Retailers and Hamilton County and Westfield and Restaurants and Women in Business and Real Estate & Retail and Small Business and Inside Dish

INSIDE DISH: Kelties eyes return to salad days

August 6, 2010
kelties-bigpic-2col.jpg

Welcome back to IBJ’s video feature “Inside Dish: The Business of Running Restaurants.”

Our subject this week is Kelties, a Westfield-based eatery that has evolved from its original incarnation as an etiquette-training school with limited private events and catering to a lunch-and-dinner restaurant that relies on catering for close to half its total sales.



Owner and chef Keltie Domina, 49, remains optimistic despite a recession-driven decline in sales that resulted in a $55,500 loss for the first six months of 2010. Over the seven-year life of the restaurant, Domina has relied on a talent for shifting strategy when circumstances demand. When etiquette classes couldn't pay the bills, she returned to her roots as a chef and opened for lunch. Given the opportunity to move into a higher-end space, she scraped together $250,000 for start-up costs via a variety of avenues, including small-business lending, savings, credit cards, and $65,000 in personal loans from employees and local businesspeople.

Domina has adjusted to the current economic climate with several shrewd cost-cutting moves. She has renegotiated the eatery's lease with the space's landlord and worked with vendors to defer payments on goods and services. The restaurant has shed four employees, placed paper sheets on top of white tablecloths to cut down on cleaning expenses, and put the kibosh on gifts to local organizations like donated food and gift cards.

"As much as I love doing that, I have to think about the employees here and the longevity of the business," Domina said.

In the video at top, Domina discusses the origins of the restaurant, how employees and fellow businesspeople helped finance the move to Kelties' current space, and how cost-cutting measures and a recent uptick in sales have brightened her outlook.

 

x
x
x
Kelties
x
110 S. Union St., Westfield
x
(317) 867-3525
x
x
www.kelties.com
x
x
x
Concept: Upscale American-based cuisine, with a big emphasis on catering.
x
Founded: 2003
x
Owner: Keltie Domina
x
Start-up costs: $5,000 in previous location, which already contained vital restaurant equipment and supplies from a previous tenant; $250,000 in the current location, opened in September 2007.
x
Sales/profit: $817,000 in sales, with $4,215 profit (2008); $924,000 in sales, with $13,891 profit (2009). For the first six months of 2010, gross sales are $330,000, with a net loss of $54,500.
x
Employees: 30
x
Seating: 105
x
Goals: Revising and repricing the catering menu; reemphasizing training for service staff.
x
Good to know: Catering accounts for about 45 percent of kelties' total sales.
x
x
x
ADVERTISEMENT

Recent Articles by Mason King

Comments powered by Disqus