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'Buy This Restaurant' interview with Keith Simpson

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On Feb. 3 Zap 2 It shared a little bit on Food Network's new reality show, "Buy This Restaurant." This Examiner was lucky enough to score an interview with Keith Simpson, the host and chef-turned-Realtor of the show. This show has a particular interest for this Examiner because of her own personal background in family restaurant ownership.

Examiner: What are you hoping people will gain from this show?

KS: The show is about the reality of first time restaurant ownership. I want it to show the reality of finding the right space for the right restaurant. The downfalls, and the possibilities and realities of getting into the business.

Examiner: What is the worst thing someone looking to get into the restaurant business can do?

KS: There are several things that are the worst things. If you've never worked in a restaurant, then how do you know that you want to do that for the rest of your life? I always tell people to work in a restaurant for at least six months before considering purchasing one. Don't overspend because you never know how things will turn out. If things are in your favor then you can always expand. Know the numbers you have to work with and the concept of what you want to do before you start.

Examiner: What is the best advise that you give people when searching for their restaurant?

KS: Location, location, location. Many people want to choose places because it's right down the street from their house. That's nice and convenient but who goes right down the street from their house to eat? You want your restaurant to be where the people are, not right down the street from your house.

Examiner: What is your favorite type of restaurant to search for?

KS: I love the the middle market. It's a bit more upscale and the owners don't have to do all the work. They can have a life and aren't just working to get a paycheck. I love fine dining restaurants but if you haven't ever worked in fine dining it's difficult. They have suffered the most because nobody can afford them (to operate or fine in.)

Examiner: I live in an area where food trucks are the next big thing. What do you feel about food trucks?

KS: Food trucks have their place, but really you're purchasing a truck not a restaurant. They are very limited in what they can do and sometimes in quality. They can be fun but not always economical.

Keith Simpson has owned successful restaurants that he has sold for three times what he paid for them in Tahoe, where his family now lives. He says that fans will get to see the full transformations of restaurants when they are completed. This way fans get to see the whole process start to finish.

"Buy This Restaurant" premieres on Food Network on Feb. 5.

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