Commercial landlords want trendy restaurants on their first floors. It builds buzz, along with a base of loyal followers.
But landing that potential hot spot can be a risky proposition. Maybe it means helping pay for renovations, or discounting the rent.
Sometimes, it’s just easier to sign a bank or a national retailer for that ground-floor space, someone with a long and solid credit history.
Lawyer Dan Dain saw this problem firsthand, working with office-tower owners in downtown Boston. That’s why the attorney set out to create a private equity fund, of sorts, to help promising young chefs set out on their own — and focus more on the cooking than on the bookkeeping.
And so Restaurant Investment Group was born last year, as Dain’s side project.
He has raised $1 million, with a goal of raising as much as $3 million to invest in two to four restaurants.
So far, four chefs have applied for the money.
Dain isn’t doing this alone. He borrowed the idea from Joe Volman, a lawyer at Burns & Levinson who worked with chef Michael Schlow. Volman is also advising Dain on this project.
Restaurant consultants Michael Staub and Ed Doyle are on board. And Dain is getting help from Mike McDermott, Don Wiest, and Charles Le Ray, lawyers who work with Dain at his law firm, Dain Torpy.
He has also assembled a board of advisers to vet the chefs: o ya owner Nancy Cushman, Nantucket Nectars cofounder Tom First, business consultant Dave Hadden, and Synergy Investments president Dave Greaney.
Shares in the fund are being sold for $100,000 apiece.
There is no guaranteed return, but investing in this way can be much less risky than placing your bets on a single restaurant. And there’s always the VIP treatment and the free meals.
Dain expects the fund to award its first investment to a chef within two to three months.
“It’s really hard for these up-and-coming chefs to finance their restaurants on their own,” Dain said.
“We’ve created a business model that’s really meant to help [foster] the types of restaurants that neighborhoods would like to see.” — JON CHESTO
Boston’s FDIC office gets a new chief
Marianne Hatheway, who started as a bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in Boston, is returning to the city to head the regulator’s office here.
The FDIC announced Hatheway’s move earlier this week. She will be starting at the Boston office in August.
Hatheway has been second-in-command of the FDIC’s Chicago regional office for the past year and worked for the bank regulator in Washington, D.C., before that.
But she spent her college years in the Boston area, graduating from Boston College and later earning an MBA at Babson College. She started her career with the FDIC in Boston in 1993, the agency said.
The FDIC protects bank customers’ deposits by providing insurance and regulates many state chartered banks. The Boston office oversees 170 employees throughout New England.
Hatheway replaces Daniel Frye, who retired last year.
Her official title is quite a mouthful and will have to be squeezed onto her new business cards: deputy regional director for the Boston area office.
— DEIRDRE FERNANDES
For help on jobs, French tap Year Up
Could a Boston nonprofit help France solve its huge youth unemployment problem?
That’s the hope behind Thursday’s planned visit by France’s economic minister to Year Up, a national organization based in Boston that helps low-income young adults get educated, get jobs, and escape poverty.
Emmanuel Macron, whose official title is minister of economy, industry and digital affairs, is scheduled to stop by Year Up’s Milk Street office to learn new strategies for putting jobless youth to work. In France, more than 20 percent of young adults are unable to find permanent full-time employment, roughly double the US rate.
The visit will include introductions to several Year Up students and staff, including executive director Duncan McCallum — but not founder and CEO Gerald Chertavian, who will be away visiting Year Up’s new office in Jacksonville, Fla.
Also in attendance will be Karilyn Crockett, director of economic policy and research for the City of Boston, and Richard Curtis and Paul Francisco, vice presidents at State Street Corp., a longtime Year Up supporter.
“For us, it’s not as important that the minister leaves knowing exactly how our program works,” said Year Up spokesman Bryan Mahony, “but that he leaves having a model of getting businesses involved in these social issues and investing in young adults as an economic asset.”
Macron will also visit Sanofi-owned Genzyme for a meeting that will be co-hosted by Genzyme chief executive David Meeker and Sanofi executive vice president Suresh Kumar, and the Harvard Innovation Lab for a gathering co-hosted by assistant directors Neal Doyle and Matthew Guidarelli.
— SACHA PFEIFFER
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