Tips for Selling a Restaurant by a Business Broker

Andy Anderson

Selling a restaurant can be surprisingly simple.  As long as it has a loyal following, a good reputation, and the potential for future growth, finding a buyer is never the issue.  However, sentimental ties can make it difficult for some restaurant owners to separate themselves and their emotional ties to the business from the cold, hard facts involved in transferring ownership.

Owners who are looking to sell a restaurant may find it difficult to deal with potential buyers whose only goal is to fault and lower the price.  Potential buyers may pick apart restaurant’s menu, operational procedures, décor, or location.  In some cases, it is easier to deal with a business broker, who will help you get the best deal, minus any emotional upheaval. 

Selling a restaurant?  Time to get organized

If you plan to sell your restaurant, it may require some thick skin and getting organized with your time. Selling a restaurant takes time, and it could impact your ability to manage the day-to-day operations of the business.  Some sellers hire a consultant, or ask a business partner to screen potential buyers.  Remember, the buyer or his or her agent will want to review every detail of your bookkeeping records, which can be a very time-consuming and exhausting ordeal.   While attempting to sell the restaurant, you cannot afford to compromise on quality or sacrifice profits.  Even if a potential buyer is anxious to learn about the business, be sure to schedule meetings outside of your busiest mealtime hours.

Agreeing on a price can be another obstacle to selling a restaurant.  It may take some aggressive negotiation on your part to ensure you do not undervalue the real and intrinsic assets of the business.  Even if after a buyer and seller come to an agreement on price, it can be tough to hold the transaction together until the closing takes place.  For this reason, be sure you are working with a well-qualified buyer who has adequate cash, and be willing to offer seller-financing when necessary.

Be careful of buyers who are looking to turn a quick profit by buying and selling your business.  They may try to bully you into a lower price by undervaluing your business assets.  If you get a bad feeling about a potential buyer, remember, you are not obligated to make a deal unless you are comfortable with the offer. 

Selling a restaurant may seem like a major ordeal, but with the right preparation it can be a lot less stressful.

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