Angel Borg welcomes customers to Apollo’s restaurant in downtown Washington. Borg sought help from the Small Business Center at Beaufort County Community College after opening her restaurant.
A 50-year veteran of the restaurant business, Bob Doe knows what it takes to make a restaurant successful. That’s why, for the past two years, Doe has been one of the subject matter experts who Small Business Center Director Lentz Stowe regularly contacts when a client has a question about restaurant operations. Doe is just one of several such experts on call through the center, located at Beaufort County Community College, who help local businesses with everything from inventory control to reaching customers via the Internet.
Angel Borg, owner of Apollo’s restaurant in downtown Washington, says she is one of those who have benefited from experts, like Doe, available through the center.
“It was invaluable,” she said of the time she spent talking with Doe. “I was able to learn a lot from his experience.”
“My staff gets something out of it too,” she said. “It opens their eyes to the big picture and they are much clearer about my expectations.”
Doe says he never considered himself a consultant.
Small Business Center Director Lentz Stowe, left, meets with Bob Doe,
a 50-year veteran of the restaurant business and
one of many subject matter experts available to clients of the center.
“The restaurant business is a tough business,” he said. “You have to stay highly disciplined at it.”
Statistics on restaurant failure vary widely with some estimates indicating that 60 to 90 percent fail in the first year and after three years, half of restaurants are no longer in business.
Doe hopes to improve those odds with local restaurant owners.
“If I can help somebody improve their business I’ll do it,” Doe said.
Borg sought out the counseling from the Small Business Center after meeting Stowe shortly after she opened her restaurant in 2013.
“Being hungry for knowledge to succeed, I sought out the college,” she said.
For his part, Stowe met Doe that same year, after Doe moved to Beaufort County from Massachusetts.
Doe holds a master’s degree in business administration from Babson College and has experience in financial analysis in addition to his experience in the restaurant industry.
After learning of Doe’s background, Stowe thought he would be a good fit for the Small Business Center’s restaurant clients.
“After meeting with Bob, I thought ‘I can utilize Bob to possibly give our restaurant and tourism sector an economic boost.’” Stowe said. “To have a resource like Bob, I can’t put a value on that.”
|Lentz Stowe meets with Angel Borg at Apollo's Restaurant.|
Stowe estimates that if an individual restaurant owner sought consulting similar to that offered through the Small Business Center, that individual would expect to pay $100 to $150 and hour – a fee most local restaurant owners could not afford to pay.
But that expertise is available to Small Business Center clients at no charge.
Apollo’s is just one of the area restaurants to benefit from Doe’s expertise. He has consulted with restaurant owners in Belhaven, Creswell and Washington.
For her part, Borg has not only taken advantage of Doe’s consultations, she is also a regular attendee at Small Business Center social media workshops led by Martin Brossman, another subject matter expert available to local business owners.
Borg has become a regular contributor to Facebook after attending Brossman’s workshop on using social media marketing.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” she said. “I try to use all the things he has taught me pretty regularly.”
She said she appreciates all the help the Small Business Center has given her over the years.
“First and foremost, I don’t feel like I’m alone,” she said. “I can reach out and find resources I need to succeed. I have the best network ever possible.”
For more information about other services offered by BCCC’s Business and Industry Services’ Small Business Center, including targeted seminars for business owners, visit BCCC’s Website at www.beaufortccc.edu/coned/Small Business/workshops.htm or contact Stowe at 252-940-6306 or by email at email@example.com.