Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

A Day in the Life of a Restaurant Broker...What are they doing anyway?

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jun 15, 2017 9:35:04 AM

50032-Dominique_2011_cropped_for_website_1.jpgHave you ever wondered what your restaurant broker is actually doing every day? Here's a day in the life of Restaurant Broker Dominique Maddox who shared these thoughts.

Dominique recently had a conversation with his wife telling her how mentally tired he was after a tough day as a Certified Restaurant Broker when she returned from work. His wife said, “You sit in front of your computer all day, what did you actually do today?" Here's his log of his actions for the day he was kind enough to share.  

5:00 am – Wake up and put on the 1st pot of coffee. Review my business to-do list for the day and add items

5:30 am-  Go to the gym and go beast mode to get ready for the day

7:30 am – On the road to take pictures of a restaurant I recently listed for sale. I must arrive before the back of the house staff arrives so they will not be suspicious.

8:45 am- After battling through the high-dense Atlanta traffic, I make it to my destination 42 miles from my home.

9:15 am- Pictures are finished and I must conduct a conference call between a buyer and seller to discuss expenses on last year’s profit and loss statement while sitting in my car. 

9:40 am-  While still sitting in my car, I get a call from a seller he is not happy. The seller does not want to sign the 4506-T form which allows the bank to request the sellers tax returns for a buyer to get an SBA Loan based on the business financials. The seller discloses to me they need to amend their tax returns because they filed inaccurate numbers.

9:50 am – Receive call from leasing representative the landlord will not offer my client more Tenant Improvement Money to move forward with the lease. The landlord will only offer 2 free months of rent instead of 3 months.

11:00 am – Arrive back at home office to respond back to missed emails and calls.

11:25 am – Review my HOT Report and touch all my pending deals with updates or reminders

11:45 am – Receive call from a financially qualified candidate. Buyer needs help understanding the price valuation of the restaurant. Buyer does not understand the definition of add-backs for a price valuation.

12:00 pm- Receive email from buyer that request to see a lease space I’m advertising. I call the buyer and they don’t want to show proof of funds, business plan, or menu. They just want to see the location first and then decide if they want to move forward. Let them know landlord wants to see those documents to qualify them as a tenant before showing tghe space.

12:45 pm- Receive an email from a buyer in South Carolina, they want to make an offer on a Franchise Restaurant I have listed in South Carolina. The buyer requests a copy of our Asset Purchase Agreement. I draft the Agreement and send for review.

1:30 pm – Follow up with Dickey’s BBQ Pit to confirm buyer’s Discovery Day date to attend at Dickey’s Headquarters.

2:00 pm – Conference call with Wich Wich, buyer, seller, and Area Representative to discuss transfer checklist

2:30 pm-  Schedule a meeting between buyer and seller at restaurant for Friday

2:45pm- Follow up with Firehouse Subs Area Representative to discuss training day for approved candidate.

3:00 pm – Review an 80-page lease to find out the lease expiration, option renewals, security deposit, CAM charges, and type of restaurants allowed in the shopping center

3:30pm- Follow up with closing attorney on debits and credits for Closing Settlement Statement.

3:45pm- Receive a referral for a Firehouse Subs seller who wants to sell from my current client

4:00pm – Assist buyer with working on bank projections for loan approval. Review business plan and give feedback for improvement.

4:45pm- Follow up with listing leads and search for more leads

5:30pm- Work on Science Project with my 5th grade daughter Amaya

7:00 pm- Draft emails to send out in the morning

7:30 pm- My wife arrives at home!

7:45 pm- Receive text message from seller, asking for an update on buyer activity for their listing.

Dominique writes, "To be an excellent Restaurant Broker you must multi-task and be the quarterback of the deal. Nobody wants to get the deal done more than the Broker.  It can be the difference between feeding your family ground beef or filet mignon.  Yes, most days I’m drained from my daily activities and I’m constantly thinking about items that need to be complete on each deal at night. The satisfaction I get from this career is knowing I help people realize the American Dream of Business Ownership. Tomorrow I will get up and do it all again."

 

Domminique Maddox is a licensed Georgia real estate agent and graduate of Morehouse College which he attended on a football scholarship.  He brings that same competitive spirit and energy to the field of restaurant brokerage. Dominique received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business Management from Morehouse College.  He has worked in mortgage financing, real estate, business to business sales, and Restaurant Brokerage Sales.

Dominique was named the recipient of the Georgia Association of Business Broker "Rookie of the Year" award from the organization for 2011.Dominique was also elected as a Director to the Georgia Association of Business Brokers for 2012. Dominique has undergone extensive training for restaurant brokerage and has earned the designation as a Certified Restaurant Broker. View his listings online at this link.

 

 

Topics: buying a restaurant, buying a restaurant, selling a restaurant

Restaurant Trend Spotting - The Reality from the Restaurant Brokers

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jun 13, 2017 10:46:59 AM

Restaurant Trends – how do they apply to the real world scenario of your restaurant down the street? 

dont follow.jpgTrends can be a game changer for a restaurant operator.   Think about the millennial trend which turned to a tidal wave with some writers claiming this one demographic calls all the shots for restaurant market share.  If you missed an appeal to that audience, some will declare your restaurant dead in the water. On the other hand, you can’t apply every single trend.  If you take the latest Restaurant Trends Reports and start applying everything, in the words of one restaurant broker, “You're probably gonna have a giant mess and very quickly so."

Trend reports are released by marketing companies and by the National Restaurant Association every year.  You can get culinary trends, beverage trends, technology trends and drive it down to specific items like coffee trends.  How do you use it and what’s the right way to apply the knowledge?  Here are the restaurant broker’s thoughts on trend spotting and trend hopping.

Don’t live in the Muddled Middle Ground

There's a phrase in the marketing world called the “muddled middle ground” and that's where you never ever want to be. Why? Because your client can't find you there. If you try to be a little bit of everything, you end up being a whole lot of nothing. That’s the danger of letting a trend eclipse your basic premise.  If you are a vegan concept, it makes absolutely no sense to go with pates and a lot of meat spreads. Even though that’s the hottest trend in menus, it doesn't make any sense for you.

Make sure the Trend Makes Sense for Your Concept

On the other hand, trends can move you in the right direction.  If you're a veggie concept and the trend for vegetables says beets are out and cauliflower is emerging, then make sure high points on your menu no longer speak to beets as the main star when they begin trending down.  Instead, start speaking to cauliflower in your dish creation and then push the envelope into radish.

A good restaurant operator should take the latest trend reports available online and really study it to see where it should impact their concept.  As restaurant brokers, we study all the trends in the industry all the time do we can advise clients on the latest concepts.

Trend Spot but Don’t Trend Hop at the Expense of your Legacy

How do you stay on trend without giving up your identity?  If you've been in business fifty years, stay with your core approach and adapt to stay relevant. That adaptation may be the adoption of technology while keeping your strengths.  If you’re built on the best wings in town, there’s no reason to jack with that recipe but putting Ipads on the table with “build your own sauce” opportunities is a changeup that will appeal to a new and old customer. 

You Don’t Have to Keep Following the New Best Thing

The opposite of the “muddle middle ground” is a radical approach that keeps your customer guessing.  If you change the menu as often as you change your sheets, it can be difficult to build loyalty.  Cuisines come and go.  Not too long ago it was Asian Fusion which gave way to New French and that morphed to Spanish influences, small plates and Tapas.  It’s here today, gone tomorrow. 

There’s an issue of following the trends too tightly or not moving at all.  It’s finding the approach that makes sense to you as a restaurant operator and your cuisine that matters.

Don’t Ignore a Long Term Trend with Sales Consequences

One trend we know for sure is changing is the lunch business. The long lunches where people go out for an hour and half is a shrinking segment. People are now eating more and more at their desk or working from home which means no lunch out at all. 

That changes the dynamics. If you're in the lunch business you must be refreshing your options by expanding to the trends of today.  That include, “meals to go” or carry out, delivery, catering and all the delivery services.  You’re not just making food to order anymore, you’ve having to figure out how to make and stock grab-and-go as well as understand what “travels” well and what doesn’t. It’s not as simple as building a bunch of sandwiches, and putting them in your deli case.

There has to be a plan if both trending and your numbers are telling you lunch is shrinking.  If you used to have 50 covers between 11 and 2, and now it’s down to 11:30 to 1:30 and only 30.  Develop a plan to make up that volume.

If lunch is out but Sunday brunch is in, then take that trend information build the volume back. So, maybe you're never going to get back that long lunch but you can pick up part of it with “to go” and delivery.  Find ways to get the volume back at different other parts of the week.  It will require you to be very targeted, specific and creative.  But that’s why you’re in the business anyway, right?

The bottom line is that trend spotting and trend hopping can be ways to build your restaurant sales.  You just have to decide which trends make sense for your business and pursue with passion.

 Eric and Robin Gagnon, the Restaurants Brokers write on topics of interest to the restaurant industry.  They are the founders of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com.  Their restaurants for sale website can be found online at this link.

Topics: buying a restaurant

Restaurant Sales Slip Nationally and In Atlanta for Q-1 of 2017

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jun 8, 2017 9:28:46 AM

First quarter restaurants sales in Atlanta turned in a negative trend of -.7%, only slightly better than the national average for one of the few times that the restaurant brokers can remember in tracking history.  That's the findings from Robert Wagner, CPA and president of NetFinancials who monitors and reports the market's sales with his quarterly report.  .

financial-crisis-544944_1920.jpg

Wagner measured 118 independent Atlanta restaurants and fully 59% reported negative comparable sales trends.  That's before we even get to quarter two of 2017 which we anticipate to hold further bad news for the market.  The closure of I-85 based on the alleged actions of Basil Eleby and two other people -- all believed by investigators to be homeless, when they torched the bridge led to businesses entirely cut off from traffic, large numbers of never before telecommuting professionals and traffic snarls that made getting to and from your home a main priority - not stopping off for food or drink.  The actions brought much of Atlanta to its knees and the impact on restaurant sales in quarter two with the I-85 closure from March 30 to May 12, (most of second quarter), has yet to be calculated. 

While Atlanta licked it wounds with down trending sales January through March of 2017, things were worse on the national level.  TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence, a restaurant sales and traffic- tracking company, reported national restaurant Q1 2017 revenues declined by 1.6%. This was the fifth consecutive quarter of negative sales results nationally. Restaurant traffic declined 3.6% nationally in Q1. TDn2K has a massive pulse on restaurant sales.  They publish the The Restaurant Industry Snapshot based on weekly sales from over 26,000 restaurant units and 145 brands, representing $66 billion dollars in annual revenue.

What's Impacting Restaurant Sales for first quarter?  There are several schools of thought but here's what these restaurant brokers think.

1) Competition.  The fast casual segment in particular has been ever expanding on at least a three to four year cycle.  Now it's time for some players to shake out and we're seeing that occur across the country at record levels.  It's not a new trend to see concepts grow and contract.  We have seen ebbs and flows for wholescale parts of the industry over time whether it was a specific type of cuisine (pizza comes to mind) or type of service (full service used to be a thing - before the recession of 2008).  Over time, the strongest will emerge, survive and thrive.

2) Shopping Trends.  A report by a national real estate firm indicated that 9000 Mall locations closed in the first quarter of 2017.  That's not a typo ---  that's four digit closures of retail stores, 9,000 of them in three months.  More online shopping means less trips to the mall.  If customers aren't out shopping on Saturdays and Sundays, does that mean they also aren't eating two or three meals out that day?  Is it easier to order up what you want and eat a sandwich at home?  We think so and ultimately this may drive more business back to restaurants as we are also seeing amazing growth among delivery services. 

3)  Easter Shift.  Back in my retail planning days, a shift in Easter seriously moved dollars around for clothing and footware purchases.  2016 numbers for first quarter included Easter as it fell on March 27th last year, a relatively early Easter.  It was a massive shift in 2017 of two weeks, pushed out to April 16.  At the national level, some pickup may show in the second quarter numbers when this shift is realized though Atlanta will be feeling the effects of I-85 so expect no improvement there.  Customer buying habits are consistent and holiday sales affect the numbers, particularly independent concepts like those cited in the report from Wagner on Atlanta sales.  His group includes only independent operators, not franchises.  .

What does the future hold for restaurant sales and what's an operator to do?  It's the same conclusion we always reach.  The restaurant business is a tough master and those within it face challenges each day.  Never stop improving.  You must be laser focused on sales and attuned to the customer's patterns.  While tough, the restaurant business is a robust and amazing part of the nation's economy and Americans love to eat away from home.  The smart operators will figure it out.  This is one quarter, not a lifetime.

 

 

Topics: buying a restaurant, selling a restaurant

Top 10 Restaurant for Sale Listings in May 2017

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jun 5, 2017 2:25:43 PM

 What happens in May?  It's time to celebrate Memorial Day and kick off the summer!  Most kids are out of school and the line at the local ice cream or yogurt store seems never ending.  It seems like it's also the month for buying restaurants if this top ten report of restaurants for sale by the restaurant brokers is any indication. 

We rank our top ten list of restaurants for sale based on page views, signed confidentiality agreements and calls to our expert restaurant brokers with requests for more information.

Our number one most trafficked listing for the month is a restaurant for Sale in Fort Lauderdale Florida that's priced to move! The great opportunity offered by restaurant broker Ken Eisenband features low rent for a 1700 square foot fully equipped location.
Listing ID:5228 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
Restaurant for Sale in Ft. Lauderdale Can Convert to Any Concept
Lease: Expires July 31, 2017 with options to be negotiated
Monthly Rent: $2980
Inside Sq. Ft. 1700
Outside Sq. Ft.
Price:$29,000
City:Fort Lauderdale

Ken Eisenband
(561) 350-3365

Are we seeing double? Nope, that really is another South Florida listing under $30,000. This location is decorated nicely and set up for fast-casual service. If you are ready to get into the restaurant location is place is a steal!  Our buyers were looking at both of these and driving up activity. 

Listing ID:5311 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
Pizzeria for Sale -- Fast Casual Italian Restaurant in Broward County
Lease: Expires January 31, 2018 plus 2 three year options
Monthly Rent: $4612.78
Inside Sq. Ft. 1716
Outside Sq. Ft.
Price:$29,900
City:Tamarac

Ken Eisenband
(561) 350-3365

Sports Bar are always a home run. Add a location in a happening Marietta, Georgia and you have a grand slam! This location was such a big hit that it is already off the market.

Listing ID:5466 Restaurant Broker Dominique Maddox    
Sports Bar for Sale in Marietta. Convert to your own concept!
Lease: Expires 2022
Monthly Rent: $9200
Inside Sq. Ft. 5300
Outside Sq. Ft.
Price:$69,000
City: Marietta

Dominique Maddox
(404) 993-4448

Six Figure Earnings! That is why the buyers are clicking to find out more about the downtown Atlanta location. Add a great new lease term and this Bar for Sale will not last much longer!  Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum has all the details and has been fielding the calls on this bar for sale.

Listing ID:4944 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
Profitable Bar for Sale Events Venue! Great Location in Downtown Atlanta - SIX FIGURE EARNINGS
Lease: New 5 year lease with 5 year option
Monthly Rent: $$6162
Inside Sq. Ft. 5300
Outside Sq. Ft. several Hundred
Price:$249,000
City:Atlanta

Steve Weinbaum
(770) 714-4552

On the market for less than 30 days and this HOT listing has made the top 10 list of restaurants for sale.   Located in Roswell, Georgia. Pricing is a factor as this one is well below market.  This location has been open and operating and is ready for a new owner!

Listing ID:5486 Restaurant Broker Dominique Maddox    
Restaurant for Sale in Roswell with low rent. Can Convert to Any Concept
Lease: Expires October 31, 2018 + 3 year option
Monthly Rent: $2800
Inside Sq. Ft. 1800
Outside Sq. Ft.
Price:$59,995
City:Roswell

Dominique Maddox
(404) 993-4448

Summer is the season for easy living and it seems kicking back in a bar is on the mind of a lot of our buyers.  Bars for sale drove strong action ont he month including this one in Austin Texas.  This location has more views than days on the market and will fly off the shelf soon.

Listing ID:5496 Restaurant Broker Dave Duce    
Legacy Bar for Sale Available in Austin Texas. Open 33 years!
Lease: Negotiable
Monthly Rent: $4000
Inside Sq. Ft. 1800
Outside Sq. Ft. 300
Price:$198,000
City:Austin

Dave Duce
(512) 773-5272

South Florida is a happening area for this top 10 list. Adding to the list is another sports bar that has done over $2 million dollar in sales for the year.  The Broward County location is driving clicks, views and calls to the Restaurant Brokers for more information.  Opportunities like this don’t come up all the time so buyers are trying to find out more by visitin gour website.

Listing ID:5510 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
Sports Bar for Sale in Broward County - Sales in Excess of $2 Million
Lease: Expires October 31, 2018 with 3 five year options
Monthly Rent: $20709
Inside Sq. Ft. 5796
Outside Sq. Ft. 800
Price:$350,000
City:Coconut Creek

Ken Eisenband
(561) 350-3365
Austin Texas took up 20% of the slots on the Top 10 this month with Dave Duce posting two new listings that automatically popped up to the top 5% trafficked listings online.  This wine bar for sale offered as an upscale opportunity was creating strong activity and should have a buyer any day now.
Listing ID:5515 Restaurant Broker Dave Duce    
Wine Bar and Restaurant for Sale is Upscale Austin Opportunity!
Lease: expires January 2020
Monthly Rent: $9750
Inside Sq. Ft. 3000
Outside Sq. Ft. 1000
Price:$230,000
City:Austin

Dave Duce
(512) 773-5272
Colorado was not to be left out of the mix.  Restaurant Broker John Kesterson's listing in Parker had buyer clicking and calling as well.  The signed confidentiality agreements on this one tell us it won't be long until an offer is in play.
Listing ID:5318 Restaurant Broker John Kesterson    
Profitable Full Service Restaurant and Bar for Sale in Parker Colorado!
Lease: Year-to-year. New lease to be negotiated.
Monthly Rent: $3600
Inside Sq. Ft. Approx. 3400
Outside Sq. Ft. Approx. 400
Price:$99,500
City:Parker

John Kesterson
(720) 473-3726

With nearly 300 restaurant and bar for sale listings on the market, hitting the top ten means these were truly special!  The activity generated indicates most will be in the hands of a new owner/operator before long.  Want to check out the hundreds of listings online offered by the restaurant brokers? Check them out at this link.

Visit Our Listings Online!

 

Topics: buying a restaurant, selling a restaurant

Are Independents Winning the Restaurant Battle? Restaurant Brokers Offer 5 Ways to Fight Back

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jun 1, 2017 11:38:01 AM

One of our favorite writers at Nation's Restaurant News, Jonathan Maze has published a thought provoking article on the five reasons he believes independent restaurants are winning.  His position highlights some recent industry research that shows that independent restaurants, not franchises are expected to gain market share in the coming years, and will grow at a higher rate.  What's driving the growth?  How are the David's of the business (independents) beating the Goliath's (franchises and chains)? 

Go High Touch.jpgIn these restaurant broker's opinion, it comes down to a concept made popular in the 1980's from the best-seller, Megatrends.  The author, John Naisbitt, coined the phrase high tech, high touch.  In high tech, the franchises or chains win every time.  They have the social media departments who can tweet up a storm, keep their photos on Instagram and fill the overall social media feeds of the average consumer dozens of times a day.  On the other hand, the independent restaurant has the upper hand on high touch.  They don't fill your social media feed, just your coffee cup, over and over again without being asked.  They also commit to their communities, not as part of a corporate plan but as part of their personal sense of belonging to the area. Is this paying off with consumers? You bet.

Research from Pentallect Inc., foodservice consulting firm, in conjunction with research partner Critical Mix, weighed the factors in the drive toward independents and their data is shown below.   Independent restaurants are shown in blue on the chart against the grey for chains and independents.   When asked to rate the following aspects as excellent or good, independents win on almost every metric including:  Community Oriented, Is Special, Personalized Service, Shares my Value, Food Quality, Good Service, Innovative Menu, Decor/Atmosphere, Consistent Quality, Value for Money, Menu Variety.  The two are tied on delivery.  Where do the chains win?  It's on use of technology, social media use and convenient location.  Wow, no wonder David is stomping Goliath.  They won on 11 out of 15 High Touch attributes, tied on one and were beaten on just three. Franchises/chains won only on High Tech - they get the win for social media, locations and the use of technology.   

 

chart.jpeg

How do franchises and chains counteract this trend?  Franchises, though locally owned and operated, are still perceived by most of America as being owned by large corporations, instead of local owners.  I recall a recent statistic by the International Franchise Association indicating that a large majority of Americans surveyed believe their hometown Subway is in fact a corporate organization rather than a local business owned by their neighbor down the street.  It seems the big chains have built themselves too successfully into a brand instead of a local store.  That brand messaging does not seem to be connected (at the customer level) with attributes seen by locally owned businesses like "community oriented," "is special," and "shares my values."

In Jonathan’s article, he posits five reasons this trend will continue including: 

  • Millennial buying power and their choice for local over chains
  • Pressure on Profits
  • Television shows that highlight the independent restaurant and chef driven concepts.
  • Delivery
  • Social Media.

We agree on most of these points but believe the dial can be shifted with five ideas: 

  1. Franchises need to act local.  The International Franchise Association (IFA) has launched a website with materials to refute the position that franchises are big business. They are making resources available at a new website atourfranchise.org to share the message that these businesses are owned locally. It's unfair to paint the local owner/operator with the same broad brush as a huge corporate store.  Individual units need to take on individuality at the local level to connect with the community.
  2. Franchisors may need to rein in their National Marketing Spend and apply more at the local level. Just as there will always be a big government (collective approach) versus a small government (local approach) battle, it seems the time is here to redirect funds, take pressure off spending and allow local units to make decisions about ad dollars.
  3. Ownership is for Owners. Too many of the franchise resales we broker are based on operators who went into the business thinking that franchising was all they needed to succeed and if they built it, they (customers) will come. Today’s competitive environment is a fight for market share – share of your street, share of your neighborhood, share of the catering pie and share of delivery.  Owners have to get outside their doors to ask for business. 
  4. Ownership isn’t just for Owners.  Everything starts at the top. The restaurant brokers have written on the topic of training for years but it bears repeating.  A fully engaged and well trained team approach means everyone takes an ownership approach.  Sally at the local restaurant doesn't want to disappoint her Sunday school teacher who owns the business so she hits the tables running and serves up great service.  If you buy a franchise, put the name on the door and believe that's enough to engender loyalty and the computer training is all they need to succeed, you're going to be disappointed. Get out of the back room and onto the floor to make sure the community and staff knows you're a local owner and catch your people in the act of doing their job well.  Within the four doors, act like owners and introduce yourself to your customers.
  5. Get them Young.  Jonathan's right that young people like local but before Millennials are Millennial aged, they are school age and that's a place to target.  Local restaurants sponsor the peewee baseball league, contribute to school events and have walls of photos with their local engagement on the wall.  Franchises need to stop seeking out corporate causes and let the owners grab these kids before they age into Millennials that won't darken your door.  Breed familiarity and love of the brand early.

It seems daunting but it can be done. High touch isn’t just for independents.  The human touch can be integrated into any restaurant.  Years ago in our book, Appetite for Acquisition, we wrote about the reason people enter the restaurant industry saying, “From biblical times until today, nothing on earth has connected people to one another like the act of breaking bread. Your restaurant becomes the catalyst for this human contact, and you share in the experience.”  These survey scores show we were right.  Build your restaurant into a local and high touch community gathering point and the sales will follow.

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Robin Gagnon is co-founder of We Sell Restaurants and a frequent writer about trends in the industry.  She can be found online at her restaurant for sale website or via LinkedIn

Topics: buying a restaurant, selling a restaurant

Restaurant Brokers Designated as Industry Experts by Business Brokerage Press

Posted by Robin Gagnon on May 29, 2017 5:07:55 PM

Restaurant Brokers Eric and Robin Gagnon have been designated by Business Brokerage Press as Industry Experts yet again for 2017.  The Industry Expert program is recognized across the nation for brokers that have in-depth knowledge of a particular type of business.  It's based on a questionnaire distributed by the group that demonstrates specialized skill in an industry and transaction experience.  . 

Industry_Expert_Logo.jpgEric and Robin Gagnon will be included in the Industry Expert section of the Business Reference Guide published by Business Brokerage Press or BBP.  Experts in this program must qualify through demonstration of in-depth knowledge for a particular type of business.  Only those qualified and approved by BBP may be listed as a source with expert knowledge in their prospective industry. 

The Restaurant Brokers, Eric and Robin Gagnon, have both qualified for this honor for multiple years in both Restaurant Sales and Franchise Resales.  The dynamic duo and husband and wife team are the founders of We Sell Restaurants, the nation's largest restaurant brokerage practice and franchise brand.  

ERIC GAGNON is the founder and President of We Sell Restaurants and wesellrestaurants.com.  He is the nation’s leading restaurant broker.  Eric is an industry expert in restaurant sales and valuation.  He is a frequent speaker, writer and co-hosted the nation's only radio show devoted to the restaurant industry for several years.  Eric is co-author of Appetite for Acquisition, an award winning book on restaurant brokerage published in 2012 and named "Best of" by Small Business Book Awards.  Eric began his career in the financial services industry for Bank of America, Bank of New York and big five accounting firm, KPMG before launching the nation’s premiere restaurant brokerage firm and restaurant brokerage franchise.  Eric is member of the International Franchise Association, the Georgia Association of Business Brokers and the Business Brokers of Florida.  In addition, he serves on the Executive Board for the Southeast Franchise Forum and the Membership Committee of the International Business Brokers Association.  

ROBIN GAGNON is the Co-Founder of We Sell Restaurants and the firm's Chief Marketing Officer.  Robin is one of the most prolific restaurant brokers in the industry and is a franchise resale specialist.  She is also a writer and speaker that has addressed the International Business Broker Association, International Franchise Association, Sysco Food Show and multiple colleges and universities. Robin's expert articles appear online and in print across the country. She co-authored Appetite for Acquisition, an award winning book on buying restaurants that was published in 2012 and named "Best of 2012" by Small Business Book Awards. She is the co-host of the long-running radio show "We Sell Restaurants."  Robin is a member of the International Franchise Association and serves on the Women's Franchise Committee.  She is also the Chair of the Women's Franchise Network - Atlanta Chapter.  

These veteran industry experts have defined the term “Restaurant Brokers” with their unmatched experience, knowledge and count of restaurants sold.  Impactful speakers, they have presented workshops and served on multiple panels for organizations nationwide where they share their expertise. They created and developed training for brokers to obtain the credential of Certified Restaurant Broker.

The two have trademarked their brand, “We Sell Restaurants” and are franchising nationwide. They share their knowledge through one of the most extensive training programs available to the industry. Their multi-platform training program leads to the nation’s only Certified Restaurant Broker designation.

For nearly 34 years, Business Brokerage Press has worked to benefit business brokers through valuable publications, services and resources specific to the business brokerage profession.  In addition to their Industry Expert program, they publish source books for the industry including The Complete Guide to Business Brokerage; and the Business Reference Guide, first published in 1991.

The Business Brokerage Press legacy extends to the International Business Brokers Association (IBBA) as the founders were instrumental in launching this international organization.  For over 10 years, Tom and Barbara West of Business Brokerage Press had a hand in running the Association until they turned it over to a management association company so they could focus their time and attention full time on BBP.

For more information about We Sell Restaurants, visit wesellrestaurants.com or for franchising information, visit wsrfranchise.com

  

 

Topics: buying a restaurant, buying a restaurant, selling a restaurant

Restaurant Sales in College Towns When School is Out - A Report from Raleigh NC

Posted by Katy Sizemore on May 24, 2017 11:58:47 AM

 

For North Carolina, the restaurant industry is a significant force on the economy. The state has 18,169 eating and drinking locations, $18.6 billion projected sales for restaurants in 2017, and 458,400 employed by restaurant jobs equating to 10% of employment in North Carolina. Statistics from the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association.  Today we are looking at summer business in a college town and getting two different viewpoints from local owners.

schools out.jpgTaking a deep dive into one of We Sell Restaurants’ newest franchise locations, the city of oaks and the state’s capital---Raleigh.  Restaurant Broker Katy Sizemore took to the street to ask local owners what happens when the colleges empty out for the summer months.  

Hillsborough Street is an iconic location for Raleigh, North Carolina, and particularly for NC State students. Known for the arts, cultural events, education, recreational facilities, and of course, restaurants. From Mediterranean food to Mexican food, early morning coffee to late night pizza, smoothies to sub sandwiches, this street has it all.

However, what is it that keeps the restaurants on Hillsborough Street thriving? With summer rolling around we wanted to know how the eateries and hot spots stay afloat during the hot months---when the prime audience of these restaurants are off abroad, interning, or home for the summer.  

East Village Grill, a sports bar on the corner of Hillsborough Street and Dixie Trail has become not only a happening spot for students, but a nostalgic dining experience for customers that have been eating there over the past 20 years. After speaking to the staff, we got an insight to what it’s like being a restaurant within walking distance from classrooms, dormitories, apartments, and the DH Hill Library.

East Village Grill staff explains that the restaurant has a drop off in sales for about a week when school lets out for summer. However, the hometown here restaurant and bar is not hurt by the let out for summer.  They go on to explain that Raleigh is not just a college town. The sports bar has plenty of regulars to keep their business going and coming from the neighborhoods surrounding Hillsborough Street. Their business caters to people ages 7-90.

The university hosts tons of summer camps, offsetting the loss of traffic from students. East Village staff also says that plenty of people who are Raleigh natives return home for summer from schools elsewhere and this also adds to their business. Closing the interview, the said that East Village has been here for so long that it has “become kind of a nostalgic place to come here and eat.” He says that people who ate here when they were once students at NC State come back to bring their kids.

There is no doubt that the college students enjoy the food, the fun, the karaoke nights, and the trivia and that NC State students make up a large portion of their business. However, Raleigh locals tend to love East Village just the same-a benefit of owning a restaurant next to a college yet in a town that may not only be considered a “college town.”

For Owner of Global Village Organic Coffee, Greg Ritchey, circumstances seem a bit different. He noted that at the start of summer, the student population in the area drops by 70% and business tends to follow. He discussed that the mass majority of his business does come from the NC State Students. The challenge, said Ritchey, is convincing people that aren’t associated with the university to want to have anything to do with Hillsborough Street. He was happy to say that he is fortunate enough “to have a small core of neighbors who enjoy rubbing elbows with students, faculty, and staff.”

On a positive note and offsetting the fluctuation of student traffic during the summer, some of his part time student workers may leave for the summer to go home or elsewhere. It also balances out for other workers during the summer to be able to go on vacation. All in all, Ritchey loves being an owner of a coffee café on Hillsborough Street. He notes that the environment of Hillsborough Street is a wonderful environment and is fortunate to get business from their international students. He described Global Village Organic Coffee as a good melting pot.

While business may come and go for some, it is a certain that the iconic main drag of the North Carolina State University college campus, in Raleigh Hillsborough Street, brings many people for different reasons.  Being nestled into the college campus, individual neighborhoods of Raleigh residents, and just a jump off the 440 beltline, people make this their destination for food, drinks and fun!

 

 

Topics: buying a restaurant, selling a restaurant

Franchise Restaurants Sales Announced -- Restaurant Brokers Report

Posted by Robin Gagnon on May 22, 2017 11:17:02 AM

What's happening the world of franchise restaurant salesThe media reports pouring in show no signs of interest in franchise restaurants slowing down.  If anything, the restaurant brokers see an uptick in activity.  Here's some of the latest deals we've been tracking in the media.

The Hala Guys are heating up on their Middle Eastern cuisine concept and we see deals happening with increasing frequency for this concept.  Franchise Times reported that AJ Ahmad, who grew up in Abu Dhabi, UAE, has opened the first of 15 Arizona The Hala Guys in Tempe. He plans to add three to four stores in the market.

Mexican cuisine remains on the mind of many in the franchise restaurant marketplace.  We're seeing multiple deals announced including:

  • The 10th El Pollo Loco, owned and operated by franchisees Anil Yadav and Atour Eyvazian  of AA Pollo Inc., has opened in Spring, Texas. The 2,960 square foot restaurant is the second on to open in the market.
  • Del Taco signed a multi-unit franchise development agreement with experienced restaurateur Tom Getz.  He plans is to open the first of seven units in the broader Chattanooga area by 2019.  Locations are planned throughout Hamilton and Bradley counties in Tennessee, as well as expansion into several Georgia counties.
  • Five Tacos 4 Life franchises are opening in the Dallas, Texas, area, the first in the region for the fast-casual taco restaurant company.  The development is being led by the former president of CiCi's and Nothing Bundt Cakes, Craig Moore. 
  • This one's not a franchise restaurant opening but it is noteworthy as Atlanta chef, restaurateur, speaker and cookbook author Kevin Gillespie is opened Communion Cantina, a Mexican-inspired beer garden and eatery behind his popular Revival restaurant in Decatur on Cinco de Mayo.  The new store will serve tacos, West Coast, Mexican, domestic and local beers and margaritas. QSR Softening.jpg

What's going on with Smoothies and Juice Bars?  The restaurant brokers see a lot of activity in these concepts led by some stellar results by Smoothie King who is on fire with the highest number of franchisees ever inked for a single month for March of this year.  Here's everything we read about recently for franchise sales of smoothie and juice concepts.

  • Willie Smith, of EON Brands Inc., a former United States Marine, added a second Juice It Up! to his portfolio. This location is in the city of Temecula in Southern California.
  • Smoothie King is stirring up the market as well as the Smoothies.  In the first quarter of 2017 they opened 28 new stores in 15 states and signed 34 franchise and development agreements for 48 new stores.  Their plan for 2017 is an aggressive one with a goal to open 125 new stores in 2017, 25 percent more than last year.  
  • Not to be outdone, Tropical Smoothie Café is also growing.  Craig and Dianne LeMieux, area developers for the Colorado region, are spearheading Tropical Smoothie Cafe's expansion throughout the Centennial State. Cities targeted will be Colorado Springs, Denver and Centennial. In addition to their development efforts in Colorado, the husband and wife team are also Tropical Smoothie area developers in Michigan and Ohio. They currently have a total of 58 open locations throughout their markets, with an additional 39 cafes in development.
  • It's not just Smoothies showing strong growth.  Dunkin Donuts is also expanding by way of their existing franchisees and new ones. Dunkin' Donuts signed a development agreement with existing franchise group Maruti Donuts, LLC to develop six new units in Evansville, Indiana, including one multi-brand location with Baskin Robbins. The group has more than 20 years of experience as a Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin Robbins franchisee and currently owns 12 multi-brand locations operated collectively with family members.
  • In Louisiana, new franchise group and quick-service veteran SWLA Delights-led by brothers Gul and Vick Awan--signed a four-unit Dunkin' deal (including one multi-brand restaurant with Baskin Robbins) for the Lake Charles area. The brothers have more than 20 years of combined experience operating QSR concepts and gas and convenience store locations throughout Lake Charles and Lafeyette.
  • Dunkin' Donuts has signed multi-unit store development agreements in North Carolina with two franchise groups, including a new franchisee, HARA Foodservice Group, LLC, who will develop four restaurants the Charlotte area, within Hickory, Lenoir, Marion and Morganton.

Burgers continue to grow though we have seen some slow down overall in this category.  Nonetheless, both Smashburger and Bojangles announced recent deals.

  • QSR International, the master franchisee of Smashburger for Central America, the Caribbean, and parts of South America has opened in Panama.  This is the second of five restaurants committed to open in Panama over the next 30 months. This unit is located within the Magic Zone in Albrook Mall in Panama City, one of the largest shopping centers in Central America.  Panama is the third country in the Central American region in which the group has opened Smashburger restaurants. 
  • Bojangles' has signed a multi-unit development to open four new Bojangles' restaurants over the next four years. Potential locations include Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach, Virginia. The agreement is with VABO Inc., an ownership group currently owns and operates several Hwy 55 Burgers, Shakes & Fries in South Carolina and Georgia.  Bojangles’, Inc. also announced a multi-unit development agreement with new franchisee MSR Restaurants, LLC of Mitchellville, Maryland.

It's interesting to see that latest group allowed to own both Bojangles -- fast food featuring burgers and fries along with the Highway 55 concept. 

Other deals the restaurant brokers saw announced this month include:

  • Huey Magoo's Chicken Tenders opened the latest location in Orlando run by franchisees Al Dhanani and Amir Dhanji, who also operate the Oviedo location and the soon to open Gardens on Millenia location.
  • The Greene Turtle welcomes its 47th location with franchisees Pranav Desai, Jiger Patel and Rajan Mahadevia, doing business as The Integritty Group. Their new restaurant is located in North Wales, Pennsylvania. They also plan to open additional locations in Montgomery, Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
  • Wetzel's Pretzels has opened its newest location at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, the So Cal legendary tennis complex.
  • HuHot Mongolian Grills, opened its 22nd location April 13 in Lawrence, Kansas.  FRC Group, the largest franchisee of the concept says more openings are scheduled for 2017, including Champaign, Illinois, and Shawnee, Kansas.  Bill Trevvorow, HuHot's newest franchisee and a current Subway multi-unit 'zee, is preparing to open his first HuHot in Lake Delton near the Wisconsin Dells tourism area, and HuHot has six additional openings planned for 2017.
  • Willie Jewell's Old School Bar-B-Q, are opening their third location in Georgia, this time in Marietta. Willie Jewell's also has multi-unit deals signed with Chip and Amanda Evans for locations in Tallahassee, Florida, and with Black Diamond Capital, LLC to develop restaurants in Tampa, Florida. Based in Jacksonville, Willie Jewell's is the fast-casual spinoff of the Bono's Pit Bar-B-Q concept.
  • Georgia-based Amici Italian Café has awarded a 20-unit franchise deal to Stonemont Financial Group, a private investment firm headquartered in Atlanta.  Stonemont will open new Amici restaurants across North and South Carolina with the first location adjacent to the campus of Clemson University.  It will open in the fall of 2017. In addition to the new 20-unit deal with Stonemont, Amici is building a newer location in Madison, Ga., where the restaurant group is headquartered and will open a corporate location in Gainesville. Two other new franchise locations in Macon and Augusta are also in the works.
  • Cauldron Ice Cream is opening in Glendale, California.   Jack Liu is the franchisee opening this location. He has signed a multi-unit deal with the Santa Ana-based ice cream shop company. The first of Liu's locations is expected to open in July.
  • Native Grill & Wings announced its first Massachusetts location opening in Oxford in April as part of a multi-unit agreement.  Franchisee Andy Colby of ANCM Group Inc., has signed for two to three total units in the Boston market, to be developed over the next three years.
  • Primal Kitchen Restaurants will open its first franchise location in May in Granger, Indiana, part of a three-unit deal with franchisees Tom and Tara Olson for the South Bend, Indiana, area. The health-focused, fast-casual concept also has multi-unit deals signed for the Santa Cruz, California, area as well as three units in the Pacific Northwest.

Overall, while the restaurant brokers continue to hear rumbling of softening sales, particularly in the QSR industry and despite a very crowded marketplace, it appears the appetite for new franchise restaurant sales shows no sign of slowing.  Restaurant Brokers Eric and Robin Gagnon say of the trend, "We continue to see Franchise Restaurant Sales Boom despite QSR sales softening.  In our opinion, this is indicative, for new concepts of everyone chasing the "next big thing" while multi-unit owners return to the well on concepts already paying out for them."

Interested in seeing what the restaurant brokers have for sale?  Check out our restaurant for sale listings online. 

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Topics: selling a restaurant

The Restaurant Buyer Meeting - 10 Do's & Don't for Restaurant Sellers

Posted by Robin Gagnon on May 19, 2017 2:27:14 PM

Getting a meeting with the buyer is the first step in selling your restaurant.  Here are ten tips to keep the deal on track once the meeting is set.

When a buyer visits your restaurant as a customer and decides they are interested they will often request a meeting with the seller to see the back of house and the rest of the operation.  That can be a valuable next step as long as you are prepared and adhere to these important “Do’s and Don’ts”.

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Do Schedule the Meeting to Ensure Confidentiality

An experience restaurant broker will always protect your interest by working around your business hours.  That typically means a buyer meeting early in the morning or late at night.  If a buyer cannot be flexible on this point or insists on the seeing the back of house when the store is open, consider whether he or she is a good fit for the business overall.  While you can allow the buyer to view the backend operations posing as an insurance agent or interested franchisee, it’s much easier to simply schedule this during “off” hours.

Don’t Ever Meet Without the Broker

You never want to have a meeting with the buyer without the presence of your restaurant broker.  This is because the restaurant broker can act as your mediator between your wanting to be helpful as possible to the buyer and the buyer wanting to obtain as many tidbits of information as he can.  It is important to remember that not all buyers who inquire about your business will do so with the best intentions in mind.  If they ask your restaurant broker a question and hear an answer that they don’t like chances are they will turn around and approach you with the same question in an effort to get the answer that they are seeking.

Don’t Share Copies of Financial Records

When you meet with the buyer it is okay to review and discuss financial information with a buyer that is pre-qualified however, never share copies of financial records with the buyer.  This information should be channeled through your restaurant broker to protect your best interest.

Don’t Offer a Business Card

Avoid sharing your business card with the buyer because this encourages him to contact you directly. If the buyer requests your business card or tries to approach you with questions, always refer him to your restaurant broker for the information he needs.  Tell your broker that the buyer has attempted to contact you so they can inform the buyer that (in most cases), he is violating the confidentiality agreement.

Remember that your restaurant broker has worked with buyers thousands of times and this may be your first exposure.  You don’t want to lessen the chances of your restaurant to sell by giving the wrong information, too much information or the right information but just too soon in the process.

Do Be Personable and Brief

Try not to offer too much information during your meeting with the buyer.  It is quite normal to be nervous which can cause you to reveal too much information about your business.  You do not want to tell the buyer about situations that could raise issues such as telling him that you were once close to bankruptcy and you pulled out of it and built up the business to what it is today.  Instead keep your answers brief, focused, and personable.

Don’t Be Late

Make sure you are on time for your meeting with the buyer.  If you know your staff leaves at a certain time then schedule your meeting a few minutes or half hour after they leave so you are not held up by concerns or questions from your staff.  Being late to the first meeting with the buyer may get the deal started off on the wrong foot.

Do Say Why You Are Selling

Always make sure you state your reason for selling.  Although you may have shared the financial details, buyers always want to know the reason you are selling.  When you are providing your reasons you should not reveal any personal information that is compelling you to complete a quick sale.  First of all, this is none of the buyer’s business and secondly, it could cause you to lose your leverage with the buyer.  So avoid telling the buyer that one of your business partners has cancer and only has six months to live.

It is okay to provide reasons such as disagreements among partners, retirement, lifestyle change, or taking care of your elderly parents in a distant location.  These are all reasons that are understandable.  Reasons that are not acceptable are age old reasons like you are pursuing other interests which doesn’t make any sense if you’re are currently running a profitable business.  If you are involved with a franchise which isn’t doing well financially, it is okay to reveal this information.  Chances are the buyer will already know by looking at your financial records.

Don’t Give Advice

When it comes to legal advice or liquor license advice, avoid it at all costs and leave it to your broker to provide the legal resources and the contact information for the person handling your liquor license.  While it is okay to tell the buyer the name of the person that handles your liquor license, avoid giving out any advice such as “The liquor license is no problem and here is all you do is….”

Don’t Complain

If you have gotten hosed by your landlord or can't stand your franchise brand any longer, keep it to yourself.  The buyer should be on a journey of discovery and form his own opinions about these and other matters.  You risk raising issues of concern for the buyer that otherwise would not come up. 

Don’t Provide Third Party Information

Avoid giving out your landlord or franchise contact information.  Until your business is under contract the buyer has no legal right to this information.  Furthermore, you do not want the buyer making contact with third parties that you have developed a relationship with.  If the buyer happens to disrupt the relationships and then walk out on the deal you are left to clean up the mess.  Instead send the buyer to your restaurant broker so they can control the third party contact.

A buyer meeting is a logical part of the process for selling your restaurant.  Buyers want to speak directly with the sellers for answers to important questions and to get your point of view.  Make sure you’re familiar with these ten “Do’s & Don’ts” to make sure your deal stays on track and the buyer remains interested.

Are you interested in selling your restaurant?  Contact us for a free valuation.

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Topics: selling a restaurant

Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband Recognized as Florida Deal Maker!

Posted by Robin Gagnon on May 15, 2017 8:46:39 AM

We Sell Restaurants Announces that the Business Brokers of Florida has named Ken Eisenband a Million Dollar Club Award Recipient and winner of the Dealmaker Award for the State of Florida.

Ken Eisenband, Franchise Partner for We Sell Restaurants closed enough restaurant sales in 2016 to place him in the Top 5 for completed deals in the entire state of Florida.  His activity is measured against every other broker in the state’s association which has more than 1400 members.  This is the second consecutive year Eisenband has earned this distinction along with being named to the Million Dollar Club.
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A long time Top Producer, Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband leads the Fort Lauderdale, Broward County franchise office of We Sell Restaurants.  Ken has been a member of the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF) for two years and has earned the award each year, outperforming many of his peers for this achievement.  BBF or Business Brokers of Florida is a nonprofit association made up of the leading business brokerage companies and agents throughout the state of Florida. It is the largest state business broker association in the country, and the second largest association of business brokers in the world.  

Members of BBF must demonstrate their expertise and ability in business brokerage when applying for membership. Once accepted as a member they must adhere to a strict code of ethics.  The Association has more than 1,400 members, has over 4,000 listings and maintains a database of over 16,000 sold businesses for market data comparisons.  

Robin Gagnon, co-founder of We Sell Restaurants said of the achievement, 'Ken is an amazing Franchise Partner and inspiration to the team. Ken specializes in selling only restaurants while those he competed against for the award sell every type of business.  His commitment to buyers and sellers is unmatched."

BBF Award.jpgAs a franchisee of We Sell Restaurants, Ken underwent extensive training and testing leading to his designation as a Certified Restaurant Broker prior to launching his practice.  He is a licensed real estate broker in the state of Florida and graduated with Honors from The School of Hospitality at Michigan State University in 1983.  He has more than thirty years of experience in the restaurant industry

Ken founded the Ft. Lauderdale office of We Sell Restaurants in 2012.  He is currently working to expand his franchise territory and mentors multiple Restaurant Brokers within his team including:  Robert Morrison, Ken Allain and Everett Rashotsky.  He also serves as a training consultant for the We Sell Restaurants brand and conducts a portion of the training in his market. 

We Sell Restaurants is a franchise business brokerage firm specializing in the restaurant industry. The We Sell Restaurants® brand is known nationwide for professionalism, industry knowledge and unmatched service in the sale of restaurants.  They can be found online at wesellrestaurants.com.

Topics: buying a restaurant