CHURCH POINT: Casual Restaurant
Limited dining options in Church Point have forced many residents to leave their community regularly to eat in Lafayette or elsewhere. For some business owners, this means leaving their community daily to meet with clients and spend their money outside of Church Point. To fill this culinary void, Church Point should open a restaurant on Main Street across from Café Maison. Formerly a department store for clothing, the building of interest has been vacant for years but is in excellent shape and located in prime real estate for redevelopment. The current owners of the building are amenable to selling or leasing their property at a nominal rate and hope to see their parent’s old department store be redeveloped into something worthwhile for their hometown residents to enjoy.* The right restaurant concept – well executed and reflecting the local cuisine and culture – stands to serve as both a cornerstone for the Church Point community as well as a culinary destination with potential draw from the rest of Acadia Parish and beyond.
*Since the publication of this plan, the property of interest was sold to a new business. The new owner is amenable to splitting the building to support the plan.
Based on community demographics, regional tastes, restaurant industry trends and overall economic development in Acadia Parish, the new restaurant in Church Point should be designed as a casual full-service eatery and taproom. In homage to the community’s Horse and Buggy Festival, the working name for the proposed establishment will be The Carriage House Eatery & Taproom. The Carriage House should feature Cajun gastropub cuisine, beers on tap – blending best sellers such as Bud Light with a selection from some of Louisiana’s 33+ native craft brews, and craft cocktails with regional themes and liquors. This restaurant concept will appeal to the tastes and budgets of locals and will also offer the potential for a culinary tourism experience and creative outlet for apprentice chefs.
Menu offerings can include:
- Red beans and rice
- BBQ shrimp
- Po’boy sandwiches
- Gourmet burgers
*Pizza is not necessarily considered a regional food item, but it offers better potential for carryout meals and fills a void in Church Point’s “pizza desert.”
As a starting point, the target average table check for on-premise patrons should be $15/person. This assumes a 50/50 food and alcohol mix. The price of the average appetizer will be $6, domestic draughts $4, craft beers $6, and signature cocktails $6 to $8. Entrées should be $8 to $9 with signature items up to $15.
Since the identified building is twice the space needed to operate a table service restaurant in the area, The Carriage House will only need approximately 3,850 square feet to operate efficiently. This includes 1,155 square feet for a kitchen and slightly under 2,700 square feet for a dining area with 94 seats and the remainder for a bar and required storage. The rest of the building could be used for a secondary purpose including an event/catering space or divided for a second business.*
*The new owner of the building will operate a business in the other half of the building.
Church Point will need to create a strong incentive package to attract an owner/operator for The Carriage House. An example is included in the Talent Incentive Initiatives section of this plan.
Culinary Training Program
In analyzing the key tenants of a successful new restaurant venture – creating an experience, marketing beyond the community and Acadia Parish, and recruiting a quality workforce – one possible strategy is to approach South Louisiana Community College’s (SLCC) Culinary Arts & Occupations Program (located at SLCC’s Lafayette campus) about partnering on a formal residency or internship program. If the owner/operator is passionate about working with up and coming chefs, a formal internship, residency and/or apprenticeship program could be an enticing incentive for talented culinary students to live and work in the Church Point community.
|Square footage||Capital Costs||Projected Annual Sales||Net Profit|
*This does not include the costs of an incentive package for the owner/operator of The Carriage House.
- Secure building
- Recruit owner/operator
- Develop buildout concept
- Form partnership with SLCC
- Secure capital for buildout
Secure half of the 232 N. Main Street building from the new owner
City of Church Point (specifically, Mayor Ryan “Spanky” Meche and Alderman Chris LeBas)
Negotiate with the current owner to determine a lease agreement for half of the building not being used (approx. 4,000 square feet).
Recruit owner/operator with a blend of culinary expertise and strong operations experience
Louisiana Restaurant Association, Acadia Parish Chamber of Commerce, Acadia Parish Police Jury, and City of Church Point
Secure building (see step 1). Work with the city and parish to secure incentives. If owner is not the operator, secure a favorable lease structure to attract tenant(s). Recruit an owner/operator with both front of house and back of house experience.
Develop buildout concept
Architect and owner/operator
Personalize business plan in Appendix D to design a gastropub restaurant with a clean minimalistic interior and some “buggy” themed décor such as historical photos or paintings. Address both interior and exterior recommendations.
Form partnership with South Louisiana Community College’s (SLCC) Culinary Arts & Occupations Program
Create a formal partnership with SLCC to design an internship, residency, and/or apprenticeship program for culinary students to work at The Carriage House.
Secure capital to complete buildout
Seek local/parish incentives and local financial institution to ensure a favorable, low-risk plan