Advice for Buying a Restaurant and Selling a Restaurant

Selling Your Restaurant? Better Start Your Spring Cleaning

Posted by Eric Gagnon on Apr 9, 2018 12:57:13 PM

 

Dark Blue and Red World Press Freedom Day Social Media Post-1Spring is in the air. We all feel driven to clean out closets, tidy up spaces and do a general touch up. Thinking of Selling your restaurant? Apply the same thought process.

Most of us take a hard look at our homes and we will try to make it look as good as we can for the upcoming months. Why not do the same for your restaurant? If you’re thinking of selling your restaurant, here are some of the major areas to focus on from the restaurant brokers. These are the major areas and ideas for your Spring cleaning.

 

Dining room, Patio, Kitchen

When it comes to selling your restaurant, you need to look up, down, and all around. When is the last time you really cleaned your dining room floor? I don’t mean just mopping it. What about steam cleaning, rebuffing, re-waxing or even replacing a tired surface. You may not look down, but your customers do.

A continuation of the dining room floor are the base boards. When selling your restaurant, no detail is too small. Take a moment and wipe down the baseboards?

For a larger project, consider touching up paint on walls, a fresh coat of paint maybe even a new color? HGTV is filled with stories of a “before” and “after.” Many of these are just fresh paint colors that can have a huge impact.

Don’t forget to look up. That A/C leak from last year that stained a few of your ceiling tiles is a constant reminder of failed equipment. Don’t let a restaurant buyer focus on these negative items if you’re selling your restaurant. Look up, fix the ceiling tiles and, how about those ceiling fans? Please don’t tell me the last time you dusted them was last Spring.

Look at your décor. Change out old faded artwork or posters. You can do better. New pictures, new TV screens, new table covers; all are easy and simple (low cost) ways to bring Spring in the air.

Your kitchen is the engine every buyer wants to see. When is the last time you pulled out your kitchen equipment and steam cleaned the entire space and equipment? Have you gone to your storage area and disposed of any items no longer in use? Consider updating to newer technologies or upgraded equipment for the upcoming busy season. New equipment may cost now but make a huge difference to your bottom line this year if the food cooks faster or the temperature is stable.

Patios are often a huge plus for restaurants but to require upkeep. That area if visible from the road could also be the first look in your establishment for many customers. Make sure you have a picture-perfect patio area. Adding water or fire elements to your patio could also make a very positive impact on your business. Your patio, seen from the road, can be a billboard for you.

Menu Spring Cleaning

When selling a restaurant, the focus is on profitability. When is the last time you took a hard look at your menu? Adding and/or deleting items, pricing adjustment, seasonal specials, promotions, LTO’s. Be very strategic here. An outside consultant or food vendor can help with this. This is a big part of your business. If you can bring up your loss leaders or trade non-selling items on your menu for more profitable and sellable items what are you waiting for? Status quo is very easy and comfortable but if your sales are not going up, you are losing marketing share.

Staff Spring Cleaning

When selling your restaurant, you want the best possible crew. Do you need to provide additional training to the current team? Should you roll out a new incentive package for the team to participate in? You can host team building activity to set the tone and expectations for the busy season ahead. Whichever you decide to do here do not overlook or skip staff spring cleaning.

You spend a tremendous of time in your restaurant and sometimes it is very difficult to step out be candidly honest with yourself about the appearance. When selling your restaurant, that first impression may seal or sink the deal.

A quick Spring cleaning can go a long way. Any changes small or big will be noticed by your team and your customers. That new paint smell or new air freshener in your bathrooms will soon become the smell of new customers and new profits.

Topics: selling restaurants

Which Restaurants Are Open for Thanksgiving? What do you Mean You're not Cooking!

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Nov 18, 2016 10:00:00 AM

abstract-1239143_1920.jpgHat tip to our good friends at  Restaurant News who compiled an amazing list of restaurants that are open for Thanksgiving Day.  The restaurant brokers have to admit, that like many Americans, we have been shirking the responsibility of standing in front of the hot stove and putting dinner on the table for a number of years.  Why bother when there are so many great restaurants open to either dine in or best of all-- pick it up to go!

Seems like we're not alone as the National Restaurant Association research from 2015 found that 14 million Americans dine out for this holiday.  That's a lot of people who are not heading to grandma's house in a few short days.  They also found that 16 million Americans supplement home cooking for Thanksgiving with someone from a restaurant kitchen.  

What are the benefits of letting someone else do the work?  Well start with -- someone else does the work!  For those of us that prefer to spend the time in the company of the ones we love, there's no wondering if the Turkey will finish on time or if we remembered to pull those pesky giblets out.  We can sit back, relax, enjoy a glass of wine and count our blessings while someone else serves up the food.

We've seen the list of restaurants open for Thanksgiving grow in number for 2016 so we decided to group them by category below:

Traditional American Restaurants where one would expect a Thanksgiving Day feast include the follwoing offerings:  

Country Buffet will be open from 11am-6pm.

Country Cookin is serving up their Thanksgiving Day Feast with turkey or ham with all-you-can-eat holiday salads and sides for $10.99 (kids 10 and under $4.49).  Most locations open and serving breakfast from 7-11 am and a traditional Thanksgiving Feast from 11am-4 pm.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store will serve a special in-store Thanksgiving meal from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. This traditional Homestyle Turkey n’ Dressing Meal comes complete with gravy, a sampling of sugar cured ham, sweet potato casserole with pecans, cranberry relish, choice of a country side, a refillable beverage, made from scratch biscuits or corn muffins, and a slice of pumpkin pie for dessert. The Homestyle Turkey n’ Dressing Meal is available for $12.99 per adult and $7.99 per child.

Denny’s guests can enjoy the popular Turkey & Dressing Dinner, featuring a tasty new recipe with perfectly carved slices of premium turkey breast. This holiday favorite is served with savory stuffing, turkey gravy and cranberry sauce along with a choice of two sides and dinner bread.

Waffle House restaurants will be open, still serving ‘em up scattered, smothered & covered.Boston Market will be open serving a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.

Golden Corral is offering a Thanksgiving Day Buffet at participating locations.  The buffet includes carved turkey, carved ham, fried chicken, rotisserie chicken, pot roast, meatloaf, sirloin steak, fried shrimp and much more.  Call your local Golden Corral for special holiday hours

K&W Cafeterias will be offering a Thanksgiving Day Special for $7.49.  Roast turkey with dressing and cranberry sauce, two vegetables, fresh baked bread, scratch made dessert and refillable beverage.  Continuous service Thanksgiving Day.

Marie Callender’s – Adults $19.99.  Starters include fresh baked golden cornbread, a coup of potato cheese or hearty vegetable soup or a crisp house salad.  Entrees include choice of Freshly Roasted Turkey Dinner or Oven-Baked Ham.  Includes seasonal vegetables, fire-roasted yams with cranberry streusel topping and fresh mashed potatoes.  Kids $8.99.

Mimi’s Cafe is serving up its traditional Thanksgiving Dine-In Meal beginning at 11 am on Thanksgiving Day. The quintessential three-course dinner ($18.99 for adults and $8.99 for kids) includes choice of soup or Mimi’s house or Caesar salad, roasted turkey (choice of white and/or dark meat), traditional gravy, buttered cornbread stuffing, whipped mashed potatoes, candied pecan sweet potatoes (without pecans for kids), green bean casserole with French fried onions, apple cranberry orange relish, signature bread basket with carrot nut bread, petite French Baguettes and choice of brown sugar pumpkin pie or bourbon pecan pie (upgrade to any Slab Pie for $1).

Seasons 52 is taking reservations and will be serving Thanksgiving Dinner.  Enjoy Plainville Farms roasted turkey with gravy, traditional herb stuffing, Yukon mashed potatoes, maple-glazed butternut squash, French green beans, house-made cranberry relish, and pumpkin pie mini indulgence.  Adults $26.90. Child’s portion $12.90.

Shoney’s will feature its home-style, Thanksgiving Day All-You-Care-to-Eat Food Bar, starting at $11.99 and $5.99 for kids 5 -10. Kids 4 and under will enjoy a free buffet with an adult meal purchase and each guest who enjoys Shoney’s Food Bar will received a free slice of delicious pumpkin pie.

These seem like traditional stops on the Thanksgiving Day feast parade but in one twist the restaurant brokers didn't see coming, there are a number of Mexican restaurants offering full fledged American meals including:

Acapulco Restaurant and Cantina is serving a special Thanksgiving Day buffet with a turkey carving station, traditional Thanksgiving dishes, Mexican specialties, soups, salads, desserts, and more.  For Ports O’ Call – $ 26.99/$9.99; For Marina Pacifica, Downey, Costa Mesa and Glendale – $24.99/$9.99; For all other Acapulco locations – $21.99/$8.99.  For Los Angeles – regular menu only.  Ports O’ Call, Marina Pacifica, Costa Mesa, Glendale (11am-7pm), Downey (11am-8:30pm), Los Angeles (12pm-8pm).  All other Acapulco locations (11am-7pm).

El Torito will offer an all-day buffet with traditional Thanksgiving items, including a turkey carving station, Mexican specialties, taco station, salads, soups and desserts from 11am – 7pm.  For El Torito in Burlingame, Dana Point, Monterrey, San Leandro and Marina del Rey – All-Day Buffet $25.99/$7.99.  All Other El Torito Locations – All-Day Buffet $23.99/$7.99.

Chevys Fresh Mex will offer a seasonal dish created by Chef Carlos Franco – Achiote-Marinated Roasted Turkey breast with rojo mole served with garlic mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, jalapeno corn bread and cranberry sauce. Guests can also enjoy all of the Chevys craveable favorites such as mesquite-grilled fajitas, tableside guacamole, freshly squeezed margaritas, farmers market enchiladas and more.  11am-7pm.  Thanksgiving dish is $17.99 per person; $7.99 per child. Price may vary.  Regular menu is also available

It doesn't stop with Mexican themed restaurants, Italian restaurants are getting in on the mix and they include:

Maggiano’s Little Italy is taking reservations.  First Course: Assorted Brushetta Plate, compliments of the chef.  Second Course includes choice of Maggiano’s Salad, Caesar Salad, Chopped Salad or Italian Tossed Salad (choose two).  Third Course choices include Traditional Roast Turkey Breast with Giblet Gravy & Focaccia Sausage Stuffing, Country-Style Baked Nueske Ham with Mashed Sweet Potatoes and Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia with Sage, Lemon & Tomatoes (choose two).  Choose two pastas: Taylor Street Baked Ziti, Maggiano’s Famous Rigatoni “D”, Spaghetti & Meatball, Four Cheese Ravioli, Gnocchi & Italian Sausage and Pasta of the Day.  Fourth: Pumpkin Cheesecake, Warm Apple Crostada, Chocolate Zuccotto Cake and Tiramisu (choose two).

Buca di Beppo Italian Restaurants are serving up a Traditional Turkey Dinner with sliced white meat turkey, homestyle gravy, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, spicy Italian sausage stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.  Individual $20.  Small serves three for $60.  Large serves 6 for $120.  Dine in only.  Prices may vary by location.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill will be offering a great Thanksgiving dinner for just $18.99 from 12 noon to close by reservation only.  Includes Roasted Turkey with Roasted Garlic Rosemary Gravy, Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes, Glazed Carrots with Candied Bacon, Sausage & Apple Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce.Roy’s is offering a three-course holiday menu.  Starters include Grilled Caesar Salad or Lobster Bisque.  Entree will be Pan Roasted Teriyaki Glazed Turkey.  Sides include Potuguese Sausage Stuffing, Haricot Vert and Hazelnuts, Sesame Carrots and more.  Desserts include Maple Brown Sugar Pumpkin Tart or Chocolate Torte.  Adults $39.95 per guest without wine or $69.95 with two glasses of wine.  Children’s Turkey Dinner $16.95

Seems like the Steakhouse and Seafood Restaurants want to attract you as well including:

Black Angus Steakhouse encourages you to make your reservations now for its Thanksgiving Day Feast served with all the fixin’s.  $18.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids.

Bonanza Steakhouse will be offering a Thanksgiving Day Premium Buffet brimming with all of your holiday favorites. Contact your local Bonanza today for details and pricing.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse opens at 11am serving a four course Thanksgiving meal for $39.95 per adult.  Main Course includes Mixed Herb Roasted Turkey Breast with turkey gravy, Housemade Brioche Stuffing, Butter-Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Green Beans with bacon, almonds and onion.  Children’s Thanksgiving Menu available for $19.95.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House is opening at 12pm Thanksgiving Day with a special menu.  $39.95 per adult and $12.95 for children  (prices may vary at participating locations).  Starters include choice of Seafood Gumbo, Caesar Salad or Steak House Salad.  For the main course, Ruth’s Chris is offering oven-roasted sliced Turkey Breast served with homemade gravy, sausage and herb stuffing and more

Smith & Wollensky will be serving a traditional Thanksgiving Day menu for $49 per adult, $20 per child under 12.  Roasted Butternut Squash Soup, Chopped Salad, Herb Roasted Turkey with Sausage and Cornbread Stuffing, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Potatoes Au Gratin, Duck Fat Roasted Root Vegetables.  Choice of Classic Pumpkin Pie, Warm Apple Tart or Pecan Pie.  Dinner menu also available.

McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks is serving a Roasted Turkey Dinner at participating locations.  The Roasted Turkey Dinner includes butternut squash bisque or walnut mixed greens, mashed potatoes and gravy, cornbread stuffing, apple squash casserole, seasonal vegetables and cranberry sauce.  Reservations recommended.

Legal Sea Foods will serve turkey breast with sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, butternut squash, gravy and cranberry sauce.  $24.95 per person and $8.95 for children 12 and under.  Hours may vary by location.  Reservations recommended.

Ponderosa Steakhouse will be offering a Thanksgiving Day Premium Buffet brimming with all of your holiday favorites. Contact your local Bonanza today for details and pricing.

The number of restaurant chains open for Thanksgiving seems to grow every single year.  Whether you are dining in these locations, enjoying your family's home cooking or serving up your own creation, we wish you a wonderful holiday filled with blessings. 

 

Topics: selling restaurants, buying a restaurant, sell a restaurant

Hiring Restaurant Brokers – What to Ask Before You Sign

Posted by Robin Gagnon on Jan 16, 2012 2:39:00 PM

Unfortunately for buyers, restaurant brokers do not come with a warning label.  That means you have to do your own research to separate the average from the outstanding restaurant brokers.  Ask these ten questions before making a decision.  

1)      How long have you been selling restaurants?  Restaurant brokers with experience are always preferable to those just learning to broker businesses.

2.   What was your business background before you started selling restaurants? The best restaurant brokers are those with a financial background like banking or accounting. 

3. Are you licensed?  Only fourteen states require a valid real estate license to act as restaurant brokers and these are subject to change.  Verify the status of their license online at the state real estate web sites.  You wouldn’t hire an unlicensed electrician; why would you hire an unlicensed person to represent you?  

4. Do you have references or testimonials for restaurant buyers and sellers you’ve worked with in the past? Most restaurant brokers post this on their Web site.

5. What is your educational background? It’s not a requirement that restaurant brokers have a formal education to sell businesses, but given the choice between someone with an MBA and someone that didn’t complete trade school,  who do you think will bring the most to the table in financial due diligence?

6.  How many restaurants for do you have now and how many restaurants have you actually sold?  Getting a listing and having experience in selling restaurants are two different things.  

7. Do you have prepared contracts for purchasing a business?  The answer here should be yes, as you don’t want to pay an attorney to develop a contract for your purchase.

8.  What other resources do you have available to assist me in the purchase of a restaurant? Strong restaurant brokers have contacts and resources for construction, insurance, liquor licenses, and all the other items that can surface after the sale. 

9.  Do you belong to any state organizations? Most states have strong organizations for restaurant brokers. A competent professional is probably a member.  The business brokerage associations generally include an ethics component and experience or education requirements to join.

10.  Do you belong to any national organizations? The IBBA, or International Business Brokers Association, is one of the largest in the industry. Qualified restaurant brokers are generally members.

Even though restaurant brokers don’t come with a warning label, having the answers to these questions can help you make a decision about the best choice for aiding you in buying a restaurant.

Topics: selling restaurants, buying a restaurant, restaurant brokers