Selling Restaurants in the Orlando and Central Florida area can often times be an art as the supply of buyers and the type of buyers are more unique than in other parts of the country. Orlando and the Central Florida is a unique part of the country in that it is still in a population and development growth mode that has been expanding for decades. Potential restaurant buyers move to Florida every day and some are existing restaurant owners that have to decided to look into other restaurant for sale opportunities in Central Florida for possible expansion. To help guide restaurant owners looking to sell their restaurant businesses in Orlando and the Central Florida area we developed this list of top 10 tips to selling your restaurant in the Orlando and Central Florida area.
- Keep Good Books And Records
The old school method of keeping a black book in the back room showing the cash that the owner is hiding just does not cut it anymore. If you’re looking to sell your restaurant in the Orlando and Central Florida area for the highest price, the more earnings an owner can show on the books, the better. When business brokers in Orlando show restaurants, often times the first question we get from buyers is, “how are the financial records?” Finding restaurants with good books and records is one of the greatest challenges for business buyers in Florida. Technology has helped by introducing more POS systems and credit card reporting systems into the mix however nothing beats tax records when it comes to showing buyers a restaurant’s earnings. The more earnings and profits a restaurant owner shows, the higher the price they can obtain from a potential restaurant buyer in Orlando.
- Keep Your Restaurant Premises Clean and Up To Date
Just because your financial earnings are great or you have what is thought to be a great location does not mean you’re work is finished. Restaurant buyers in Orlando are often checking out the condition of a restaurant’s premises both inside and outside in addition to the equipment included in the purchase price. Is the kitchen equipment old? Does it need replacing? How old are the air conditioners and when do they need replacing? Any update that a restaurant seller can do to improve or update the look of their restaurant is a plus. Restaurant buyers do factor in how much they will have to spend when buying a restaurant in the Orlando area. Often times buyers will come up with an estimate and subtract that amount from a potential offer. If you’re asking yourself, how can I sell my restaurant in Orlando? Think of it as selling a house or a car. If you would not want to purchase a messy house or a messy car, then you probably would not want to purchase a messy restaurant either. Keep your restaurant premises clean and up to date.
3. Know Your Lease Situation
As business brokers it still amazes us when we speak with restaurant owners and they have no idea what their lease status is. How much longer is the lease? Does the rate go up? Are there any options to renew? Having a detailed lease available for a potential restaurant buyer is critical. A landlord can easily prevent a restaurant sale from occurring by having a lease that is not compatible with a sale. While confidentiality is key, it is always best for restaurant owners to find out from their landlord what qualifications they will be looking for in a potential buyer that you bring to them. Do they need a certain amount of financial backing or restaurant experience to get qualified for the landlord? Are any potential impediments to a sale for a potential buyer? If confidentiality is a potential issue and a seller does not want to reach out to the landlord until a buyer is located they need to still find out any information they can on what it will take to get the restaurant buyer a new or assigned lease. No lease, no deal. The lease is a priority.
4. Ensure Your Restaurant Is Up To Code And Licensed Properly
Seasoned restaurant buyers and owners all know that some restaurants just are not up to code and they will inquire about it. There are occasions when restaurant owners can slide by and get away with having a permit for 50 seats but having 70 available in the restaurant or having a single bathroom when county permitting for a restaurant their size requires two bathrooms. Restaurant inspectors can also give a bad rating to restaurants based on improper food handling or a grease trap that is not deemed large enough for the business. Whatever the case may be, it is important to ensure that your restaurant is up to code and licensed properly. If you’re just hoping that no one will notice, please note that it will be noticed eventually and if there is a serious issue the selling owner will not necessarily be home free just because they sold the restaurant. It is best to make sure things are properly in place prior to the sale.
5. Manage Your Online Reviews
In some instances online reviews are just as important as a restaurant’s locations. In the Orlando area where most people drive when going out to eat, locations play a slightly lesser role when decide where to eat and online reviews have started filling that void. Part of the reason is the increase in usage of food delivery services. Customers not familiar with particular restaurants will take a look at the online reviews and decide whether or not to order from there. Online reviews do not have to be perfect and often times they can be unfair to the restaurant owner, however restaurant buyers do look at them when they are looking to buy a restaurant. If the online reviews are way out of control and loaded with horrendous comments restaurant owners need to figure out the source and try to correct the issues. These reviews become part of a restaurant’s overall reputation so they are important to keep track of.
6. Keep The Sale Confidential
The business brokers at Crowne Atlantic have one rule when it comes to confidentiality which is, “Tell no one, or tell everyone.” Ultimately we recommend keeping potential sales confidential from competitors, employees, customers, and the general public. The only reason we say tell no one or tell everyone is because if a restaurant owner tells only a portion of the people their restaurant is for sale, the other portions typically find out. So in those instances it is best to control the narrative and there are only a few instances where restaurant sellers would want to be open to the public about a potential sale. Typically when employees find out about a potential sale it can create headaches for an owner because now they will have to field questions from employees about the unknown after a sale takes place. Better to save those issues for a time later on when a sale and a buyer are in place and an owner can have actual answers available for their employees. It is also advised that restaurant owners keep business sales confidential from the customers and competitors as well because that is where rumors typically begin and typically they are not in favor of the restaurant owner. Hiring a business broker in the Orlando area can help restaurant sellers keep confidentiality by helping contain the publicity of the sale to those potential buyers that are actually interested in the restaurant. Orlando Business Brokers also make sure buyers are qualified, sign nondisclosures and they help keep the contact with the seller to a minimum.
7. Produce An Equipment And Asset list of What The Sale Includes
Do you have a favorite picture in your restaurant left to you by your Great Aunt and do not want that included in the sale? You should probably remove it before you start showing the restaurant to potential buyers. When showing the restaurant, keep in mind that potential buyers typically want everything currently in the restaurant to be included in the sale. If items are not included in the sale, owners need to mention this from the start or simply remove the items from the premises. We recommend restaurant owners put together an equipment and asset list to detail everything that is included in the sale. At Crowne Atlantic our Orlando Business Brokers typically list the pieces of equipment that are rented or leased in addition to any large pieces of equipment owned by the landlord on the same list as the included equipment. This way there is a record that this knowledge was transferred to the buyer. Most purchase contracts include an equipment and asset list.
8. Keep Up With The Sales
This one should be a given, but business brokers in Orlando see it all the time. They meet with a seller that has an amazing year with record sales and profits and by the time the restaurant is listed the following year sales have dropped. There are times when a drop in sales is unavoidable but it can be discouraging to some buyers. That is why it is important for restaurant owners to give it their very best when operating their restaurant even while it is for sale because because potential buyers are paying attention. If the numbers are really good, a restaurant seller might even be able to get a better price.
9. Create An Operations Manual
Just knowing that a restaurant owner has an operations manual sends a signal to a potential buyer that this owner is organized and has put thought into a potential transition with a new owner. Details like this do offer potential buyers a little bit of comfort in knowing that if something happens to the original owner that there is still a default handbook of information that they can turn to. The operations manuals could include recipes, repair man contacts, vendor/ supplier contacts, landlord contact information in addition to past menus and ex-employees that could be contact in case of a labor shortage. Any thing that could be of help to a new owner could be in this manual. It shows that the restaurant owner takes the operation of their restaurant and this restaurant sale in Orlando seriously.
10. Highlight Any Managers or Key Staff Members Critical To The Operation
Restaurant buyers love hearing that they will not be piloting the whole ship themselves. If you have high-value workers on your staff, be sure to let potential buyers know about it. Buyers always feel that a skilled, dependable and honest staff is an added bonus because good help can be hard to find. If you do not have any dependable workers, see if you can round some up or hire a skilled manager. A skilled restaurant staff can help a new owner in their transition and can help the restaurant owner obtain a better price for their business.
If you or someone you know is looking to buy or sell a restaurant in the Orlando or Central Florida area contact the number one business brokers in Central Florida at Crowne Atlantic at 407-478-4101.
Other articles on selling businesses in Orlando that might interest you:
The Day Of The Sale Checklist For Selling A Business in Orlando
The Most Important Tip When Selling Your Business In Central Florida
Keeping It Quiet: 4 Tips To Maintaining Confidentiality When Selling A Business in Orlando