Selling a restaurant doesn’t usually occur out of the blue. Most restaurant owners think long and hard about selling and how to go about doing it. Part of the reason for that is because there are many procedures and pieces of information to get in order; all of that takes time that must be found somewhere in between the day-to-day running of the restaurant.
Our Orlando business brokers often advise restaurant owners to begin preparing to sell a year in advance for just this reason. It can take months to sell a restaurant in Florida, even in a red-hot market and with motivated buyers. That timeline will inevitably be delayed if the seller is unprepared to sell, if the restaurant needs improvements, or if the financial data is a mess. Consider the tips below to help you get your restaurant ready for sale, for whenever the time comes.
Get Prepared to Sell
When looking to purchase restaurants, buyers always ask for the same information: gross sales, net profits, a copy of the lease, and an equipment list. Gathering this information as soon as you make the decision to sell can speed the process along, particularly if you list during a hot market or work with a business broker who has contacts who are ready to buy right away. Another benefit of gathering this information early in the process is that it helps you see your restaurant from an outside perspective. You have likely been so busy running the restaurant for years that you gloss over these important sales points. Taking a good, hard look at what the restaurant has to offer can help you place a value on it, which will help guide your decisions when offers start coming in.
- Financial Data. Sellers should have all of their financial data up-to-date. When the financials are clear, buyers feel more confident in the business and are more likely to make an offer quicker. They perceive businesses with current financials to be well organized, easier to understand, and easier to transition. All of these attributes can lead to better offers. Include recent tax returns, profit/loss statements, payroll, and balance sheets.
- Lease Agreements. Sellers should have copies of their lease agreements and, if possible, have a good idea as to what their landlords will be looking for or allow/not allow when accepting new tenants.
- Equipment and Asset Lists. Equipment and asset lists are important and sellers should have one so that potential buyers know what is rented, what stays, what goes, and what equipment might have outstanding loans that need to be repaid.
- Health Inspection Records. Buyers may ask to see copies of recent health inspections. Ask our business brokers how you can provide this information while maintaining business or personal anonymity if a confidential sale is important to you.
- A List of Licenses. Be clear with buyers upfront about which licenses you currently have so they can decide if they want to invest in a business that requires those licenses or drop some. Examples include liquor licenses and patio or outside dining permits.
Keep in mind that prospective buyers may not need to see all of these items right away, but they will need to see them eventually. You may as well get a head start on collecting and organizing the information by gathering it as soon as you decide to sell your restaurant.
Sell Your Restaurant With Help From Our Orlando Business Brokers
The business brokers at Crowne Atlantic Business Brokers have been helping restaurant owners sell their businesses since 2004. We assist with all aspects of the sales transaction including marketing the business, maintaining confidentiality, vetting buyers, representing you and the restaurant to buyers, and negotiating the sale. Count on us to attain a competitive price for your restaurant that will allow you to move on to the next chapter of your life with ease.