Your General Manager Should Read Your Lease

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I heard a funny story recently about a General Manager (GM) that obviously had NOT read their proprietors’ lease. Told from the perspective of an absentee owner of a gourmet burger fast casual restaurant, the story went like this:

                “The plane landed at 6:30pm and I drove straight to my restaurant. My GM, James* wasn’t there. The Assistant Manager informed me that he would be right back, that James had been invited to the friends and family event of a new burger joint in the shopping center. I was dumbfounded. How did I not know that there was another burger restaurant opening in the center? I have a water tight exclusive for burgers in this center! I walked down the sidewalk to the endcap of the shopping center and sure enough, the friends and family event for the new burger joint was in full swing. The parking lot was jammed with people and I was just close enough to have the conga line pass right in front of me. James, my GM was number four in the conga line.”

*Name changed to protect the derp

This story made me laugh. Although unfortunate for the business owner, it embodies an important message. Have your GM read your lease. If James had read his proprietors lease, he would have been versed in the exclusive use protecting the owner’s use from a competing burger business. 

There are many other reasons to have your GM or your Director of Operations read your lease(s). Below are just a few:

1)      Maintenance and Utility Repairs – Knowing who is responsible for these items can save you time and money. Think HVAC, roofing, sewer line blockages. If your GM knows who to call immediately, you as an owner will not have the stress of dealing with this yourself.

2)      CAM Services – an example of this is paying for trash removal out of pocket when your lease clearly states this is included in CAM. Your GM should be able to put two and two together.

3)      Renewals timing – your GM can help keep up with your deadlines to renew your lease.

4)      Opportunities – a good example of this is signage. If your lease states that you’re allowed multiple signs and your GM notices a position available on the multitenant sign, pursue it. You don’t get it if you don’t ask.

Have a copy of the lease (redact the rents and other sensitive material if it makes you more comfortable) on site an accessible to your GM and AM.

Empower your GM with information that can positively impact and protect your business. He’ll gain proverbial skin-in-the-game, and you’ll gain an asset.