Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

Restaurant Sales in a Trump Economy -- What's the Impact?

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Feb 16, 2017 8:24:51 AM

The new White House is making a number of changes that affect the restaurant industry.  What will this mean to restaurant sales?  Here are key areas where the restaurant brokers see impact for the industry.   

President Trump2.jpgNew Labor Secretary was In and now he's Out

If you haven't been living under a rock, you've heard that Andy Puzder, the CEO of CKE Restaurants was nominated to the Trump cabinet as Labor Secretary.  As of yesterday, that nomination was withdrawn.  That's a shame since having someone from the industry was seen as a win for those of us in the restaurant business.   

At a recent apeparance at the Restaurant Finance & Development Conference Puzder told the crowd, “We have a government-mandated restaurant recession."  He went on to say, “The government did not intend this result. But it shows what happens when government tries to manipulate the economy. You cannot mandate the benefits of economic growth without actual growth.”

The overall concensus from the industry was that his nomination was a powerful one and most were cheering the decision to bring him onto the cabinet.  Now we'll take a "wait and see" approach to see what background the next nominee has and hope that will bring good news for restaurant sales.  There are several "hot button" restaurant issues in the pipeline for this administration including:  joint employer issues for franchisors, minimum wage laws and of course, Obamacare. 

Supreme Court Pick 

President Donald Trump recently nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the vacant seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.  If approved, Gorsuch, who has served on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit since 2006, would replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.  

The nomination was applauded by the National Restaurant Association, which recently asked the Supreme Court to hear a challenge to existing laws that prevent cooks and dishwashers from sharing in tip pools. 

Angelo Amador, executive director of the NRA’s Restaurant Law Center, described Gorsuch as “an experienced and knowledgeable judge who had extensive bipartisan support when he was confirmed to the 10th Circuit unanimously. We look forward to again having a full bench in the U.S. Supreme Court to decide cases of critical importance to our industry and the economy in general.”

Hospitality attorneys see the choice of Gorsuch, if confirmed by the Senate, as generally positive for employers. Since this pick is pending approval by the House and Senate, we'll sit back and see if he's able to make it through an increasingly divided Washington.

Corporate Tax Rate

All signs point to reduced corporate taxes under President Trump.  If he keeps his word on this promise, which was reiterated last week, we could be looking at serious growth in bottom lines for corporations which are mostly, small businesses like your local restaurant owner.  The stock market has moved into uncharted territories on the strength of this committment from the commander in chief.  With more money in the pockets of Americans, we are sure to see higher restaurant sales.

Immigration

Those fighting the new administration and its resolve to protect the borders are trying to bring the fight direct to the restaurant scene.  Today there is a nationwide "sick out" called for with illegals failing to come to work aimed at closing the doors of restaurants.  There are several celebrity chefs who are voluntarily shuttering today in solidarity (Rick Bayless for example).  This hot button issue seems to have reached a fevered pitch for a President most Americans elected based on a law and order approach.  The complextities of this one and its ultimate affect on restaurant sales is yet to be seen.

Obamacare

President Trump has already advised the IRS not to levy the Obama Care imposed $2500 fines against those filing 2016 returns that don't include health insurance.  The Congress will be addressing a repeal (according to some) or a revision (according to others). Either way, the industry is in critical need of a new look at legislation that brought tremendous new costs onto their books and into the households of most Americans over the course of its implementation. 

Small Business Optimism

Optimism on Main Street has soared in the President Trump's election.  The National Federation of Independent Business' survey said small-business sentiment for December hit its highest level since 2004.  That was an increase of 7.4 points in December to 105.8, up from November's 98.4. That was the largest month-over-month index change since it began in 1986.

How will the same index look today?  That's an unknown with President Trump facing an intrangient Democratic party and collusion among some long time government employees and hold-overs from the Obama administration.  Let's hope the good news from this report continues since members' perceptions were that business conditions would improve and that accounted for 48 percent of the month's increase.

What about restaurant sales?  The same survey said sales expectations also increased by 20 percentage points, as did the percentage of owners who believe now is a good time to expand, which is up 12 points.  The National Restaurant Association also reported optimism in December's Restaurant Performance Index. The industry expanded in December, albeit at a slower rate than in November. The association said that the index, a monthly measure of the state of the industry, closed out 2016 at 100.5, down slightly from 100.7 in November.  The association considers the industry to be in expansion mode when the index reaches above 100.

Operators are also “cautiously optimistic” about business conditions, with 33 percent saying they expect conditions to improve in the next six months. Only 15 percent expect conditions to worsen.

Restaurant Sales

What will restaurant sales look like under a Trump economy?  We have to see how much of his agenda is actually permitted to proceed and if he can truly get through the impasse being created in Washington.  It's clear that America sent him to Washington to make changes to the status quo.  At only three weeks in office (really just three weeks?), heads are spinning from his attempt to move forward on an aggressive agenda that includes all these points affecting restaurant sales.

All of these items will have implications for buying and selling a restaurant but if January and early February are any indication, the number of buyers in the market ready to get into the business are hitting record numbers and transaction counts for restaurants sold will hit record heights.  The restaurant brokers are setting new records with transactions for this year more than 65% ahead of last year.

Topics: buying a restaurant, selling a restaurant

Valentine Love Translates to Restaurant Sales - Where are You Dining?

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Feb 14, 2017 7:19:00 AM

 

shutterstock_247214032.jpg

More than half of all Americans (54.8%) plan to celebrate Valentine's Day this year and they will rack up an amazing $19.8 Billion (with a B!!) dollars in spending according to the National Retail Federation.  It's no wonder that restaurant sales will also see a sweet amount of business that day! 

It's the second most popular holiday for dining out behind Mother's Day.  Who doesn't think of Valentine's Day as a candlelit dinner event?  The National Restaurant Association estimates that roughly 25% of us will dine out on Valentine's Day and I can assure you these restaurant brokers will be part of the crowd.   

When choosing a Valentine's gift, it looks like food is truly the way to a man or woman's heart.  Forget the age old claim that diamonds are a girl's best friend.  When the National Restaurant Association surveyed individuals to ask what their love interest should give them for Valentines, nearly a third of those surveyed by the National Restaurant Association said they want restaurant gift card.  That was followed by the traditional standbys -- jewelry, cloths, flowers, chocolate and perfume.  

Where's everyone eating?  Remember, the restaurant brokers said it's all about the candlelight dinner and those surveyed agree.  They told the National Restaurant Association they want pick their companion’s favorite restaurant follwed by 20% who choose a restaurant for a romantic atmosphere.  

Valentine's is not a holiday where promotions are top of mind.  Those responding to this national survey say their last choice is a restaurant offering special menus or promotions, restaurants picked by their companion, or a restaurant they haven’t been to before.

Each city has their own best Valentine's Day dining options.  If you want to check out what the experts are saying, Gayot has produced a city by city peek at the best Restuarants for Valentine's Day at this link and they are listed by city.  In Atlanta, where We Sell Restaurants launched their brand, we see a lot of our favorites on the list.  Gayot begins with Babette's Cafe at 573 N. Highland Ave, NE in Midtown.  Cafe Alsace in Decatur (121 E. Ponce de Leon Ave.) is second on the list.  La Grotta at Peachtree House Condominium (2637 Peachtree Rd. NE) also makes the list.  Intimate dining for romance-bent couples or small groups of friends are both possible in the former Quinones at Bacchanalia space at Star Provision (1198 Howell Mill Rd. NW) on the westside makes the cut along with Ray's on the River at 6700 Powers Ferry Rd. NW.  Ray's will also top the best brunch choices for Mother's Day and the restaurant brokers have enjoyed this one many times. The last restaurant in the Gayot top ten best restaurants for Valentine's Day is Restaurant Eugene at 2277 Peachtree Rd. NE.  What's your favorite romantic restaurant?  

As a restaurant owner how do you prepare for the busy holiday? It all starts with planning. Plan early with your team and brainstorm ideas. Established timeline and schedules that will have everyone on tract for the second busiest day of the year. Along with planning comes communication. They only way a team can be well prepared is to be looped in to what the plans are. Set expectations up to and including the busy day. Menu prep is another hard decision that needs to be made. Are there select dishes, special pricing, limited availability? As part of the planning make sure that add to the calendar when a food order should be placed for any special holiday items. Of course don't forget to market your holiday specials. Valentine's Day tends to be busy a week up to the actual day with approximately 30% more guest. Most people tend to plan last minute for Valentine's Day so focusing on a shorter marketing strategy can pay off big.

You may accommodate to those that have been there time and time again. Sell a gift card for a future romantic visit. Have those once a year specials could draw new or repeat clients in. If everything is planned, prepped, announced and marketed correctly the results can be a restaurant earning of 3 times.

 

Topics: selling a restaurant

Robin Gagnon to Speak on Panel for the Biggest Franchise Event of the Year

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jan 28, 2017 6:36:00 AM

The biggest and most important franchise show of the year, #IFA2017, is coming to Las Vegas Jan. 29-Feb. 1. Over 4,000 of the nation's top franchise professionals will gather and the Restaurant Brokers will be part of the mix!    

The IFA or International Franchise Association convention is billed as "the premiere forum to build relationships and foster new ideas for growth." The event is filled with 50+ educational sessions, interactive roundtables, in-depth summits and game-changing mini-super sessions, #IFA2017 is planned to give attendees the latest trends, news and inside tips in the areas of franchise relations, management and leadership, marketing financing, multi-unit growth, international growth, franchise development, social media and more!

Robin Gagnon, MRobin Alone at No Mas 2.jpgBA and Certified Restaurant Broker will be speaking on a panel held on Monday January 30 from 2:45 to 4:15 titled "Franchise Resales Are Booming – Do You Have a Plan for Your Brand??  The session is described in the IFA promotional materials as follows:  

"Franchise resales are booming; the life cycle of brands, an aging population and appetite for inventory are driving franchise resales to unprecedented levels.  Franchisors and franchisees need to understand the process.  Franchisors should be part of the conversation about how their units are being presented, who’s doing the selling and any use of their intellectual property; franchisees need to understand valuation and the transfer process.  Developing a franchise resale plan is critical to successful transfers.  Learn everything you need to know about franchise resales in this educational session."

In addition to Gagnon, the panel will be moderated by Clarissa Bradstock, CEO of Any Lab Test Now.  Other speakers for the Monday session include Cassidy Ford, Franchise Development Manager, Huddle House, Inc. and Alyson Ekmark, Compliance Manager, Zaxby's Franchising, Inc.

Gagnon said of the panel, "Franchise resales are absolutely one of the largest issues facing franchise brands.  We work with many different franchisors to develop common strategies.  We help to protect them and make sure that as stores in their system turn over, a stronger candidate takes the place of someone ready to retire or moving out of the industry.  Our knowledge and trust in the franchise brands help us execute to their vision."   

Gagnon will also be in attendance at the Women's Franchise Committee meeting where she is a member serving until 2019.  Formed in 1996, the Women's Franchise Committee (WFC) is dedicated to inspiring and encouraging women in franchising by creating a network of business professionals dedicated to strengthening the success of women in franchising. The WFC has created a number of programs and resources in order to achieve this goal, ranging from "how to" guides and conferences to local networking chapters. Gagnon chairs the Women's Franchise Network  - Atlanta Chapter. 

For more information on the International Franchise Association, visit this link. 

Topics: selling a restaurant

Newest Certified Restaurant Brokers Launch Raleigh Franchise

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jan 23, 2017 11:19:56 AM

The newest crop of Certified Restaurant Brokers have completed training at We Sell Restaurants University.  Co-Founders Eric and Robin Gagnon trained the talented team from Raleigh North Carolina who are opening the office this week.

Katy Sizemore, the firm's latest franchise partner, in the Triangle area breaKaty .jpgks ground this week in the Raleigh market.  A successful business executive and entrepreneur with more than a decade of business experience, Katy has been licensed in the state of North Carolina as Real Estate Broker since 2007.  Her skills include closing hundreds of deals for both commercial and residential real estate.  Her hands-on experience serving both buyers and sellers make her a perfect fit as the Franchise Partner for the market.

A graduate of North Carolina State University, Katy is proud to call Raleigh, North Carolina home and loves serving the business needs of the growing market. Katy has played lifelong competitive sports and is an avid tennis player. 

Katy is joined by Certified Restaurant Broker Jordan Powell.  Jordan graduated from North Carolina State University’s Poole College of Management with a degree in Business Administration and a concentration in marketing.  While attending N.C. State, Jordan served on the Executive Board of the American Marketing Association.  Jordan has strong social media skills that allow her to effectively communicate online and in person.  Her interpersonal skills help buyers and sellers in achieving their business dreams.              


Jordan Receives Certified Restaurant Broker Designation.jpgThe two experienced a world class training program led by the nation’s most experienced, knowledgeable and productive Restaurant Brokers including four phases of study. 

In the first phase, they relied on the award-winning book Appetite for Acquisition as the textbook and companion piece to a 50-page manual with exercises, questions and information focused on developing knowledge about the mindset of the buyer.

In Phase two of We Sell Restaurants University, the team concluded a week-long practicum and webinar series on the proprietary software tool developed by the firm; the B.O.S.S.©.  The Broker's Operations and Sales System (the B.O.S.S.© ) is the nation’s most advanced web platform for business brokerage.  The proprietary tool developed by We Sell Restaurants functions as a customer relationship management (CRM) tool, a seller and listing live database tool and the only “Hot Report” and “Broker’s Dashboard” in the nation, tracking the most important activity and deals for a broker to focus on and giving real time feedback on Key Performance Indicators. Students engage in daily webinars and apply their knowledge with exercises and testing that assure their competency on the platform before moving forward in the program.

Both acheived the status of Certified Restaurant BrokerTM passing their practical and written exams to be granted the coveted title held by only a select few.  

The Phase Three training was offered for the first time in Florida and consisted of a classroom curriculum delivered firsthand by Eric and Robin Gagnon, the country’s preeminent RESTAURANT BROKERS.  The 40-hour training included blended learning methods such as role playing, videos, exercises, restaurant visits and slideshow delivery.

In launch week, the two newly minted Certified Restaurant Brokers will graduate to market support by the brand’s founder, Eric Gagnon.  The three will be making connections and calling on customers in the Raleigh market this week as the practice launches.

Sizemore and team will receive ongoing support from the franchise founders in the form of weekly Mastermind sessions.  These offer a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a one on one session.  

For more information on buying a North Carolina restaurant, visit Katy's Certified Restaurant Broker bio page.  

 

 

Topics: selling a restaurant

Selling Your Restaurant?  Better Check These 3 Clauses in Your Lease

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jan 17, 2017 6:00:07 PM

Ready to sell your restaurant?  Sales are up and profits are record breaking so in your mind, it seems like smooth sailing.  Not so fast.  The restaurant brokers want to make sure you check that lease (multiple times) to be sure you understand the three following clauses which can make or break your deal to sell your restaurant. 

Assignment and Subletting

The authority to assign and sublet is usually restricted to the landlord.  This includes if you sell your corporation (a common question) or change the ownership structure.  The bottom line is this. Landlords want to control who is leasing their property. 

not your friend.jpgStudy the assignment and subletting language in your lease before you open the door on negotiations.  While the most common language prevents any form of transfer without landlord consent, there are exceptions.  Occasionally clauses allow for what’s termed a “permitted transfer”.  In this instance, it does not require the landlord consent.

These permitted transfers or what some term an “auto-assign” clause are most frequently seen with franchise brands.  They give you the authority move the deal forward without engaging with the landlord.  Examples of this type of language include clauses that say you have the right (as the tenant) to assign to an approved franchisee of the same concept. Similar language may say the lease may be assigned if the buyer has a net worth equivalent to your own (the restaurant seller) net worth. 

If you’re not sure what your lease is saying, it is worth paying your attorney or asking your restaurant broker to weigh in on the language.

Most leases have language saying that a landlord may not “unreasonably withhold” consent.  While this language sounds good in theory when you’re selling your restaurant; in practice, it’s pretty benign language.  In our experience, you (or your restaurant broker) is still going to have to jump up and down and make a dozen calls to get the lease assigned.

Usually any lease assignment will require the consent of the landlord and even if he agrees to assign, don’t assume this will mean you are released from your personal guarantee.  Most landlords will do everything possible to retain as many guarantors as possible on the lease.

Renewal Options and Renewal Periods

As restaurant brokers, we commonly review leases on behalf of our clients and always point out when a renewal must be executed.  The most common language in leases states you must notify the landlord of your right to renew no more than 180 days prior to termination of the current lease term.  Read this carefully.  This gives you a short period that is strictly defined for when you must exercise your option to renew.  We are increasingly finding that landlords are allowing leases to lapse and then playing games with tenants for additional rent because they “lost” their option rates by not renewing on time. 

You may remember that the restaurant brokers are strong advocates that the landlord is not your friend (see our book Appetite for Acquisition) and the chapter by the same title.  With many older leases set to renew at below market rates, landlords are taking the position that if you forget to tell them, they certainly won’t remind you.  That makes your option to renew invalid.  They can choose to non-renew you, or in the case of a few clients we’ve seen recently, they will renew but at new (higher) negotiated rates.  Make a reminder in your calendar now to check out the renewal time period for your lease and make sure you renew or non-renew on your own terms.  If you’re selling your restaurant, we must have years left on the lease to satisfy both the SBA lender and most clients buying a restaurant.

Market Rate

The last item to check on your lease are any references to "market rent."  As restaurant brokers we really don't like this term when it comes to our sellers and buyers.  What is market rate?  Essentially, it's whatever the landlord wants to determine it to be.  We have yet to see a landlord negotiate this to be anything less than a healthy increase over what you're paying.

If you're selling your restaurant, study the lease first or engage a restaurant broker to do this for you.  There three make or break terms may affect your ability to sell the restaurant.

 

Topics: selling a restaurant

Latest Franchise Deals Inked for 2016 Compiled by the Restaurant Brokers

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jan 3, 2017 7:01:00 AM

As we ring in 2017, several groups made quick bids to get deals in contract and announce franchise expansions just before 2016 ended.  The restaurant brokers have combed the latest news articles and carefully read the Franchise Times deal update to uncover the lastest franchise units announced across the nation.  What's on tap for 2017?  Here's your first look at hundreds of new franchise units either acquired or signed in late 2016. 

One of the latest large deals announced was with GPS Hospitality, the Atlanta, Georgia based franchisee group.  They are expanding their national footprint with the acquisition of 194 Burger King Restaurants into five states including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi. With this acquistion, GPS Hospitality has doubled its size and is on track to meet its goal of $1 billion in company sales in 10 years.

Bar Louie, a self described, "neighborhood bar and eatery with handcrafted cocktails" has around 110 units in operation.  They just inked a new three unit develop
Growth among pubs.jpgment agreement in the Lexington and Louisville markets.  The same group is currently building out a unit in Lexington Kentucky. The restaurant brokers are seeing renewed interest on all franchise fronts in the Kentucky markets which, while not as large as other markets, can often cement a mid-tier brand as a major player.  Two other concepts that feature full service in a neighborhood bar style also announced plans to expand. 

Walk-On Bistreaux & Bar will be introducing it's brand to eight new markets in four states, increasing Walk-On's franchise locations to 50. These new locations are Auburn and Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Gainesville, Pensacola and Tallahasee, Florida; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. In June of 2017, a Zachary, Louisiana franchise location will be opening.

Big Whiskey’s Franchising LLC has announced the signing of its newest franchisee in Kansas City.  Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar currently operates 3 restaurants in Springfield, one each in Ozark & Branson and will open its first franchised location in Bentonville AR in February 2017. Big Whiskey’s began franchising in late 2015.

A similar style concept BreWingZ Restaurant and Bar opened its second location in the San Antonio area at 5630 Walzem Road.  This marks the family friendly restaurant chain's 23rd location. BreWingZ is based in Houston Texas.  .

The trend continues for neighborhood full service wtih bars.  North Carolina based Hickory Tavern is opening its newest South Carolina location and their 25th restaurant overall. The new restaurant, located along the Grand Strand at the Coastal North Town Center.  This expands the count to six stores in South Carolina.  Their Hilton Head location opened earlier this year. 

Still another concept in a similar vein, Scotty's Brewhouse is also growing.  Due North Holdings, LLC, has acquired the Indiana-based, Scotty's Brewhouse. Scotty's Brewhouse, has expanded to 17 locations in Florida, Indiana, and Illinois. Due North Holdings, LLC is planning on expanding the current Midwest region and is looking to bring the concept to the Southwestern US including Arizona within the next year.

What's driving all this growth among full service Americanized 'pubs' and neighborhood bars?  The restaurant brokers think a number of operators are seeing thinner and thinner margins in fast casual and relatively low check averages.  Add full service to the equation and increase the tab with alcohol sales at higher profits and suddenly a unit can go from $500,000 in volume to a million in volume.  We'll withhold judgement on how much saturation the market can handle.  This report alone has highlighted seven concepts all vying for growth in the same space.  If this trend takes off, it will certainly squeeze independent operators of the actual neighborhood pub out of the mix especially as they face higher occupancy costs and deal with the additional regulation thrown at them in recent years.  

Moving on from full service to Mexican Fast casual, both El Pollo Loco and Del Taco are seeing expansion. as Mexican remains a top favorite of American consumers.  A franchisee partner, Poco Loco's, LLC,  is expanding in Utah with a restaurant in West Valley, the fourth location in Utah. . In addition, Chicken Time I, LLC, an affiliate of Henry Investment Group, opened its second El Pollo Loco location, in Hurst, Texas. Sierra Pollo Inc opened its sixth location, this one in Bishop, California.

Del Taco isn't being left out of the Mexican growth mix.  They announced two recent deals: One with CAI Investments to build 10 locations in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area beginning in 2018. Four locations, opening in southeastern Phoenix in 2018.  In addition, Taco Bueno announced that it will be expanding with the signing of new expansion agreements in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Dunkin Donut's is pouring it on in the south.  They announced current deals with one group for six restaurants in Greenville and three new restaurants in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.  More Dunkin' Donuts stores, including some co-branded ones with sister brand, Baskin-Robbins ice cream, were also announced for a total of 65 new restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth, 35 new Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in Wise, Rockwall and Hunt Counties. 

From name brand to upstart, Rise Biscuit Donuts franchise will be adding 30 units in Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina. The first store planning to open in early 2017. They may not be as well known as Dunkin Donuts but they're rapidly growing.  The franchise has 100 stores under developments in nine states.

As the nation embarks on a healthier start to 2017, two smoothie concepts announced growth.  Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be growing in Florida with the opening of four new locations in the next several years. The goal for the area will be at least 50 cafes in the Tampa area. Juice It Up! franchise in California also announced a new location in the Riverside area.

As we ring in 2017, several groups made quick bids to get deals in contract and announce franchise expansions just before 2016 ended.  The restaurant brokers have combed the latest news articles and carefully read the Franchise Times deal update to uncover the latest franchise units announced across the nation.  What's on tap for 2017?  Here's your first look at hundreds of new franchise units either acquired or signed in late 2016. 

One of the latest large deals announced was with GPS Hospitality, the Atlanta, Georgia based franchisee group.  They are expanding their national footprint with the acquisition of 194 Burger King Restaurants into five states including AlabamaArkansasFloridaLouisiana, and Mississippi. With this acquisition, GPS Hospitality has doubled its size and is on track to meet its goal of $1 billion in company sales in 10 years.

Bar Louie, a self-described, "neighborhood bar and eatery with handcrafted cocktails" has around 110 units in operation.  They just inked a new three unit development agreement in the Lexington and Louisville markets.  The same group is currently building out a unit in Lexington Kentucky. The restaurant brokers are seeing renewed interest on all franchise fronts in the Kentucky markets which, while not as large as other markets, can often cement a mid-tier brand as a major player.  Two other concepts that feature full service in a neighborhood bar style also announced plans to expand. 

Walk-On Bistreaux & Bar will be introducing its brand to eight new markets in four states, increasing Walk-On's franchise locations to 50. These new locations are Auburn and Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Gainesville, Pensacola and Tallahassee, Florida; Gulfport, Mississippi; and Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee. In June of 2017, a Zachary, Louisiana franchise location will be opening.

Big Whiskey’s Franchising LLC has announced the signing of its newest franchisee in Kansas City.  Big Whiskey’s American Restaurant & Bar currently operates 3 restaurants in Springfield, one each in Ozark & Branson and will open its first franchised location in Bentonville AR in February 2017. Big Whiskey’s began franchising in late 2015.

A similar style concept BreWingZ Restaurant and Bar opened its second location in the San Antonio area at 5630 Walzem Road.  This marks the family friendly restaurant chain's 23rd location. BreWingZ is based in Houston Texas.  .

The trend continues for neighborhood full service with bars.  North Carolina based Hickory Tavern is opening its newest South Carolina location and their 25th restaurant overall. The new restaurant, located along the Grand Strand at the Coastal North Town Center.  This expands the count to six stores in South Carolina.  Their Hilton Head location opened earlier this year. 

Still another concept in a similar vein, Scotty's Brewhouse is also growing.  Due North Holdings, LLC, has acquired the Indiana-based, Scotty's Brewhouse. Scotty's Brewhouse, has expanded to 17 locations in FloridaIndiana, and Illinois. Due North Holdings, LLC is planning on expanding the current Midwest region and is looking to bring the concept to the Southwestern US including Arizona within the next year.

What's driving all this growth among full service Americanized 'pubs' and neighborhood bars?  The restaurant brokers think a number of operators are seeing thinner and thinner margins in fast casual and relatively low check averages.  Add full service to the equation and increase the tab with alcohol sales at higher profits and suddenly a unit can go from $500,000 in volume to a million in volume.  We'll withhold judgement on how much saturation the market can handle.  This report alone has highlighted seven concepts all vying for growth in the same space.  If this trend takes off, it will certainly squeeze independent operators of the actual neighborhood pub out of the mix especially as they face higher occupancy costs and deal with the additional regulation thrown at them in recent years.  

Moving on from full service to Mexican Fast casual, both El Pollo Loco and Del Taco are seeing expansion as Mexican remains a top favorite of American consumers.  A franchisee partner, Poco Loco's, LLC, is expanding in Utah with a restaurant in West Valley, the fourth location in Utah. . In addition, Chicken Time I, LLC, an affiliate of Henry Investment Group, opened its second El Pollo Loco location, in Hurst, TexasSierra Pollo Inc opened its sixth location, this one in Bishop, California.

Del Taco isn't being left out of the Mexican growth mix.  They announced two recent deals: One with CAI Investments to build 10 locations in the Phoenix-Scottsdale area beginning in 2018. Four locations, opening in southeastern Phoenix in 2018.  In addition, Taco Bueno announced that it will be expanding with the signing of new expansion agreements in Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas.

Dunkin Donut's is pouring it on in the south.  They announced current deals with one group for six restaurants in Greenville and three new restaurants in Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.  More Dunkin' Donuts stores, including some co-branded ones with sister brand, Baskin-Robbins ice cream, were also announced for a total of 65 new restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth, 35 new Dunkin' Donuts restaurants in Wise, Rockwall and Hunt Counties. 

From name brand to upstart, Rise Biscuit Donuts franchise will be adding 30 units in Georgia, Kentucky, and South Carolina. The first store planning to open in early 2017. They may not be as well-known as Dunkin Donuts but they're rapidly growing.  The franchise has 100 stores under developments in nine states.

As the nation embarks on a healthier start to 2017, two smoothie concepts announced growth.  Tropical Smoothie Cafe will be growing in Florida with the opening of four new locations in the next several years. The goal for the area will be at least 50 cafes in the Tampa area. Juice It Up! Franchise in California also announced a new location in the Riverside area.

The restaurant brokers will continue to write about the franchise expansion deals and keep our readers posted on the growth as 2017 unfolds.

 Want to see the latest franchise for sale by We Sell Restaurants?  Check them out at this link. 

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Topics: selling a restaurant

We Sell Restaurants Expands to Raleigh North Carolina with Latest Franchisee

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Dec 14, 2016 5:06:13 PM

Katy Sizemore.jpgWe Sell Restaurants, the restaurant brokerage franchise selling more restaurants than anyone else nationwide, announces their newest franchisee in Raleigh North Carolina.  Katy Sizemore, a licensed real estate broker in North Carolina, has purchased the rights to represent We Sell Restaurants in the Research Triangle (Raleigh - Durham) market.  The Raleigh location is slated to open in early 2017.

Located in the thriving North Carolina metro area, this new location marks the 8th franchise unit for the restaurant brokerage brand which began franchising in 2012.  Katy Sizemore, the latest franchisee, is a graduate of North Carolina State University. She has proudly called the Triangle area home since 2000 and became a licensed real estate broker in 2007.  Katy is married to Jonathan Sizemore, a partner with Adams, Howell, Sizemore & Lenfestey, P.A.   

Eric Gagnon, President of We Sell Restaurants, say of the expansion, “We have had tremendous demand from the Raleigh market for a local franchisee.  We have listed and sold several million dollars in restaurants over the past few years in this market.  Expanding with a local office allows us to provide a superior customer experience for those buying and selling restaurants.”

As the founder of Sizemore Realty Group, Sizemore has expertise in both sales and business management.  She will open her new We Sell Restaurants office with a full team to support the new business services. Robin Gagnon, co-founder of the brand says, “Katy is an ideal candidate for our restaurant brokerage brand.  She is focused on reaching her goals, which are accomplished by her efficiency, her focus, and her fantastic interpersonal skills. She has a dedication for providing uncompromised customer service which makes every transaction she manages seamless and stress free.”

Sizemore will undergo one of the most thorough training programs in the nation for business brokerage before embarking on her new role.  She will undergo testing before being awarded the title of Certified Restaurant Broker, a distinction held by only a few individuals nationwide. 

Restaurant buyers and sellers in the Raleigh market can expect to hear from the new franchisee in early 2017 as the marketing kicks off in the area.  The new We Sell Restaurants office will work with the local restauranteurs, franchisees and buyers as they buy and sell restaurants.  1logowoutborder_wtm.jpg

About We Sell Restaurants®

Founded in 2001, We Sell Restaurants has grown to the largest restaurant brokerage firm in the nation.  We Sell Restaurants began franchising in 2012 and thanks to an ever-expanding need, continues to growth nationwide.  We Sell Restaurants currently sells restaurants in more than 32 states nationwide.  For more information visit wesellrestaurants.com.  For information on the franchise brand, visit wsrfranchise.com.  We Sell Restaurants® and the We Sell Restaurants logo are federally registered trademarks of the We Sell Restaurants brand.  No unauthorized use is permitted. 

 

Topics: selling a restaurant

Selling a Restaurant?  Avoid the Top 7 Mistakes Made by Restaurant Sellers

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Dec 12, 2016 3:40:25 PM

If you’re interested in selling your restaurant for the most amount of money in the shortest time, read this advice by the restaurant brokers.  These are the top seven mistakes we see made by sellers when listing their restaurant for sale.


dining-room-103464_1920.jpgFirst on the list of Restaurant Selling mistakes is hiring someone without experience.  Deciding that your friend Sarah the residential real estate agent who sold your home has the skills it takes to sell your restaurant will certainly lead to a less than desirable outcome. You need someone with the background, legal forms and experience to make the sale happen.  Don’t forget.  Mistake number one.  Don’t hire a rookie.

What’s second on the restaurant brokers list of mistakes in selling a restaurant?  Hire a specialist, not a generalist.   Let’s try this analogy.  Both your internist and your dentist went to medical school. Who would you prefer to see about follow up tests on your cholesterol?  It’s important to hire a specialist in your field.  A general business broker may sell a carwash today a day care tomorrow.  Those brokers specializing in selling restaurants have working knowledge information about the industry, contacts, and credibility when it comes to speaking to buyers.  Mistake number two:  Don’t hire a General Broker for a Specialized Job.

Mistake number three on our list of the seven to avoid is what we call the ‘Do it yourself” approach.  Anyone who watches the home improvement shows where an unlikely home owner starts trying to take down walls can appreciate this warning.  If you’re good at running a restaurant, stick with that.  The restaurant broker serves as a buffer to the questions, the issues and the validation that occurs during due diligence.  There is a lot of emotion associated with your own business and that makes it difficult to segregate when it comes time to negotiation. Let the professionals handle the sale of your business. Mistake number three:  Don’t do it yourself.

What’s the fourth most common mistake we see when selling a restaurant?  It’s asking too much for the business.  A professional knows how to price based on what the market is reporting, what lenders will finance and what your restaurant is actually worth.  It’s very difficult for a seller to come to those same conclusions and inevitably, they price too high to begin with and their listing grows stale without offers.  Mistake number four:  Don’t Price Too High.

The fifth most common mistake is actually the opposite of the last point.  You can actually underprice your restaurant if you are not working with a professional familiar with the market and the current and correct multiple or who understands the process of recasting add backs.  Personal expenses covered by the business on your behalf can be added back to the net income of the business to calculate benefit for the owner.  Examples may include something like health insurance or cell phone expense. Mistake number five:  Don’t Undervalue Your Restaurant.

Talk about a big mistake.  The next one that comes to mind could have far reaching consequences for your business.  This is mistake number six.  As a seller you get so excited about working with a buyer that you give out sensitive information before buyers are qualified.  All buyers are not created equal.  Your financial information should be treated securely.  Your financial documents include your EIN (Employer Identification Number).  This is the same as your social security number as an individual.  Mistake number six:  Don’t hand over Confidential Information before Qualifying Buyers.

The final in our list of the top seven mistakes made when selling your restaurant is failing to put legal protection in place. Just as you should qualify buyers (mistake number six), you also need to be sure and put a confidentiality agreement in place and have one signed before releasing any information.  Make sure there are consequences if the agreement is breached.  Mistake number seven:  Don’t share anything until the Confidentaility Agreemetn is in place.

That’s it!  Avoid those seven mistakes and you will have a much higher rate of success in selling your restaurant!  Do you have other questions?  Reach out and give us a call or request a free valuation of your restaurant at this link or click the button below.  

Free Restaurant Valuation

Topics: selling a restaurant

Have you Seen the new Chick-Fil-A Website?  The Restaurant Brokers Love it!

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Nov 29, 2016 5:33:22 PM

Chick-Fil-A just launched their new website and the restaurant brokers have taken a look at what we believe will become the standard for the fast food industy

What makes this website so special?  It's not only the features and bells that really focus in on the customer experience.  It's also how they do this while staying true to their core principles.  For example, anyone who has ever craved a chicken sandwich on Sunday along with some waffle fries knows that founder Truett Cathy started his restaurant with a committment to closing on Sundays.  He worked in the business for a number of years seven days a week for stores open 24 hours a day.  When he launched his own concept, he decided his company would always have one day a week set aside for employees to rest and pursue a personal committment to their faith.  The Chick-Fil-A founder believed that committment was more important than business.  Now, some 70 years later, and with more than 2,000 restaurants, they have stayed true to that resolve no matter what mall or location they went into.   chick fil a.png

Is the new website closed on Sundays?  Well, sort of.  The company's ingenious site will focus on "Sunday stories" or according to their spokesperson, content, "developed through the lens of 'providing a service,' meaning the pieces serve the reader's time well by making them laugh at new Sunday comic, Chicken Strips, inspire them to create a meal at home with friends and family or dive into a long-format feature."  That's right.  There's no push to buy and instead, they make it all about the customer. 

That's not the only feature of the new website that we like.  The focus is on making this an information hub and sharing stories about the business.  Everything is customized and localized to each user.  The home page allows the user to select an individual path through the site.  Youc an choose your favorite Chick-fil-A restaurants and see any local specials os or menu pricing.  Unlike some sites that seem embarrassed to share their calorie count or nutrition information, Chick-fil-A 

In another ground breaking move, the website has the embedded publication of a digital magazine called "The Chicken Wire."  This good-news publication is dedicated to multi-media stories about food, hospitality and community.  Their spokesperson was quoted in Restaurant News saying, ""Our restaurants are often the setting for serendipitous moments where acts of human kindness inspire conversation. So, while we use the site to give guests the information they need about our menu, ingredients and restaurants, we also want to offer them something a little unexpected, like access to acclaimed chefs, seasonal recipes they can make at home, and stories that inspire, like the documentary-style film of a high school student who bonds with a dementia patient through their love of art," says their  digital communications and content strategy manager, Ashley Callahan. 

Our favorite part of this website is the way it weaves the culture of the company which is comittment to family, faith, fun and across a digital footprint.  A 70 year old brand is as relevant and beautiful online today as it was when it was born many years ago in rural Georgia.  Visit Chick-Fil-A online and take a test drive of this new website yourself and let the restaurant brokers know what you think.  Whle you're at it - order #1 for us and send it this way too!

 

 

 

Topics: selling a restaurant

Restaurant Brokers Reveal Latest Franchise Deals -- the South is Ahead in November

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Nov 23, 2016 4:19:35 PM

 

What's happening with restaurant franchise expansion? The restaurant brokers have taken a look at the publicly announced deals and compiled the latest information for you on franchise deal announcements.  While the growth is across the nation, we are seeing strong growth and more deals in the southeast.  In the last few days a number of franchise brands have announced new locations and development deals south of the Mason Dixon line. 

Is that surprising?  Not really. The “South” region (defined by the Census Bureau) extends as far west as Texas and Oklahoma, north to Kentucky and east to the District of Columbia and Maryland, down to Florida and includes everything in between.  This area has been on a growth curve exceeding the rest of the nation according to many published reports on multiple fronts. 

Of course, these restaurant brokers are southerners at heart so we’re excited to see more deals happening in our neck of the woods.  Here are just a few hitting the local press in the last few days.

Church’s Chicken® has a new franchisee, Volunteer Chicken LLC, who is opening ten new restaurants in the southeast.  Their focus will be on multiple restaurants throughout Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga, TN, with another 10-restaurant deal expected to follow in 2021.  That's according to Franchise Times which noted this deal in a recent post.

Southerners aren't all about first watch.jpgbiscuits and gravy but a new deal by First Watch shows that the first meal of the day is a popular one.  Good Morning Carolinas, LLC, a subsidiary of Houston Pizza Venture is planning to develop a dozen new First Watch restaurants in the Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as Columbia, Greenville and Spartanburg, South Carolina, markets within the next five years.

Moving to Pizza but staying with a southern theme, Pieology Pizzeria, opened their third North Carolina location in Greensboro North Carolina. The growth by Segovia Aslan Enterprises is expected to continue as they have the franchise rights to open Pieology restaurants across the Southeastern United States.

Pieology isn't the only one focused on the south.  On November 16, 2016 Pie Five Pizza Co., the Dallas-based pizza company, opened its doors in Hickory North Carolina.  The franchisees, Jeff and Christine Steiner plan to open over two dozen additional units in the Tarheel state. These experienced operators also own and operate several other concepts including: Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Moe's Southwest Grill. 

Another popular concept, East Coast Wings & Grill, which is based out of North Carolina announces that they are specifically looking to expand in these targeted (mostly) southern states.  They are looking at Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. East Coast Wings Grill has 36 stores open currently and they are looking to grow to over 100 according to Franchise Times.

East Coast expansion is on the mind of Dunkin' Donuts.  They have signed a multi-unit store development agreement with franchisees Ray and Zak Omar and Megan Karim to develop four new restaurants in Clarksville, Tennessee over the next several years. The first restaurant is planned to open in Clarksville in 2018 near Fort Campbell, one of the largest Army bases in the United States, which was also Ray's home base during his tenure as a special operations officer.

One reason for all this growth may well be the population in the south.  With over 120 million people, the South is the most populous region.  It’s also the area where population growth is occurring as baby boomers age and move south and others simply seek a different lifestyle and move from either the Rust Belt or the higher cost and higher tax base northern states.

If you’re moving and looking for a franchise restaurant for sale, check out our restaurant for sale listings online at this link.

Visit Our Listings Online!

 

Topics: selling a restaurant