Things Every Owner Should Know About Trying to Sell a Bar

Posted by Eric Gagnon on Mar 15, 2010 12:56:00 PM


There’s more than one way to sell a bar. Some bar owners have learned the hard way it’s a job best left to expert restaurant brokers 

In trying to sell a bar there are a few categories of listing agents that should be avoided. The current economic downturn, coupled with the hit to the housing market has led to less specialized agents attempting to enter the restaurant brokerage field.  This can be dangerous for the Atlanta bar owner looking to sell.  Here are a few categories of representation the seller of a bar may want to avoid.

At all costs avoid residential real estate agents.  If an agent focuses on houses rather than commercial transactions they will not have the skill to sell your bar.   It’s not unusual to encounter a family member or acquaintance who wants your business. This is not a good decision for a seller, much less a buyer and here’s why.   First, a valid Georgia real estate license does not prepare any agent for restaurant brokerage it only licenses them to transact real property.  Residential real estate agents do not have the education, background or experience to properly value or sell a restaurant.  They do not have the skill to perform a financial business valuation or pre-qualify anything other than a real property purchase.  Lastly, they don’t have the ability to confidentially market since they are involved in public, not private listing. For those reasons, it’s best to avoid doing your nephew Bob a favor and allow him to sell your bar.    

Another type of agent that you should steer clear of is a commercial agent. This type of agent will have financial skills and more commercial expertise than a residential agent but they are still a beginner when it comes to restaurant brokerage.   CAP rates, land value, investment properties and ground leases are part of his or her standard skills.  Buyer pre-qualification, liquor licenses, and confidential listings are now.  They will also struggle with getting your bar for sale into the normal advertising stream for businesses for sale since they deal in a different arena. Lastly, they deal with public, not private listings so their expertise to write a compelling ad masking the identity of your Atlanta bar for sale while driving traffic will be limited.  

The best choice is obviously a qualified Atlanta restaurant broker but you may also be approached by a general business broker.  A general broker lists everything from manufacturing facilities to a day care.  Often these are good brokers but they are all things to all people.  They do not have a database of buyers focused on restaurants for sale.  Though he has access to comps and financial information, he won’t specialize so he may be learning the financial parameters of a pub for sale (like yours) on the job.  Lastly, he won’t know what bars and clubs are selling and be able to price instantly based on his knowledge.

Ultimately, it’s the expert restaurant broker that can get you to the closing table.  His specialized knowledge and skills are a perfect match to your desire to sell your Atlanta bar.  He’s experienced the intricacies of liquor licensing, state sales tax authorities and all other elements particular to selling your bar many times before.  You don’t want your broker stuck in “dial 1 for payoffs and dial 2 for notices” at the eleventh hour before closing when you can’t transfer a liquor license.  His knowledge, skills and experience are exactly what every bar owner deserves access to when you are selling your bar.

Ignore the requests to list your bar with anyone other an expert restaurant broker and you’ll see the bar sell quickly, at the best pricing and with the fewest issues on the way to closing.

Find a Certified Restaurant Broker® near you to sell your bar today.

Download the Free Guide to Selling a Restaurant

Topics: Restaurant Brokers

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