Luck, they say, is where opportunity and preparation meet. Such was the case with Barry Suskind, who in the late '80s got his concept--gourmet Italian restaurants with a focus on home delivery--up and running with five units in New York City. Just one call to Primo Piatto's Pasta 2 U telephone number would send piping-hot regional Italian dishes anywhere in the city.
Suskind's idea was enhanced by the fact that the off-premise portion of the restaurant industry was exploding. And Suskind was on the cutting edge with lots of proprietary software for inventory control, communications and commissary management to take advantage of the new demand.
What Suskind was not prepared for, however, was the fact that a financing consultant he hired to help him arrange for expansion financing would lead him down a blind alley. "What I remember most," recalls Suskind, "is that we spent so many months arguing about the minutiae of my financial projections that nothing got done." So much time, in fact, that Suskind finally got fed up and put together a deal on his own.
But the consultant's delay proved fatal as Suskind's own deal fell apart, taking Primo Piatto down with it--not to mention $1.5 million of Suskind's personal wealth. "I reached an agreement to be acquired by a public company in late July 1990 with closing scheduled for after Labor Day," recalls Suskind. "But when Kuwait was invaded August 3 and the markets were paralyzed with fear, our white knight left the table and never came back." Primo Piatto died on the spot, says Suskind, "not because we weren't profitable-- we simply ran out of money."