A strictly Japanese curry spot open till 5am from Thurs-Sun would kill in NYC, IMO. Unless it already exists at which point someone needs to school me.
So few places in America can make a decent curry rice. The base itself is not hard, nor are the customizations, but few grasp how a good curry rice is made, and so you end up seeing yellow starch-thickened glop on very measly chicken katsu. The art of curry rice is not a difficult one, but it is not given away so easily.
I'd buy a Tim Horton's frachise in Canada. Incidentally you need 500k to start one. They are a licence to print money up here.
No, I want a damn Tim Horton's in Virginia! There are none, and every time I go to Yankee land I have to go there! I'd open a Chipotle, the mean gross revenue for one yearly is 2,000,000USD With the other $250,000 I'd start a new fishing reel company.
There's at least one company doing this, but I think this is an amazing idea: You know how most waterworks have to use valves to control the water pressure, right? Obviously they can't send it out at full speed, so they use valves to reduce it before delivering it to the consumers. A lot of kinetic energy in the water is wasted doing this, so the idea is that you add a turbine that will take the excess energy and turn it into electric energy. According to an article I read there's about 40 000 water companies in the US, each with everything from 0 to 100 pressure valves each. Imagine replacing all those valves with these turbines. The company already doing this is called Zeropex, so perhaps it would be a better idea to just invest in some stocks there.
With $500K, look at different affluent college towns and basically analyze what's missing out of the whole fast food mix: maybe they need a salad bar? Or perhaps a chinese takeout? Talk to the people on campus and find out what they'd pay for ... then pursue it. Get a good location on campus with lots of food traffic and you have a good captive audience. Kids with money are likely to spend it.
Has anyone tried the ice-cream idea? I am very tempted to look into it, any idea how much initial capital you would need? A very modest estimate? I am talking about a small space within a mall or something with a refrigerator and variety of ice creams in the buckets. Perhaps different pastries and soft drinks later on.