the advantage of spacing and they’re able to deliver a different experience. But also, do you think there’s a future and figuring out a way to leverage outdoor space and eating for the short term. And then I’m sure, you know, over time and it’ll go in there. Have you seen any innovations in that area?
Cliff: [00:22:10] You know, most of the cities and the towns have really eased the restrictions on the outdoor dining. I know Peachtree Corners has, so that has helped tremendously. You know, it’s really up to the building departments up to the coding and also how long this is going to continue. Hopefully there’s a vaccine where we can all say, okay, in six months, eight months, this is all done. And people are back dining in air conditioning, rather than sitting in 95 degrees.
Karl: [00:22:33] Yeah.
Rico: [00:22:33] Well, you know, I think that this has shown us though that this could happen again, right? I mean, this is just, this can happen again. And it doesn’t take long, right?
Transatlantic flights. I mean, by the time anyone really knew what was going on. We were already deep into it, you know what I mean? You were able to see it coming, maybe so were other people, but obviously some people ignored it. And it came and slapped us in the face. It was really bad in Italy and Greece and some of the other countries in Europe. But like you were saying things change, right? Yeah, I think there’s more ghost kitchens going on now.
Cliff: [00:23:09] Absolutely.
Rico: [00:23:10] Right. And to explain that to some people that don’t know what a ghost kitchen is.
Karl: [00:23:14] What is a ghost kitchen?
Cliff: [00:23:15] Well you know, there’s a place called Prep Atlanta over by Spaghetti Junction. They have, I don’t know how many, I’d like to say there’s about 75 to 100 different, 100 square feet. Some are 80 square feet kitchens. And I’ve been in two of them. One of my old chef has a food truck and he took me into one of his places and man it was pretty cool. But basically they’re doing all the prep there and then they basically will deliver it to somebody else. I know Elon Musk’s brother is heavily involved. He raised about, only about $500 million to start these virtual kitchens around the United States. So the virtual kitchen, it could be something where you have a restaurant where Noble Fin used to be, for example, and have four or five different kitchens only in there. And basically you order everything online and you just go pick it up. So it remains to be seen, but I think that that virtual kitchen definitely has a huge lifespan coming up to it.
Rico: [00:24:11] If you see what’s going on with like Domino’s pizza, right. The pizza industry is really good at this. There were set because most of their stuff is delivered anyway, right? So Domino’s is no, I think it’s Domino’s right. There’s no sit in, it’s all delivery, right? It’s all curbside or pick up or delivery. You’re seeing more of like what you said. And I’m seeing companies that are doing four different brands within a ghost kitchen. Like they own the whole thing, but they’re doing it for, so that pizzeria, mexican, chinese. They own all four brands let’s say and they’re in some hole in the wall place that’s conditioned for a kitchen and they’re selling right?
Cliff: [00:24:50] Delivery only.
Rico: [00:24:51] Yeah. And then, like you said, your chef started a food truck, right? So I’m seeing more of that.
Cliff: [00:24:58] And I’ll tell you, what’s interesting. He goes to neighborhoods too. He goes to different neighborhoods where, when all of a sudden when, you know, this whole COVID came in. Obviously the business parks had disappeared. Or the people, the parks are there, but the people weren’t. So he ended up going to neighborhoods where they would call him and they have 40, 50 people there and he’d serve them on like a Tuesday night.
Karl: [00:25:21] Yeah. We saw a few of those. Those are good. We ordered dinner, when they would pick neighborhoods from different restaurants, we thought that was fabulous. I’ve got a question that might be more technical. Since you, one of the biggest costs for restaurants is the space, the real estate, the space you’re in. Do you think this is going to have an impact on commercial real estate, being able to charge the same rates, if you can’t have as many people in a space. How do you think that’s going to affect that part of the business model for restaurants?
Cliff: [00:25:57] Well, you know, it’s interesting that you say that. But, you know what, when it comes down to the per square foot, you know, the restaurants are going to move out and restaurants live off of what you’re sales are per square foot and also what your rent is per square foot. And if you have a large restaurant and the rent is, you know, $40 a square foot. You know, in Georgia, in Atlanta, it’s probably a lot less than other parts of the country. But you also have a sales forecast for that specific restaurant square footage. So knowing what your sales are going to be or what they forecasted compared to what they are, the rent will be. And it’s, especially with only at 50% seating capacity, it’s going to provide a challenge without a question. So there are going to being landlords out there trying to charge more rent. It depends on how bad somebody wants a location. If somebody wants to pay for it and they want to be in a restaurant. If they have 4,000 square feet and they need to do $600 a square foot, which is on the medium level. They really want to do $800. So that’s three and a half million dollars in sales, but if they’re paying a low $20 a square foot, that’s great. But if they’re paying 35, your occupancy costs are going to be way too high. So it’s very important to pay attention before you go into it and know what you’re sales are what you think they’re going to be. But with COVID, you know, the next six months we just don’t know.
Karl: [00:27:20] Right. Yeah. And I see, I know with all the vacancies that are happening or projected to happen between retail, restaurants and others, it’s going to have an impact. I remember December, most landlords were pushing price increase in lease updates. Some may still it’s all very local. So it depends on laws, or people, or location. But if the model changes where you can’t drive as much revenue, whether it’s by people or the price you charge, you can’t get the sales volume. Don’t you think that that will force landlords to have to either face vacancy or build a model that allows, you know, business owners to be successful and come to the table. Now over time, like it happens every other time prices will increase again. But for the short term, it’s important that we, that somehow that gets figured out.
Cliff: [00:28:19] Well, you know, listen, we all know there’s going to be a lot of retail space available within the next six months. It’s already happening. You know, whether it’s here in Atlanta, West side, downtown, you go to old fourth ward. I mean, there’s so much happening right now. You look at Alpharetta. Alpharetta is, you know, it continues to grow. Peachtree Corners, there’s buildings here, but there’s also empty buildings as well. So the more of these companies that are not letting or telling their employees to stay home until June of 2021, it provides all of a sudden empty space. Now they still have leases on them. Some of them maybe they own the building, but it’s all really dependent on whether they can work it out with the
landlords. I got an email today from somebody who’s closing a bunch of restaurants and one of the main reasons was because they could not work out a solution with their landlords. So ultimately the landlord is either going to have empty places for, until COVID is over or there’s going to be somebody else who walks in and says, Hey, I have five brands and I want to put them in that place. Maybe for a virtual kitchen. You just, you just don’t know.
Karl: [00:29:20] That’s gotta be. So what are your thoughts on someone thinking of getting into the restaurant? Just finished working at some restaurant, moving into the Metro Atlanta area. Any advice to folks that might be looking to step into it?
Cliff: [00:29:36] You know what, if they’re looking to get a job right now, you know, there are a lot of jobs out there where people are looking for, restaurants are looking for people. You look in the suburbs right now. Suburbs are pretty much doing better than in town. Because a lot of the in town, especially downtown is reliant on the hotels, downtown Atlanta. But the suburbs right now are the places to really find a job. Because the suburbs are coming back a lot more quickly in the restaurant side. Not as much as the hotel, but definitely in the restaurant. It’s coming back more quickly. So the jobs are out there. They’d have to look in the suburbs before they go in town.
Karl: [00:30:09] And as for a career path for someone that wanted to own a restaurant. What types of positions and roles would you recommend someone craft that they wanted to build a career to be an owner of a restaurant one day?
Cliff: [00:30:24] Well, you know, if they wanted to be an owner of a restaurant right there one day, they could probably buy a lot right now.
Karl: [00:30:31] And are they ready?
Cliff: [00:30:33] But they might not be ready. But you know what, it comes down to they have to continue to learn. They have to continue to work at another restaurant. They have to learn from somebody else who’s doing that. And you know, no matter what industry that you’re in, you have to learn and do the job before you actually become an owner of the job. Or owner of the business. So if somebody wants to get into the chef position, they have to learn how to cook. If somebody wants to learn how to do the business side, they have to learn the front of the house stuff. So it’s really important that they still have to be working for somebody to learn from somebody. They can do it in school, but they’re going to learn a lot more on property inside a restaurant.
Karl: [00:31:12] Well, I want to thank you for sharing some of your wisdom and experience navigating through not only just this crazy 2020, but an industry that already has its ups and downs and challenges, and you continue to be successful in all things you do. Anything you have coming up? So what keeps you busy nowadays? What type of stuff you get yourself into?
Cliff: [00:31:36] Man, you know, I’ll tell you what I’ve been doing a lot of pivoting you know. And when we had Nobel Fin, we pivoted to to-go, then we pivoted to online and, you know, ended up closing that. But I started a new company called Hungry Hospitality, which really it’s my main focus now. So I’m working on that and I’m working on these classes called audio business classes. They’re really business classes that are online and there’ll be subscription basis. There’ll be coming out probably sometime in October. And it’s really geared to the hospitality industry, but also the business industry as well. So it’ll be something a little different, but I think it’ll allow people to learn 24/7 and basically download whatever they need. So it should be interesting.
Karl: [00:32:16] Cool. I know a lot of people that would be able to really use some of that wisdom to share.
Rico: [00:32:21] Where can they find, what website can they go to? Where they, where can they find you if they want?
Cliff: [00:32:26] Yeah. Right now all my information is on HungaryHospitality.com. Right now that’s the consulting side. And the consulting side is really working with the restaurants, working with business owners, real estate people, realtors. And you know, a lot of people could use, they always say, man, I never knew this stuff. And you know, the nice part is if they want to learn how to open up a business, it’s better to have somebody who has already done it then trying and making all those mistakes and costing them a lot of money when somebody can guide them to it and help them immediately.
Karl: [00:33:01] Oh, absolutely. It makes perfect sense. Well, I want to thank you Cliff Bramble with Hungry Hospitality, local business leader. And I just want to thank you personally, for all the things you did in the community. Bread you were giving away during the time just being a voice.
Rico: [00:33:21] How many pounds of?
Cliff: [00:33:22] I was making that in the back kitchen and having a good time.
Rico: [00:33:25] You came up with 400 pounds of dough or more,
Cliff: [00:33:28] I think in total, almost 800 pounds of dough. But it was good, you know what I mean? It was a good time, the people enjoyed it. And you know what? I think that the people needed something like that. And, you know, you have to do something like that and get back to the community because the local people are the ones that helped you out in the first place.
Karl: [00:33:44] Well, I want to thank you. You’re a great example for the community and continue to wish you all luck on some of your new endeavors. Well, for today, I want to thank everybody for joining the Capitalist Sage. I’m Karl Barham with Transworld Business Advisors of Atlanta Peachtree. Our business is to help business owners figure out what comes next in life,
whether they are looking to exit the business, sell, whether they’re looking to acquire a business to grow through acquisition or through franchising. We help people realize those dreams. You can reach us at www.TWorld.com/AtlantaPeachtree. Rico, what do you have coming up?
Rico: [00:34:23] Sure. Well, I’m Rico Figliolini. I have MightyRockets.com and we’re a social media content creation company. But I also publish Peachtree Corners magazine so that’s six times a year. Keeps me busy. Talking about passion, I love doing this stuff. I have great writers with me. We’re working on the next issue right now. So part of that is pets and their people. We’re going to be running a, we’re launching a giveaway next week on that. We’re also doing, asking people to give us what they’re thankful for. So our hopes are accumulating 50 people and what they feel they’re thankful for this year. Besides family and friends, we’re all thankful for that. But what else are you thankful for? So you want to get a sense of what that is in Peachtree Corners. We’re curating that and putting that in the magazine. And we’re also wanting to be doing a bunch of other things, including backyard retreats. So we’re profiling five of those. Really some great looking backyard retreats that people can go to. There’s one place, I forget how many acres it is, smack in the middle of Peachtree Corners, has its own rapevines and place to just hang out. It’s kind of a neat place. That’s one of the places, but we’re doing all that. So and these family of podcasts we’re doing. Because you’re the heavy lifting, scheduling everyone on these podcasts and it’s kind of cool. You’re bringing in really good interesting people. Cliff this hour, this half hour was really, really good learning about you and the business. So all that, and we’re fortunate to have Hargray Fiber as a sponsor of these podcasts. So if anyone wants to find out a little bit more about what’s going on in Peachtree Corners or any of the podcasts we do go to LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com and you’ll be able to find out all sorts of things.
Karl: [00:36:15] So I want to mention one more thing as we wrap up today. It’s great having folks like Cliff and other business owners all over the community, because I don’t know if a lot of children get to see business owners. They go in patron in the business, but they don’t know the people in the community that do it and some of these things. And so if this helps to prepare the next generation to be great business owners, small business owners I think, it’s going to drive the economy. So, this is a joy for us to do and we want folks to follow us on Facebook. And on Facebook, is it Living in Peachtree Corners?
Rico: [00:36:53] Well, it’s Peachtree Corners Life on Facebook. So if you like the page, right, and you’ll get alerts for it. If you go to YouTube and you search Peachtree Corners Life. Subscribe there and you’ll also get an alert because we’re doing these things live to YouTube simultaneously if we don’t get dropped. So I think we went about 27 minutes before we got dropped. So the full version will be up after this.
Karl: [00:37:17] Awesome. And then the website?
Rico: [00:37:20] Well, the website is LivingInPeachtreeCorners.com. and on Instagram, we’re Capitalist Sage so check it out.
Karl: [00:37:29] Absolutely. Well, thank you everyone for tuning in and thanks Cliff again. Take care of everyone. Have a great day, everyone.
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Education3 days ago
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