Finding a Restaurant for Sale

If you decided to go the route of buying a restaurant then your first task is finding one to buy. Unless you live in a very small town chances are there will be a pretty good selection of restaurants for sale to choose from. The typical rule of thumb is that a restaurant changes owners every five years which means that on average 20% of the restaurants in your area will be for sale or at least the owners will be thinking about making a change.

So the first thing to do is narrow your options by selecting a particular geographic region and then further narrowr the choices by the type of restaurant you are looking at in terms of size and menu.

This should give you a much more manageable list of options to consider. Ideally you will already be familiar with the area you're considering but if not then you should hop in the car and go for a drive in the area to make sure that you understand who the customers are and what parts of town are likely candidates to find a good location. Even better you should make a point of doing this at several different times including on the weekends and the weekdays and during whatever mealtimes you'd expect to be open including breakfast and after hours if those apply.

A lot of times people have a particular restaurant or a few restaurants in mind when they are thinking about buying a restaurant but for whatever reason they never actually think to simply approach those actual restaurants and see if they might be for sale. Rather than trying to find something like the one you have in mind why not buy the one you want.

Many times you can look up online to find out who the owner of restaurant is but if not you can simply try the direct approach by going in during the off hours and inquiring directly about the owner and asking if they have a minute to speak with you in private. Owners typically don't want employees to know the business may be for sale so it is best not to have this conversation in front of the employees out of respect for the owner and also because you may get a different answer if you were to have the conversation in private.

If they are open to the idea that you can move onto the next step and if not then certainly nothing was lost in the process and they may change their mind and contact you before you find something else.

If you strike out here or there and no restaurants that you particularly want to buy that you already know about the next step is to search the restaurant for sale listings. There are several online directories for restaurants for sale and it doesn't hurt to check all of them because while there is some overlap is not 100%.

Based on research you'll start to see the names of certain business brokers appear over and over with different restaurant listings. Give each one a call and let them know what you are looking for and that you are a serious buyer. You can also ask them to let you know when new listings come in and asked them if they may have any listings that they haven't made public yet. These brokers will be your best resource and being able to find a restaurant for sale that fits your requirements.

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