Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

What’s the Best Way to Sell a Restaurant?

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Apr 5, 2018 7:35:13 AM

Wondering about the best way to sell a restaurant? Here are some of the common approaches along with the pros and cons.

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One common approach to selling your restaurant is to find a local commercial real estate agent. This seems like a good starting point. They know the local market. They are familiar (or should be) with lease rates and they are licensed and in good standing. These are all the positive points. Is this the best way to sell your restaurant?

Compare this information with these less favorable reasons to list with a local commercial real estate agent. First, a local commercial real estate agent does not have access to a ready database of buyers in the market to buy a business. He or she typically deals with those in the market to buy a cash flow property generating a return, but these are generally people that want to be landlords rather than operators. Secondly, an agent like this is often using marketing tech

niques tied to the location like Co-Star or LoopNet. They aren’t familiar with the national marketing sites, featured listings, costs and methods to draft and market a confidential transaction. Lastly, a commercial real estate agent has comps and models for doing valuation on real estate property but frequently lack the training and skills to do a valuation on a business. It’s simply not their core expertise. For all these reasons, using a commercial real estate agent is not the best way to sell a restaurant.

General Business Broker

In seeking the best way to sell a restaurant, talking to general business brokers is a great approach. They are familiar with valuation methods, are sometimes credentialed (i.e. have a C.B.I. or Certified Business Intermediary status). They represent customers in the market to buy a business and understand how to market businesses for sale which is very different from traditional real estate. All of these are positive reasons that using a generalized business broker may be the best way to sell a restaurant.

Unfortunately, the term “general business broker” is the first clue that they may not be the best way to sell a restaurant and here’s why. A general business broker sells everything from manufacturing plants to liquor stores; from day care centers to dry cleaners. Throw a restaurant in the mix and he or she will sell that as well. That’s where the break down occurs. The analysis of the financials is best understood by someone who has sold dozens of restaurants that year, not someone selling one in 100. The ability to interact with buyers and answer questions they have related to infrastructure (is there a grease trap? How long is the hood?), and others posed by buyers is much more difficult when they are trying to remember or learn multiple industries. That’s very different from the granular level someone specializing the field will understand it. Lastly, remember the old saying that a “jack of all trades is master of none?” That applies to this instance. Based on their very generic approach to selling businesses, a general business broker is not usually the best way to sell a restaurant.

For Sale by Owner

On option for selling your restaurant is the “for sale by owner” route. Is this the best way to sell a restaurant? This is for you to gauge independently based on your situation. There are definitely risks to selling on your own. One issue is dealing with the confidentiality of the business. Who and how do you tell the world you’re for sale while keeping your employees from learning? How do you price it? What about marketing? For sale by owner is a tricky proposition that could actually cost more than it saves. We recommend avoiding this course of action unless you have a ready buyer already identified. Even in that case, it’s a good idea to bring a broker in for representation and to cover the basics.

Specialized Restaurant Broker

In this writer’s opinion, a restaurant broker, specializing in the field exclusively is the best way to sell a restaurant. Why is this the best choice?

A Restaurant Broker is both focused and expert in the industry. They are valuation specialists and understand the cash flow and add backs of a restaurant situation. A Restaurant Broker is working with clients every single day who have one single interest and that is buying a restaurant. In the case of our firm, We Sell Restaurants, we have more than 70,000 people in our database all looking for a restaurant for sale. They don’t come to us for day cares or dry cleaners, they have one mission.

A specialized brokerage firm has the depth and breadth of knowledge that is unmatched by either a commercial broker or a general business broker. For these reasons, they are the best way to sell a restaurant if you’re seeking to sell for the most money in the shortest period of time.

Do you have questions about selling your restaurant? Visit us online or give us a call today.

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Blog Byline Robin

Topics: Selling a Restaurant

Top 10 Restaurants for Sale in March 2018 by We Sell Restaurants

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Apr 3, 2018 8:55:06 AM

What was on the mind of restaurant buyers in early Spring of 2018?  We can tell you.  The market made a turn from established franchise restaurants for sale to independent concepts and lease locations.  In a surprising twist, only one franchise restaurant for sale location made it onto the top ten list published by the restaurant brokers each month.

We measure the top ten by looking at all the activity on our listings including signed confidentiality agreements, agent outreach by buyers and views on our site and other national websites.  The results are recapped below.

Topping off the list this month was a breakfast and lunch restaurant for sale in Coral Springs.  The low cost of entry and excellent rent for the market drove buyers to request additional infomation on this gem.  We suspect that Franchise Partner and Certified Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband will have this one in contract shortly.  

Listing ID:6003 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
  Breakfast and Lunch Restaurant for Sale in Coral Springs with Low Rent
Lease: Expire November 30, 2018, plus option
Monthly Rent: $1166
Inside Sq. Ft. 900
Outside Sq. Ft.

Price:$59,000
City:Coral Springs 

. Ken Eisenband 
(561) 350-3365

Our second most popular listing for the month was a money-making monster out of Savannah Georgia.  Three existing units are generating strong sales and even better -- earnings of more than $200,000.  This listing got our restaurant buyers clicking, calling, emailing and viewing like crazy.  Bring your offers on this one.  Six figure earnings are rare and those that exceed $200,000 are like unicorns --  you've never seen one!  
Listing ID:6035 Restaurant Broker Eric Gagnon    
  Three Franchises for Sale - Multi Unit Opportunity earning $200,000++
Lease: Dec 2022 |Dec 31, 2024 | Nov 2020 plus 2 5yr options
Monthly Rent: $3591.91 | 2504.59 | 4356.25
Inside Sq. Ft. 1200 |1225 | 1394
Outside Sq. Ft.

Price:$749,000
City:Savannah | Savannah | Pooler 

Eric Gagnon 
(404) 800-6704

Dave Duce reports that Austin Texas is booming with development and restaurants are changing hands quickly.  One of his latest listings, a fully built out restaurant that's turnkey ready in the city was number three on the top ten list of restaurants for sale this month.
Listing ID:6012 Restaurant Broker Dave Duce    
  Fully built-out restaurant for sale available in West Austin Texas
Lease: 5 years
Monthly Rent: $5860
Inside Sq. Ft. 2144
Outside Sq. Ft. 200

Price:$160,000
City:Austin 

Dave Duce 
(512) 773-5272

Any restaurant for sale listing priced under $100,000 is sure to get strong activity and this one in Pompano Beach definitely made the cut for that reason.  The current concept is Pizza and Italian and any restaurant buyer could pick this one up and keep it exactly the same or connvert to a new concept. 
Listing ID:5995 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
  Pizza and Italian Restaurant for Sale in Broward County is Turnkey
Lease: Expires on October 31, 2018 plus 5 year option
Monthly Rent: $5400
Inside Sq. Ft. 2500
Outside Sq. Ft. 0

Price:$89,999
City:Pompano Beach 

Ken Eisenband 
(561) 350-3365

A fully equipped and built out restaurant for sale in Cobb County Georgia, home of the new Atlanta Braves stadium got lots of looks, calls and signed confidentiality agreements.  The low price, coupled with unbelieveable rent, make this a candidate for re-branding.  Restaurant broker Dominique Maddox is the contact point for this restaurant for sale priced at under $50,000.
Listing ID:6034 Restaurant Broker Dominique Maddox    
  Diner for sale in Cobb County. Rated number #1 on Yelp!
Lease: Expires May 2018
Monthly Rent: $1350
Inside Sq. Ft. 1500
Outside Sq. Ft.
Price:$49,995
Dominique Maddox 
(404) 993-4448
Broward County and Italian restaurant for sale opportunities go hand in hand!  Thi Oakland Park beauty has monthly rent of just $2404 and is listed for under $200,000.  We expect offers soon on this well-priced business with below market rent for the area.  The restaurant for sale includes both indoor and outdoor dining options, unheard of for this rent.
Listing ID:5910 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
  Italian Restaurant for Sale in Broward County returns over $117,000 to owner
Lease: Expires November 30, 2021 plus five year option
Monthly Rent: $2404
Inside Sq. Ft. 1200
Outside Sq. Ft. 300

Price:$199,000
City:Oakland Park 

Ken Eisenband 
(561) 350-3365

When we say Bar for Sale and Metro Atlanta, the numbers fly!  Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum listed this opportunity for just $100,000 and it easily made it into the top ten for the month.  The monthly rent is excellent and this is in Atlanta central.  This bar for sale is a great opportunity that will not last. 
Listing ID:5983 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
  Metro Atlanta Area Bar for Sale - Great Rent Rate Includes Utilities!
Lease: four years remaining
Monthly Rent: $4300 includes CAMS and Utilities
Inside Sq. Ft. 2586
Outside Sq. Ft. n/a

Price:$100,000
City:Atlanta 
 

Steve Weinbaum 
(770) 714-4552

The Atlanta marketplace and Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum grabbed a lot of listings for the top ten including this restaurant for lease opportunity in Roswell Georgia.  The location is ideal.  The infrastructure is in place to convert to virtually anything and best of all, there's no out of pocket!  Bring your ideas, your menu, your financial statement and your business plan for this lease space and open your dream restaurant today.
Listing ID:5079 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
  Restaurant for Lease in Roswell GA
Lease: To Be Negotiated
Monthly Rent: $3,492 with CAMS
Inside Sq. Ft. 1600
Outside Sq. Ft.

Price:$0
City:Roswell 

Steve Weinbaum 
(770) 714-4552

A second restaurant space for lease in Roswell Georgia drove lots of looks and phone calls as well.  This one, also offered by Steve Weinbaum is a larger space at 4,250 square feet and the rent is negotiable.  The current rental market is very tight with limited availability so it's no wonder the Restaurant Brokers are getting so many looks on these listings.
Listing ID:6023 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
  Restaurant space for lease! Endcap Unit in Booming Roswell Georgia
Lease: negotiable
Monthly Rent: $Negotiable
Inside Sq. Ft. 4250
Outside Sq. Ft. patio

Price:$0
City:Roswell 

Steve Weinbaum 
(770) 714-4552

The last of the most popular listings for the month was another restaurant space for lease.  This indicates the market is ready with entreprenuers looking to develop their own concept.  This location in Pompany Beach requires less than $20,000 in key month and represents a great opportunity for catering and delivery with an easy to manage 1,200 square feet.
Listing ID:6053 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
  Restaurant Space for Sale in Pompano Beach is Ideal for Catering & Delivery
Lease: Negotiable
Monthly Rent: $1453
Inside Sq. Ft. 1200
Outside Sq. Ft.

Price:$19,990
City:Pompano Beach 

Ken Eisenband 
(561) 350-3365

The top ten delivered some surprising results this month.  Most of the focus was on independent concepts or restaurant space for lease.  That tells us the marketplace is flourishing with those ready to take the risk on their own concept.  It's also a reversal from many months where we see franchise restaurants for sale drive the results of the top ten. 

Whether you are in the market for your own concept or plan to buy an existing restaurant for sale, check out our many listings online at wesellrestaurants.com or by clcking any of the links on this page. 

Blog Byline Robin

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

Three Rules for Buying a Restaurant Franchise Every Buyer Should Know

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 29, 2018 7:26:16 AM

Every would-be restaurant franchise owner dreams of opening the next big franchise winner but the likelihood is low. Here the Restaurant Brokers advice for getting the best deal when buying a restaurant franchise.

What are the odds of building a successful restaurant from the ground up and lasting three years? According to a hospitality management professor who studied failure rates, it’s less than 40%. A professor at Ohio State University authored a study that found 57% of all newly opened franchises didn’t last beyond 36 months. That’s only slightly better than independent restaurants that experienced a failure rate of 61%.

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Does this mean you should avoid buying a restaurant franchise altogether? No. An open and operating unit for sale represents a great value if you know when to buy and how much to pay. This article lays out the pitfalls of buying a restaurant franchise. Our full series will teach you our three rules for buying a restaurant franchise every buyer should know.

The books and records of an established restaurant franchise for sale are the true picture of its earnings. If you want a business that’s beaten the odds of surviving the three year mark; look at buying a restaurant franchise that’s three years old with repeated years of earnings. If a brand gets your attention because you’re a raving fan, are convinced it’s the next big thing or the food gets high marks, by all means pursue your dream. If you want to pursue that dream while making the most money, the Restaurant Brokers will teach you our “Rule of Three” for buying a Restaurant Franchise.

Here’s the typical story of a new operator. The restaurants brokers have seen this exact scenario hundreds of times. A new owner learns of a concept and is instantly excited about the potential and ready to build from scratch. A new build out for the simplest sandwich concept can easily cost the new operator $350,000 or more. Add in full service, specialized equipment, or a large space and this can quickly top the million dollar mark – before you open the door and make the first dollar.

Eager to experience his success, our hypothetical entrepreneur is sure he’s on the way to making millions. A simple review of the math however shows he’s paying franchise fees of more than 8%, marketing fees of 2%, and rent of 10 - 12% all before he buys the food and serves his first chicken wing and beer at an average check price of $12.00. After that first tough year or so he calls a restaurant broker to ask how much his business is worth. He’s not happy to learn that with a money losing operation, the most he can expect is about 25% of what he’s invested or roughly $125,000. That’s if he has a good franchise concept and a strong site.

A smart restaurant buyer picks up the pieces of the franchise and becomes owner number two. He’s still losing money but he only paid around $100,000 so his cost to acquire is much lower and the debt service is either very low or zero because he paid cash.

Our new entrepreneur is in year two so his sales are beginning to catch up with his fixed costs. By working hard at the business and operating it himself, he can probably go from losing money to making money. By the way, both owners have paid the franchise many thousands of dollars in royalties and marketing fees this entire time even while they lost money.

Another year into the business, this smart buyer realizes he didn’t get such a great deal after all. He’s in the black but when he adds up the time in the business against his return, he’s making less than the federal minimum wage. He calls the restaurant brokers to list the business. Sales have developed to the point that all fixed costs are covered and he’s in the black. With add backs, he’s earning $35,000 or so a year. Priced at three times earnings, it goes on the market for $115,000 and he nets $99,000.

This is when buyer number three steps in and hits his stride on this offering. He gets the deal when he is buying the restaurant franchise. The business is now valued on earnings, not hype. The sales cycle has matured and all costs are covered. Buyer number three has a real opportunity in his hands. He owns a good franchise brand. Sales are still growing and he is operating in the black. Since he didn’t overpay, the cost of repayment is minimal and the business can easily service the debt. While the first two buyers are telling their friends why they would never buy a franchise restaurant, the new owner has never been happier. This business cycle of these restaurant owners demonstrate why you should follow the Restaurant Brokers Rules of Three in Buying Franchise Restaurants.

Rule #1 -- Restaurant buyers never want to be first or second to own. Number three’s the lucky winner.

Rule #2 -- Buy close to the start of year three for the best opportunity. Sales are still trending up and it’s making money. Best of all, there’s still opportunity.

Rule #3 -- Never, ever pay more than three times owner benefit (that’s the amount of earnings plus take home pay for a manager or owner). Hold to that rule no matter how great a pitch you get from the franchise or the owner. Opportunity is a lottery ticket but none of us like the odds.

To see the Restaurant Brokers complete list of franchise restaurants for sale, visit this link online. 

Blog Byline Robin

 

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

Affordable Restaurant Franchises for Sale -- How do they rank? 

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 26, 2018 9:30:36 AM

In the market for a restaurant franchise?  Curious about how much money it takes?   Here's a recap from a recent article in Entreprenuer Magazine on those that require either the smallest amount of capital to launch or the least amount of cash on hand.  The good news -- half of all baby boomers and 16% of Millenials have the nest egg needed to start today!

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The path to business ownership feels a little more secure when you buying a restaurant franchise for sale versus a start up concept.  But how much money do you really need?  You may be thinking, “I can’t afford to become a franchisee, it requires hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars up front to join the brand.” While this is true for franchising giants like Taco Bell who requires $1 million all the way up to $2.5 million to become a franchisee, it is not a reflection of all of the franchises for sale in the restaurant industry. Read on as the Restaurant Brokers break down some of the least expensive franchises for sale.

  • Jimmy John’s – Jimmy John’s is taking the sandwich and sub world by storm due to their delicious menu offerings and their signature “Freaky Fast Delivery Service”, and it’s no wonder their franchises for sale are a hot topic. However, if you think that their popularity means that these franchises for sale are unattainable, think again. The franchise fee is a low $35,000, and you’ll need to prove liquid assets of only $80,000. The magazine Entrepreneur named this franchise as one of the top five best franchises to own, which is no surprise: in 2016 the average Jimmy John’s owner took home nearly $122,000.
  • Ben and Jerry’s – $100,000 is the magic number when it comes to the amount of liquid assets Ben and Jerry’s franchises for sale require to get into the game. You can join this Vermont born brand of franchises for sale for a franchising fee of just $37,000. With fun flavors like Cherry Garcia, Phish Food, Chunky Monkey, who wouldn’t want to dip into this affordable brand of franchises for sale?
  • Cold Stone Creamery – The second brand of frozen decadent treats to make our top five list of most affordable franchises for sale is Cold Stone Creamery. This giant has more than 1,000 locations across the county, as well as locations in 30 other countries! You will need to produce proof of liquid assets in the amount of $100,000 to enter into these franchises for sale opportunities, and come up with the low $27,000 franchise fee.
  • Little Caesars – For over 60 years, Little Caesars franchises for sale have been scooped up by entrepreneurs ready to serve up no fuss carry-out pizza and side items! It’s no surprise that in these six decades more than 4,500 locations have popped up across the globe. Little Caesars requires $100,000 in liquid assets, and if you’re a veteran you will be able to take advantage of the reduced franchise fee! Invest in one of the Little Caesars franchises for sale and you’ll be saying “Pizza, Pizza!” while you roll in the dough!
  • Subway – Subway franchises for sale are king on our list as the brand has locations almost everywhere – over 45,000 locations throughout the world to be specific. This sandwich giant requires $100,000 in liquid assets for new franchisees. Once you purchase one of the Subway franchises for sale, you can expect to join the ranks of the rest of the brands franchisees doing an average sales amount of $490,000 annually!

There you have it, finding affordable franchises for sale CAN be done, and it can be done with worldwide brands!   It looks like the magic number is the hundred thousand dollar mark.  How many people have that much?  A recent Bank of America statistic revealed that even Millennials are beginning to put that much money in the bank.  According to their survey,  "16% now have savings of $100,000 or more, double the amount of young people who had socked away that much in 2015."  Price Waterhouse Cooper says more than 50% of all baby boomers have more than $100,000 set aside.  Are you looking at your savings and ready to invest?  

You an go the route of a new business by purchasing a franchise brand like the ones listed above.  Better yet, you can buy an existing franchise for sale that's already up and running and generating cash flow!  The Restaurant Brokers have an abundance of franchises for sale on our website, including this Subway franchise for sale in beautiful Palm Beach County, Florida or this Ben & Jerry's franchise that's netting six figures toay.  If you’re ready to take the plunge into the franchise world, check out our website by clicking the link below!

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Topics: Buying a Restaurant

Restaurant Brokers Analyze Top Ten Restaurant Brands

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 21, 2018 9:58:17 AM

The Ten Most Valuable Restaurant Brands Report is Published. The Restaurant Brokers at We Sell Restaurant Review and in some cases, challenge the findings

Brand Finance has released their annual report on the world’s most valuable restaurants brands. The restaurant brokers are sharing their views on the top ten as reported by the group with our own insight. The full report can be downloaded at this link.

Brand Finance, the authors of the report, established their index over twenty years ago, in 1996. They state that their findings “put thousands of the world’s biggest brands to the test every year, evaluating which are the strongest and most valuable.”

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Do you agree with their assessment of the best brands? They view brand strength on a series of intangible measure relative to competitors. The criteria for making the list include metrics important to understand if you’re buying a restaurant. The Brand Value component is made up:

Enterprise Value – the value of the entire enterprise, made up of multiple branded businesses. Multi-unit brands like Yum go to the top of this category.

Branded Business Value – Defined by the group as the “value of a single branded business operating under the subject brand.” This is a key metric if you’re buying an existing franchise for sale like many of those offered by the restaurant brokers.

Brand Contribution – This is defined as the overall uplift in shareholder value that the business derives from owning the brand rather than operating a generic brand. Again, this is the difference between owning an independent restaurant for sale versus an existing franchise for sale unit.

What are the top ten most valuable brands? Here they are ranked in order by Brand Finance.

  1. Starbucks
  2. McDonalds
  3. Subway
  4. KFC
  5. Tim Hortons
  6. Domino’s
  7. Burger King
  8. Pizza Hut
  9. Dunkin Donuts
  10. Chipotle

Do the restaurant brokers agree with these rankings? While we don’t have access to the underlying data points and we do concede that it is a robust methodology. However, these restaurant brokers would challenge a few rankings based on what we are seeing in the industry.

For example, Subway retained the same rank on this list from 2017 to 2018. This is despite a number of issues we are seeing on the streets which include year over year sales declines at the unit level. This is due to increased competitive pressure in the fast casual world. In addition, the franchisee issues and actions taken in 2017, in these restaurant broker’s opinions, should have affected the overall brand measure. For Subway, we disagree with a number three rank, unchanged from the prior year.

For similar reasons, we struggle with the ranking for Chipotle. The chain has been plagued with a series of missteps and shut downs for reasons integral to their entire business model – their “clean” supply chain. For this reason, in a study of a brand where intangibles are part of the measure, we feel this should have moved them out of the top ten instead of having them retain the prior year performance.

Other overall observations from the restaurant brokers on this list include a notable exception of any of the brands pushing a clean eating or healthy lifestyle. Despite all the media push to make us believe that these concepts are winners, the brands on this list are deep fried basics or fat laden comfort food providers like KFC, Tim Hortons and of course, everyone’s guilty pleasure, pizza.

Should it impact your perspective in buying a restaurant? From a restaurant broker’s standpoint, many of these brands do not often come onto the market so this does support the study’s “best of” findings. Outside of Subway, most of these are only available for new development with existing franchises for sale being bought and sold internally among existing franchisees.

The desire to rank restaurant brands is a never ending pursuit, particularly with so many individuals interested in buying a restaurant. The restaurant brokers recommend you heed this advice like any other and weigh it against all other information when buying a restaurant. Whether a brand is “ranked” #2 or #3 by another survey is not a true measure of a single store operating in your market. It is one of the data points to consider along with store performance, location, and your overall customer experience with the brand.

For more information on existing franchise restaurants for sale, visit this link at wesellrestaurants.com

Topics: Restaurant Brokers

Three Tips for Selling a Restaurant - a Restaurant Broker's Guide

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 19, 2018 11:43:35 AM

If you are interested in selling a restaurant, these three tips provide you with a guide for the best results.  These basic concepts can help insure your desired outcome; selling your restaurant for the most money in the shortest period of time. 

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Tip #1 – Reveal that Dirty Laundry when Selling a Restaurant

Establishing a relationship of trust with your restaurant broker is a must when you are selling a restaurant. The relationship between you and your restaurant broker should be open and honest with a “no surprise” policy. It is important to make sure your restaurant broker is aware of every negative aspect of your business, so you must pull out all of your dirty laundry and reveal any liability for the sale to be successful.

Although you may feel embarrassed to tell your restaurant broker about a recent liquor license citation, a tax lien in the hundreds of thousand dollars, back rent that is owed to the tune of thousands of dollars, or even a lawsuit that you are facing from an employee, trust us, the restaurant broker has seen it all before. Talk about these issues openly so your restaurant broker can help you resolve the issues and move the deal to the closing table. Remember that the restaurant broker is highly skilled at dealing with these issues and they are equipped to help you through them one by one. It’s only when you attempt to hide issues like that that they become a reason the deal will fail.  Be open, honest and trusting with your broker and he or she should be the same with you. 

Tip #2 – Set Clear Expectations for Communication

Nothing is more disappointing than signing a listing agreement and having communication go silent.  However, remember, that restaurant broker is concentrating on selling your restaurant.  He or she is highly engaged every day with buyers, distributing information, doing calls and sending the would-be purchaser as a secret shopper to visit your business.  If it’s important for you to be looped in on all activity, set these expectations ahead of time.  Ask the restaurant broker what forms of communication they use and establish how you want to receive contact.  Do you want a text each time someone’s “hot” or do you want information weekly whether a buyer is fully engaged or not? 

Ask the restaurant broker to explain their typical style and form of communicating buyer interest to you as the seller.  Some restaurant brokers use high tech systems that automatically notify you by email when there has been an inquiry about your listing. Other restaurant brokers will simply call you when someone responds to the listing. Then there are restaurant brokers who are poor communicators and will never contact you.  By establishing what is important to you, trust is built between you and your restaurant broker.

Tip #3 – Make sure you have a Valid and Enforceable Agreement  

Formalize a listing agreement contract with your restaurant broker. Define exactly what it is that you are selling and which parties are authorized to sign so the deal can move to the closing table. This will help you to avoid any misunderstanding and make the transaction process go a lot smoother.

If there is more than one partner involved with your business, obtain their consent and sign a corporate resolution to sell in advance of the listing agreement. Following this process protects you in the event that one partner is not available or the closing or has a change of heart while everyone else is ready to sell.  Obtain a corporate seal on a document that confirms that all corporate partners have met and agreed to sell the business. Make sure this corporate resolution indicates a vote was taken to sell and designate a partner authorized to sign in the absence of the others. 

Further confirm the validity of your agreement by confirming the legal standing of your corporation.  You can visit the Secretary of State website to check the status of the LLC or corporation on the contract.  Make sure the latest corporate filing has been made.  Confirm your entity is in good standing and has not been administratively dissolved due to non-filing or non-payment.  An entity that is not in good standing cannot be a party to a transaction so this has to be handled before signing a listing agreement or purchase contract.

After following threes three tips for selling your restaurant, follow through on your daily responsibilities.  Run your business at the highest possible level.  Keep it staffed and continue doing the things that deliver a great return for you today. The last thing you want to do is pull back on marketing, staffing or quality while you are on the market.

Then trust the Restaurant Broker to do the job you hired them for.  Wait for the offer to come in and imagine the next step in your life after selling your restaurant. 

Interested in selling your restaurant?  Click this link for a free valuation of your restaurant from We Sell Restaurants. 

 

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Topics: Selling a Restaurant

Does Selling a Restaurant Require a License? You better believe it - in Many States

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 15, 2018 9:14:33 AM

If you’re selling a house, you know you need a real estate agent.  That means someone who has achieved educational requirements, passed significant testing, undergone a background check and reinvests each year in continuing education. Do you know that in many states, selling a restaurant also requires a license?

It’s true. For sixteen states, it is a specific and certain legal requirement that business brokers or restaurant brokers hold a real estate license. Failure to do so is a Third Degree Felony in the state of Florida and a misdemeanor in Georgia punishable with a fine of $1000 for each violation with each day that person practices as a separate violation.

As of this date, the following states both require a license and have been very consistent in requiring a real estate license in order to sell a business without any real estate. These include: Florida, Georgia, Colorado, California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Nebraska, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Alaska. In Illinois, the law is slightly different and requires that you register with the Securities Division of the Secretary of State.  That's a total of 17 states with a licensing requirements for business brokers.  In the event that real estate is involved, all fifty states require a license for the transaction to occur legally.

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What are these states hoping to accomplish by requiring a real estate license or other form of licensing for selling a restaurant?

First of all, each license holder is subjected to fingerprinting and a background check. If there are any convictions, clouds or issues arising from the background check, the applicant will not be able to get a license. If you consider that you’re about to spend several hundred thousand dollars at the advice of business broker, is it really such a bad idea to know if they’ve been convicted of fraud first?

Secondly, a real estate licensee is subject to specific educational requirements, including legal and ethics coursework. This education insures that the person holding money and advising you on buying or selling a restaurant understands the legal elements of a contract including, escrow, consideration, buyer and seller acceptance and much more. You would never dream of visiting an unlicensed doctor, why would you put thousands of dollars in the hands of an unlicensed person practicing business brokerage?

Lastly, a real estate license holder is held to specific standards for holding escrow money, advertising listings, the language and content of listings and in some cases, even the legal forms he or she may use for a business.

Each of these items protects the consumer, you, the person buying or selling a restaurant. In the event something goes wrong, the Real Estate Commission in each state has a full complaint and disciplinary process that can result in fines, loss of a license and other sanctions, including, for those operating illegally, criminal charges.

How do you know if your broker has a license to sell your business or help you buy a restaurant? Don’t bother trying to find out on the national listing websites. This restaurant broker did a quick check online and found that in Georgia, fully 50% of the “featured” brokers advertising on BizBuySell did not have a current Georgia real estate license.

The internet has made it incredibly easy to advertise, leading to what I personally believe is the “wild west” mentality where anyone gets listings anywhere. There are no checks and balances on the national listing websites so you will not be able to tell if someone is licensed. For this restaurant broker, who spends an incredible amount of time and money each year complying with educational requirements, paying for licenses and renewal fees and staying current in many states, it is inconceivable that others simply operate in the open without proper licensing. All listings on the We Sell Restaurants website are represented by duly licensed representatives for that state.

How do you confirm a business broker is operating legally? Fortunately, the real estate commission for each state has a simple process where you can verify licensing. I’m including links to each state below. Before you inquire on a listing for sale, take five seconds and confirm the person representing it has the legal right to do so.

What happens if you’re listed with an unlicensed broker? In my opinion, you should immediately terminate the listing. That person has no legal right to represent you and any agreement would be unenforceable in a court of law.

What if you are in contract on a listing with an unlicensed broker? Seek legal counsel. If the broker has mistakenly represented the he or she has the authority to represent your business, you may avoid paying commission. An unlicensed party to a contract making a false claim could easily void any requirement to pay on your behalf.

Lastly, if you discover a broker is unlicensed and representing a listing in a license state, take a moment and report this activity to your real estate commission. There are laws on the books to protect your community and while the real estate commission may not be swift in follow up, they will ultimately investigate any claim you file.

Confirm a real estate license for each state by clicking the link on each state below:

Robin Gagnon is the co-founder of We Sell Restaurants and a licensed real estate agent in Georgia and Florida. She is also an M.B.A. and Certified Restaurant Broker. Her firm represents sellers in forty states and has licensed brokers handling those transactions legally in all states.

 

Topics: Buying a Restaurant, Selling a Restaurant

Ten Most Popular Restaurants for Sale in February Offered by the Restaurant Brokers

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 12, 2018 7:58:02 AM

 

 

February, the month when love is in the air! The We Sell Restaurants website feathing restaurants for sale was feeling the the love! Curious to which restaurants were the most sought after? Be still your heart! We've got the answers. Franchises for sale and Italian restaurants for sale trumped all other categories. What else made it to the top? Read on to find out!

Franchises for sale are always a hit on our website, and February was no different. At the top of the franchises for sale category AND overall is this sandwich franchise for sale in Austin. Wondering what made this one come out on top? Originally priced at just $45,000, the seller dropped the price by $5,000 and is agreeing to pay half of the transferCapture-36.jpg fees!

The second most popular franchise for sale on our website was this Ben & Jerry’s in sunny Florida. There’s no questioning why this listing was so popular – the Ben & Jerry’s name speaks for itself. The owner of this one is scooping up six figures to take home each year as well! Our final franchise for sale in the top 10 is this sandwich franchise for sale in Texas that qualifies for SBA lending. This business is part of a major brand that is well-known and easily recognized! It’s easy to see why these franchises for sale came out on top!

Buyers can’t get enough of our Italian restaurants for sale, and pizza restaurants for sale remain the most popular in this category. At the top of the list was Bella Nonna Gourmet Pizza in Boca Raton – it was so popular that We Sell Restaurants Franchise Partner Ken Eisenband sold it last month as well! Don’t worry, we always have the most Italian restaurants for sale on our website!

Check out this Italian restaurant for sale in Austin with a beautiful build-out. Buyers love this one for it’s beautiful build-out! Rounding out the Italian restaurants for sale category is this pizza restaurant for sale in breathtaking Boynton Beach. This one was on the hot list for buyers in February thanks to the built-in drive-thru window, not to mention the top-notch location!

Valentine’s Day must have been on our buyer’s minds, because this listing for an upscale restaurant for sale was popular last month. Not only is this beauty located in the Sunshine State, but the landlord pays for ALL the building maintenance!

This Greek restaurant for sale on Las Olas garnered the attention of lots of potential buyers! Not only is the build-out flawless, but it also features a 4COP liquor license with a value of almost $150,000.  Restaurant for Sale on Las Olas Blvd. includes 4COP Liquor LicenseSpeaking of liquor licenses, this bar for sale also made the top 10! When buyers see a 100-seat bar for sale with a lease rate that includes utilities, it’s no wonder this piqued their interest!

Rounding out the February 10 most popular restaurants for sale is this restaurant space for sale in Austin. After a $50,000 price reduction, buyers saw that they could steal this one for less than $50,000, AND it’s located in booming north Austin!

There you have it, these were the 10 most loved restaurants for sale on the We Sell Restaurants restaurants for sale website in February. Ready to buy a restaurant for sale for yourself? Click on the link below to be taken to our restaurants for sale website. Thinking now is the time to sell your restaurant? The Restaurant Brokers can help with that, too! Click here to find out more about listing your restaurant for sale!Restaurants for Sale

Topics: Buying a Restaurant, Selling a Restaurant

Tips for business owners asking the question, “How do I list my restaurant for sale?”

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 8, 2018 3:19:38 PM

Restaurant owners across the country may be wondering whether they should sell or wait to sell their business. The answer depends on whether you have the skill and services of a professional restaurant broker working on your behalf. What does a professional restaurant broker do? He markets and promotes your listing to a database of prospects and seeks new buyers. He makes sure that anyone looking at your restaurant for sale meets the criteria to purchase by having available funds or equity. He ensures that your restaurant for sale name is not disclosed until a confidentiality agreement is in place.

Capture-27.jpgWhile “for sale by owner” is a tactic sometimes used in residential listings, it is not advised for when you are ready to list your restaurant for sale. Before you make the choice to sell single-handedly you should know this is a perilous process. The case for using an experienced restaurant broker couldn’t be clearer and here’s why.

The favorite word in the English language is free and that’s what a seller experiences with the services of a broker. They do the work up front to package and market the restaurant for sale with no pay off until the closing takes place. Very few business models provide full value up front with no investment by the customer. Another reason to use a professional on the job is to make sure you’re getting the most money for your business. The standard method to value your restaurant for sale relies on knowledge and skills to take apart your profit and loss statement and re-state earnings to make sure you are compensated for every dollar of revenue. An expert restaurant broker does this for a living.

Buyers looking for a restaurant for sale have to be bound by confidentiality and the broker ensures this as well as pre-qualifying them to buy. Legal documents are standard parts of their packages that are tried and true to protect sellers from buyers that want to look without buying or out of curiosity. Inexperienced brokers and owners trying to sell on their own are often tempted by those with a good story to provide the address before they are fully qualified. For the experienced broker, “no” is a way of life and that protects your business from countless damage.

Describing a restaurant for sale in glowing terms and at the same time disguising its real name and address is the experienced restaurant broker’s forte. For the inexperienced, it’s a skill that takes time to develop and for the owner trying to get their restaurant for sale sold, it doesn’t make sense to try. The marketing team at restaurant brokerage firms can write headlines to drive responses and phrase the ad to generate leads. They are a whiz at generating activity on restaurant for sale listings. All of this is free of charge to the business owner looking to sell their restaurant for sale.

Unsuspecting sellers often rely on the World Wide Web to post their restaurant for sale. This great resource is often used by brokers but inexperienced owners may have a more difficult time sifting through the inquiries to determine which are “real” versus the work of those who may have less than honest intentions. They may receive multiple inquiries from those who insist they have a buyer or others requesting financial statements. Before they know it they find their restaurant for sale is the victim of financial identity theft. Few sellers realize how dangerous it is to put their financial information in the hands of others who may then borrow against your tax ID number or use a business’s identity to get a loan against future credit card payments.

These are only a few of the reasons that listing your restaurant for sale should always involve the help of an expert restaurant broker. A broker represents your interest and guards your business as if it’s his own until the new owner is in place.

Are you interested in listing your restaurant for sale? The expert restaurant brokers at We Sell Restaurants are ready to get your business sold. Check out our website, www.wesellrestaurants.com, or click the image below to receive a free valuation of your business.New Call-to-action

Topics: Selling a Restaurant

3 Critical Points to Know About Landlords When Selling Your Restaurant

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Mar 3, 2018 4:43:20 PM

Planning to sell your restaurant? Have you already found a ready buyer? Before you get too excited, read what the restaurant brokers have learned over the years when it comes to landlords and lease assignments.

Critical Point # 1 – The Landlord is Not Your Friend – In fact, he’s now Your Enemy

In our book, Appetite for Acquisition, we devote an entire chapter to the premise that the landlord is not your friend. When you request a lease transfer however, you move into totally new waters. Not only is he not your friend; for most sellers, the landlord is now the enemy. Why is he the enemy? Think about the meaning of the term –

en●e●my (noun) a person who is actively opposed or hostile to someone or something.

At the time you are trying to exit your lease, your landlord, the same guy you have seen every month for the last several years or called up to discuss business with a dozen times is now, actively opposed to that action. Why? It’s human nature. He knows you. He’s seen you pay your rent. You’re on the hook to him for a personal guarantee and guess what – you pay him. He’s not sure the other guy will. He now wants to keep you on that lease for as long as humanly possible. You need to be smart and engage in a strategy early to stay ahead of the landlord for the lease transfer.

Critical Point # 2 – Don’t Bring a Knife to a Gun Fight

Landlords have office buildings full of legal staff and attorneys trying to figure out ways to protect their own self-interest. Just because your local rep is someone you know and like doesn’t mean he or she has anything to do with the transfer.

The landlord’s attorneys are fighting to retain you on the lease as a guarantor and fully liable, years after you leave the business. They are fighting to retain your security deposit. In some instances, they are fighting to keep from assigning the lease because it has a favorable term or rates remaining. Trying to negotiate for yourself against a pack of lawyers representing a landlord is like the old adage of bringing a ‘knife to a gun fight.” You need fire power. You need someone who will fight back for your best interest.

In most cases, the restaurant brokers are sad to tell you; that means you need to spend the money to get an attorney involved. If it costs you $3000 to get representation to fight back against a bully landlord on a personal guarantee, that is much cheaper than being on the hook for $300,000 if the person you assign the lease to goes belly up after two years.

Photographic Coffee Fact Facebook Post-1.pngCritical Point # 3 – Watch for Dirty Tricks

In the opinion of this restaurant broker, landlords are the spawn of the devil (just kidding – sort of). Landlords are now bringing on a whole new bag of dirty tricks on transfers. A lease transfer is a courtesy that we are now seeing landlords turn into profit centers. Assignment fees are sky rocketing from $1500 to $5000 per transaction. We have seen some language forcing a percentage of the sales price as a transfer fee (one client had to pay $18,000, a percentage of the sales price to transfer a lease). Many landlords won’t even do the assignment any more but pull out a “consent to assign form” which forces sellers or buyers to get the assignment drafted and have to hire an attorney. All of these dirty tricks are ways to drive up revenue for the landlord.

In many cases, they can charge what they want. Far too many sellers did not spend enough time on lease review before signing. They have agreed to terrible terms and/or payment of the landlord’s “reasonable” attorney fees without capping them. Now landlords are cashing in. They’ve figured out how to make all the money to pay those offices full of legal staff they need to fight you. Now a lease transfer document that takes ten minutes to prepare cost you $3500 to $5000 in attorney fees  to the landlord plus attorney fees on the other side to have someone protect your interest.

Recent other dirty tricks by landlords include keeping security deposits. For fifteen years we’ve seen virtually every lease assignment convey the rights to the seller’s deposit to the buyer. Then the buyer reimburses the seller at closing. Now, in alarming numbers, we’re seeing landlords demand new security deposits from buyers while making sellers fight them for return of the own.

Other dirty tricks – saying one thing and papering another. A recent transaction with a landlord in Atlanta turned up a lease assignment that bore no resemblance to the original deal terms. He delayed and delayed before providing the lease assignment at 5:36 PM on a Friday night for a Monday morning closing. He obviously didn’t think the restaurant brokers would read it over the weekend and catch his actions but he was wrong. Watch for late delivery of assignments and read them thoroughly before signing. If you need to postpone the closing, then do it. It’s too important to just accept what landlords give you.

Another recent dirty trick.  A landlord trying to collect fees from a prior assignment at a new closing. We recently did a deal with Weingarten and the prior assignment fee was unpaid. It was owed by the prior assignor. Did the current Assignor or Assignee have anything to do with the last fee? No. Of course not. Did the landlord try to hold up the transfer to get the fee? They certainly did. It took an attorney telling them they had no legal right to do so to back them down.

Selling your restaurant is an exciting time in your life. Be extra cautious in dealing with your landlord to be sure it does not turn into a long term nightmare that costs too much and leaves you with lingering liability for a lease.

Do you have stories of dirty tricks by landlords?  Reply to our blog posting. 

 

Topics: Selling a Restaurant