How to Sell a Restaurant

September 23rd, 2020

Are you thinking of selling your restaurant? Read further to learn which documents to prepare for your listing and which marketplaces to use.

Running a good restaurant is not an easy task – but selling a restaurant can be even more challenging. The restaurant and hospitality industry is continually growing, so selling your restaurant is always an option. If things are not going as smoothly as you thought, or you’re looking to cash out on your investment – there is no better time to sell than now.

Of course, you’ll have to make sure some things are in order before looking for a potential buyer. To help you get a better perspective of all the things you need to do before you sell your restaurant and walk you through the selling process itself – we’ve decided to compile it into an instructional article. You’ll find all of the information you need to sell your restaurant below.

To help you navigate the article, click on any of the links below to jump to a specific section.

  • Search Popular Online Marketplaces
  • Preparing Your Documents
  • Listing Your Operational and Financial Details
  • Determining Market Value
  • General Negotiation
  • Other Things to Note

How to Sell a Restaurant Step 1: Search Popular Online Marketplaces

The US has over 1,000,000 different restaurants and eateries. To say that the restaurant industry is growing would be an understatement. With so many different locations, businesses, and restaurants – the foodservice industry has a huge presence in the online marketplace. 

If you’re wondering how to sell a restaurant and the best place to start – the answer is popular online marketplaces. Depending on your location or region, you’ll have different marketplaces that can help you sell your restaurant. 

Besides listing your restaurant on popular marketplaces, you can get a lot of information from your competition. Check out what your competing sales listings are doing, and try to best them in their game.

How to Sell a Restaurant Step 2: Prepare Your Documents

There are many documents when you’re in the foodservice industry and selling your restaurant will require compiling them. If you’re wondering how to sell a restaurant for the best price possible, you’ll have to prepare the following documentation. 

  • A list of all of your assets
  • Lease documentation
  • All license documentation
  • Prior health inspection records
  • Building/restaurant architectural plans
  • Financial statements and other financial documents
  • All other selling documents

Preparing all of the documentation beforehand and reviewing it will ensure that the sales process is as seamless, simple, and streamlined as possible. 

How to Sell a Restaurant Step 3: Listing Your Operational and Financial Details

Now that you’ve prepared all the documents and you’re ready to list your restaurant for sale, you’ll have to go through all operational and financial details. 

When you’re selling your business, especially your restaurant – you’re not selling an idea. You’re selling the restaurant as it is, and you’ll need to be as realistic as possible. Being upfront about all of your net income and operational costs is essential if you’re looking to make a sale. 

If your restaurant is a worthwhile investment, your operational costs and financial details should appeal to potential buyers. 

If you’re looking at how to sell a restaurant for the best price possible, an excellent thing to do is get all of your costs and financials in order. If you streamline your finances, you’ll have a far better chance to make more money off the sale. 

Depending on the platform you’re selling your restaurant on, you’ll want to list your financial and operational costs differently. You always want to give as many details as possible when you’re selling your restaurant, especially all the financial information.  

How to Sell a Restaurant Step 4: Determine the Market Value

Your restaurant might be dear to your heart – but you’ll have to be realistic. Not everyone is going to have a sentimental attachment to your restaurant as you. You have to realize that potential buyers are not purchasing potentials, dreams, or effort – they’re buying a business. 
Most of the things behind how to sell a restaurant are all about finesse and careful market research. It might be a bit tough to estimate the market value of your restaurant. To help you determine your restaurant’s market value, we’ll give you some things you should consider below:

  1. Consider the Location

One of the most impotent things about a business of any kind is the location. When you’re running a restaurant, you want it to be in a buzzing, thriving area that attracts customers by itself. If your restaurant has a good location, that will augment the price by a considerable margin.

  1. Costs & Expenses

Good locations often come with a lot of costs. Consider the overall costs and expenses of running your restaurant when you’re putting a price on it. The better the overall profits and income, the more money you can ask for.

  1. Cash Flow, Assets, and Popularity

If you’re running a well-established eatery that already has considerable cash-flow and many assets, you can sell your restaurant for more. If you can, invest in these aspects before selling your restaurant to make a good ROI.

How to Sell a Restaurant Step 5: Start Negotiating

In today’s business landscape, you can’t sell anything without some negotiations. If you’re wondering how to sell a restaurant for the best price possible, you’ll have to prepare to negotiate. When businesses are in question, you’ll always have someone looking to bring the price down. 

To prepare for this step, you’ll have to set a budget and consider how low you’re willing to go. If you’ve done everything right, you shouldn’t have a problem getting a reasonable restaurant price. 

An excellent way to sell your restaurant fast is to work with more than one potential buyer at the same time. Understanding how to sell a restaurant is all about understanding proper negotiation tactics. Having more than one person interested in purchasing your restaurant will give you the right perspective of how much your business is worth and how much people are willing to pay for it.

Some useful negotiation tips are: 

  • Preparing your offer beforehand;
  • Determining how low you’re willing to go;
  • Include terms in your offer;
  • Have all of your documents on hand;
  • Get multiple bids before you make the sale;
  • Don’t take it personally;
  • Always be prepared to walk away;

Other Important Things to Note When You’re Selling Your Restaurant

Aside from all of the paperwork, financial details, and listings – selling your restaurant is all about being realistic. You can have the best location in the world combined with a well-established brand, but you’re not going to get anywhere unless you’re willing to negotiate.

You’ll also have to consider your staff. To ensure that your team follows the transition, you’ll have to make a decent staff transition plan. So, pay attention to your employees as well. 

When you’re selling a restaurant, you’ll have to transfer all of the paperwork and licenses to the new owner. If you have any licenses, make sure to include them in the deal as well. 

Lastly, to get the best ROI, you’ll have to invest something first. Make sure to update and streamline as many things as possible to augment your restaurant’s price before you sell it.

How to Sell a Restaurant – Conclusion

Selling a restaurant doesn’t have to be a challenging task. As long as you follow all the tips and insider information listed in this article, you won’t have to worry. 

Remember, always be prepared to walk out if the offer isn’t up to your standards. Once you sell your restaurant, you don’t have another go – so make sure that the price is right!

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