Most restaurant owners are the hardest working can-do people you can find. So when it comes time to move on to the next dream, they often ask themselves, "Can I sell my own restaurant?" The definitive answer is yes. But here are a few things if you want to FSBO (for sale by owner) your restaurant to keep in mind that can help you improve your chances of selling and get the best possible offer. 


As with anything you want to sell, it needs to be attractive to a buyer. That means you deep clean the restaurant, take some great photos, make sure your documents and processes are clearly outlined, and perhaps most important, that your accounting records are up-to-date. No serious buyer will move forward from poorly kept records so it will be worth your while to have an accountant prepare statements. 


Simply because you don't use a realtor or broker doesn't mean you won't need experts on hand. You will need a lawyer and an accountant. Speak to them upfront about your plans. Ask for a non-disclosure agreement for prospects to sign. Find out in advance what they believe the transaction will cost and keep that in mind in your pricing. Many professionals will even negotiate with a buyer for you if you are uncomfortable, so don't be shy to ask what they can do to help. Most accountants can also give you advice on how to properly price your restaurant. There are many methods to do so, and you can read more in our post How Much is my Restaurant Worth? You will also want to discuss with your accountant the advantages of different types of sales (ie. Asset vs Share) to know your whole tax picture in advance of pricing your restaurant.


To find a buyer, they need to find your opportunity. However, many sellers don't want their restaurant for sale to be discovered by employees, competitors or the like. For this reason, when you add your listing online to, you reach buyers specifically looking for restaurants. The other advantage is your listing on can be printed off or saved in a presentable PDF format to send to prospective buyers. This gives you a professional appearance even if you are not a graphic designer. The template also guides you to answer the many basic questions a buyer will have before they take the next step.  Remember to get good legal advice and they'll likely recommend you have a prospective buyer complete a Non-Disclosure agreement to ensure they keep your discussions confidential.


It seems crazy to have to include this but it is the number one way way to not sell a restaurant. Whenever someone inquires, respond via email with an encouraging message, include your non-disclosure and offer a time to meet or follow up. While you have many things to do, making a prospective buyer wait for information is the best way to ensure your restaurant doesn't sell. 


This is the one part that everyone fears but try to remember that you both have a common goal - to buy or sell a restaurant - then work together to find the terms. Selling a restaurant fast is really helped along by a smooth negotiation and it is helpful to keep a good relationship because you will likely need to work with the buyer through transition and beyond. If you have properly priced and marketed your restaurant on, you should be getting serious inquiries from serious restaurant buyers. While everyone wants a good deal, having done your pre-work will help you get top dollar. When it comes time to prepare an Offer to Purchase, the buyer's lawyer or broker will typically prepare it and your lawyer will review. Much of the negotiation happens in the back-and-forth on this document. 


Selling a restaurant can be complicated with lease takeovers and other variables,  but it is definitely achievable. Selling your own restaurant can provide significant savings and by consulting with experts and promoting your restaurant opportunity on you can improve your likelihood of a successful sale and moving on to your next dream. Click here to get started.