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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Beach Food Lease Shouldn't Go to Inexperienced Owner

A local caterer and entrepreneur asserts that the San Clemente City Council should have voted with city staffer's recommendation to find a more experienced operator for the Kahuna Beach Grill at North Beach.

Deborah Kravits was planning to purchase the Kahuna Beach Grill, but another buyer, Martin Fox, . Council approved the lease against the advice of city staff in a 3-2 vote. Kravits sent the following letter Friday.

Dear Mr. Townsend, 

My partner and I have been in constant contact with both the real estate broker and the city of San Clemente over the past weeks with regard to the Kahuna Grill concession stand in North Beach.

My partner is an award-winning small business owner, and a recognized expert in the Demming management system. I am a local chef and caterer, and the Top Alumna of the Decade from my culinary school.

Over the past few weeks, we have compiled a five-year pro-forma, income and expense statement, including increased revenue estimates and and detailed local and national catering clients that we have performed for over the past year -- all work to outline our plans for taking over the Kahuna Beach Grill and making it successful.

We were advised by a staff member of City of San Clemente not less than a week ago, that the bid by the current owner's friend Martin Fox would be rejected at the Council meeting July 3.

Based on that information (public record via the published agenda for the City Council),  we kept our silence. Taking a slight sigh of relief, we requested a tour of the facility and a look at the existing equipment to take place on Tuesday, July 10.

This "due diligence" survey would be a sign that local, professional, and experienced culinary professionals would be working at the North Beach concession stand.

Imagine our shock when an inexperienced, friend of the failed lessee captured this city contract without a competitive bidding process. 

How does this work for those of us who are committed to the success of our community, live in town and want to see underutilized gems prosper?

Lindsey Hanson July 10, 2012 at 03:50 PM
You lost the bid. Get over it.
phil July 10, 2012 at 08:27 PM
LH - there was no bidding process. it was a back-room deal. Get with it.
Lindsey Hanson July 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM
San Clemente specializes in Back room deals. The dang town needs to get with it and VOTE DAHL DONCHAK AND EVERT OUT!!!!
Papa Rich July 11, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Ummm it's called the good ol boys club where have you been?
Marc Schroeder July 11, 2012 at 03:42 PM
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to run a snack bar or any restaurant for that matter. I was also interested in buying it and running it myself, you don't see me whining because Mr Fox beat me to it. He seems to have a good business plan, to extend the hours, add healthy food and good coffee, which is what I planned to do. I find it distasteful that you were counting on our elected officials to reject a qualified buyer because you claim to be somehow better than them? As Lindsey said, get over it.
phil July 11, 2012 at 06:30 PM
marc - you owe an apology to restaurant owners, everywhere. not saying ANYONE is better or worse. when the city confirmed that other plans were available yet did not consider or review ANY of them, i found that to be less than transparent, that's all.
Lindsey Hanson July 11, 2012 at 06:32 PM
SC city gov. is rarely transparent. Please vote the gang of Three OUT!
Marc Schroeder July 12, 2012 at 04:34 PM
phil.Why do I "owe an apology to restaurant owners"??? I did not insult them, merely stated the FACT that running one does not require a Rocket Scientist. I personally worked in the restaurant industry for 10 years, from the age of 8 to 18. I was a dish washer, bus boy, prep cook, line cook, maintained salad bar, waited tables, even valet parked the Diner's cars. In those days, there was no such thing as a degree to prepare food, yet somehow everyone learned on the job and we got it done and did it well. It is my understanding that selling a business is a transaction that takes place between a buyer and a seller. If the new owner fails? then it will be back on the market. Amazes me that anyone would have the gall to whine about someone beating them to it in a public forum. If they were so serious about it? They easily could have accepted the asking price and put it into escrow with a small deposit. I myself was considering buying it. Mr. Fox beat me to it. End of story.
phil July 12, 2012 at 08:50 PM
marc - you would not have had a chance to buy it, either, based on the city agenda. you appear to be a nice guy, good businessman <construction?> and good father. sorry to hear about your dog. that must have been horrible. good luck.
Marc Schroeder July 13, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Thank you for the kind words Phil, you sound like a nice guy yourself. If you have the time? I would appreciate phone calls to Deputy District ATTY Jennifer Malone at 949-476-4650 encouraging her to prosecute my neighbor for poisoning my dog. Animal Control sent their reports to her office over 2 month ago and they have yet to even call me to discuss the case. I called her 2 months ago and she told me an investigator would be calling me, but so far nothing. Me and my daughter would love to put this behind us, but it is hard when you have to look at the guy who subjected a family member to an agonizing death and wonder if he is going to get away with it?

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