April 18, 2023

17: The Restaurant Lease Episode | Roberta Economidis, GE Law Group

17: The Restaurant Lease Episode | Roberta Economidis, GE Law Group
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“At some point you have to say, ‘I’m not going to make a bad business decision to get my dream space.’”

Today our guest is Roberta Economidis, co-founder and partner of Georgopoulos & Economidis, a boutique business law firm based in San Francisco, with a specialty in the hospitality industry. Roberta has helped restaurants and hospitality businesses throughout California and the US with everything from corporate structure, to lease negotiations, private equity offerings, licensing, permitting, and much more.

The focus of our conversation today is the restaurant lease, a VERY important topic for anyone looking to open a restaurant, whether it’s their first or 51st. Signing a favorable lease can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful restaurant business.

Roberta helps demystify the restaurant lease, covering topics like:

- What the typical lease negotiation process looks like

- The purpose of an LOI

- Breaking down different types of restaurant leases

- Important clauses to consider, and

- Tips for how to negotiate favorable lease terms

Get your notepad ready, cuz the information you’re about to hear would normally cost a pretty penny in legal fees!

Please enjoy my chat about restaurant leases with Roberta Economidis.


Where to find GE Law Group:


Where to find Roberta:


Where to find Bryan:


Where to find Kitava:


In this episode, we cover:

  • (01:44) Roberta’s background & credentials working with restaurants
  • (0:2:48) When to get an attorney involved in lease negotiations
  • (03:39) The purpose of a Letter of Intent (LOI)
  • (08:15) How to negotiate alongside competing offers
  • (10:59) What happens after a lease is signed?
  • (11:55) The different types of restaurant leases – gross rent, triple net, and % rent
  • (16:13) Factors to consider with % rent deals, calculating break points, and when % rent makes sense
  • (20:54) Roberta’s preferred lease structure – gross rent with fixed increases
  • (23:30) The structure of a typical lease, and important clauses to consider
  • (25:07) How to negotiate out of a personal guaranty
  • (27:29) Tips for negotiating favorable terms
  • (30:30) How to close on a lease when you don’t have funding yet
  • (32:16) The biggest mistake she sees restaurant owners make when negotiating a lease
  • (36:19) The importance of understanding your maintenance obligations
  • (38:52) Recent lease negotiation success stories
  • (42:10) Mechanics of taking over a space with an existing lease
  • (46:20) Roberta’s biggest piece of advice for restaurant owners negotiating a lease
  • (47:32) On The Fly Segment