Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

3 Harsh Realities of Selling a Restaurant

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jun 5, 2012 5:53:00 AM

selling a restaurantThere are three harsh realities when it comes to selling a restaurant.  Here's the unvarnished truth from a business broker.

Reality One

Your restaurant will always be worth more to you than to anyone else.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable, it just may mean that it’s not as valuable as you think it is.  A restaurant broker will be able to pull comparable sales or “comps” in the market and across the country to demonstrate the multiples being asked and more importantly, what’s being paid for similar restaurants.  This will give you a good idea of whether your restaurant broker has done a good job in his valuation of your restaurant.

Reality Two

You’re not the right person to sell your business.  Not because you don’t know more about it than anyone else on earth.  Not because you don’t have every answer to any question a buyer could think to ask and not because you aren’t the most passionate person on earth when it comes to discussing your restaurant.  It’s for all those reasons that you shouldn’t be the one interacting with buyers.  You are far too personally involved and close to the business to talk to buyers.  When they challenge something about the business, it’s hard to silence your emotions.  Let a restaurant broker do that.  He or she can be the buffer between a buyer and seller that ultimately leads to a successful sale.

Reality Three

Appearances do matter.  Clean up your restaurant or bar before you put it on the market and then keep it clean.  Sales also matter.  Last year’s history is just as important as last month’s sales and a restaurant buyer will be looking at both.  Keep running your business and keep it in tip top shape if you want the best possible pricing for it.  The same is true for employees.  Now isn’t the time to run on a skeleton crew or let a long tenured producer go. 

While these rules may seem harsh, they reflect the reality of selling a business in today’s super competitive marketplace.  You need to be priced right, presented appropriately by an expert restaurant broker and lastly, look great if you want to sell for top dollar in short order.

Topics: restaurant broker, selling a restaurant