Restaurants for Sale or Lease in Atlanta – Fiction Vs Reality

Posted by Eric Gagnon on Mar 20, 2012 8:10:00 AM

Atlanta Restaurant Broker Eric GagnonBuyers seeking restaurants for sale or lease in Atlanta are dropping into town ready to make a purchase only to run into some obstacles in recent weeks.   We fielded a number of calls from buyers who appear from other parts of the country and believe they can come for a day and leave with a prime location fully equipped at rock bottom rent.  Part of their struggle is based on these three misunderstandings circulating in the marketplace.

Fiction Number One

Economic times are tough and a major city with restaurants for sale or lease like Atlanta is experiencing dangerous times for operators with sliding sales.


The recession has not hit Atlanta as hard as other markets as evidenced by the sales growth seen in the marketplace.  According to CPA Robert Wagner of Net Financials, Atlanta restaurants had a second year of growth in 2011.  His well respected survey reported that sales were up 6.25% over 2010.  In fact, in his words, “Clearly the industry is as vibrant and relevant as ever and, we think, poised for solid growth in 2012.”  That’s in startling contrast to the nation’s restaurant sales numbers which rose an average of 3.4% in 2011 according to a survey published in Nations Restaurant News.

Fiction Number Two

Second generation restaurants for sale or lease in Atlanta are plentiful and can be picked up with no investment even in high profile areas like Buckhead and Midtown.


While it may be true in some of the outlying areas of Metro Atlanta, Buckhead and Midtown still command a premium and are not available to just “pick up” without buying out assets.  Landlords for these prime locations will often let us know when a tenant is in trouble and more often than not, the space will never be advertised before it changes hands.  It is a total myth that you can just “wait” for prime space to appear in this market.  Sign up for exclusive representation with an Atlanta Restaurant Broker if you want access to the best listings first.

Fiction Number Three

Landlords are suffering high occupancy rates and it’s a buyer’s market when looking for restaurants for sale or lease in Atlanta.


According to the Spring 2011 Metro Atlanta Retail Market report "Atlanta's retail vacancy rate decreased in the first quarter 2011, ending the quarter at 10.2%. Over the past four quarters, the market has seen an overall decrease in the vacancy rate.”  Landlords in the Atlanta market are more demanding than ever about the tenants they will take and low ball offers will not get the job done.  Expect to present a business plan that will be challenged, financials that will be confirmed and a concept that is solid to gain entry into the competitive Atlanta restaurant market.

Before those outside the market book a ticket and come to town expecting to buy a restaurant in a day, read this article for the realities of buying an Atlanta restaurant for sale or lease.

Topics: Buying a Restaurant

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