Exit Planning for Restaurant Owners

Exit planning for restaurant owners.

Exit planning for restaurant owners is a process that should start before a restaurant has opened. The harsh reality of restaurant ownership is 80% close within five years. If you are going into the restaurant industry knowing that it will be time to exit within five years, why not plan in advance?

EATS Restaurant Brokers finds that restaurant owners’ lack of exit planning can create liabilities when selling a restaurant.

Dallas Restaurant Broker Dominique Maddox says, “exit planning for restaurant owners should start once a restaurant is open. The common mistake is that restaurant owners fail to plan an exit until they have to sell a restaurant. An exit strategy should allow the restaurant owner to sell a restaurant with limited liabilities”.

EATS Restaurant Brokers-Exit Planning MUSTS:

  1. Books and Records-keep clean, excellent, and organized books and records. The restaurant buyers in today’s market are educated and can analyze a restaurant owner’s numbers and expenses for red flags. The best way to sell a restaurant is to have clean tax returns; restaurant owners will have to pay taxes on reported gains.

Restaurants that don’t count cash payments, pay employees under the table, or don’t report most sales on tax returns to save on taxes will sell for less on the open buyer market.

EATS Restaurant Brokers Tip: Before listing a restaurant for sale, check to confirm current sales tax filings.

  1. Build-out expenses– The initial cost for a restaurant build-out can range from $50,000-$1,000,000for a restaurant space ranging in space between 1000-7000 sq. ft. Potential restaurant owners should analyze if it’s wiser to find a second-generation restaurant space to convert to their concept or build out a white box location.

A restaurant has previously occupied a second-generation restaurant space. In a white box location, the restaurant owner is installing everything needed to open a restaurant. The restaurant space has plumbing, electrical, refrigeration, and initial build-out done.

The person that benefits the most from a restaurant owner building out a first-generation restaurant space is the landlord.

Example: Restaurateur pays $300,000 in build-out expenses before opening the doors to a new restaurant. The restaurant owner estimates the restaurant should make a profit of $50,000 per year. The restaurant owner has to wait six years to get the build-out cost expenses back $300,000/50,000= six years!

EATS Restaurant Brokers Tip: Don’t go BROKE on the build-out.

  1. Restaurant’s Transferability- All restaurants for sale are not good listings because they lack transferability.

Ex.1 A chef-driven restaurant for sale depends on the performance of the chef. If an owner/operator is also the cook, these types of restaurants are difficult to sell. Most restaurant buyers are not looking at buying a restaurant to be a chef; they want a skilled chef in place.

Ex.2 Some restaurants for sale, the landlord, owns the equipment. Restauranteurs that lease restaurants that come fully equipped only own the business and goodwill; they have limited assets to sell.

This type of arrangement can make it difficult for a restaurant owner to sell in the future. Asset purchase agreements between buyers and sellers have the restaurant equipment being sold listed on the contract.

EATS Restaurant Brokers Tip: Before listing a restaurant for sale, check for UCC liens on equipment or business.

EATS Restaurant Brokers biggest take-aways from this blog are listed below:

  1. Good Books and Records help restaurants sell for the highest and best price
  2. Don’t go broke on the build-out expenses and have to wait 3-10 years trying to get the initial investment back.
  3. Make sure to have a restaurant/system that can transfer to a new restaurant owner.
  4. Own the equipment in the restaurant

To learn more about Broker consulting services or receive a complimentary restaurant valuation, contact Texas Restaurant Broker Dominique Maddox at 404-993-4448 or by email at [email protected]. Visit our website at www.EATSbroker.com.