BY LEANN DILBECK
Amye Hebert, owner of Stache’s Cookery in Mena, has devised a unique opportunity for a budding restaurateur to live out their dream and win her restaurant with an initial investment of just $150. Hebert launched ‘LIVE YOUR DREAM’ via social media Monday, March 16, and reported that within 10 hours of the launch, her website had received over 19,000 hits.
To enter, participants pay a $150 fee, submit an essay about their passion to own and operate a restaurant along with a signature recipe by July 30th. A minimum of 6,000 entries is required and then Stache’s chef will review the submissions and narrow it to the top 25. He will then prepare the recipes and the staff will have the opportunity to judge, based on very specific criteria, and the 25 will be narrowed to the top three. Those three finalists will then be flown to Mena in August and have the opportunity to run the restaurant for a day. Hebert said she wanted her loyal customers to have a part in selecting the new owner so she will be enlisting 50 community judges who will determine the final winner. “The judges can get a feel from the staff on how the person is doing and also judge them based on management, leadership, hospitality… I think those are all important components.”
Hebert said with this “once in a lifetime opportunity,” the winner will receive a fully operational restaurant, 1.5 acres of real property, building, contents, inventory, working staff, liquor license and $25,000 of working capital to start their new “dream” venture.
She said the idea came after recognizing that her “seasons of life have changed.” Hebert was involved in a severe cooking accident in December 2013, where she sustained third degree burns and forced her to step away from the restaurant for a period of time. After healing from that, Hebert found herself with the privilege of being a caretaker to her elderly parents and said it was then that she reflected on the opportunity of being able to have lived her dream of owning her own restaurant but that it may be time for that season to end. She said a friend shared with her a similar contest of a bed & breakfast that was given away in Portland, Maine and Hebert said she knew instantly this would be her chance to give someone else the opportunity to live out their dream the way she had hers; thus, “LIVE YOUR DREAM” was launched creating a distinct opportunity for would-be a restaurant owner with sufficient working capital and no overhead. Hebert said that should she not receive the 6,000 entries and the contest was cancelled, $125 of the $150 fee would be refunded to each participant.
“I want this to be a win-win for everybody… the new owner… the community. And, I think we’ve come up with the perfect contest ‘recipe’ to accomplish just that!”