===I have worked for someone like you are describing, I busted my arse off, making the place the best I could, a loyal base, a steady stream of new customers, the "owner" would come in on Thursdays, putting on airs and strutting like a peacock. After 3 months I had enough, I gave him notice, and when I left so did the "hired help".====
I worked for a husband and wife who were owners of a small restaurant. The wife worked it while the husband attended to his work in real estate. The husband would come in on occaision to have a meal and leave. She was the hands on person, doing whatever was needed to keep things rolling. They had marital problems and she left.
The customers loved to watch the show in the kitchen and the way I worked. One customer said "So you must be the owner" and I replied that it was the guy counting the money at the register. He counted the money and left.
I found out that he was interested in selling the place, but when I asked the price, he based it on the growth and profits that I did help generate. He eventually sold the place and it has not been the same since. There have been many owners that have exchanged keys.
Funny part of the story was that I lived in an apartment building and two stories below me were a couple who at one time owned the place after I left. They had to sell the place. They were not restaurant people either. Taking an established place and to lose money takes talent.
I would suggest that matt consider this idea. This same place that I am talking about was originally owned and started by another couple prior to my boss. What they would do is create and start the business and then sell it when it was showing a profit.
I think that matt should consider opening and starting a place so it could be sold at a profit when he gets bored. Of course the employees will go through problems of adjustment or keeping their jobs. matt would at least make a profit.