Buying A Restaurant: Change The Concept Or Find Another Business?
Comments & Replies
First, has your work experience prepared you to run this restaurant? Do you not only have industry experience but also have experience working in or running a certain type of restaurant? Many business buyers look at restaurants as a type of business that may be fun or rewarding to own without realizing how much time and hard work it takes to be successful. Are you planning on running the restaurant yourself, or hiring help to manage the day-to-day operations for you?
As a fast-paced business with a lot of moving parts, having a realistic understanding of the expectations moving forward and being able to keep up with the pace of the business is critical for long-term success. Maybe you have restaurant experience but only working in a different type of restaurant, which brings us to our next point.
How is the restaurant's current team? The restaurant's current structure and team of employees is incredibly important, especially if you are buying a niche restaurant that requires the employees or chef to have specialized skills, experience, or training. Depending on how the restaurant operates and what you hope to accomplish, would it be easier to simply continue with the current business model, or change it completely? If the employees left, would it be easier to walk away or find specialized help?
If you find a restaurant but hope to change its concept regardless, have you examined the surrounding area and identified any local competition? For example, if you find a Mexican restaurant and would like to convert it to a Chinese restaurant, that would only be feasible if there weren't other Asian or Chinese-specific restaurants in the immediate vicinity.
Consistency is key - Unless Change Is Needed
It has often been said that if it isn't broken, don't fix it. That can also be true for restaurants. When conducting due diligence and examining a restaurant for sale, be sure to identify what is working and what needs improvement. If business is going well but you still want to change the restaurant's concept, what would a concept change do to the current customer base? Could the problems of the past owner be fixed by simply making minor changes to the menu, facility, equipment, or employees instead?
If you are set on changing the concept because you haven't found a restaurant that fits your criteria, have you considered purchasing an under-performing restaurant as an asset sale and converting it into the restaurant that you have always wanted? Asset sales are a great, efficient way to change a restaurant's concept and should be considered if you find a restaurant for sale that has a great location, facility, and equipment already in place. It should be noted that the current setup must allow for a concept change, which can often be determined when examining the business for sale postings online.