Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

Restaurant Brokers Interview Chanticleer CEO Mike Pruitt (Hooters)

Posted by Robin Gagnon on May 25, 2014 2:37:00 PM

Restaurant Broker Radio showOn air weekly, you will find Restaurant Brokers Eric and Robin Gagnon of We Sell Restaurants discussing topics currently trending in the restaurant business.  The We Sell Restaurants radio show airs every Saturday at 12 Noon on Talk 920 and Sunday at Noon on The Wall Street Journal Network on Biz 1190AM.  The goal of the show is to satisfy our listener's appetite for acquisition, feed the need for restaurant reality and serve up a recipe for business success.

Trending currently, the Restaurant Brokers discuss the receipt for success behind a great Restaurant CEO.  What does it take to have the vision to lead companies in the buiness and grow to make them stronger?  What are some of the things you can do as a restaurant leader?  The Restaurant Brokers discuss this topic with leaders in the industry...Michael Pruitt and Matt DeBusk.

Mike Pruitt is a long-time entrepreneur with a proven track record.  He possesses the expertise to evaluate potential investments, form key relationships and recognize a strong management team.  He has a history of success beginning with the founding of Avenel Financial Group, a boutique financial services firm, followed by Avenel Ventures.  He was formerly the CEO and President of RCG Companies and today holds the same title at Chanticller Holdings, which owns and operates Hooters branded restaurants in emerging international markets.  Chanticller also owns and operates American Roadside Burgers, a Charlotte, NC based chain; a majority interest in Just Fresh Restaurants, a fresh food-focused casual dining establishment based in Charlotte, NC and owns a Chef John Tesar inspired restaurant Spoon Bar & Kitchen in Dallas, TX.

Matt DeBusk, recently named by QSR Magazine as one of the leaders that are "poised to become the next generation of influential quick-service and fast-casual leaders", has been an active member of the food service industry for over 18 years.  He has enjoyed roles in multi-restaurant management, branding, leadership and development.  Matt currently serves as a VP of Brand Development at Great Wraps, Inc. and is responsible for franchise growth, real estate, new material development and branding activities related to the nationwide expansion of the brand.  He has also served in leadership roles within Moe's Southwest Grill and Shula's Steakhouse and Shula Burger restaurants.

Mike started out talking about the "lost art of the handshake".  He discussed how the founder of Hooter's, Mr. Brooks, was actually his trusted advisor and mentor.  Mr. Brooks approached him in 2006 and was kind enough to give him a minority investment opportunity in the business.  Mike went on the describe how he and Mr. Brooks sat down at lunch and negotiated the deal; and basically, at the end of the lunch, after they shook hands, Mr. Brooks told him to wire him $1M.  With no paperwork and against the advice of his attorney, he did so.  Unfortunately, Mr. Brooks died 4 months later unexpectedly.  This $1M actually provided him the right of first refusal and allowed him the opportunity to purchase the Hooter's brand ownership he enjoys today.  What an amazing account of personal relationships, the value of mentors and a life-changing story.

Mike was also a college baseball athlete and he believes this prepared him for a leadership opportunity.  He believes you have to work at the culture every day.  He had several pieces of advice regarding his time as an athlete.  He described how baseball is a team sport but is also very individualized; and eloquently stated "If you don't swing the bat; you're never going to hit the ball".  Regardless of your role, you have to be in the game, be a participant and make good choices each day. 

Matt's advice around what's going to change in the future is that there are going to be  more Millennials in executive leadership roles.  He believes a successful culture will want to see more enthusiasm and passion from executives on what they are doing around the office.  Executive Teams that want to embrace that lifestyle, those who enjoy what they are doing on a day-to-day basis and put a lot of passion in their work.  In Matt's opinion, "those brands are going to get the reward" 

Restaurant Broker Robin Gagnon wanted to know more about what Matt though was the foundation for building a successful restaurant brand that is focused on franchise growth.  Matt believes "taking the time and being very diligent about who you are partnering with is the long term win.  A franchise organization that is just trying to lock in as many franchises as possible is the wrong approach".

Other advice that Matt had was around technology.  Millennial or "new leaders want data.  They want to reach out to guests and engage them and they want them to respond."

To learn more about this topic and more, please download a copy of the radio show on iTunes, or on the wesellrestaurants website.  Take a moment to LIKE us on FACEBOOK or follow us on Twitter.  Remember that We Sell Restaurants is the nation's largest restaurant brokerage firms based on the number of listings, transaction count and offices.  The company is franchising nationwide and has offices in Florida, Georgia, Colorado and Tennessee.


Topics: Restaurant Brokers