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Should You Buy a Restaurant For Sale?

Aug 19, 2008
A Restaurant For Sale Could Be A Great Investment but it can also be a nightmare. It is important to realize many potential customers will already have an impression of the establishment. So if it wasn't doing well for the current owner you will need to do some serious advertising and encouraging to get those individuals to give you a try as well.

It is very important to find out why a restaurant is for sale. Do the owners want to retire or change careers? Is the business doing so poor that they are getting out while they still can? What about the location of the restaurant? Is it in a location where you will get plenty of business? All of these factors are very important to evaluate for any restaurant for sale you are interested in.

Don't forget to find out about the property as well. The current owners may be buying it or completely own it. They may also be leasing it from someone else and you need to know about it. That would mean you have a contract in place with that owner to lease the property for a set period of time. Not everyone that buys a restaurant is comfortable with that because they want to gain some equity in their restaurant as they pay into it.

Ask to see the books for any restaurant you consider buying. This will tell you a great deal about what the success of it has been. That doesn't mean a business that isn't doing well won't be a good investment though. In fact, you may find that you can buy it for a much lower price just for that reason. If you have a good business sense you may be able to turn things around.

Fixing the place up, giving it a fresh coat of paint, changing the atmosphere, and even changing the menu can be the ticket to a very successful restaurant. If you are motivated you can make it into something much better than it was before you purchased it. Yet the reality of it is that some things such as the location you can't resolve and so you need to rule out such variables as the reasons why the restaurant wasn't doing well.

Take your time to evaluate any restaurant for sale that you are interested in. There is likely much more to the picture than what you get on the surface. The current owners are going to be presenting things in the best possible light as well. They want to get you interested enough to make an offer on it. Verify all of the information they provide you though so you can make sure this is the right restaurant to invest your time and money in.

Never rush to get involved in any restaurant for sale. Don't be afraid that you will pass up a very good deal. You need to be confident that what you invest in can pay off for you in the long run. The only way to know for sure is to really evaluate what you would be buying. Eliminate those unknown surprises that will cost you money.
About the Author
Patricia Farnham has a long, successful background in the restaurant industry. To read her opinions, warning and advice on how to start a restaurant and other topics, visit her website.
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