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Property Management

Posted in Aptcor, Articles, Commercial Real Estate, Emotional Rescue, Franchise, Listings, New Sale, News, Property Management, Restaurants, Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist, Tenant Represenation on August 14, 2016 by nomaedigganadda

My Qualifications: The Short Version…

Posted in Aptcor, Articles, Commercial Real Estate, Emotional Rescue, Franchise, Leases, Listings, New Sale, News, Property Management, Restaurants, Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist, Tenant Represenation with tags on July 12, 2016 by nomaedigganadda

Jack Intrator, CPM, RAM, ARM
610 805 3849


EXPERTISE: Property/ Project Manager with ground-up experience specializing in residential, retail and commercial high-end construction. Knowledge of the entitlement/permitting process, site selection, construction delivery methods and agreements. Concentration in restaurant leasing, new project development, challenged properties and value-added assignments that include re-positioning and urban renewal. A “Road Warrior” who anticipates needs and opportunities of clients, ensuring proactive pursuits. Works well with all levels of management, including C-level executives. Completed deals throughout the United States from Ohio, Wyoming, California, New Jersey, New York, Delaware and Massachusetts, Connecticut, and West Virginia.


Certifications & Licenses         

  • CPM – Certified Property Manager
  • RAM – Registered Apartment Manager
  • ARM – Accredited Residential Manager
  • NYU Certificate in Property Management
  • Pennsylvania Real Estate Agent


  • Project/Property Management
  • Lease Negotiations
  • Construction Estimating
  • Restaurant Sales and Short Sale
  • Marketing Communications
  • Team Management
  • Tenant Representation
  • RFP Preparation
  • Real Estate Investment Sales



Senior Manager, Real Estate & Tenant Representation – RealtyMark CityScape             June 2013 to Present

Manage the Construction Process, including developing a phase plan and explaining the process to the Property Management Team.

  • Liaison between Owner/developers and the Asset Management Group. Develop job scope, prepare budgets and solicit bids with Request for Proposals. Review and award the construction process with Request for Proposals
  • Intake of new sites, performing a detailed analysis and coordinating bids and job scopes with RFP for repairs, renovations and Major Capital Improvement Project, including roof replacements and repairs as well as facility clean out and negotiating prices and bids for many bank owned properties. Preparing job Owner/Liaison for Major Capital Improvement Projects


Director of Real Estate Development, New York Bagel Café (2007 to 2014)

Relationship based representation which began at Aptcor Commercial Real Estate and was successfully maintained for many years. Negotiated site selection deals for 10 locations leading to 5 MM in gross annual rental income. Grew company presence from original location to over 50 stores nationwide. Managed the entire Real Estate process, including oversight of brokers and construction development.


Retail Leasing Specialist – Mallin Panchelli Nadel Realty, Inc.                                                  Sept 2011 – June 2013
Focus on bank-owned properties as well as management of properties throughout the re-sale or leasing process. Extensive knowledge of Real Estate site acquisition and pipeline process, including proper use of demographic tools (E.G. Costar), etc. Negotiate for Estimated Dwelling Units with developers and township


Uni-kid high end children’s apparel (Wool-ways)

Guided company’s US site selection process, settling on a location in the King of Prussia mall with a 1.4 MM ten year lease. This high profile location was imperative to the growth of this European brand which was opening its first American location


YoFresh Yogurt

Liaison between franchise operators and local brokers, facilitating successful retail store openings resulting in 1.4 MM in gross rental income for four locations


Vice President – Aptcor Commercial Real Estate, Lansdale PA                                      Aug 2010 – Sept 2011

Solaris Grill & Tequila Joe’s

Negotiated several commercial short sale restaurant deals simultaneously which included sale of land and liquor licenses. Multiple lenders were involved and properties were in disrepair. Since partners’ personal assets were at stake these transactions were particularly difficult. The liquor license was sold to Bonefish Grill, one of the restaurants was purchased by an engineering firm and the other restaurant was purchased by a local land developer. Parties were ultimately financially satisfied


Retail Leasing Specialist – Zommick McMahon Commercial Real Estate Inc., Malvern PA         July 2009 – Sept 2010


Retail Leasing Specialist – Equity Retail Brokers, Conshohocken PA                                        March 2008- July 2009


Retail Leasing Specialist AgentLegend Properties, Conshohocken PA                                   May 2005 – Jan 2008


Retail Marketing Manager – Dranoff, Philadelphia PA                                                                 2003-2005

Commercial property manager with oversight of the construction process including tenant improvement allowance and development of the landlord work letter

Negotiated leases with the following entities totaling $7,980,000: Park N Clean Dry Cleaner, Subway, RC Bistro, New England Soup Factory, La Riviera Pizza, Joe’s Grocery, The Victors Pub, Trophy Bikes, Girasole, Du-jour, Ajia Japanese


Adjunct Professor – Construction Estimating and Blueprint Reading, CW Post Campus of Long Island University

  • One of the only professionals in the region approved to teach the RAM course from the National Association of Home Builders and the Multi-Family Council


EDUCATION & Professional Affiliations

Bachelor’s Degree, Peirce College                                                                                                        Graduated

Major: Business Management / Concentration in Management

Institute of Real Estate Management

Member: National Association of Home Builders

  • Tri-State Association of Commercial Realtors
  • Member of National Association of Realtors, Property Management Council

Former Board Member:






Case study: Collecting Commissions, “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” Part 2

Posted in Aptcor, Articles, Commercial Real Estate, Franchise, Leases, Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist with tags , , , on September 22, 2011 by Josh Druck

In Part 1 of case study, Collecting Your Commissions, “It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City” we discussed typical clauses pertaining to commission within the Letter Of Intent. The first was for a commission without a co-broker where you were either the tenant representative broker or the listing agent and the scenario was the same, with a commission line item within the LOI that the deal was based on.  The second scenario was a co-broker or co-operating broker situation where you were the tenant representative and requested 3% of the gross commission instead of splitting a 5% commission (2.5%/2.5%) as represented in the commission agreement or the Exclusive Listing Agreement, which is the case in Part 2.

Recently, I was the tenant representative for a deal completed in PA. I represented a regional/national restaurant operation and a well known competitor within the industry represented the Landlord.  Within the very first conversation I asked about the commission and was told to include whatever I wanted in the Letter Of Intent.  I explained I would like 5%, however I knew I would be willing to negotiate, as 3% for a co-brokered deal is certainly a good situation if the commission agreement total is 5%.  Now in order to get paid per the agreement whichever way it pans out, you have to include an anticipated payment schedule.  You submit a bill and you hear nothing for a week. You make a call and you are told that they are processing it, and then another week goes by.  It’s week three and you see the landlord at a function, he promises payment and times goes by.  You want to act like the gentleman you are and leave the line of communication open, so you dance between assertive collection of your money and keeping in mind the relationship your company wants to maintain.  Hopefully you end up getting paid, however even with an Exclusive Listing Agreement where your compensation is specified and both Landlord and Broker have signed, sometimes there is a problem.  The agent anticipates commissions as earned per the ELA, but many times its hope for the best, while engineers, attorneys and other professionals charge and are paid their fee, the Real Estate Broker is the last to get paid and often the commission is renegotiated or reneged upon.

Last year, at the ICSC show in Las Vegas, I was sitting at Binion’s Casino in the old part of Las Vegas when in walks a friend and his wife, the friend is a principal partner at a well known brokerage house in the greater Philadelphia area.  We got to talking about several deals we worked on together through the years and the status with regard to non-payment.  I asked why he and his company continue to take listings like this when they have gotten burned in the past.  He said “If we don’t take the listing someone else will” I replied so what, why deal with people who don’t pay you? He commented “it’s about signage and name recognition and market share”.  To me it is real simple; if I represent a client I will show them every opportunity within the market place that fits their criteria.  But, I will also make it a point to let my client know that I have been burned by a landlord and ask them to protect me throughout negotiations.

With regard to taking a listing, I will never take a listing simply for market share; however there are others who always will. The reason we are in this business is to earn commissions, and that means getting paid.  If you want to be a Saint, join the Peace Corp. We are in this line of work because we believe we can control the art of the deal and make money.  The art of the deal is the excitement that motivates guys like me. Bottom line, get your commission worked out right up front and don’t take anyone’s word for it. Still, there are some brokers who will agree to receive commissions as collected, which to me, is by far the very worst form of commission agreement. Under this scenario, you become the Landlord’s partner, sharing his down side but none of the upside, and leaving you totally unprotected. Brokers do their job when a deal is completed and should be treated with the same courtesy as any other professional who gets paid at the conclusion of their performance.   But as the story relates above, there will always be Brokers who will agree to anything in order to take a listing, they devalue themselves and they devalue their industry as well.

Second example: I am representing a national franchisee at another well known firm and referred the business to an associate from a national net-work, another broker in another state that had a personal relationship with my former company and all the Principals within the company.  A deal was completed and as usual we anticipated a 20% referral fee. I asked on several occasions during the course of 6 months for a commission schedule and was rebuffed. I did not pursue or push to bring it to a head; instead I acted like the saint and deliberately held back.  When the day came to get paid, I was told they only did a 5 year deal instead of the usual 10 year term. And that  due to a personal or long standing relationship with the company and the owner, they agreed to take a lesser commission. They were the sole Broker and accepted a 3% commission. So my 20% was based on a 3% commission not the anticipated 5%.  But who was to blame? The Saint. I tried to take the high road, showing faith that it would all get worked out and did not want to come off the bad guy with the company principals, nor sour their relationship with the broker I had referred to them.

What did I learn? Take nothing for granted. Don’t assume people will take the high road and make things right.  At the end of the day, it comes down to self interest.  Learn to ask for your commission right up front. Discuss the deal and all terms at the very beginning not at the end of the deal.  Sometimes you win and other times you lose, but never be afraid to ask.

The point:  If Landlords could do a deal themselves, they would do it.  If you are dealing with a co-broker you need to know what his agreement is from the very start, because he may be making deals that are not typical. Discuss all details upfront and come to a clear understanding.  As a final comment, I later drove by the shopping center and noticed the broker that I did the deal with no longer had his signs on the property, but instead were replaced by another broker. I was told by the new broker that part of the pitch to gain this account was to take a discounted commission schedule and work with the bosses on their terms. Sound familiar?“Those downtown bosses, all sure talk pretty. I felt just like a back street gambler, searching for a commission.  It’s so hard to be a Saint in the City,” when you have money out on the street.  Let someone else cry nickels for your pity, it’s your commission that’s due. The sages of the industry know it’s you who make them all look pretty, you get their stores rented and you contribute to their bottom line. It’s such a fine line to dance that talk, should I be the Saint of the City?

Jack W. Intrator CPM, RAM, ARM

Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist

Vice President

Aptcor Commercial, Realtors

414 West Main Street

Lansdale, PA 19446

Office: 215-855-9600

C. 610-805-3849

Collecting Commissions—“It’s Hard to Be a Saint in the City”

Posted in Articles, Commercial Real Estate, News, Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist with tags , , , on September 7, 2011 by Josh Druck

You have just completed a retail/restaurant lease and you have earned your fee, now it’s time to collect your commission. Sound easy? Not always. Unless you have taken all the necessary precautions, inserted the proper language into your agreement you may be left with “zip” for all of your efforts.

In leasing there are many varied commission schedules and language that can be written into a commission agreement and a Letter of Intent.  My personal preference is to structure a deal with a straight commission, asking right up front for 5% of the base aggregate rent which is calculated by adding up the total base rent for the full term of the lease.  For instance, if you are doing a 10 year deal on 3,000 sq. ft. with a base rental rate of $23.00 PSF, the total base rent in year one would be $69,000.00. For the remainder of the lease, you would add in the “bumps” or the percent of increases for the term and then add each year in the 10 year base term.  Let’s assume the total rent for the full 10 year term is $731,400.00. 5% of that amount would produce a $36,570.00 Gross Commission.  Your next consideration should be how and when your commission is paid – this becomes an important factor in the deal, actually in some cases it becomes even more important than the actual commission dollars themselves. How is this possible?

         It really comes down to two central elements – Time Value of Money and Risk vs. Reward.

It’s customary to ask for ½ of the agreed upon commission at lease signing and ½ at store opening.  When you have a Landlord who readily agrees to do this then great, a perfect situation. However, more times than not, these commissions become hybrids.  Let’s look at a couple of examples: already built into my Letter of Intent is a line item under commission:

Commission: Per separate agreement – 5% of he total aggregate rent.  To be paid ½ at time of lease signing and ½ at tenant possession of space. More times than not, I negotiate the lease and the more my client wants the location the less leverage I have.  It’s almost a catch 22.  I end up negotiating from a weakened position and the Landlord knows it.  After all how many times can I discuss a commission with a Landlord at first phone call?  How many times in our experience does a Landlord become upset that I am discussing the commission before my client has even seen the location? So although the above Commission language has been inserted into the LOI form, I submit a separate Commission agreement and after making some compromises still manage to negotiate a fair deal.
For instance: Based on five (5%) of total aggregate base rent of years 1 through year 5, and four (4%) of total aggregate base rent of years 6 through year 10 of base term of the lease, and four (4%) of the base term renewals – payments shall be as follows: One Half (1/2) at lease execution, One Half (1/2) at tenant possession of the space. Renewal option will be paid if and when tenant proceeds with renewal option of lease. Payable in full based on total aggregate rent and calculated years 11 to year 15 of the term of the lease.   Still a fair deal, but let’s look at one more example of a deals progression as it relates to Commission. I received a call directly from a Landlord, he asked me to find and secure a tenant for his restaurant location that other brokers were not able to attain.  I called my client, the Independent Restaurant Operator and asked if he would consider the opportunity at the site – the answer was “yes.” I immediately called the VP of Real Estate and asked the following question, was there another broker that had the listing – the answer was “No.”I then stated that I would be registering my client and his name was “X”.  I set the meeting for the next morning and immediately sent my typical LOI which included the 5% paid ½ at lease signing and ½ at tenant opening for business.  The deal progressed with several offers, counter offers and more negotiations.  There were approximately 5 drafts of the LOI and even the final signed LOI had the commission as anticipated but the Landlord avoided signing the commission agreement.
Finally after all the negotiations were completed the Landlord approached me and stated he does not pay a commission the way I asked to be paid. It did not matter to him the month of negotiations and all the correspondence that it referenced. Instead I had to accept ½ at tenant opening for business.  You are probably saying “no big deal” if you’re not familiar with how restaurant deals work. We negotiated 6 months of free rent and the tenant took an extra two months longer to open than originally planned. The worst part was the second half of my commission was paid at the 5th year anniversary of the base term.  What could I do, at that point I had to take it.
But for lessons learned: More times than not I negotiate so aggressively for my clients that I get them a whole host of concessions and  if I do not get the commission worked out at the beginning of a deal, I get burned.  Once you have your client committed to the deal you can’t pull back, you are there to represent your client’s interests, your interests take a back seat.

So the point is…. the only time you can openly and assertively negotiate your commission is at the very beginning, at the inception of the deal. So from lessons well learned I now incorporate the following clause in all my agreement and especially in a co-broker situation, where I am representing the tenant and another broker is representing the Landlord.

See below: Commission: Per separate agreement – 3% of the total aggregate rent.  To be paid to (Insert Agent name) ½ at lease signing and ½ at store opening for business (1st ring of the register) or first receipt of rental payment whichever is the earlier to occur. (Insert name of other Agent for LL) or any broker agrees to accept separate amount that shall not be reflected in the 3% commission.This language ties the commission to the tenant opening and also to first receipt of rental payment, whichever is the first to occur. The language protects your commission even if the tenant has free rent, when they open for business you are assured payment. If on the other hand there are delays with regard to receiving financing, permits and approvals but the tenant begins to pay rent before opening, you still receive your whole commission.  All participants in the lease process understand the risk vs. reward right up front at the signing of the Letter of Intent and there are no surprises at the end of the process.
“Another deal is done, another battle won, we feel like Brando when he walks into the sun. We have danced this deal just like a Casanova, we earned our commission and we don’t cry nickels for your pity…..It’s hard to be a Saint in the City” 
– Shades of Springsteen

Jack W. Intrator CPM, RAM, ARM

Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist

Master Broker for New York Bagel Café

Tenant Representation and Lease Negotiation

C. 610-805-3849

The Charge of the Light Brigade Meets a Restaurant Short Sale

Posted in Articles, Commercial Real Estate, News, Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist with tags , , , on August 23, 2011 by Josh Druck

By: Jack Intrator

The parallels of Tennyson’s poem, “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” and the process of negotiating a restaurant short sale are many.  One could say orchestrating a commercial short sale warrants the same bravado as Tennyson’s Light Brigade given the complexities of such deals.

Each stanza of Tennyson’s poem tells a different part of the story, and there is a delicate balance between nobility and brutality throughout. Although Tennyson’s subject is the nobleness of supporting one’s country, and the poem’s tone is rousing, it pulls no punches about the horror of war: “cannon to right of them, cannon to left of them, cannon in front of them, volley’d and thunder’d”. 

For those of you who are aware of a typical short sale this article should give you a refresher but also a detailed understanding of a Commercial Short Sale, which is much different than a residential short sale.

This short sale involved a Tequila restaurant (name has been changed for purposes of this article) located in the suburbs of Philadelphia — a boon of operations and one of the most successful  within a chain of several restaurants and concepts developed by a well-known chef and operator. Unfortunately, several restaurants were opened at the same time in the same area and the economic downturn, lay-offs all took their toll on the market and especially the disposable income that is the lifeblood of every fast, casual, or themed restaurant, independent or chain operation.

The following illustrates the step-by-step process of an actual restaurant short sale, drawing on the comparison of the Calvary of the Light Brigade, and me the broker. For illustrative purposes, I am the Light Brigade — fighting to the death to get the deal done.

Taking charge

I originally took an exclusive right to sell listing for a restaurant. The chef and operator is one of the best in the region. He had several restaurants and opened several more at the same time, but the economic downturn had taken its toll on several operations and soon one restaurant was paying the freight on the other restaurants so a successful operation and economic viable operation were depleted to pay for the ones who were losing money and soon all were hemorrhaging.

I was called in to list a property and soon found out there were major issues with the liquor license, deferred maintenance issues and even some structural problems. I only learned of these after  inspections took place.

After months of negotiations with prospective buyers and offers received were not anywhere in the range of the asking price, we came to a point where there was an offer for a non-restaurant use.  An engineering firm was interested with the intent to eliminate the kitchen, bar and prep facilities and transform them into a viable office use. It was the location that made the deal not the use as a former restaurant. The buyer, an engineer, was probably in the best position to deal with the property and all its issues and defects. He was not afraid that the second floor had sunk by eight inches due to water seepage into the basement; he was ready to roll up his sleeves and deal with the issues at hand.

The stage is set for the Short Sale: Ride the Gallant 600. We did not know the details of all the problems we would encounter but we did know it was a task we needed to do.  It was my job to charge forward. We knew we were not told about all of the issues — of all three loans and the specific circumstances and details as the owners themselves were unsure of the specifics.

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
‘Forward, the Light Brigade!
Charge for the guns’ he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.

I found out there were two banks involved in this transaction. One bank we shall call “Aqua Tributary,” held the first mortgage position and their claim was for a huge amount more than could actually be attributed to the loan. The second bank, which was much more reasonable held a cross collateralized note on this property “ A Tequila Restaurant,” and another property in the operator’s portfolio, which we will call Sun and Moon Restaurant.  In any case, they had a very large note and this mortgage face amount as this property was cross-collateralized by the second bank which was in first position on the Sun and Moon restaurant.

As it turned out there was also a third note, by the former owner of the property and the balance remaining was for around $50,000.00

All the players knew in order to facilitate a sale we would need a clean title and that in turn required all sides to take a hair-cut but we were going in blind as one party was not communicating with the next. We had to go through seven layers in communication at the banks as well as many attorneys who all wanted their clients to get the most out of the deal as possible.  Soon we were fired on from all sides.

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turned in air
Sabring the gunners there,
Charging an army while
All the world wonder’d:
Plunged in the battery-smoke
Right thro’ the line they broke;
Cossack and Russian
Reel’d from the sabre-stroke
Shatter’d and sunder’d.
Then they rode back, but not
Not the six hundred.

Overcoming obstacles

We had to sort out all the facts, and finally it came down to an acceptable agreement of sale, the Aqua Tributary claimed they were owed over $300K but they refused to provide details as to how they got to this amount. The Second bank agreed to a release as they knew they had the other property but they wanted a sign-off from the owners that they would not challenge the sheriff sale on Sun and Moon Restaurant. The owners had some reservations as there were deficiencies and after a very assertive negotiation they agreed to a mutual release.

So, one bank down, Aqua Tributary Bank and the previous owner to go.  In many short sales the bank in first position is very reluctant to provide anything to a second and especially a third position note.  But without releases there would be no clear title and no release, and therefore no sale.

The bankers were cavalier to the extreme that they took their hardened position and laid there cannon to bear. All in the guise of one pencil pusher or another, they had differing views, communication and instructions from their top echelons and through the general ranks they were not offering compromises on the third position at all.  Many would have given up and said, take it to a Sheriff sale but that was not my task, not my mission. I had to ride on, to and through all the obstacles the Cossacks had put in my place.

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell

Finally, we got down to the points of the negotiations. The posturing continued from one asset manager in the bank to the managers and Vice Presidents, compromises were called but at each juncture they only provided cursory suggestion. Every inch of ground was fought for and the men of the 600 hundred were driven beyond exhaustion. Offers, of $1,000.00 based on the $48K owed, then they at my prodding the third position the former owners through their attorney and conference calls with them, agreed to take $28K of the $48K owed and again the bank said no, in fact negotiations broke down on several occasions. And after a time, $28K went to $20K from the third position and the Bank again said no.  No matter how many volleys I had fired at them. No matter how many charges the bank would not agree to a compromise, except they went from $1,000.00 to $5,000.00 to $10,000.00. Then all negotiation ceased with the bank and the buyer getting dejected as to the whole process. I convey this and in the end, the bank sent a volley of cannon shot in my direction: they wanted to go after my commission!

While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death,
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

They said if the deal is in danger of total collapse then we will provide one and final offer. We will give the former owner $15,000.00 but you Jack and Aptcor need to provide 1% of your 6% commission to make the deal. I worked so hard to make this deal. Charged into the valley time and time again to make this deal and the buyer called me and said you should give up a point. It was me who had to give up the percent to make the deal and to bring all sides to the table.  I just could not believe that after I practically moved mountains, I was asked to give up something more. In the end, I did agree to give up 1% so we could clear title.

So now we are at the point where we have a signed written agreement, have a signed deal extension and have an agreement by Aqua Tributary Bank, the Second bank, the former owners and their attorney. But as usual there was a sign off by the owners and the bank, the language was onerous, for the owner, the bank wanted the owners to sign a release that they would not agree to be able to challenge a deficiency judgment, leaving themselves defenseless from any future litigation should Aqua Tributary decide to create an action.

The compromise offer by the owner was they would just change the language and all should be accepted. The bank responded that all communication and negotiations shall cease. The owner who was an attorney reached out to the bank’s attorney and no response. Weeks passed and the buyer was ready to walk. I called the attorney for the bank and was told he was directed not to return the calls from the seller.  I explained per the extension the deal was in danger of collapse and until I make that clear, they did not respond. Then, at the eleventh hour, the last week of the extension I was notified there was a new account manager and the bank without communicating had transferred responsibility to another person — the seventh person to deal with at the bank. We finally, on a Friday afternoon, facilitated the conversations and came to an agreement and the deal closed four days later.

When can their glory fade?
O the wild charge they made!
All the world wonder’d.
Honour the charge they made!
Honour the Light Brigade,
Noble six hundred!

At the end, our hero fades from memory of the scene as both the banner men of each side declare it was they who won the valiant battle dear, it was their cunning after all who made all sides come to heel, but for the broker, the valiant on his charger, quickly fades from the memory and those boastful men from the buyer to the bank attorneys claim the glory for themselves.  So rides one of the last of the Light Brigade, as so often it seems, the broker vanishes from the scene and glory fades for the knight on his steed of the valiant six hundred.

Jack W. Intrator CPM, RAM, ARM

Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist

Master Broker for New York Bagel Café

Tenant Representation and Lease Negotiation

C. 610-805-3849

Emotional Rescue

Posted in Articles, Commercial Real Estate, Emotional Rescue, Retail and Restaurant Leasing Specialist with tags , , , , on August 9, 2011 by Josh Druck

By: Jack Intrator, CPM, RAM, ARM, Zommick McMahon


When dining at a restaurant, the process is one of emotion. The sensation of touch, taste, sight and smell are all immediate and a part of the overall experience with sound and mood/environment secondary perceptions derived from the first four. If we consider the above are all factors in our experiences when dining, then let’s consider how magnified these become when working on an independent restaurant deal. 

In a typical big box operation for a retailer, a Target, best Buy or a Supermarket or even a Restaurant like a Lone star, Ruby Tuesday or an Olive Garden, the decision makers on the tenant side are often a VP of operations, or VP of real estate. Most of these types can only focus on specific market conditions and demographics, a business model that illustrates criteria — they have never been the restaurant operator or the chef/ owner who truly feels the experience and that point of view.

The chef /owner is a very different sort. Their motivation is twofold, and of course they are motivated by the business and the financial gain that in their opinion will accompany a successful concept and operation. But they base their decision by emotion, a feeling they have for the location and their vision. They are passionate about their concept and their decisions can be based on some of the same criteria as the bean counters in the national chains, but there is more, much more. There is a passion for the business, the vision of how they see themselves and their concepts. They are the dreamers who know the emotional experiences of dining and it gives them pleasure, when they create the panache, and a diner is happy with their experience.

Often times when we work on a restaurant deal, whether in a shopping center, in a building on a city block or a new development, we are presenting opportunities to our clients, the independent operator with information that is put together and directed for a typical retailer. Demographics are provided but little information on disposable income and certain specific aspects of the market we need to assemble ourselves. When a typical broker presents the opportunity they present in a vanilla sort of way, and often do so with no clear or definitive difference between a big box dry goods retailer, a bank or an independent restaurant operator. Sometimes we get information that can be deemed antiseptic. The Restaurant Specialist That’s where the restaurant specialist comes into play. We are there for interception; we are the buffer from the Chef/owner operator to the VP of Real Estate working for the Landlord. We need to immediately process the information and present it in a way that our client both understands and appreciates because we know, we understand that this deal will be completed by the passionate operator, the business terms of course, and the emotions of the deal. We need to get our clients into the space, let them touch the space, let them see themselves and their concept in the space and let them conceptualize their bottom line.

When working with a cold business process, like a big box or national retailer where the VP of Real estate or a Property Manage does not really care if the tenant is a card store or a restaurant operator and only sees the bottom line. They see who will pay the most rent, request the least amount of fit-out, and who will accept a typical vanilla shell–this is the hardest deal to make. But, when you get a chance to sell the deal, the concept to the Landlord, explaining the attributes of the tenant and of the deal and the benefit of increased visibility and foot traffic, site recognition and the perception of their patrons then there is a chance for a connection–an emotional connection between the chef/owner operator and the landlord directly.

Often I see when the chef/owner is describing his concept he embraces it. He envisions it and is excited by this concept and a good landlord sees this spark and passion and wants this concept for the operator and for his tenant. That is when good deals get born. When you only look at the bottom line of each deal then you might as well focus on the card store. If there is a chance to capitalize on a situation and bring both parties together, even if your dollars PSF apart then the old adage “Bring them to the Table” is implied.

I like to bring the client and the landlord to the table as soon as I get a commission agreement signed. Having a face-to-face meeting is often all that is needed to see if there is a real chemistry between a landlord and an operator. You can’t get chemistry going with a property manager or the VP of real estate, because they are not entrepreneurs, not the decision makers on their own. But when you get the owner/developer across the table from the chef/operator that is when you can see progress that would otherwise not be forthcoming because the operator has given in his mind the limit of the deal, the VP of Real estate has given all he is allowed to and there is a polarization that takes place and heels are dug into the ground. Even the skilled broker, a restaurant leasing specialist who knows the concept, understands both positions and understands what needs to be done to push the deal over the line, is often at a loss as there seems no real movement on either side. No opportunity to make the deal, but other brokers who chose to specialize in this arena will push the deal forward because they truly grasp the art of the deal. They will go the extra mile, have the straight talk express with the chef/operator and with the landlord and get them both to the table. Work the deal out on the table and either make a deal or move on. You can call these aggressive negotiations but it is this type of negotiation that is the only thing that may save a deal from collapsing.

At the end of the day, when we understand the difference between big boxes, a national chain and the independent chef/owner, we are truly in a position to provide sound advice and the emotional rescue to close the deal with both sides feeling like winners.

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