Selling a Restaurant – Why You Should Not Try to Do This on Your Own

Number One – Sentimental ties to your restaurant. Your restaurant is most likely something you have built from scratch and you have watched it grow and prosper and take care of your family needs over the years. This means your restaurant is your baby and now that you have made the decision to sell there will be moments of regret and emotional attachments even if you are selling it for all the right reasons. Sushi Mori

When you work with a potential buyer they will be looking to find fault with your restaurant to justify their offer price. So if they say something like “I tried the spaghetti and the sauce has too much salt,” you will most likely be offended if this is a family recipe that has been passed down for generations. If you sell through a restaurant broker they will be focused on representing the transaction and getting the deal done minus the emotions. This scenario is a lot different than if you try to sell your restaurant on your own.

Number Two – Everyone is good at something and your talent is best used running a restaurant. A professional restaurant broker talent lies in selling the restaurant. You have taken your dream and managed to make it grow and prosper and you are likely an excellent chef or you learned the family recipes in your family kitchen. On the average, most restaurant owners are special individuals that enjoy serving and entertaining people. They enjoy the “hands on” part of running a business and solving problems when the bartender and the dishwasher both call in sick. Typically restaurant owners are not interested in the mindless paperwork and accounting which is another necessary element for running a successful restaurant.

When you are selling your restaurant the buyer is going to be focused on the accounting details and bookkeeping records to help them with making an offer. You should ask yourself if you can manage your restaurant while simultaneously talking to the buyer. Remember that the buyer could care less whether or not they show up during your busiest time such as between noon and 6 pm on a Saturday. As a result, you will find yourself doing more of what you are less good at and less of what you are very good at which is running the restaurant.

The business will suffer in your absence and the transaction will fail due to your lack of brokerage skills. Instead you should turn the sale over to a professional restaurant broker that knows his job while you concentrate on what you do best and maintain the profits.

Number Three – Just because you received an offer does not mean your restaurant is sold. Reaching an offer that you both agree on is the easiest part of a transaction and is only the beginning of the process. Buyers and sellers that agree on a price are not difficult to put together. The tough part is holding the transaction together until closing which is where a restaurant broker can be of tremendous help with seeing the deal through to completion.

The restaurant broker work begins once the buyer and seller agree on an offer. Shortly after, the buyer will begin to put every element of the transaction under a microscope when the reality begins to hit that he is in the deal for the long haul. At this point there are numerous opportunities for the deal to collapse post contract which is why it is necessary to have a restaurant broker working with you.

The restaurant broker is working at reassuring the buyer that the unpaid lien is not a disaster and can be resolved at closing. He or she is also helping the seller locate two year old tax returns with a stamp on them from the Internal Revenue Service and assisting the seller with the sales tax clearance letter from the state.

On the other side, the broker is working with the buyer when he discovers there is a list of items on the inspection results that need to be fixed and with the seller when he discovers he is stuck in the liquor license during the transition period. In another scenario, the broker is working with the attorney for the buyer who refuses to close without the piece of paper and then explaining to the seller where he can obtain the piece of paper required by the buyer attorney. Meanwhile the broker is getting the heat from both sides while keeping his cool so the deal will go all the way to the closing table.

No wonder restaurant brokers frequently hear “This deal never would have happened without you.” Brokers are equipped with the skills that are necessary to prevent the deal from getting off track and bringing it back to fruition when there are disagreements. Without the restaurant broker, you have less than a 1 in 20 chance of the deal making it all the way to the closing table which is why you really need a restaurant broker to sell your restaurant.