Capital Access Group (www.capitalaccess.com), a San Francisco-based commercial real estate lender specializing in U.S. Small Business Administration 504 loans for growing businesses, recently helped Justin Funamura, owner of The Waffle Roost, to secure $1.4 million in total project financing to purchase a 13,000-square-foot restaurant at 1633 Alum Rock Avenue, San Jose, California. Funamura will improve the property and expand the kitchen to serve as a full-size commercial catering kitchen for his business, with the possibility of adding a take-out window in the future.
The Waffle Roost is a thriving food truck business for people who love chicken and waffles. The company currently owns five food trucks and provides catering to corporate events, weddings, private parties and Off the Grid street food events and festivals throughout the Bay Area. The company prides itself on its chicken and waffles that are made from scratch and prepared fresh for its customers. Approaching its fifth year, Funamura decided to purchase his own commercial kitchen to stabilize rents and expand the catering side of his business.
After working in the restaurant industry for several years, Funamura was “fixated on making the best fried chicken and the best waffles.”
“I worked on a scratch recipe for fried chicken, waffles and then some side dishes — mac and cheese, collard greens and other fresh options based on the customers’ demands,” he said.
Funamura soon came to realize that his entire business depended on renting. In the Bay Area, however, it’s very difficult to find affordable commercial kitchens to lease, especially ones that support growth.
“If I rent, I am completely restricted by commercial kitchen lease rates, and the rates are not conducive to growth,” said Funamura. “Landlords have all the power, which is scary when you get to the size that we are right now.”
Capital Access Group and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s 504 commercial loan program made it possible for The Waffle Roost to expand with its own commercial kitchen. The loan’s 10-percent down payment opened up Funamura’s options.
“When I learned about the 504 program, the idea of owning my own commercial kitchen became more of a reality,” he said. “The 10-percent down payment is a major thing.”
“It was such a pleasure to help Justin purchase this property,” said Claudia Cohen, senior vice president, Capital Access Group. “Typically, food truck businesses aspire to open their own brick-and-mortar restaurants, but Justin had a different plan. He loves having food trucks and decided to adopt a business model based on owning his own commercial kitchen. Now, he controls his own future and doesn’t have to worry about rent increases that eat into his profit margin. We’re really proud him.”
“Claudia (Cohen) and the rest of the team were efficient and reliable. They took care of the paperwork and regularly checked in with me throughout the process,” said Funamura.
To read the press release online, click here.