tv The Profit CNBC February 15, 2016 4:00pm-5:01pm EST
lemonis: tonight on "the profit," i head to south carolina to get a real taste of good old-fashioned barbecue. norton: if the fat ain't dripping on the coals, it's not barbecue. lemonis: a mom-and-pop operation has quickly grown into a million-dollar business. you're almost doing $1 million a year. you guys aren't mom-and-pop anymore. they are struggling to keep up. norton: we've grown faster than we ever imagined we would grow. we have not caught up with ourselves. lynn: this is overwhelming. lemonis: authentic, down-home cooking never goes out of style. lynn: mom always taught us, whatever we do, we do at our best. lemonis: if i can stabilize this business... we're not charging enough. ...there's big money to be made. this meal was amazing. these ribs are ridiculous. my name is marcus lemonis, and i fix failing businesses. if you don't like money, don't follow my advice.
i make the tough decisions. we're closing the store. we're done. i'm not talking to you about it anymore. i back them up, spending my own money. it's not always pretty... man: perfect flavor. lemonis: ...but this is business. you got to trust the process. i do it to save jobs, and i do it to make money. thanks for your business. this is "the profit." things move slowly in the small town of latta, south carolina. but when shuler's bar-b-que opens its doors, people near and far come rushing in with some traveling hundreds of miles to eat their legendary barbecue. lynn: hi. how are y'all? welcome to shuler's. lemonis: it's an all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet, and their speciality is pulled pork and ribs. their biscuits are always one of the biggest draws. woman: excellent barbecue, some of the best i have ever had. norton: thank you, ma'am. lemonis: married couple lynn and norton hughes
struggled to have a family until late in life. they were blessed when they adopted their young son and named him after norton's father, shuler. lynn and norton opened up shuler's bar-b-que restaurant in 1996 without any prior restaurant experience. they've relied on time-tested family recipes... norton: i can remember my daddy putting meat on the coals. that shows you we're cooking right. lemonis: ...and traditional cooking practices passed down by norton's father. this business has grown bigger than they ever expected, forcing them to work around the clock just to keep up. lynn: [ sighs ] lemonis: lynn and norton's goal is to build a successful business for the future of their son, but i know that second-generation businesses have a high failure rate. so, if i can't put the right processes and infrastructure in place, this business may not make it to the next generation.
shuler's bar-b-que smells of great comfort food, and the place is jammed. lynn: hi! lemonis: how are you? i'm marcus. lynn: lynn hughes. nice to meet you. lemonis: nice to meet you. -are you norton? -norton: i am norton. -lemonis: nice to meet you, sir. -norton: nice to meet you. lemonis: what a great place. -norton: thank you. -lynn: thank you. lemonis: there's some people in here. lynn: yeah! isn't this great? lemonis: and so, i noticed that on the sign, that you're only open -- lynn: thursday, friday, and saturdays. lemonis: how many seats in the entire place? lynn: about 200. lemonis: and is there ever a time where it's jam-packed, out the door, down the street? norton: actually, we have pictures of it at about halfway in the parking lot. that is not real unusual. we can feed as many as 500 people in a night. lemonis: do you guys ever run out of seats in the dining area and then have to turn customers away? norton: yeah. lemonis: how many acres is the whole complex? norton: on this side of the road, we got about 30 acres.
lemonis: okay. so, there's more expansion land. norton: as long as we keep getting business, we can keep adding on. lemonis: how much is lunch? -norton: $8.95. -lemonis: and dinner? norton: $12.70 for an adult. lynn: plus tax. lemonis: all you can eat, $13.95? norton: yeah, that includes drinks and dessert. lemonis: i mean, that's a heck of a deal. $13.95 for an adult price on a buffet with chicken and ribs? that's a great price, but i don't know how they make that work. can we take a look at the kitchen? lynn: yeah, come on. let's show you the kitchen. this is lynn's world. lemonis: what is in lynn's world? lynn: we make the biscuits, the dessert. lemonis: when do you make the biscuits? can we make them together? lynn: yeah, we can make them together. they're a lot of fun. lemonis: how much time a day does this take you to make? lynn: well, 30 minutes a batch. that includes the prep time. but we're doing eight batches. lemonis: four hours a day, almost. lynn: yep. lemonis: who makes the biscuits here? and nobody else? woman: no. [ chuckles ] -lemonis: not a chance? -woman: no, not really. lemonis: so, how come you don't let other people make these? lynn: i grew up, my mom catered.
and mom always taught us, whatever we do, we do it at our best. lemonis: people come from far and wide to get these biscuits? lynn: they do. we can't keep biscuits on the buffet. all right. lemonis: and so, this is what they look like when they come out? lynn: that's what they look like when they come out. lemonis: i love it. lynn: oh, good. great. lemonis: these biscuits are amazing. i can see why they fly off the buffet. this may be the thing that i can take national. norton: out in the pit is where the real magic happens. -lynn: yes. -lemonis: okay. lynn: this is the pit. norton: mark is my pit man. lemonis: how you doing, sir? nice to meet you. mark: that's my rotisserie, and i cook my ribs and my chicken on it. norton: i'm an old purist. we believe if the fat ain't dripping on the coals, -it's not barbecue. -lemonis: okay. and so, the ribs are in here? [ chuckles ] mark: there's nothing better. i'm telling you. lemonis: you're proud of that, aren't you? mark: yes, sir. there's nothing better. you're gonna have some tonight, right? lemonis: i'm gonna have some. how profitable is the business today? norton: it'll run 12%, 15%.
this year, we shouldn't have a problem doing $1 million. lemonis: so, the business will make $120,000, $150,000. norton: yeah. you know, we're still mom-and-pop. we actually don't pay ourself a salary. lynn: we would love to get setup that we can afford to pay a manager because this is overwhelming. lemonis: while shuler's bar-b-que's only open three days a week, it's overwhelming because it isn't just about serving the food three days a week. there's a lot of things that go into running a restaurant, and three days a week really turns into seven days' worth of work. lynn: my brother-in-law ewell has stepped in, and it's just been a joy having him here. ewell has been in managerial positions. lemonis: okay. norton: he is a genius with marketing. lynn: see, he's been working with us on that, and we've just seen a continual growth. lemonis: it seems to me that they need some help. they need a manager. and if ewell's that answer, well, i'd like to meet him. i need bigger plates. how you doing? i'm marcus. ewell: marcus? ewell. good to see you. lemonis: nice to meet you. jenny: hi. jenny. lemonis: jenny, nice to meet you. jenny: my sister. lemonis: she's your sister? okay. lemonis: and you all are married?
-both: yes. -jenny: we live in new orleans. ewell: seafood. i did all the promotions for the state. lemonis: are you still in the seafood business today? ewell: no, i'm not. i resigned, and i've been helping with them. -lemonis: oh, okay. -ewell: we see a gold mine here. and for a marketer, this is nirvana. you know? it's a lot of fun. so, i started playing with their facebook page. and word of mouth is spreading faster than they can handle the growth. lemonis: but why do we need more p.r.? we have a line out the door. ewell: we see so much potential that we can build this brand beyond this location. lemonis: now you're changing the secret recipe. that's what i worry about. this concept of franchising and opening them up all over the country is not always a good idea. it's not ice cream. it's a brand that isn't portable. you guys can't be everywhere. franchising shuler's is a bad idea. barbecue is regional. there are different styles and there are different flavors. just 30 minutes away in north carolina, the barbecue could be totally different.
if i open up barbecue in texas, it's a problem because i'm competing against that region's barbecue -- not a battle that i'm willing to fight. i'd much rather take the money and build into the infrastructure here and make this a destination. these ribs are ridiculous. what are you food costs today? do you know? as a percentage? norton: 41%, 42%. now, 41% is what the food people tell us. 41% is good. lemonis: the people that sell you the food can tell you that. norton: [ chuckles ] lemonis: and, you know, your food costs being high are a function of what? what do you think, ewell? ewell: what do i know about food costs? i don't even cook. [ laughs ] norton: how much they eat? lemonis: how much they eat. that's one. what else? what they pay for it. i couldn't go to wendy's... lynn: oh, yeah. we've been there. yeah. lemonis: ...for this price. -lynn: this would be shuler. -lemonis: are you the boss? -shuler: eh. -lemonis: i'm marcus. nice to meet you. did you know that you and i have something in common? we're both adopted. lynn: cool. lemonis: do you know how lucky you are? norton: i know how lucky i am.
lynn: he is our life. we spent a long time waiting for that little fella. lemonis: the real goal is to be able to build a beautiful business for your son. lynn: this business is us, and we all been part of it. lemonis: while i'm impressed by the food... and the watermelon cake, -it's really good. -woman: it's really good. lemonis: ...i think there are a number of quick fixes that i can put in place to enhance the customer experience and improve the economics. come to dinner, right? adult, child -- 8 to 12. this p.o.s. system is overly complicated. [ chuckling ] we have the gastric-bypass discount, but we don't have the military discount. and, quite frankly, it's causing a traffic jam. come on in, folks. two adults? it's kind of a shocker, isn't it? woman: yeah. lemonis: the fact that we don't accept credit cards seems slow and inefficient. we need to simplify the process, and we also need to add another register to speed things up. i'm excited to get ewell involved, because i think he could be a huge asset.
so, i want to take a minute and find out what's on his mind. ewell: my wife and i, we're looking at this as, "okay. let's go make a lot of money." i think they're at a tipping point. and if the social media alone is starting to take off without them, there's no light at the end of the tunnel. lemonis: so, is it your plan to move here? ewell: if this can work out in a way where we can work with them, work with you, and it makes sense -- lemonis: are you interested in being a partner in the deal? ewell: i think that would be exciting. -with you as a partner... -lemonis: yeah. ewell: ...we see the sky as the limit. lemonis: when you saw "we," do you have equity in the business today? ewell: no, i don't. lemonis: okay. is that a goal? ewell: it's a possibility, absolutely. lemonis: i'm not really sure what ewell's angle is here. if he wants to be a partner, that's fantastic. but all i'm hear him talking about is p.r. i thought maybe we could go over some of the numbers. look at your profitability. $723,000 in sales, making $145,000. -it's got a lot of potential. -norton: yes.
lemonis: how many days a week are you open? norton: three days. lemonis: pretty good. of this $145,000 that you made last year, you did not pay yourself a salary. norton: we take probably $100,000 or so out of it to live off of. lemonis: you just take your profits from your business. you're almost doing $1 million a year. you ain't so mom-and-pop anymore. doesn't it bother you that your food costs are 42%? and so, who orders all the food? norton: i do. lemonis: food costs as a percentage of sales tells me one of three things -- you're paying too much for it, right? we're not charging enough, or there's a lot of waste. the only way we grow profitability, right, is to either lower food costs or grow revenue. norton: mm. lemonis: do you owe anybody any money? norton: we owe $86,000 total on that mortgage on the property. lemonis: what about vendors? why do i see "merchant account fees bank card"? i thought i saw a sign downstairs that says "cash only"? norton: we do credit cards for catering. lemonis: you do take credit cards in half your business but not downstairs? -norton: not downstairs. -lemonis: how come? norton: by the time you put all the fees together
and back it out at the end, you're looking at 1.5%. lemonis: i'd rather you spend more time figuring how to get your food costs down 3.5% and then worry about the credit card that's 1.5%. lemonis: norton is so fixed on the fact that a credit card charges 1.5%. on a single customer, 1.5% of a $13.95 adult meal equals 20 cents. what i'd rather him be focused on is the fact that he's turning away customers because they don't accept credit cards. on a given night, if he turns away 5 customers across 156 nights, the number of nights he's open, he would be losing out on $10,881 of revenue. that's a much bigger number. wouldn't you rather collect $10,000 than worry about 20 cents? come on, norton. -hi, guys. -lynn: hi. norton: hello. how are you? lemonis: well, i've enjoyed my time here. it's a great family atmosphere for a business. while your food is amazing, i think what's here is more than food.
it feels like it's an experience. lynn: mm-hmm. lemonis: and it seems like you've had good success using your gut, and i commend you for it. you guys have built a million-dollar business that happens to be open three days a week. but the food costs are the problem that i see more than anything. ewell: mm-hmm. lemonis: and, ewell, it's not my decision whether you're involved in the business or not. ewell: we understand that. lemonis: but, with all due respect, it's still cloudy for me what your role is. maybe you can help clean that up for me. ewell: my goal all along is just to help them building the business here and then going out. lemonis: what do you plan to do here? do you see yourself working in the kitchen? ewell: "a" -- it depends on what the deal is that you all do. lemonis: why would the deal that we make determine what your role's gonna be? ewell: it has to make sense for myself and my wife to uproot our lives and come over to south carolina. we need to be able to know that we can grow with it. lemonis: okay. the business today, before you paid yourself, made $145,000.
after you took your salary, it really only made $45,000. any salary that you give out to anybody, family or not, could take that number from $45,000-plus to $45,000-negative. what i'm really buying into is the potential of what's there. so, my vision, really, is to have it feel like a real destination. people in the dining room, they come from a decent distance -- 30, 40, 50 miles. and the better the destination, the further they'll come from. i want to build a general store, putting products in that general store that are within our scope. and so, i'm willing to put up a half a million dollars into the business. and we'll use that half a million dollars to have working capital, to build out the general store, to build a deck along the back so that we can have overflow seating. but the property that this building sits on has to be inside the business
because making an investment in the restaurant business, as you guys know is -- -lynn: it's risky. -lemonis: it's risky. and so, i'm gonna want 40% of the business. in addition to that, i want the distribution rights for the biscuits. i really want to take them to the next level. i want to get that thing in as many grocery stores as i can, as fast as i can 'cause i think the biscuit is actually the money-maker. the profits would work the same as our other deal, you have 60%, i have 40%. i just want to control the process... lynn: i'm sorry. lemonis: ...100%. i'm gonna help you ultimately leave something for shuler. ewell: you had a number in your head where you wanted to be. norton: we honestly had talked about on the percentages as 35% being kind of a place we'd like to stop. lemonis: my first offer is always my best offer. norton: i've read that about you.
can i have about two minutes with her outside the door, -just a second? -lemonis: okay. norton: [ grunts ] my knee got stiff. ewell: you know, it's a big leap for my wife and i to come back here. i can't come back till it just makes sense for us. it's got to. we know where our salaries are together. lemonis: and how much is that? ewell: it's over $200,000. lemonis: wait a second. a little while ago, ewell told me that he was willing to be a partner. but now he's asking for a salary of $200,000? didn't see that coming.
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ewell: you know, it's a big leap for my wife and i to come back here. we know where our salaries are together. -lemonis: and how much is that? -ewell: it's over $200,000. norton: it's always hard giving up a percentage of something you built. -all right. let's go for it. -lemonis: all right. -you got a deal. -norton: you got a deal. lemonis: my $500,000 offer is gonna go towards paying off the $86,000 mortgage that exists. the remaining $414,000 is gonna go directly towards the expansion of the facility, enhancing the amount of seating by building a deck, and a general store. lynn: i'm relieved because i feel like now we can really take this place and go with it. lemonis: you worked hard for it. both of you did, worked hard for it.
i say it's time to get to work. what do you say? -lynn: i think so, too. -norton: all right. lemonis: well, hi, folks. i wanted to get everybody together. norton and lynn and i made a deal for me to become a partner in shuler's bar-b-que. i wrote a check for $500,000. that $500,000 willive me 40% of the business. lynn and norton will still own 60% of the business. when i invest in a business, i look for three things -- people, process, and product. in this particular business, i absolutely love the people. i love the product. i don't think i've had better barbecue ever. but what i don't love is the process. most people would think that the obvious solutions to shuler's making more money would be to open up another day. but i'm not willing to do that until i know that the three days that we're operating are perfect. i want to improve high food costs, not processing the customers quick enough, not having the seating be right. i want to add a manager to lessen the burden on lynn and norton. when we go through this process, i'm 100% in charge.
norton: i'd like to thank all of y'all for what you do. it is because of y'all that we get where we are. lemonis: let's bring it all in the middle, south carolina style. all: one, two, three, shuler's! lemonis: let's go to work! [ applause ] the first order of business is understanding what shuler's food costs actually are right now. i want to lower the food costs to improve margins. we're gonna build a plate, we're gonna get a scale... lynn: okay. okay. lemonis: ...and we're gonna figure it out. norton: that's a woman's plate. [ laughs ] lemonis: all right. let's start calculating it. so, two pieces of chicken. norton: about 37 cents apiece, not counting frying. lemonis: so, 40 cents apiece. so, that's 80 cents. 30 cents for the corn. lynn: biscuits are 6 cents apiece. lemonis: okay. so, that's 12 cents. 83 cents for the barbecue. $1.50 for the vegetables. -10 cents for the tea. -norton: okay. lemonis: 75 cents for the desserts.
-what's that equal? -norton: $4.40. lemonis: $4.40. how many times will people go back? norton: average is one and a half. lynn: yeah. lemonis: even if i took one and a quarter, so $5.50 is what it costs us for somebody to come through here on lunch. how much do you charge for this? -$8.95 for lunch? -norton: $8.95. lemonis: so, your food costs are actually closer to 61%. i think you're gonna find out dinner's even worse because they eat more dessert, there's ribs. ewell: i've had concerns for awhile. so, we've got to know what these food costs are so we can -- lemonis: is this something you've talked to norton about? ewell: we have. i've been wanting to do the promotions and marketing, help them. i can put together a real marketing budget. lemonis: no, let's stay on this. let's stay on this. we know the food costs were 60%. what do you think it should be? ewell: i'd say food costs should be 20% to 30%. norton: 40% is about the lowest you ever find from a restaurant if you talk to restaurateurs. lemonis: even if he's right at 40%... -ewell: yeah. -lemonis: okay? ...20% on $1 million is $200,000 in profit...
that's just gone. if shuler's food costs are 61%, then we have a problem. i want to raise the price of an adult dinner to $15 from $13.95. that's an increase of $1.05. and if we're open three nights a week, that's $1,575 per week or $75,600 in additional gross revenue per year. but that's only half the problem. we also have to deal with the cost of the actual food. you need one person in this business managing food costs. what do you think, ewell? ewell: i spoke to a couple chefs who are consultants to come in and do this kind of things. and they -- $1,000 a day, $1,200 a day for them to consult. lemonis: we don't need a consultant. none of us are consultants. we're sitting here with a scale in the middle of a restaurant and we figured it out. ewell: i know. i know. lemonis: we need somebody that has a vested interest in the business, that wants to see it succeed, that gets the margins right, and that's keeping you guys on point. i know that lynn and norton want ewell to be part of this business. and i feel like i've given him plenty of opportunities.
but i haven't seen him do a thing except talk about marketing strategies. i'm not sure i understand what ewell does and what he wants to do, and it's unclear to me. he told me that their combined income between him and his wife is like 200 grand. do you see yourself giving away $200,000? norton: no. well, it's lynn. she wants her sister up here so bad. i have to be very, very touchy with that 'cause she loves her family. and nothing makes me happier than to see her smile and be happy. but i don't see any way that we can just bring him in. lemonis: does she know that you feel that way? norton: no. lemonis: that's dangerous territory. norton: it is. very. lemonis: once you make that commitment and they move here, -there's no turning back. -norton: yeah. lemonis: one of the problems with mixing family and business is that oftentimes, the owner feels obligated to hire a family member, even if it's not a good fit. -lynn, this is kenny. -lynn: hi, kenny. kenny: hey, lynn. so nice to meet you. lynn: nice to meet you, too.
lemonis: kenny and i, we own a large commercial bakery in chicago, and he's been doing this for almost -- gosh, almost -- -kenny: 22. -lemonis: 22 years. lemonis: makes stuff for whole foods and costco. kenny: marcus shared with me your formula and your process, and i love it, and i've had the biscuits. the kids have had them. they think they're great. i've heard rave reviews about the watermelon cake, also. lemonis: i just wanted him to come down and spend some time with you. lynn: okay. that sounds good. lemonis: any time you mass produce a product, you have to make changes not only for the size of the batch, but the amount of shelf life the product will have. kenny: in the restaurant here, are they generally not uniform shape? -lynn: right. -kenny: which is okay. lemonis: well, here's a bag of them. and, see, they're all different. kenny: because, certainly, when we go to commercialization, one of the keys is that it's consistent size, shape, and weight every single time. so they fit in the packages, so the nutritional data matches. i'll walk you through what we did. instead of self-rising, we used all-purpose flour. we find commercially is that everybody's self-rising flour is different. all-purpose flour generally has a standard of identity.
i know a lot of people use shortening. we're gonna go with butter this time. lynn: no. no, no, no. it doesn't make it lumpy. kenny: there's definitely been a move away from eating shortening for heart health. lemonis: one thing people will look at on the back of a bag is the ingredients, right? i don't particularly like shortening. it feels artificial to me. lynn: i'm just concerned about the customers here. they're used to my biscuits. when you start adding something different, and you're used to my recipe... lemonis: i'm a little concerned that lynn's pushing back on what kenny's suggesting. the only thing we want to do is make the adjustments so the biscuit can be mass-produced. lynn: this is crazy. you know, it is a family recipe. i'm trying to adjust, but this is not us. kenny: my grandfather used to always say to me, "if you're not changing, you're stuck. and if you're stuck, you're not going forward." ewell: you need to open your eyes a little bit.
lemonis: i've learned your facial expressions. so, let's talk about it. lynn: yeah. okay. lemonis: i can tell from the tone in your voice how you're really feeling, so just tell me. lynn: we knew that there was a possibility that it was gonna have to change to mass produce it. we deal with that every day. we see a recipe, we try it, and there's got to be some change to go from feeding 6 people to feeding 1,000 people. that's gonna happen. so, i'm taking the step back, and i'm looking at it. and i want to see how it turns out. and then we'll go with it. -lemonis: is this done? -kenny: these are done. lemonis: what do you think? lynn: i think i like mine a little bit sweeter. lemonis: so, we can add a little more sugar to it? kenny: correct. exactly. lemonis: the bones of your biscuit are fantastic. so, i think what we need to do is continue to work on the recipe
and come up with something that works for both. lynn: okay. lemonis: i'm happy to see that lynn sees the value in all these changes we're making. at the end of the day, it's gonna make both of us a lot of money. since we already fixed half of the equation by raising the price of dinner, i now want to tackle the biggest challenge -- the cost of meat. norton historically has been dealing with national suppliers. and i want to get out and research our ability to buy meat locally at a better price. i'm marcus. this is my partner norton. do you have any fresh pig that we could see? don't get too excited. so, what part do we like? norton: we like ribs. lemonis: how much do we use a year in ribs? -norton: 25,000 pounds. -lemonis: 25,000 pounds a year. norton: that's a lot. lemonis: and what do we pay a pound today? norton: $3.89, $3.98, in that range. lemonis: but you can do better than that if we buy that much from you, right? i mean, if we're buying it 25,000 pounds a year,
i'm thinking that number needs to be much lower. -$2.65 a pound? -tom: mm-hmm. -for the ribs? -tom: mm-hmm. lemonis: shuler's currently buys 25,000 pounds of ribs per year at $3.89 per pound. we just negotiated a rate of $2.65 per pound for an annual savings of $31,000. this is why it's important for norton to constantly be monitoring his food prices. in a matter of hours, we saved tens of thousands of dollars. one of the things that excites me about shuler's is the number of people that come there on a given night. but what frustrates me is how slow the line moves. today they only have one register. i call it a toll booth. if we add another register and we allow people to eat on both sides of the buffet, opening up another lane, i believe we could dramatically increase the speed at which people stand in line. since we plan on moving customers through the line faster, we'll also need to expand our seating so that we can accommodate them.
-how are you, sir? i'm marcus. -ben: ben hayes. lemonis: so, you built this building? ben: yes, sir. -lemonis: you did a good job. -ben: thank you. lemonis: i know if we could spend about $100,000 to expand the deck and add 100 seats, we'll be able to get our money back pretty quickly. norton: people love sitting over the water. -lemonis: yeah. -norton: people love water. lemonis: if tables, on average, turn two times a night, then i know i can take their average customers per night from 500 to 700. conservatively, if the deck's only open 100 nights per year, at an average price of $15, that's $300,000 additional gross revenue per year. that's a lot. man: this is 5,000 square feet. lemonis: now that the deck is underway, i want to meet with an architect to design the plans for the general store. and then i was envisioning the bakery half drywall, half glass. so, like, you know when you go to an aquarium? lynn: that's great. lemonis: thank you, sir, very much. appreciate it. lemonis: ewell texted me this morning and told me that he wanted to discuss his role in the company. now, i haven't seen him get involved in anything related to the day-to-day operations,
so i'm curious at what he has to say. ewell: well, i was just gonna go over how this all might work for me. lemonis: you mean about your role here? -ewell: yeah. -lemonis: just talk to me. i don't think it's a bad thing that you want to be involved. ewell: [ chuckling ] okay. lemonis: the only thing that i'm kind of thinking about is, i feel like you're waiting for me to give you something to do. ewell: no, no. no. no, no. what we're doing -- we're trying to help them create opportunities. -lemonis: "we" being -- -ewell: my wife and i. we want to do the outreach to build the business. lemonis: don't you think they need hein the business, not out of the business? ewell: i understand where you're going. lemonis: i'm not trying to go anywhere. i'm not seeing you helping them put food out or clean up. ewell: no, i'm a p.r. guy. just doing that simple facebook thing boosted their business. lemonis: but they only have 3,000 likes on facebook. the real help they need is in their daily operation. expansion is great, but they have to get this one right first. you want them to run a profitable business. ewell: i want to see them get their systems in order. lemonis: are you gonna help do that? ewell: like you play to your strengths, i want to play to my strength. lemonis: once i can get comfortable that the processes are right,
then i'm fine with opening up the floodgates for you to do some marketing. but first things first. ewell: i have a different vision than you. lemonis: you do? my vision is that somebody needs to manage the place. ewell: you need to open your eyes a little bit. lemonis: i need to open my eyes? ewell: yes. lemonis: i'm open. what am i missing? ewell: i spend my time on the phone, with the internet, and reaching out to my friends through facebook and getting the word out. i've been doing all the social media for them. lemonis: please don't say facebook to me again. please. i can get shuler to do facebook. ewell's having trouble describing what he really wants. and that's because the job that he wants doesn't actually exist. i get the feeling that he wants to collect a six-figure salary without doing the hard work. have you worked the register since i've been here? have you worked in the kitchen since i've been here? -when i'm in, i'm all in. -ewell: okay. i agree. lemonis: and that's very different than what i've seen from you. i don't think you've been all in.
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♪ no, you're not ♪ yogonna watch it! ♪tch it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download on the goooooo! ♪ ♪ you'll just have to miss it! ♪ yeah, you'll just have to miss it! ♪ ♪ we can't let you download... uh, no thanks. i have x1 from xfinity so... don't fall for directv. xfinity lets you download your shows from anywhere. i used to like that song. lemonis: i need to open my eyes? your eyes a little bit. ewell: yes. lemonis: you told me when i first got here you were interested in being involved, you were interested in being a partner. i'm interested in hearing how to make that happen. and so, what's the perfect scenario for you? ewell: it's this business -- lemonis: right here, right now. what's the perfect scenario right now? ewell: i come in here, lead the team. that's -- used to leading. -lemonis: lead, okay, manage. -ewell: yep. lemonis: good words -- lead and manage. what if i suggested to them that you be the manager here, and you'd be in charge? i think they need a leader here.
i think that leader would be good if it was you. ewell wants in, but i think he sees himself more as a consultant. the real need here is someone that's willing to jump in on the day-to-day operations. i don't want to disrespect you, but i also don't want to be disrespected. i did not come here to be told that i don't have my eyes open. ewell: he's wanting to see me all the time, running around, working, cleaning, and bussing the tables, which -- lemonis: well, that's not what i said. ewell: well, in so many words. lemonis: no, i don't want to do so many words. i want to do what the words really were. lynn: all right! sit down. everybody, let's sit down. i'm sorry. let's -- can we sit down? -lemonis: okay. all right. -lynn: thank you. all right. lemonis: ewell, what do you want your role to be or not to be? ewell: my vision goes beyond this. and i want to know how you see -- okay. 'cause i don't want to... lynn: i'm... lemonis: lynn, what are you thinking? lynn: i just want it to work out. lemonis: did you think that this was gonna be the solution to the puzzle of getting your sister back to town?
lynn: no. i want to see this business grow. [ voice breaking ] i feel like things are finally working out, and i just don't want it to blow up. lemonis: it's not gonna blow up. not a chance. -here's the idea that i had. -ewell: okay. lemonis: we don't have a lot of extra money laying around. i'd like you to be involved. ewell: there's no doubt i want to be involved. lemonis: so, then let's go. let's get to work. it would be a good idea to have you general manage the place. and that means that you have to be responsible for the staff, the kitchen, the food costs. somebody has to relieve them of the burden. ewell: let me ask you this. how do you see their roles? lemonis: they're the boss. -we work for them. -ewell: okay. lemonis: my eyes are open, and they're looking at you. you're the general manager. ewell: i'll do that. i agree with you 100% and being all in. lemonis: from this point forward, the success or failure of this place is not only on the three of us, but it involves you, as well. -ewell: okay. -lynn: okay. lemonis: all right. let's go to work. ewell: was i wrong? yes. 100%. marcus, he may have seen me as a slacker, but that's not me. if you're gonna lead, you're gonna lead by example.
and that means getting in the trenches and doing every single job. lemonis: it's been just a few weeks since i stepped foot into shuler's, and already we're making progress. the expansion of the deck is going really well. i'm excited to see everybody pitching in. ewell: i guess i'll bring this to the back? lynn: yeah. lemonis: got the packaging mock-ups for lynn's biscuits, and i'm excited to show her. i also asked that lynn bring her mother, lorraine, who came up with the original recipe. i was hoping ewell could join us, but i'm surprised he's a no-show.
i wanted to show you some artwork. lynn: okay. wow. [ chuckles ] -it is amazing. -lorraine: i love this. that's fine. lemonis: and then i wanted you to see what the packaging would actually look like on the shelf. lynn: oh, me. lemonis: there's a couple different versions. lynn: homestyle and southern. lemonis: this is actually an important thing. -"born at shuler's bar-b-que." -lynn: shuler's bar-b-que. lemonis: i know you had some hesitations at first and recipe changing, and i'm glad that you trusted the process. the biscuits, including packaging, will cost us about $1.14 to make. in turn, we're gonna sell them at 100% markup, $2.28 per bag. with lynn and norton owning 60% of the distribution, they're gonna make 68 cents every time a bag is sold. i expect to sell 10,000 bags per month. that means on an annual basis, they'll make $81,600 per year without having to lift a finger. lynn: i'm proud of you, mama. lorraine: but i'm more proud of you.
lynn: oh, thank you. [ both chuckle ] lemonis: you know what? now that i'm getting more comfortable with starting the p.r. process and starting the marketing process, i'd like to get ewell to figure out what's the marketing gonna look like. can we sit down with him? norton: cannot sit down. he cannot make it down here. lemonis: what do you mean, "he can't make it down here?" norton: he's in new orleans. lemonis: where's the manager that said he wanted to run the place? let's get lynn. can we go upstairs and chat about it in private? norton: yeah. yeah. lynn: what have i done? [ laughs ] lemonis: norton said we can't meet with ewell. he's not here. when we sat around the table downstairs, he said, "all right, i'm in." and so, i felt like we were heading in the right direction. lynn: i-i-i -- i don't know. lemonis: have you talked to your sister since he was here? i don't think he really wants to get back in the kitchen and roll his sleeves up. lynn: he's a p.r. person, and he's great at what he does. lemonis: he's not that great at what he does, by the way. he just posts some things on facebook. lynn: i don't know what happened.
lemonis: i think he thought this was gonna be a $150,000- to $200,000-a-year marketing job. lynn: we don't know. my mama doesn't know what's going on. i've lost my sister. lemonis: y'all have tried to call her. she will not take your call? lynn: this is upsetting me more because it's not supposed to be this way. norton: it really bothers her. lynn: it's never been that with us. lemonis: then what's really going on with him? norton: we don't know. lynn: we don't know! i mean, really. we don't know. we -- norton: new york city, here we come. lynn: can't even imagine what the surprise is gonna be. norton: well, knowing marcus, there is no telling.
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e something you want me to read? lynn: mm-hmm. lemonis: "lynn and norton. "as you know, over the past year, in addition to the pro bono work that i've been doing for you..." why does he think he's been doing pro bono work? what is he, like, a lawyer? lynn: i guess just, you know, he's just been helping us out. lemonis: that's what family does. i didn't know you had to qualify for pro bono work. "...my time has become and will remain much more limited and unpredictable." okay. i don't like that he just disappeared. i gave him a responsibility, and then i come back, and you guys are working your fanny off and he's not here. i'm angry. but here's the thing that could be the golden goose in this whole thing. it's better that you learn now... lynn: oh, yeah. lemonis: ...than having them sell their house and them get here and it not work out. lynn: i know. i know. lemonis: all right?
-you okay? -lynn: yeah. lemonis: you sure? okay. look at this! norton: how you like it? lemonis: this look unbelievable. norton: it is massive. lemonis: after three weeks of construction, the deck is finally complete. i didn't think it was gonna go out this far. norton: we just kept going. lemonis: unreal. look at this. norton: it brings out the whole restaurant. [ truck beeping ] lemoni now that we've fixed the process and added additional seating, i'm ready to start with some marketing. good old-fashioned barbecue is about as american as you can get. i had 130-foot flagpole built, one of the largest in south carolina and better than any billboard you can buy. you ready? it's almost as big as half the parking lot. young man: right here? lemonis: don't let it touch the ground. norton: go, shuler! lynn: this is amazing.
look at that. lemonis: i want everybody to know what this business stands for -- hard work, good food, and this great country. norton: all right! let's go! lynn: go! whoo! lemonis: you'll be able to see this flagpole from miles away. it's the best advertising. norton: you always amaze us. lemonis: norton and lynn haven't taken a vacation in years and rarely leave south carolina. so, i invited them to new york city as my guests. lynn: all right! norton: new york city, here we come. lynn: look at all this traffic and all these people. i love the architecture. lemonis: i actually have one more surprise for them. lynn: this is so exciting, shuler. i can't even imagine what the surprise is gonna be. norton: knowing marcus, there is no telling. it will be probably be the furthest thing away from my mind. lemonis: if your business is in trouble and you need my help, log on to...
[ car horn honks ] lynn: this is a trip of a lifetime. norton: it is. lynn: i can't even imagine what the surprise is gonna be. that's what's so exciting. lemonis: today is the grand reopening of crumbs bake shop, an iconic bakery chain that i saved from closing its doors months ago. i brought lynn and norton to share in this exciting moment. and being that new york city is one of the biggest stages of all, i wanted them to see how they're a part of something much bigger. -how are you? -lynn: hey! such a big surprise!
i'm so excited. lemonis: it's just like south carolina? lynn: no. it's not. lemonis: the two of you look like city dwellers. lynn: well, thank you. wow. crumbs. i've heard about this. this is amazing. lemonis: look at all these flavors. lynn: total blackout. ooh. norton: you see any names you like? lynn: oh, my gosh! look at that! [ laughs ] that is amazing! shuler: [ laughs ] -lynn: what's that? -norton: biscuits. lynn: look! norton: this is the cool thing. that is cool. lynn: i never would ha dreamed. never would have dreamed this. never. mmm. that's good. shuler: pretty good. lemonis: and this is your mom's recipe. we didn't change a thing. so, these cupcakes will be in all 26 stores. the biscuits will not only be here, but they'll be in grocery stores like the packaging i showed you, so it will be everywhere. it's about driving people back to latta, south carolina...
lynn: and eat at shuler's bar-b-que. lemonis: ...to the best barbecue place with the biggest flag. how's it feel? lynn: to be in new york and see the watermelon cupcakes and the biscuits, it's my mom's. that's what's exciting. and i can't wait till she finds out. norton: that's what's important right there. lynn: [ chuckles ] norton: she's happy, i'm happy. lemonis: thank you for everything. lynn: thank you, marcus. lemonis: i was always very focused at not messing with the charm of the shuler's location. but i do like the fact that i could take a piece of shuler's and spread it across the country. when i first went to shuler's, i saw lines out the door. a great product with great demand but small profits. the good news about this business is that the story's been great. but it's n over. we're breaking ground on a brand-new building that'll have a general store and an expanded bake shop for lynn.
that should get done in the next six to eight months. while i fixed the flow up front and i added another register, customers are moving through the line much faster. and more customers through the line means more money. i know the additional seating on the deck will provide a significant increase to our revenue. and doing this to leave something sustainable for little shuler to take over one day has a special meaning to me. you were very comfortable with a stranger coming into your business and suggesting and forcing changes. norton: it amazes me what we have built, and it overwhelms me to realize where we're going. lemonis: this is a place that i can come and be myself and be with people that i enjoy and i trust and now i feel like i'm part of your family. lynn: and we're glad to have you in the family. norton: you're part of the family. you got to go with us and have fun. lemonis: i now believe this is the best barbecue in the united states. -lynn: oh, great. thank you. -norton: it is. lynn: [ chuckles ] it is.
>> all: cheers. tonight on the profit, amazing grapes is a wine bar and retail shop, the brainchild of a real estate developer who seems more interested in sipping than selling. this is ridiculous. even with more than $3.5 million grapes is operating at a loss and still can't pay down their mounting debt. this is a business without leadership or direction. i wish that you had passion for the business. you wouldn't be losing money. if i can't find somebody from within to take over amazing grapes and manage its assets, this business will be crushed. >> are you the grim reaper, or-- >> sometimes. my name is marcus lemonis, and i fix failing businesses. >> we're out of business. >> we were out of business before, we just didn't know it.