Ten things you need to consider before buying an existing restaurant
Buy an existing restaurant in Florida
While it is a financially smart idea to buy an existing restaurant in Florida, turning it around will take experience, help, and patience. The advantage of purchasing an existing business is that you won’t start from scratch. This will have taken you almost halfway through the journey to being a successful entrepreneur. It is estimated that in every year over half a million business change hands; the number is expected to soil since more and more people are willing to sell their businesses due to hard financial times being experienced. Below are ten things that you should consider before buying a business.
Know your employees
Before signing that purchase document, always know your employees. Make sure they are willing to stick around once you buy it. Why? Well, your employees are usually there most of the time, and during that period they have built a good rapport with your customers, so you need them around. Most sellers never notify their employees that they are selling the restaurant, so be sure to include a clause stipulating that the seller has to inform the employees of the purchase within 48 hours of closing. It should consist of another term that requires the buyer to meet up with the employees and weigh their suitability to continue working there after the sale. Lastly, include another provision that allows you to walk away from the purchase in case you are not satisfied with the particular restaurant.
Sales taxes and payrolls
Each state has a specific set of rules and if you decide to buy a business’s assets, inquire if he owes sales taxes or payroll taxes. In case he has employees ask whether he is current on his employment taxes – if he is up to date, then as the state’s tax body to issue you with a clearance letter. Failure to this the state can come for you if they discovered that you are behind in your taxes.
Negotiate a letter of intent
This is a letter that stipulates all necessary agreements, usually a two to a three-page document. In this letter, you should include the purchase price, when and how you pay the price. Also, it should include the assets your seller wishes to keep and those he hopes to sell. Letters of intent are not fully binding but filling in all the technical agreements is important, this is because they will serve as drafts that lawyers will use when typing a purchase and sales agreement for the restaurant.
Buy the assets and not the restaurant
In case the seller is an LLC or a corporation, don’t buy the stocks, instead buy the assets. Why? The first reason is that in case he is being sued or has debts you will be covered from those legal responsibilities. Lastly, you will have a friendly tax treatment because your tax will be based on what you bought the assets for and not what your seller paid.
Understand why the restaurant is for sale
When you want to buy an existing restaurant, it is crucial to understand why the restaurant is up for sale. Though, it is a bit skeptical to inquire why but it should be a red sign when a seller fails to give a compelling reason as to why his business is for sale. This is because most people have been through gruesome battles to keep their businesses afloat. They are emotionally connected, so it is only fair to understand why? Additionally, ask neighbors and employees, if their answers conflict then that’s a red sign.
Do you have an exit strategy?
This should be a factor that you should have in mind before signing a purchase agreement. The world of business is brutal and before making it through you will have to keep digging in your pocket. Due to unforeseen circumstances sometimes, you can’t make it through, so always have an exit strategy, and if your business has some partners make sure you have a buy and sell agreement in place.
Restaurant contracts and leases
The fun part of when you buy an existing restaurant is that it comes with all documents. It is important though to keep an eye on the business contracts and leases. For instance, if over 80% of your revenues come from one client, think twice, what would happen if he walked out?
Agree on an indemnity with the seller
Even if you hired great business advisors, sometimes things slip up, and you may end up being sued for something your seller did. It is prudent to ask for an indemnity from the seller, where he promises to pay all legal fees and defend the suit in case of such a scenario. Furthermore, in case you should also give your seller an indemnity in case you get sued after the close of the restaurant.
When you buy an existing restaurant it will save you time and heartache, but before buying what should, you consider? It is important to know why the restaurant is up for sale. This will allow you to plan for any skeletons that you had not foreseen.