To sell your restaurant, you must follow many of the similar steps as selling all other small businesses. For example, getting your financials in order, determining the value of your restaurant, hiring a business broker, and pre-qualifying your buyers. That being said, a restaurant can be a little different because of the additional documentation you will need to accumulate and get in order. When preparing your restaurant for a sale, collect the following documents for potential buyers:
- A list of your assets, include age and purchase cost less depreciation
- A copy of your lease
- List of your leasehold improvements
- Copies of any applicable licenses (liquor licenses, sidewalk patio permits, etc.)
- Copies of health inspection records
- Copies of architectural plans
- Copies of your financial statements
- Copies of other important financial documents
These documents will need to be available during the process, or at least, once the last contract has been signed. Not to mention, all of these documents are crucial for determining the value, how competitive your business is today and in the past, and what are the potential gaps that need to be addressed. For example:
- Are all of your licenses up to date and in-compliance?
- Do health inspection records reflect what you would want an interested buyer to see?
- Do your finances appear to be in order?
Once you are organized, your business broker will help you market the sale properly. For instance, what does your restaurant have to offer that is unique to its competitors? Location, proximity to public transportation, views, outdoor space, etc. – all of these are factors that potentially set it apart and may the variable that attracts a potential buyer.
To sell your restaurant, your broker will introduce you to a network of vetted buyers who are not only willing to make an offer but are also qualified to make a purchase. After that, you will follow the same steps as other small business to negotiate and finally, sign on the dotted line.