As the holiday season approaches, residents of New Jersey can not enjoy locally produced wine and have them shipped directly to their home. Governor Chris Christie signed into law this past spring, new legislation making New Jersey the thirty-ninth state to allow New Jersey wineries to ship directly to its customers. Out of state wineries may also seek a permit to ship to New Jersey customers as well. For more read: N.J. Wineries Enjoy Direct Shipping To Customers This Holiday Season.
I am routinely approached by people who have an idea to open a new winery, restaurant, catering business or other wine and hospitality business. Many of these persons often consider entering their new business venture with a family member or friend.
Typically I recommend that before they say “I do” to forming a Company or Partnership, that they first ask themselves if they are choosing the right person for the business. In other words, who is standing next to you?
Saying “I do” or choosing the wrong business mate can have dreadful consequences with disastrous long term effects.
Its not personal. Its business.
Picking a business mate because they are your “friend” is rarely ever a good idea. Business decisions can strain personal relationships that can lead to having a negative effect on your buisness.
When picking the right partner for your new business, focus on individual (s) that have a complementary skill set to your own. Pick someone who is best suited to building a practice together. Pay less attention to where your partner went to school, more attention to he or she has achieved or accomplished.
Perhaps you are good at organizing the financial side of the business while your business mate may be customer service oriented. Maybe your partner excels at being the “face” of the business, while you on the other-hand may be solution oriented. You may be a good problem solver whereas you partner may be great at networking and fundraising. Is your partner a visionary or an executor? These are factors to consider whether you bring or have something each uniquely offers to the business. In other words, your best partner/businessmate is one that is the Yin to your Yang.
Before you say “I Do” and walk down the aisle of entering a new business venture with a new partner at your side, make sure the right person is standing next to you.
Planning your business well with the right partner or founder will lead to a long term prosperous business relationship.
Now you can say it. “I Do”.
The public is being solicited to assist scientists at Cornell University come up with names for two new wine grape varieties that will be released as a part of their 2013 breeding program. As part of contest and social media campaign, name submissions will be accepted until Aug. 6. For more information read here: The name game: Contests seeks names for two new grapes.
Forming a separate business entity for your new or existing winery, restaurant, catering, or wine based hospitality business is a critical step. Your corporation is responsible for the debts and liabilities of your wine or hospitality business shielding your personal assets separate from those of your business. But once the business formation process is complete, your job isn’t finished. You must ensure that your Corporation or LLC entity remains in compliance so that your “corporate veil” is not pierced, making you personally liable for the debts of your wine or hospitality business.
Here are eight ways to ensure that your Pennsylvania winery or hospitality business remains in compliance.
1.) Do not co-mingle your personal and business finances.
2.) Maintain your regular and annual corporate minutes and resolutions.
3.) Be sure to file your annual reporting requirements with the Secretary of State.
4.) Record any changes and amendments to your Articles of Incorporation and file
those timely with State and Federal Regulatory bodies, i.e Municipal Reporting and Zoning Requirements, Liquor Control Boards and the Federal TTB as applicable.
5.) If you operate out of state, make sure your business is legal out of state in the event you need to qualify as a “Foreign Corporation of LLC” within the state that you are doing business.
6.) Take time out of your busy schedule to address your administrative legal requirements.
7.) Maintain your corporate tax filings just as you would with your individual taxes.
8 ) Contact your Accountant or Legal Counsel should you run into any compliance issues.
Starting or running a successful restaurant or hospitality business can be extremely overwhelming. You need more than just your desire and passion to excel. Careful preparation is key to avoiding making painful mistakes along the way. Because, at the end of the day, diners vote with their forks. And…you want them to vote for you.
Getting the vote of your customers means your food or wine business enterprise will need to emerge as a success. If you currently own or plan to own your own restaurant, small chef eatery, catering, wine business or food selling dynasty here are a few good tips that will help you avoid some unnecessary pitfalls as you grow your successful hospitality enterprise.
A solid business plan is your roadmap to your future. Make sure you have one. A good solid business plan will help you to focus on your location, your anticipated customer base, and what measurable goals you’ll need to make to turn a profit. While you may be an awesome chef, caterer, or wine entrepreneur your ability to stay in business is also a function of your ability to control your costs. A business plan will help you to identify and track your goals and how well you are doing. A good business plan will cover a general description of your business, your financial management and marketing plans.
Develop a cash flow statement. A cash flow statment will project when you will need to borrow money, hustle for more business or reduce your debts. It will also guide you as to when you need to make those much needed capital investments and improvements into your business.
Carefully preserve you credit. Do not borrow for payroll or short term needs. These should be taker from your current cash flow.
Build a relationship with your bank. When it comes time to deal with loans or lines of credit, having a friendly relationship with your banker can be extremely beneficial.
If you feel you lack an appropriate business skill set because your real love is your focus on your food, then be sure to retain the right lawyer to look over your business contracts and to conduct your contract negotiations.
You may want to create a Partnership with another individual or entity not just for and injection of money, but for sound business advice. Alternatively you may want to enlist the services of a business or restaurant consultant who specializes in the restaurant industry. This can be a good resource to develop your ideas or help you to implement a successful business strategy.
Develop good employee relations standards. Pursue a good understanding of your federal, state and local labor laws. You want to avoid unfavorable legal action taken against you by knowing how these laws affect the way you need to conduct your business on a daily basis.
Visit your local planning department in your municipality to educate yourself on applicable zoning, parking, signage, noise, sewage and other requirements that you’ll need to know to cut through the red tape necessary to operate your business.
If you plan to serve liquor in your restaurant you’ll need to protect your business investment by ensuring that you’re properly protected from suits filed by 3rd parties for damages or injuries caused by patrons imbibing in your establishment. Invest in liquor liability training procedures for you and your restaurant staff.
If you incorporate these tips into the daily operation of your business, you will be well on your way to running a successful hospitality enterprise. Keep you eyes on the prize and remember the big picture. Success won’t just be measured in metrics alone but will be expressed with the people connections you make with your food. Now go out there and get your votes.
After-all, you’re taking care of business.
On March 28, the Pennsylvania State Senate unanimously passed 48-0, Senate Bill 790 which would allow consumers to have domestic wines from U.S. wineries shipped directly to their homes in the state. Under the legislation, consumers would be allowed to purchase by phone, mail or internet as many as 24 domestic wines per month. However, for those residents interested in purchasing imported wines, Pennsylvania residents would still be required to continue to obtain imported wine purchases from the 620 state owned/controlled liquor stores.
Under the bill, consumers would be required to verify their age and sign for shipments. Wineries would be required to collect taxes prior to shipping and to pay a $100 state registration fee annually along with reporting requirements to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.
Pennsylvania is one of 14 states that restricts the shipping of wine to its residents. The State’s ban on direct shipment of wine has been a long standing concern integral to the wider debate on the future of the Pennsylvania’s state-controlled liquor store system. While proponents of the bill believe the legislation offers Pennsylvania residents a bit more liquor freedom while bolstering state revenue, Senator Lawrence M. Farnese Jr. D-Philadelphia, a co-sponsor of the bill voiced his disappointment arguing that late surfacing amendments to the bill shuts out “90 percent of the world’s wine” from French, German, Australian and other imports thus “giving the people of Pennsylvania less that what they should be getting”.
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board is the largest purchased of wine and spirits in the United States with sales topping $1.9 billion.
Do you happen to be a Pennsylvania Winemaker with no vineyard? No Problem. Perhaps your real calling is that you’re a city dwelling vintner. Besides, the grapes only care about where they are grown and not where they are crushed. With that in mind, have you considered that maybe there is an Urban Winery in your future? If so, your time is now. Advances in both technology and transport are on your side. Today, there is a growing recognition that you really don’t have to have the dirt to start your own Urban Winery. Instead, your grapes can be grown in a remote location with you transporting them to your urban facility for crushing, fermenting, and aging.
Typically when we think of wineries, most of us think of expansive vineyards overlooking large gardens with a view. The Urban Winery is a growing yet different phenomenon. As the winemaker you can locate your winemaking production facility in an urban setting within a city rather than the traditional rural setting typically in close proximity to the nearby vineyard.
The upside of course is that you can attract all of today’s millennial’s who enjoy that frequented city dwelling lifestyle. This concept has all kinds of possibilities. Conceptually you’d be bringing the consumer intimately closer to the winemaking experience in a much more meaningful way, far beyond the wine bar experience. Your Urban Winery can be “the” gathering spot for the neighborhood locals who drop in to sip and take a few bottles of Pennsylvania wine home.
Urban wineries are rapidly cropping up across America. You could now find them in New York, California, Ohio, Maryland and Washington State to name a few.
So, if you’re ready to grab hold of those urban dwellers and are ready to provide them with an authentic winery experience– perhaps there is a Urban Winery in your future. Go for it Pennsylvania Winemakers!
If you’re preparing to open your own winery or hospitality business you have no doubt heard the warnings “its a jungle out there” or that “most businesses fail within the first five years”.
Whether your winery, restaurant, or hospitality business success or fails, the one sure truth is that you’ll be guaranteed to have some challenging times. Building a successful wine or hospitality business can be a true roller coaster ride. New entrepreneurs often underestimate the difficulty and pain that comes with starting a new business. The responsibilities are great. The time pressures are demanding. The financial investment often comes with significant personal costs.
The good news is that if you have fire in your belly, building your own business into a success will give you a personal sense of satisfaction and joy. It feels good. Thus if you’re starting a new winery, restaurant, or hospitality business in 2012, it is essential that you do it right. Here are just a few good tips:
You should consider preparing an effective business plan.
Know your market.
Watch you cash flow.
Deliver a good product or service.
Implement the right legal protections.
Listen to your customers.
Participate in your industry’s trade organizations.
Hire a good attorney who understands your business.
Arming yourself early on at the inception of building your new winery or hospitality business will go a long way to helping your business grow and become a success. And, by all means, “get in where you fit in”
The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board has ended its ill-fated wine vending program after a year’s experiment with statewide grocery stores. The wine kiosks located at 21 stores throughout the state required customers to swipe their ID, blow into a breathalyzer and look into a security camera to buy their wine. The program came under tough scrutiny with customer complaints, mechanical problems and lagging sales. This week, the PLCB concluded the wine kiosks program after the manufacturer Simple Brands LLC of Montgomery County defaulted on a payment of more than $1 million per Joe Conti, CEO of the PLCB. The end of the kiosks program comes during a time where House Majority Leader Republican Mike Turzai has introduced a bill to privatize the state’s liquor system proposing the sale of liquor licenses wherein supermarkets would be able to purchase licenses and sell wine to its customers. Alternatively, the PLCB initially envisioned the wine kiosks program as a way to implement modernization into the state’s liquor control system. Meanwhile as the turf battles continue in the industry, some of us are still looking for ways to “eat local” and “drink local”. Now what say you?
The Institute of Masters of Wine (IWM) has announced its newest members. As covered in my earlier post, Does The Pinnacle of Professional Achievement In The Wine World Excite You?, this accomplishment is considered the “hardest test of knowledge” in the wine world. Congratulations to all of this year’s newest members. For more read: 11 New Masters of Wine Announced.
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Yardley, Pennsylvania 19067
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