Food sales professionals are ideal candidates for a restaurant broker role. Why? The two careers align perfectly. Restaurant brokerage is a business brokerage specifically focused on selling restaurants. Food sales involve the same client base and a similar skill set. One career is a great training ground for the next. After all food sales professionals have great instincts, knowledge, and information about the industry.
A restaurant broker is someone practicing the art of selling restaurants, relying on knowledge about the industry and relationships in the hospitality community to build trust and nurture relationships that lead to listings. Here are three reasons food sales professionals are ideal restaurant brokers.
What is a food sales professional? This is someone who works for national firms like Sysco, U.S. Foods or PFG (Performance Food Group) and open new accounts that deliver the food and supplies needed by the restaurant operator.
Food Sales Professionals know the restaurant industry and the key financial metrics
Food sales professionals have a unique understanding of food costs and how these impact the overall financial health of the restaurant and its’ profitability. This is important for a restaurant broker who consults with sellers on listing prices, valuation methods, and coaching to improve profitability.
Food Sales Professionals know the players
Those working in the industry are on a first-name basis with restaurant owners along with other vendors to the industry. These become important paths to referrals and building an impressive pipeline of listings when the role becomes that of a restaurant broker.
Food Sales Professionals have important business development skills.
A restaurant broker is a sales professional that understands the value of relationships and building trust and partnerships with others in the industry. This is a key skill acquired after years of working in the industry as a food sales professional.
Why is now a good time for food service sales professionals to consider becoming a restaurant broker?
Food service sales professionals have been on the frontline in dealing with struggles for restaurant operators for the past two years. They faced the same challenges as their clients, and many have seen their earnings decrease. This can be for a myriad of reasons including declining account values, reduction in accounts as brands cut back on servicing all clients, and reduction in menu sizes. As issues abound in the industry, a restaurant broker sees the pipeline increase as sellers opt to leave the industry or retire.
Labor shortages have also affected the industry, leading to more work, and managing additional accounts without an offsetting increase in compensation or support. This has led food sales professionals to consider new careers that are less stressful but still tied to the industry they know and love. A restaurant broker enjoys a career that requires fewer hours, has lower stress, and is tied to strong earnings.
How are corporate decisions affecting food sales professionals?
Many in the industry face increasing stress from the corporate decisions of their brands. In recent years, suppliers, facing shortages in delivery drivers have dropped accounts that are non-franchise, don’t have negotiated agreements, or operate in a remote geography. For the food service sales professional, it means they’ve had to stop servicing accounts, even those with long-standing relationships. For a restaurant broker, the relationship is also long-term but results in a payoff for the seller, thus ending on a positive note.
The restaurant broker is in control of his own destiny, rather than tied to a corporate structure. In the past year, we have seen vendors discontinue service of their lowest-performing accounts. Some are tightening the geography they will service due to supply chain issues. Many have obligations to fulfill with franchise owners because of contracts leaving independent restaurant owners without a resource. For the food sales professional, it is tough to tell long-term customers they will no longer service the account because of a corporate decision.
How is the role of a food sales professional changing?
In addition to supply chain issues, the overall stress of the restaurant business in the past few years has been increasing. Restaurant operators who were always prompt in paying bills have faced financial stress that has slowed down their payments. Food sales professionals may be in the awkward position of placing accounts on C.O.D. (Cash on delivery) or playing collection agent instead of focusing on driving new business. A restaurant broker avoids these issues as they deliver income to the seller and in most cases, bring money, rather than requesting it.
Consolation in the industry is also affecting the earnings of food service sales professionals who rely on account value for earnings. If an account is consolidated into a corporate account, it is not uncommon to lose that income as it is now serviced at the corporate level rather than by an individual representative. As the industry continues a movement toward consolidation, experts anticipate more of this to occur. For the restaurant broker, he or she can participate in consolidation strategies and earn additional income as this scenario unfolds.
For these reasons and others, food service professionals are considering new careers. Investing in a Restaurant Broker franchise is a good fit for all the reasons discussed above. Food sales professionals are natural fits with their skill in building relationships with buyers and sellers.
For someone seeking a new career choice after their role as a food sales professional, contact We Sell Restaurants about our restaurant broker franchise opportunity. You are still engaged in the hospitality industry you know and love. You can leverage the knowledge and information about the industry in your new career. You can continue meaningful relationships with new clients and experience less stress and greater reward. Overall, a restaurant broker practice is the restaurant business with banker’s hours.
For more information about becoming a restaurant broker, visit this link.
Robin Gagnon, Certified Restaurant Broker®, MBA, CBI, CFE is the co-founder of We Sell Restaurants and industry expert in restaurant sales and valuation. Named by Nation’s Restaurant News as one of the “Most Influential Suppliers and Vendors” to the restaurant industry, her articles and expertise appear nationwide in QSR Magazine, Franchising World, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, and BizBuySell. She is the co-author of Appetite for Acquisition, an award-winning book on buying restaurants.