Are you looking to find restaurants for sale or lease?
There are four approaches you can use.
Which one is best?
One of the first decisions you need to make is to buy a restaurant or consider restaurants for lease.
Pros and Cons of Buying or Leasing a Restaurant
Top 4 Methods to Find Restaurants for Sale or Lease
- Internet Sites
- Restaurant Real Estate Brokers
- For Lease Signs
- Off-Market Deals
Which methods are right for you?
Like many choices in life, it often comes down to time and money.
The more time and money you have available, the more options you have to find restaurants for sale or lease.
Best Internet Sites to Find Restaurants for Sale and Lease
The best website for you depends primarily on if you prefer to lease a vacant restaurant space or purchase a turn-key restaurant with furniture, fixtures, and equipment.
Finding a house online is easy. Locating a restaurant space requires a little more work.
Zillow aggregates homes for sale in one place. There is not a similar service for commercial properties.
Locating the right restaurant property may require searching on multiple sites.
The site that works best for you will depend on your geography and requirements.
Let’s look at your choices and which sites are best for you.
3 Types of Listing Sites (Which Works Best for Restaurants for Sale or Lease?)
- Commercial Real Estate Listing Sites
- Business Opportunities Listing Sites
- Restaurants for Sale or Lease Listing Sites
Commercial Real Estate Listing Sites
There are numerous commercial real estate listing sites.
These sites generally provide listings for the major categories of commercial real estate including, office, retail, industrial, and land.
Most offer a free search option, but some sites do require a subscription.
Which one should you use?
Loopnet.com is the best bet for most people.
Why? They have the largest number of listings and include both restaurants for lease and restaurants for sale.
You will need to conduct different searches within Loopnet.com, depending on if you are leasing or buying.
Business Opportunities Listing Sites
There are numerous sites advertising business opportunities.
These sites include every type of business, including restaurants for sale.
What’s the best site for you?
Bizbuysell.com is your best choice.
Restaurants for Sale and Lease Listing Sites
The following websites are more focused on foodservice and restaurants for sale or lease.
Some of these sites are operated by restaurant brokers to funnel buyers to their listings.
Which site is best?
There is no clear winner in this category.
Most of the sites are focused on geographical areas, so the number of listings can vary greatly depending on which cities you search.
Should You Use a Real Estate Broker?
The term “real estate brokers” or “agent” is inclusive.
It’s essential to understand the different roles of real estate brokers and how they are involved with various aspects of commercial real estate.
Most brokers work for the property owner or landlord. Some brokers called Tenant Representatives or “Tenant Reps” work primarily for tenants.
Restaurant Real Estate Brokers
A restaurant real estate broker will specialize and work exclusively with restaurant operators to buy, sell, or lease restaurant properties.
A restaurant real estate broker should have in-depth knowledge of lease agreements, business sales and acquisitions, parking codes, and liquor license regulations.
A restaurant real estate broker will have extensive relationships with advisors that specialize in restaurant transactions such as:
- Kitchen Designers
- Liquor License Expediters
Business brokers typically sell a broad range of businesses.
They may or may not have much experience with lease agreements and the many lease issues that can affect a business.
Many business brokers do not cooperate with other brokers and limit access to their listings only.
If you use a business broker to purchase a restaurant or sell a restaurant confirm in writing that they will cooperate and share a commission with brokers from a company other than their own.
Otherwise, you risk seeing a limited number of opportunities.
Commercial Real Estate Brokers
Commercial real estate covers a broad range of property types.
Most commercial real estate agents or brokers specialize in a specific type of property or geographical area.
For example, office agents specialize in office buildings, and retail agents typically lease or sell retail properties and shopping centers.
Most commercial real estate agents don’t have experience with business sales or acquisitions.
If you use a commercial real estate agent, make sure they have some restaurant leasing experience and are familiar with restaurant operators’ specialized needs.
So, should you work with a restaurant broker?
The short answer-it depends.
If you are buying a restaurant priced below $200,000 or looking for a short-term lease, it will be hard to find an experienced broker to help.
In this scenario, do the groundwork of finding a restaurant for lease or sale.
You can hire a restaurant real estate advisor to help you with due diligence, letters of intent and answer any questions you have.
If you are looking to sign a long-term lease to build-out your restaurant, working with a qualified broker will be a huge time-saver.
In most cases, there will be no cost to you for their service.
Calling For Lease Signs ( Do Sign’s Work to Find Restaurants for Sale or Lease?)
Before the internet, classified ads and lease signs were the two primary methods to find a restaurant property.
Driving and walking the neighborhoods that fit your concept is a great way to learn the market.
You will learn essential factors such as traffic patterns and which areas attract the most visitors.
Unfortunately, driving and calling “For Lease” signs is time-consuming and frustrating.
Necessary information such as square footage and rental rate requires a phone tag game if you are lucky enough to get a return phone call.
Lease signs can uncover a hidden gem.
But you won’t find a large percentage of turn-key restaurants for lease.
Restaurants for sale rarely advertise with a “for sale” sign or banner.
How to Find Off-Market Restaurants for Sale or Lease
Seldom-used by first-time restaurateurs, targeting off-market restaurants is an excellent approach in areas with little inventory or turn-over.
Specific properties are selected to buy the existing restaurant from the owner or negotiate a future lease with the landlord when the current lease expires.
Off-market deals can be a very time-consuming process and require the patience to possibly wait months or years into the future for a specific restaurant site.
If you wish to take this approach, you will need to research the landlord and existing restaurant owner’s contact information.
A restaurant real estate advisor can assist you with researching and contacting the parties involved.
So, there you have it, my four steps for finding a restaurant.
Now it’s time to implement them.
The first step?
Leave a comment to let me know which technique you’re going to try first?
In summary, the methods above provide the most common ways to lease or buy a restaurant.
No matter which options you chose, align yourself with experts to help you navigate the many minefields of leasing or buying a restaurant.
Are you leasing a restaurant or buying an existing restaurant?
Do you want step-by-step instructions to get you from “I want to open a restaurant” to “here are the keys to your new restaurant”?
Read our free guides: