Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

We Sell Restaurants 2019 Wrap up of Restaurants Sold Beats National Average

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Feb 3, 2020 1:36:58 PM

BizBuySell's Insight Report is out and business transactions overall fell by 5.5 percentage points last year.  At the same time, Restaurant Brokerage firm We Sell Restaurants report the market for restaurant sales is strong and transactions grew by 22.1%.  The firm saw impressive increases in the earnings and sales volume of restaurants changing hands. 


With 2020 officially underway, We Sell Restaurants is weighing in on the recently published BizBuySell Insight Report which is the lead form of information on business sales nationwide. 

According to the 2019 BizBuySell Annual Insight Report, “While small business sales still remain at historically high levels, 2019 transactions took a five percent dip from record-setting 2018 levels.”

They report 9,746 closed sales were reported by brokers in 2019, a 5.5% decrease from the 10,312 deals reported in 2018.

We Sell Restaurants is reporting 22.1% gains over the prior year in transaction count, a statistic beating the national average by a factor of more than 5 to 1.

The BizBuySell Insight report indicates that, while “transactions dipped slightly in 2019, the financial health of small businesses increased with the median revenue of a sold business at $567,000 up seven percent from 2018’s 531,653.

In addition, they reported cash flow from businesses sold in the six figure range and up two percent from the prior year at $122,506.  Overall, they say “While 2018 set the record for most transactions, 2019 has been characterized as having the most financially strong business transactions.”

How did restaurants fare in this market?  BizBuySell says overall, "Restaurants helped pace the strong 2019 financials while experiencing more than 3 percent growth in both median revenue and cash flow.”  Restaurants represented 23% of the total businesses showing up in the hands of new owners.  That means 2,242 restaurants changed hands last year nationwide out of the total of 9,747 small businesses sold.

By contrast, the nation's leading restaurant brokerage firm, We Sell Restaurants is reporting median cash flow for our sellers was up 18.2% versus the national average of 3%. 

We are also reporting that for our sellers, the average sales volume over the prior year increased 60.1% versus the national average of 6.6 percentage points reported by BizBuySell, ten times better than theirs for the year.   

Eric Gagnon, President of We Sell Restaurants, said of the results, “Buyers paid premium pricing for the best listings in the market.  That means they wanted higher value listings that were posting strong sales and earnings.”

BizBuySell indicated overall gains in the fourth quarter where “transactions bounced back to positive growth” and “levels remain historically high.”  BizBuySell’s Insight Report found that Q4 2019 for all businesses outperformed Q4 2018, with 2.3 percent more transactions taking place.  They report that the median selling price grew 8.7 percent,

The fourth quarter of 2019 for the nation’s largest Restaurant Brokerage brand, We Sell Restaurants, saw the count of transactions up by eight percentage points roughly 3 and half times the 2.3 national gain cited by BizBuySell.  However, We Sell Restaurants saw the average selling price of restaurants for sale increase 62.2% over the 2018 selling price averages versus the national median selling price gain of just 8.7%. 

On an earnings basis for fourth quarter, the BizBuySell Insight Report found median cash flow was up 2.4 percent.  For We Sell Restaurants transactions completed in fourth quarter, cash flow was an average of $116,310, a very strong reflection of earnings far above the six figure mark.

The Insight Report also reported on sales by market though they limited this to cities with at least 50 transactions.  Notable increases were seen in Richmond Virginia, Baltimore, Detroit, San Antonio, Dallas and Houston who all experienced gains of more than 23 percent.

We Sell Restaurants performed some demographic analysis on buyers.  Their buyers in 2019 were found to be 47.2%  Caucasian while 52.8% were from other ethnic groups.  Buyers were predominately male with 89% of all transactions acquired by men and only 11% by women.  In the breakdown between Franchise or Independent restaurants, 67% were franchise locations while 33% were independent restaurant for sale stores.

We Sell’s average days on market was 204 days an increase over the prior year of 10%.  We Sell Restaurants co-founder, Robin Gagnon attributed the longer days on market to the count of franchise locations sold noting, “We count our days on market from the date the listing agreement is signed until the closing occurs.  For many franchise locations, where training is required prior to the closing and with long lead times to accommodate the corporate requirements, this can dramatically affect the number of days on market.

What’s on the horizon for 2020?  We are taking a cautiously optimistic approach by balancing continued strong economic news with the regulatory impact of minimum wage increases as 24 states raised their local minimum on January first of this year. The negative impact on the restaurant industry of the minimum wage increases will, in these Restaurant Broker’s opinion, be offset by the overall gains the economy will experience with the trade deals signed into law with Mexico and Canada and pending for China. 

Meanwhile, a BizBuySell survey of business brokers found 75% expect more Baby Boomers to sell their business in 2020 than did in 2019.  They say, “With current listings showing even higher revenue than at the same time last year, up 2.8% to $534,558, demand is likely to follow as buyers leap at the chance to acquire such strong performing companies.”

Eric and Robin Gagnon expect strong demand in Q1 and Q2.  Robin Gagnon says, “With the uncertainty of the impeachment process behind the country and despite the political turmoil, the economy continues to turn in excellent results which the restaurant industry benefits from. We expect continued strong sales that will outperform 2019.”

To see the strongest inventory of restaurants for sale online visit our website.

The BizBuySell Insight Report is a nationally-recognized economic indicator that tracks the health of the U.S. small business economy. Each quarter, BizBuySell analyzes sales and listing prices of small businesses across the United States based on approximately 50,000 businesses for sale and those recently sold, reporting changes in closed transaction rates, valuation multiples and other economic indicators for the small business transaction market. Closed transactions are reported to on a voluntary basis by business brokers nationwide. Each report includes real small business data on over 70 major U.S. markets and across 65 small business industries.

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

We Sell Restaurants Brokers Achieve Multi-Million Dollar Status with GABB for 2019

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Dec 17, 2019 9:09:18 PM

Twenty-two members of the Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) were named to the 2019 Million Dollar Club and We Sell Restaurants had 100% representation in the Multi-Million Dollar Club for the year. 

The GABB Million Dollar Club Awards is a program that spotlights industry sales professionals recognizing business achievements of professional Business Brokers for successfully closing business acquisition transactions totaling one million dollars or more.

We Sell Restaurants’ brokers were recognized as Multi-Million dollar producers.  In addition, Steve Weinbaum and Robin Gagnon were recognized among the top five Business Brokers for their performance and multi-million dollars in business sales.  Eric Gagnon, President of We Sell Restaurants was also named to the Multi-Million Dollar club and said of the group's achievements,  "This was an outstanding result for the team and in particular, Steve Weinbaum.  His performance was recognized as the third highest in the state."  He added.  "To see every member of the We Sell Restaurants team meet this important milestone of multi-million dollars in sales is very exciting." 

4801 award winner-1STEVE WEINBAUM of We Sell Restaurants is a licensed real estate salesperson in Georgia and Florida and has been a Certified Restaurant Broker for more than four years with the ability to sell restaurants throughout the United States. He graduated from SUNY Albany and has over 30 years of experience in business analysis, marketing, sales, relationship management and contract negotiations. He is a member of the GRA, GABB and BBF. Steve can quickly and accurately review and evaluate financial data. This skill enables him to provide sound valuation feedback and business guidance. His years of experience negotiating complex business-to-business contracts translates to high closing rates. Steve has experience with Casual Dining and Quick Serve Franchise brands, growing both sales and customer engagement. As a Certified Restaurant Broker, Steve is closing an average of two businesses per month and is skilled in complex lease negotiations. His success is highlighted by the personal attention he devotes to each client.

4803 Robin G winner-2

ROBIN GAGNON CFE, MBA, CBI is the co-founder of We Sell Restaurants, the largest restaurant brokerage firm in the nation and the only franchisor dedicated exclusively to restaurant sales. A Certified Franchise Executive, she is one of the most prolific Restaurant Brokers in the industry and is a specialist in franchise resales. In addition, she has completed study, testing and experience requirements by the International Business Brokers Association to be awarded the credential of Certified Business Intermediary or CBI. Robin is the co-author of Appetite for Acquisition, an award winning book for restaurant buyers. She serves on the Women’s Franchise Committee of the IFA and is past chair of the Women’s Franchise Network Atlanta and current member of its Executive Board. Robin holds an MBA and graduated first in her class where she was named "Outstanding MBA” from her business school.  She is a lifetime emeritus member of the Appalachian State University Business Advisory Council and founding member of the Entrepreneurship Board. Robin is a licensed real estate salesperson in both Georgia and Florida and member of the Business Brokers of Florida and the GABB. She has been named a National Industry Expert by Business Brokerage Press in Franchise Resales. She teaches the only Certified Restaurant Broker training offered nationwide as part of the We Sell Restaurants franchise brand.

4811 Eric G award-1ERIC GAGNON is the founder and President of We Sell Restaurants and Eric is an industry expert in restaurant sales and holds the Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation from the International Business Brokerage Association (IBBA).  A frequent writer and speaker in the restaurant industry, Eric co-authored Appetite for Acquisition, an award-winning book on buying restaurants. Eric was named a Fellow of the IBBA in 2018 for his outstanding contribution to the business brokerage industry and was a recipient of the Outstanding Producer Award given by the International Business Brokers Association for multiple years. 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 nearly two decades ago. He oversees the development and training of Restaurant Brokers nationwide and has created the industry's only Certified Restaurant Broker coursework and testing program. Mr. Gagnon is a past GABB president, a Lifetime Member of the Million Dollar Club and received the GABB Phoenix Award, presented to a select few who have received the Million Dollar Award for more than a decade.  He is also a member of the Business Brokers of Florida (BBF). Eric is a member of the International Franchise Association (IFA) where he serves as a board member for VetFran, a strategic initiative of the IFA and the Franchise Education and Research Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of Directions for the Southeast Franchise Forum (SEFF). Eric has also been designated a Business Industry Expert by Business Brokerage Press.

The Georgia Association of Business Brokers (GABB) is the state’s only professional organization dedicated to buying and selling businesses and franchises.  The GABB’s website t lists hundreds of businesses and franchises for sale throughout Georgia in a variety of fields, including automotive, business services, child care, cleaning, construction, electronics equipment, fitness, flooring, floral, food, gas stations, landscaping, manufacturing, medical, shipping, restaurants, retail, security, signs, and businesses related to the internet.

We Sell Restaurants is the nation's largest restaurant brokerage firm in the nation, specializing in professional services for buyers and sellers in the restaurant industry. 

Topics: Buying a Restaurant, Restaurant Brokers, Selling a Restaurant

Best Restaurants for Sale in October of 2019 - We Sell Restaurants Recaps the Top 10

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Nov 5, 2019 3:25:58 PM

What were the best restaurants for sale across the nation in October of 2019?  They ranged from the first place position in Austin Texas where a second generation space drove activity, to the tenth position in Alpharetta Georgia that still beat out 525 other restaurant for sale locations to hit the top ten. 

That means the activity on these listings pushes them into the top 2% of all restaurants for sale for the month when gauged by online views, signed confidentiality agreements and outreach to the nation's only Certified Restaurant Brokers. 

Was the activity focused on franchise or independent? Were high volume or low volume the high traffic creators?  70% of the listings were in Atlanta or the Atlanta metro this month. They all represented unmatched traffic and an unrivaled appetite for acquisition of restaurants that are available in the market today.

We reviewed the views, calls and feedback from our nearly 80,000 buyers in our database to determine which are the "best restaurants for sale in the month of October, 2019.

Listing ID:7227 Restaurant Broker Dave Duce    
Huge Restaurant for Sale - Second generation location in Austin Texas.
Lease: expires November 2020
Monthly Rent: $6700,
Inside Sq. Ft. 4266,
Outside Sq. Ft. 0


Dave Duce
(512) 773-5272

The top business listed for the month and the highest amount of activity was recorded on a second generation space in Austin Texas listed by Franchise Partner and Restaurant Broker Dave Duce.  This location, priced at $90,000 is fully equipped and ready for a new owner.  Dave expects an offer any day so don't delay if you have interest in this one.

Listing ID:6718 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
Pizza Franchises for Sale 3 Units Doing $1.7 Million in Sales
Lease: Varies By Location
Monthly Rent: $16850
Inside Sq. Ft. 8000
Outside Sq. Ft. n/a


Steve Weinbaum
(770) 714-4552

Three pizza franchises for sale listed by Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum in Memphis Tennessee doing $1.7 Million in sales represent an incredibly strong opportunity and pushed this restaurant for sale franchise group to the top of the list.  Memphis is a good market and this store group is still waiting on the right purchaser. 

Listing ID:7205 Restaurant Broker Robin Gagnon    
Restaurant Space for Lease in High Income Alpharetta - Strip Center
Lease: TBD
Monthly Rent: $TBD,
Inside Sq. Ft. 1400,
Outside Sq. Ft.


Robin Gagnon
(404) 800-6700

A restaurant space for lease in high income Alpharetta market was the third most popular listing for the month.  The 1400 square foot location resulted in plenty of clicks, views, calls to place it high on the list of most viewed restaurants for sale or lease this month.

Listing ID:7193 Restaurant Broker Eric Gagnon    
Incredibly Quaint Cafe for Sale in High-end Village Center
Lease: July 2022
Monthly Rent: $5600,
Inside Sq. Ft. 1800,
Outside Sq. Ft.


Eric Gagnon
(404) 800-6700

Atlanta continued to represent well on the list of concepts selected by our buyers this month with a cafe for sale in Atlanta for just $99,000 taking in a lot of views and activity on the month.  The 1800 square foot location with a rent of $5600 is ready for new owners. 

Listing ID:6202 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
Restaurant and Bar For Sale in Johns Creek, Keep or Convert
Lease: 2 years remaining on initial term, with three 5 year options
Monthly Rent: $5600,
Inside Sq. Ft. 4069,
Outside Sq. Ft. 500

City:Johns Creek

Steve Weinbaum
(770) 714-4552

Another Fulton County Georgia location in Johns Creek gathered plenty of views.  This restaurant and bar for sale that's ready to keep as is or convert is priced to move.  The 4069 square foot location offered by Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum is sure to be in contract soon with one of our restaurant buyers. 

Listing ID:7208 Restaurant Broker Robin Gagnon    
4,400 SF Restaurant Space for Lease in Mega Center - National Tenants
Lease: TBD
Monthly Rent: $TBD,
Inside Sq. Ft. 4400,
Outside Sq. Ft.

City:Johns Creek

Robin Gagnon
(404) 800-6700

Another lease location in the Johns Creek (Fulton County - Atlanta) market made the list.  That demonstrations high demand for second generation lease space where talented individuals want to bring their own concept to the location.  This 4400 square foot space inside a mega center scored plenty of views, clicks and calls. 

Listing ID:6712 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
Mediterranean Restaurant for Sale in Alpharetta, GA
Lease: 2 years remaining thru Feb 2021
Monthly Rent: $3000
Inside Sq. Ft. 1700
Outside Sq. Ft. 600+


Steve Weinbaum
(770) 714-4552

A Mediterranean restaurant for sale, also in North Fulton, garnered plenty of views.  This location is priced to sell at under $50,000 and it's no wonder it attracted the views.  The 1700 square foot restaurant for sale, offered by Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum,  is sure to be in a contract before long. 

Listing ID:6728 Restaurant Broker Dave Duce    
2nd Generation Pizza Business for Sale in Austin, TX - Priced to Sell!
Lease: expires Aug 2025
Monthly Rent: $4600
Inside Sq. Ft. 1300
Outside Sq. Ft.


Dave Duce
(512) 773-5272

The list started with Austin Texas and returned  to that location with the eighth most popular restaurant for sale on the list.  This second generation space is equipped for a pizza concept and more and has rent of just $4600 per month. 

Listing ID:7171 Restaurant Broker Robin Gagnon    
Cafe for Sale - Great Beltline Location Generates $700,000 on limited menu!
Lease: September 2023
Monthly Rent: $9669.07,
Inside Sq. Ft. 2126,
Outside Sq. Ft.


Robin Gagnon
(404) 800-6700

A cafe for sale on the Altanta belt line made waves this month and brought in not only views, calls and more.  This cafe for sale ended up in a multiple offer situation and is set for closing at the end of the month. 

Listing ID:7192 Restaurant Broker Eric Gagnon    
Catering Business for Sale in Alpharetta -- Pennies to Acquire Kitchen!
Lease: Dec 31 2019 - 1 - 5yr Opt to Renew
Monthly Rent: $3600.00,
Inside Sq. Ft. 1800,
Outside Sq. Ft.

City: Alpharetta

Eric Gagnon
(404) 800-6700

Last but not least, is another location in high income Alparetta, a suburb of Atlanta. A catering business for sale in that market was one of the top 2% of all businesses in our inventory for the month.  

It was a record breaking month of calls, views, signed confidentiality agreements and inquiries from our buyers.  Our listing inventory is just at $150 million and includes over 535 listings across the nation.  All of our restaurant for sale listings can be found online at this link

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

Atlanta Restaurant Sales Are Trending Up - Sales Increased 4.18% over Last Year

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Oct 1, 2019 10:31:59 AM

Restaurant Volume (1)

The latest report from NetFinancials is out and they say that Atlanta restaurant sales volume increased 4.18% this year when measured against the same time frame in 2018. That's a fantastic result that We Sell Restaurants is excited to see.  In addition to overall strong sales, the report shows the results are strong across the board.  The positive sales growth was observed in 73% of the 102 independent Atlanta restaurants that are part of the quarterly survey conducted by the firm.  

They draw their data from 102 non-franchise restaurants in the market.  The total volume covered by this report was $160 million for year to date 2019.  It included Atlanta restaurants in all segments, fast-casual, casual and fine-dining open at least eighteen months.

How does that compare?  

One of the best resources for tracking national restaurant sales data is TDn2K’s Black Box Intelligence.  They reported that year to date sales on the national level are only .5% ahead of last year.  That means Atlanta restaurant sales are far outperforming the national trend by a difference of more than 4 percentage points which indicates the health of the industry in this market. 

The same firm reported that national restaurant traffic counts remain in a decline.  However, as We Sell Restaurants continues to interact with sellers, we see more and more market share shifting to delivery options like UberEats, DoorDash and similar models.  For that reason, store traffic count reductions must be viewed through the lens of a dramatically changing consumer model who is ordering in versus dining in.

The Black Box index is based on weekly sales from more than 170 brands that operate more than 31,000 locations and generate nearly $72 billion in annual sales.

The president of NetFinancials, Lori Johnson, was quoted in the report saying, "The first quarter of 2019 saw a tremendous increase in sales due to the Atlanta Superbowl festivities. The national spotlight was on Atlanta and visitors were given the opportunity to experience the food culture locals love. Not surprisingly Q1 2019 saw an increase in sales at most restaurants surveyed, a startling 78%!

Was all the increase attributed to the first quarter?  No.  The report goes on to state that second quarter sales were up 1.72% versus a national average of plus 1.0 percent. 

There continues to be growth in new restaurant openings in the Atlanta market along with ever increasing transactions for those buying and selling a restaurant from our database.  The economy overall was strong in the market with NetFinancials further reporting job growth among the industry in June.  They cite the addition of 9,000 new hospitality jobs in the market or more than 18% of the jobs added during the month.

The table from the NetFinancials report is shown below.  


Eric Gagnon, president of We Sell Restaurants said of the latest results, "There is no doubt the entire hospitality industry received a strong boost from the Superbowl.  We are glad to see that the trend for second quarter continues to outpace the national results. Our restaurant buyers and sellers continue to be bullish on results and are finding new opportunities each day."

Our list of Atlanta Restaurants for sale can be found online at this link along with resources for buying and selling a restaurant. 

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

E-2 Investment Visas for Buying a Restaurant - Frequently Asked Questions

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Sep 25, 2019 11:30:00 AM

Have you seen a restaurant for sale with the words "E2 Visa Qualified' and wondered what it means?  We'll take you through the ins and outs and frequently asked questions on investment visas for buying a restaurant or any other business. 

What is an E2 Visa?

This refers to a foreign Investor Visa.  This allows foreigners to live anE-2 _d work in the U.S. if they buy a qualifying U.S. business or create one and are a national of a qualifying treaty country.   With the current immigration  climate, it's a way to gain access to the U.S. as the State Department literally puts those with visas at the front of the line. 

How do I know if the U.S. has a treaty with my client’s country?

Check this link on the State Department website for a list of countries. Some countries such as Canada, Colombia, and Austria issue a five-year Visa.  Others issue them for a shorter period of time.  Countries like Ecuador, Jordan, Ukraine, and Thailand, issue only a 12-month visa however, these are renewable. 

How do I know if the business qualifies for an E-2?

  • The price must be right.  The process requires that you make a "substantial investment"
  • You must have employees. It cannot be a one person business.
  • It must be an active not a passive business investment like real estate. 
  • The funds must be invested from a legal source
  • The funds are invested or will be actively invested shortly
  • The restaurant buyer must be seeking to come to the U.S. to develop their business
  • Ownership must be at least 50%
  • The business can be unprofitable but it must have "potential" to make a profit in future as demonstrated by a business plan.

The Certified Restaurant Brokers at We Sell Restaurants screen the restaurants for sale that qualify for an E2 Visa.  They can help you with the ones that will meet the criteria when buying a restaurant.  One additional caveat, not all franchise brands will allow for visa candidates.  They will require proof of residency prior to buying a restaurant.

How long can you investors stay in the U.S. after buying a restaurant? 

The depends on the country's treaty agreement with the United States.  Typically they are 5-year visas, but when you initially enter the U.S. you get a 2-year status. There is no limit to the amount of extensions, but if a visa expires and you need to travel, you will usually need to renew it six months before the date that it expires.

When do the E-2 investors get social security numbers and driver’s licenses?

Those buying a restaurant with an E2 visa can apply for a social security number after they enter the U.S. Once they get a social security card, they may apply for a driver’s license. Spouse and children can get social security numbers but without a work permit, their cards may say not valid for work.

Why go for an E-2 Visa when buying a restaurant?

  • The ability to travel freely in and out of the U.S.
  • The ability to work legally in the U.S. with the E-2 company only
  • The opportunity to remain in the U.S. for a prolonged basis in E-2 visa status if you qualify
  • Dependents can accompany you while working in U.S. and spouses and children under 21 an apply for a work permit
  • Dependents can attend school in U.S. However, once they are 21, they will need an F-1 visa

    What are the Disadvantages of an E-2 Visa when Buying a Restaurant?
  • Limited to specific treaty countries
  • Must work for E-2 business
  • Approved in two years status increments and some countries have 1 year E-2 treaty visas
  • E-2 beneficiary must always have intent to be in the U.S. temporarily during E stay

Overall, buying a restaurant and acquiring legal residency in the United States through a visa is a great opportunity for those seeking to relocate to our great nation.  If you need more assistance on this topic, contact one of our Certified Restaurant Brokers, or see the listings that qualify when buying a restaurant at this link. 


Robin Blog Update

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

3 Main Mistakes in Due Diligence When Buying a Restaurant

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Sep 11, 2019 12:23:46 PM

The most common mistakes we see with those buying a restaurant is failure to understand the due diligence process. Due diligence is undertaken to confirm the items learned during the initial discovery phase of the business.  For those buying a restaurant, the issues fit under three major headings:

Due d
  • Too Soon
  • Too Much
  • Wrong Focus

Let’s look at these one at a time.

Too Soon -

When buying a restaurant, some take the approach that they want to see everything, and they want to see it before any form of an offer is made.  As Restaurant Brokers, we’ll receive a laundry list of items before a deal even goes into contract. Taking this approach, however, can hinder your ability to purchase.  Here’s why.

Sellers are cautious by nature.  They want to avoid revealing too much about their business until the buyer feels more “certain” to them. They trust the broker but aren’t sure, (YET) whether they have faith in the buyer to keep this information confidential.  Even though a confidentiality agreement may be in place, they are thinking of the people who work in the store, their customers and their current livelihood.  All of these are put at risk if someone doesn’t honor the terms of the confidentiality agreement. 

It’s too soon if you start pushing for items like tax returns and 941 filings before a deal is even accepted.   There hasn’t been enough time in the transaction to develop the trust needed between the parties.  It will happen; just not at the outset. 

To avoid the problem of “too soon,” it’s better to go into an agreement to purchase, with a due diligence period and a fully refundable escrow if you are not satisfied.  If the books don’t bear out in the due diligence period, you have the option to terminate or renegotiate the pricing or terms.

Asking for sensitive data like tax returns and 941 filings before a deal is even accepted is often a path to seller resistance, buyer stubbornness and ultimately, failure in buying a restaurant.


Too Much

There is a checklist for buying a business floating around on the Internet that is ten pages long and has about 100 items on it.  I know this because I’ve been presented with the exact same checklist dozens of times. 

This list asks for items that have very little to do with buying a restaurant.  I’ve received it on franchise transactions multiple times.  This list asks for terms of the intellectual property owned and all trademarks and patents.  HINT:  The franchise brand owns the intellectual property and the rights to all trademarks and patents.  It also asks for the minutes from every shareholder meeting.  HINT:  The average small business being transferred has one meeting on the books – the one that established the legal entity.  There’s nothing else.  It also asks for contracts with every vendor.  AGAIN – the average main street business doesn’t have vendor contracts.  If they are a franchise, they typically have one, their franchise agreement. 

If I receive this checklist after I’m in contract, it tells me that as a business broker, I need to do a better job to setting expectations and providing good stewardship over the deal.  I need to make sure my buyers seek my guidance about what they should be looking at in buying a restaurant.  If I receive this checklist before a deal is even made, I know I have a buyer who doesn’t really understand what he is buying and probably needs some more education about the industry and small businesses in general. 

If your interpretation of due diligence is to Google - - “Buying a business Due Diligence Checklist” and present your broker with a ten page document that isn’t relevant, it’s TOO MUCH, the second mistake made by most buyers.


Wrong Focus

Along with too soon and too much, the third mistake is “wrong focus.” Some of the items cited above are examples of items that are not relevant to the transaction.  Another area where buyers spend too much time and money are in areas they can’t change.  One example is the franchise agreement review.  It is rare to never that a franchisor will change the terms of their franchise agreement.  It simply doesn’t happen.  All 1,000 units operate on a similar plane and they simply will not exempt any one party from certain element. 

When a buyer spends time hiring an attorney to review the franchise agreement, knowing that it cannot be changed, it’s the wrong focus.  The restaurant buyer should be looking at whether a franchise model is the right fit for him or her.  If he wants to change the menu; a franchise is not a good fit.  If he or she wants to reduce the royalties to earn more money, it won’t happen.  Don’t waste precious dollars focusing on the items you cannot change.  Instead, focus on the items in due diligence open to negotiation or change.

These three mistakes in due diligence can cost you the restaurant you want to buy.  Avoid pursuing due diligence too soon.  Be careful of requesting too much and lastly, watch your focus.

Topics: Buying a Restaurant, Restaurants for Sale

Cost Versus Risk - “Pros & Cons” of Buying vs Building a Restaurant

Posted by Steve Weinbaum on Aug 26, 2019 1:51:44 PM

In my line of work, as a Certified Restaurant Broker, I speak to hundreds of folks every week looking to own their own Restaurant, Bar, Café, or Treat Shop.  Many are looking to purchase an established operating and profitable business while others are looking to launch their own. This important decision applies equally to independent restaurants as well as franchises, Fast Casual as well as Full Service…  At the end of the day, I believe strongly that the decision comes down to two key factors; Cost and Risk

 Consider the Cost

Building out a new restaurant from scratch can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take many months to complete.  During that time you may be paying rent, likely be paying off a loan, while not realizing any revenue.  Once you open there will be “ramp up” time establishing your business/brand in its new location.  When buying an existing independent or franchised restaurant, your budget and earnings goal dictate the cost.  Established restaurants are valued and sold based on current revenue and Owner Discretionary Earnings (ODE).  Depending on the restaurant’s financials, you may be able to acquire an open and operating restaurant for much less than the cost of building out a new one.  Most Franchise websites will tell you how much is will cost to build a new location from scratch.

Buying a Restaurant Versus Building a Restaurant

Consider the Risk

Building a new independent or franchised restaurant does not guarantee success.  Over 50% of new restaurants close within the 1st 3 years.  The average lease term is 5-10 years as is the loan it took to build that restaurant or franchise.  While there are highly successful restaurants that were established three years ago or less, the odds are against you.  When you buy an existing independent or franchised restaurant, you typically have access to years of financial history.  You can examine key factors such as rent expense, cost of goods, salaries, all as a percent of sales, to determine the profitability of the restaurant.  This is a powerful advantage that puts the new owner in the driver’s seat.

Consider the Reward

For many of us, owning our own business, being our own boss and in control of our financial well-being is an aspiration.  Unfortunately, we don’t always have the stomach or are in the fiscal position to take that leap.  But consider this…the average successful independent restaurant sells for 2-2.5 times verifiable owner earnings.  Franchised restaurants sell at closer to 3 times earnings.  If you need to replace an income of $100,000 per year, which would put you in the to 10% of all US wage earners, you should be able to find an established and profitable independent restaurant for under $250,000 and a Franchised restaurant for under $300,000.  SBA lending is an option so assume you will need approximately 30% of the purchase price for acquisition and initial working capital.  “Do the Math…” for as little as $60,000 you can own a business that provides you with a six figure income!  Sometimes the current owner will even consider Seller Financing.

Consider the “Risk vs Reward

Ultimately, everyone’s individual situation will dictate how they go about making the leap to restaurant owner.  For some, the risk of starting up a new independent or franchised restaurant from scratch is appealing.  For most of us, however, our current financial responsibilities combined with a need for a secure and guaranteed income makes acquiring an existing restaurant a much more viable and palatable option.  We Sell Restaurants is the largest restaurant broker in the country with close to 500 restaurant for sale listings available throughout the United States.  We would be happy to help you find the perfect restaurant to support your lifestyle and financial goals.

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Topics: Buying a Restaurant

Best Restaurants for Sale in July of 2019

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Aug 2, 2019 6:58:14 AM

The best restaurants for sale offered this month by We Sell Restaurants recorded had some of the highest views, calls and overall activity we've ever seen for an individual listing. 

Opportunities in Florida dominated the top three positions on the list for the month led by a Naples restaurant grossing $5.2 million which started a bidding war among interested parties.  The final outcome was a business that went far above asking price with multiple offers after spending just a few days on the market. This demonstrates the power of having a top tier business with excellent books and records and a verifiable performance.

We Sell Restaurants measures the best restaurants for sale by consolidating their views online, the direct outreach to our Certified Restaurant Brokers, signed confidentiality agreement and the inquiries from all our social media channels. 

Here's how the full list of the best restaurants for sale breaks out with our monthly top ten.This Naples Florida restaurant kicked off the most activity ever recorded in the shortest period of time and is in contract with multiple offers, including backup offers.

Listing ID:7004 Restaurant Broker Dave Whitcomb    
Naples Restaurant for Sale Grossing $5.2 MM - Owner Income 7 Figures!
Lease: expires June 30, 2021
Monthly Rent: $9941,
Inside Sq. Ft. 3774,
Outside Sq. Ft. seating for 25 on patio deck


Dave Whitcomb
(239) 300-5041

From a seven figure listing price to a low cost entry, another Florida restaurant for sale, offered by Certified Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband in Coral Springs also hit the top of the chart. This fully equipped and inexpensive business is ready to convert into a new concept and is currently a fast casual format.
Listing ID:6849 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
Fast Casual Restaurant for Sale in Coral Springs – Fully Equipped
Lease: To be negotiated
Monthly Rent: $5620,
Inside Sq. Ft. 1400,
Outside Sq. Ft.

City:Coral Springs

Ken Eisenband
(561) 350-3365

Another low price entry, also in Florida, continued their domination on the chart this month.  This small business in Jupiter Florida is ideal for a change of concept.  A very low monthly rent of just $2124 makes this "starter" restaurant easy to operate and "right - sized" for a budding entrepreneur.
Listing ID:6997 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
Restaurant for Sale in Jupiter, Florida – Bring Your Own Concept
Lease: Expires April 2022
Monthly Rent: $2124,
Inside Sq. Ft. 1250,
Outside Sq. Ft.


Ken Eisenband
(561) 350-3365

Finally breaking out of the southern coast, an opportunity in the Atlanta Metro suburb of Suwanee Georgia generating six figures got a lot of looks and calls for the month.  Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum is representing this opportunity that has nearly six figures in cash flow and is selling for less than $100,000.  The business is 3300 square feet and the owner will train on the recipes and process for a new owner.
Listing ID:6428 Restaurant Broker Steve Weinbaum    
Earn Around SIX FIGURES in Suwanee GA, Priced Under $100,000
Lease: 3 years + 5 year option
Monthly Rent: $4000,
Inside Sq. Ft. 3300,
Outside Sq. Ft. n/a
Steve Weinbaum
(770) 714-4552
A multi-store opportunity in Charlotte North Carolina took one of the top positions for the month as the best restaurants for sale.  This two store package which includes two health focused franchises for sale offers very high earnings that exceed a quarter million a year!  That motivated our determined restaurant buyers to call, text, email and click on this great package which is still available.
Listing ID:6938 Restaurant Broker Justin Scotto    
Two Health-Centered Franchises For Sale, $288,000 Owner Benefit
Lease: 7 year term
Monthly Rent: $4646.40,4220.00,
Inside Sq. Ft. 1815,1060,
Outside Sq. Ft.


Justin Scotto
(704) 609-4460

From East to West, the best restaurant for sale opportunity west of the Mississippi was another multi-unit opportunity.  The three-store package, represented by Certified Restaurant Broker Jeff Marcus, has $3.5 million in sales on the books and six figure earnings.  That got the attention of many buyers reaching out for a reason to buy big cash flow.  SBA lending opportunity on this strong performer also made it a hit.
Listing ID:6742 Restaurant Broker Jeff Marcus    
Three Smashburger Franchises For Sale In Colorado - $3.5Million Sales!
Lease: Expires 02/28/2023
Monthly Rent: $7325.66,7596.91,12959.81,
Inside Sq. Ft. 2232,2214,2582,
Outside Sq. Ft.


Jeff Marcus
(970) 373-8205

Florida was back in the mix with a four store multi-unit package of franchises for sale in South Florida.  The units are in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach and Lake Worth.  The Sunshine state, with no income tax and a business friendly environment to operate, attracts a lot of buyers from out of state for relocation.  This listing is still available and waiting for the right restaurant buyer.
Listing ID:6384 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
4-Store Package! Franchises For Sale in South Florida - National Brand
Lease: five years plus five year option
Monthly Rent: $5900,5900,3900,4500,
Inside Sq. Ft. 1539,1500,1450,1560,
Outside Sq. Ft. 300

City:Delray Beach | Boca Raton | Boynton Beach | Lake Worth

Ken Eisenband
(561) 350-3365

Austin Texas made the cut with some of the best restaurants for sale.  A business offered by Certified Restaurant Broker Dave Duce in Austin Texas made the phone ring and the website clicks come to life.  Restaurants for Sale in Austin have some of the shortest times on market in the entire We Sell Restaurants inventory and we expect this well priced opportunity to go into contract any day now.
Listing ID:6878 Restaurant Broker Dave Duce    
Gorgeous Restaurant available in Central Austin! Won't Last Long
Lease: expires March 2023 + 5 yr option
Monthly Rent: $8999,
Inside Sq. Ft. 2350,
Outside Sq. Ft. 500


Dave Duce
(512) 773-5272

A second Austin opportunity also made it onto the best restaurants for sale list.  This coffee shop, again, priced to move, demonstrated enough activity to push it ahead of 400 other listings to make the best restaurants for sale list for the month.  Downtown Austin is thriving and this location is sure to move quickly.
Listing ID:6284 Restaurant Broker Dave Duce    
Amazing Coffee Shop location available in Downtown Austin!
Lease: negotiable
Monthly Rent: $5500
Inside Sq. Ft. 1750
Outside Sq. Ft. 350

City: Austin

Dave Duce
(512) 773-5272

The final location on the list of the best restaurants for sale went back to Florida.This lunch and breakfast cafe near the ocean in Pompano Beach attracted those in the market to move south!  Franchise Partner and Certified Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband is still accepting offers on this 2,160 square foot location that is fully equipped, open and operating and offered at very compeitive pricing.
Listing ID:6319 Restaurant Broker Ken Eisenband    
Lunch and Breakfast Cafe for Sale in Broward County - Near Ocean
Lease: Expires December 31, 2020 plus five year option
Monthly Rent: $5473.80
Inside Sq. Ft. 2160
Outside Sq. Ft. 500

City:Pompano Beach

Ken Eisenband
(561) 350-3365

That sums up the best restaurants for sale in a month that is traditionally slower for buyers due to summer vacations and less focus on business.  July 2019 broke the mold on that thinking and generated more buyer inquiries than normal for this time period.  

Florida remains red hot with temps in the 90's and restaurant locations that's can't be beaten but We Sell Restaurants has listings in more than 30 states nationwide online at our powerhouse website.  Click any of the links to listings above to see more.

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

Warning: Bars for Sale indicating "Cash" -- Do You Buy?

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jul 15, 2019 2:29:48 PM

Bars for sale with cash on the books are promoting earnings that are usually not provable. With a bar, the term, “you get exactly what you pay for,” holds true. Pricing and earnings are difficult to prove resulting in the age-old struggle of how to set pricing on a "cash" business.

We Sell Restaurants would tell you that the only means to value a bar for sale company is based on earnings. Earnings are based on a profit and loss statement on the business and items that benefit the owner directly, called add backs. The sum of these are called Seller's Discretionary Earnings. This method, referred to as the Income Valuation Approach to valuation doesn't work when a bar owner states they have “cash earnings" they want to monetize in the sale.

warning_ bars for sale with _cash_

Buying a bar or pub for sale with verifiable earnings is the answer. The pricing may not seem as great a "bargain" as but if you are a buyer who favors a less risk adverse strategy, it’s the only way to go. Something advertised at a good price with "cash" earnings means there is simply no way to verify that number as a purchaser.

Since pricing is based on earnings that can be proven, any restaurant broker that takes some amount of funds done “off the books” will soon be overpricing the business. The only means by which the value would be right is if the earnings had been authenticated and the purchaser kept the company operating in the same manner he took over. That may mean running afoul of the law since potentially, earnings and revenue are misstated.

Another problem with a valuation that includes “cash” earnings is that the seller has already been overpaid on his unreported income. He (or she) got a huge benefit since he's avoided all the reasonable and customary taxes (state income tax, federal income taxation and more). Now he wants to sell that at a premium.

If the deal looks too good to be true, it likely is and that’s the case with “cash” off the books. Getting to the ideal price is critical. The seller of the bar or pub for sale has operated on a less than candid basis with his franchise (if he has one), the State Alcohol licensing jurisdiction, the state sales tax board and the Internal Revenue Service. It is a little stretch to now believe he or she is going to be forthright with you, as a buyer in an arm’s length transaction. Outside of coming to the business as a worker for a series of months, it is not possible to set up the "actual" earnings.

Trusting in transparency from a Seller that avoids certain tax requirements and doesn't report all his earnings is a difficult task. Should you convert the cash earnings onto the books, you're looking at an instant hit to earnings. The national, state, and sales tax implications alone could drive the operation to a negative earning scenario.

Brokers often promote these listings on the internet with caveats such as “cash to be shown by the seller.” Other restaurant brokers don't take these listings or simply offer them as asset sales since they can't be confirmed.

We Sell Restaurants has a simple recommendation when you buy a bar or pub. Pay for what you can see. Then you avoid the issue entirely and don’t overpay for earnings that never materialize on the back end.

Ready to see our bar for sale opportunities? Click the link below for the latest listings.


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Topics: Buying a Restaurant

Recently Sold Firehouse Subs of Fredericksburg

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jul 15, 2019 11:30:00 AM

We Sell Restaurants closes on another restaurant for sale transaction; the resale of the Firehouse Subs franchise in Fredericksburg, Virginia

We Sell Restaurants is pleased to announce the sale of Firehouse Subs located at 1036 Warrenton Road in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Asif Siddique of Arlington, Virginia acquired the company from Sivasankar Beeravalli. The transaction was handled by Robin Gagnon of We Sell Restaurants.


Firehouse Subs was founded by two firefighter brothers that refer their growth as a “controlled burn” due to the numerous locations in our nation. Firehouse Subs is a nationwide brand with more than 1,000 units nationwide, including three in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The buyer, Asif Siddique, is thrilled to be the newest franchisee owner in the Fredericksburg market with the Firehouse Subs brand. He shared his thoughts on the transaction saying that We Sell Restaurants provided, “extraordinary services during the closing of the business deal.” He went on to say, “You took (the) right amount of time to understand my business needs as well as guided me to the correct solution.  Your constructive attitude makes you the finest agent in the industry.”

Robin Gagnon is the Co-Founder of We Sell Restaurants and the firm's Chief Marketing Officer.  One of the most prolific restaurant brokers in the industry and a franchise resale specialist, she holds the Certified Business Intermediary (CBI) designation from the International Business Brokers Association or IBBA and is an MBA. She has been named a Certified Franchise Executive or CFE by the International Franchise Association and designated a National Industry Expert by Business Brokerage Press in Franchise Resales. 

Robin Gagnon said of the transaction, “It was my greatest pleasure to work with Asif on this transaction.  He set the standard for all my buyers to close on their deals.”  The Firehouse Subs brand is a strong prospect for resales with many of our buyers.  Their in-depth training and support make it a winning opportunity for those entering the food and beverage industry for the first time.

Other franchise restaurants for sale can be found directly online at We Sell Restaurants is the country's leading restaurant brokerage focused on those buying, selling or leasing a restaurant.first time.


We Sell Restaurants is the nation’s largest restaurant brokerage firm, specializing in restaurants for sale, restaurants for lease and franchise restaurant resales.  Found online at, We Sell Restaurants offers services in 45 states nationwide.

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Topics: Buying a Restaurant, Restaurants for Sale