What are the Hardest Restaurants to Sell?

Restaurant Broker in Dallas

The Hardest Restaurants to Sell have several issues that make it difficult to sell a restaurant. The grim reality is that only 30%-40% of restaurants listed for sale will be sold to a new buyer. Why do some restaurants sell, and others don’t?

We’ve seen it all, but these two concepts we will focus on for this blog can be the hardest to sell:

Not Profitable or Losing Money: Asset Sales 

Selling a restaurant that is not profitable or losing money yearly is challenging. These types of sales are called Asset Sales.

Buying an existing restaurant sold as an Asset Sale is a quick path to Restaurant Ownership. The previous seller has done the hard work of building the restaurant, dealing with contractors, getting the permits, negotiating the term on the lease, and establishing the location as a restaurant.



-Buying a restaurant that is losing money is a liability

-Lease Assignment is usually involved when selling a restaurant; the current tenant has already negotiated the lease terms.

-Buying used restaurant equipment, leasehold improvements, and goodwill. It can be hard to estimate restaurant value and offer price.

Sellers usually are only interested in what they “want” or “need” for the restaurant. The problem is that buyers don’t care and only put a value on the Furniture, fixtures, Equipment, and goodwill.


Restaurant Broker Tip: The Seller should be ready to negotiate on terms. The seller might not get the sales price and terms they originally wanted when listing for sale. Restaurant owners should consider the money saved on monthly payments for the remainder of lease obligations.


Example – Monthly rent $7,000 per month x 36 months left on the lease as personal guarantor

 $7,000 x 36 = $252,000 savings! 


Chef-Driven Concept: 

Starting a restaurant is a Chef’s dream to have the ability to use their culinary skills to create unbelievable dishes. Chefs are trained to stand for hours and work in an intensive working atmosphere. Several chef-driven concepts don’t have written recipes; they are all in the Chef’s head.

Many chefs will burn out and want to sell to someone who can work demanding shifts.


– Hard to find a trained chef with liquid assets to buy the restaurant and qualify for lease assignment with the landlord.

– Only a tiny minority of buyers looking to buy a restaurant are comfortable cooking in a commercial kitchen or have the desire to cook.

– The lack of documented recipes creates a problem with consistency

– Takes a certain level of culinary training and experience to be successful

Restaurant Broker Tip: These restaurant owners need to consider the importance of having a trained Sous Chef. The Chef needs to be skilled enough to operate the kitchen like the owner. When a buyer knows that an experienced Chef will stay on board once the restaurant is sold, it provides a certain level of comfort.

The restaurant owners need to have documented recipes with measurements to ensure consistency.

When trying to sell a restaurant that can be considered some of the Hardest Restaurants to Sell, owners should have realistic expectations.

For more information on the restaurant market and other available consulting services or a complimentary restaurant valuation, contact Dallas Restaurant Broker Dominique Maddox at 404-993-4448 or email at [email protected]. Visit our website at www.EATSbroker.com.