The panel and their verdicts

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Before you read our panel’s verdicts, make sure you take a look at Gabriel’s idea for yourself. If you have an idea for a business that you think would make it in St Andrews, email it to money@thesaint-online.com and we’ll put it to our panel.

Campbell Hastings

I am the Scottish Institute for Enterprise intern for the University of St Andrews. Having run two start-up businesses, I know what it takes to turn a dream into a reality – hard work. Working with professional business advisers, entrepreneurs and other experts, I will be organising events in St Andrews to provide the inspiration, skills and encouragement required to anyone that wants to start up and run their own successful business.

While I admire such passion for a business mission to rid a hangover, I am sceptical that a sushi bar would indeed be any more relieving than the classic fry up. I fear that a lack of test marketing, an overreliance on the student market, and insufficient capital, may just see that sushi conveyer belt cease along with the business. Keep dreaming though – I’m out.

Elliott Miskin

I am the editor of the Money section of The Saint. I have interviewed many local business owners and seen many start-ups come and go over my four years at St Andrews. For the last two summers I have interned in the equity research department of an investment bank, so I understand what type of businesses succeed in this difficult economic climate.

This is not the first time I’ve heard this idea, but it demonstrates an insufficient understanding of the food industry. There are obvious problems with skilled labour (Yo! Sushi train their chefs for 6 months before they are allowed to cut the fish) and with fresh stock control. Sushi bars thrive in busy cities because they need a high volume of customers to survive as sushi can be a fairly low margin product (fresh fish is very expensive). I do feel your pain but, unfortunately, I’m out.

Camilla Henfrey

I am the business manager of The Saint and have been an employee of Superdrug in St Andrews for the past three years. I know about how business works in St Andrews. I know about their budgets, their staff turnover and what it takes for them to be successful. For me, it’s all about the location.

This business plan doesn’t even touch upon a proposed location, but the £20,000 that Gabriel is asking for certain would not get them a town centre premesis, let alone cover insurance, stock and staff costs. A sushi bar opened at the other end of the town, by Morrisons, really doesn’t have the same appeal as The Seafood Restaurant that overlooks West Sands, and so Gabriel: I’m out.

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