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5 Items to Consider Before Buying a Restaurant in Charlotte, NC

restaurant owner and chef smiling in kitchen

There’s no doubt the restaurant industry is booming. In North Carolina alone, there are 18,318 restaurants, which gross $18.6 million each year. Plus, with customers gravitating away from chain restaurants and opting for more authentic experiences, there is a growing demand for unique dining concepts. If you’ve been contemplating buying a restaurant in Charlotte, NC, now may be the ideal time to do so.

Crucial Steps to Take Before Buying a Restaurant in Charlotte, NC

The restaurant industry is highly competitive, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for new key players. Before you sign on the dotted line and buy a restaurant in Charlotte, NC, consider these factors.

1. Secure a Lease

The amount of foot traffic a restaurant generates plays a significant role in its success. Dining establishments located in highly-populated areas are far more likely to draw in both new and returning customers. It’s imperative new restaurant owners secure a desirable location through either a transfer of the previous owner’s lease or by requesting a new assignment from the landlord. This can get tricky, as landlords are often hesitant to transfer over lease assignments to new business owners. Before committing to a specific restaurant venture, get a clear grasp of the facility’s situation.

2. Evaluate Condition of Equipment and Space

As with buying any new property, don’t skimp on inspections of the facility itself, and also the equipment that comes with the sale. If there are any potentially expensive repairs down the road, owners need to be able to prepare (or walk away from the sale). Kitchen equipment is an enormous expense, so get an idea of how well the current equipment functions. Stay diligent about obligations outside of finances, as well. Be sure to note any health code violations or other red flags that will also come along with the small business.

3. Finding a Unique Selling Point (USP)

According to the National Restaurant Association, there are over one million restaurants in the United States, accounting for a total of $825 billion in revenue each year. There is money to be made in this industry, as Americans are dining out now more than ever. Still, restaurants have a notoriously high failure rate. To stand out from the ever-growing amount of competition in this industry, restaurants must distinguish themselves through a well-crafted USP. What makes the overall dining experience better than the next ten eateries down the road? Find at least one unique characteristic of the restaurant, whether that’s its overall atmosphere, the type of entertainment that’s offered, or the lively wait staff.

4. Obtain Liquor License

Patrons visit restaurants for the food, but they stay for the entertainment and service. Those planning to sell liquor, beer, and wine at their restaurant need to secure the appropriate licenses before committing to the sale. Local jurisdictions place a “per capita” limit on the number of liquor licenses they disburse throughout a region. Sometimes, an existing restaurant’s license is transferable and included in the sale of the restaurant’s assets. If it isn’t, buyers could lose out on a chance for higher profitability.

5. Know Your Clientele

Appealing to the wrong audience is one of the most common causes of restaurant failure. Restaurant owners must determine who their target market is and then find a property that best compliments this customer base. For example, if an owner wants to target families with children, they wouldn’t want to buy a trendy restaurant in the heart of downtown Charlotte. Consider all factors related to a restaurant’s location, such as its setting (i.e., rural vs. urban), climate, and even surrounding restaurants and businesses.

Buying a restaurant in Charlotte, NC can be a profitable endeavor, but you have to take the necessary steps to ensure a successful transaction. VR Business Brokers of Charlotte can help turn your restaurant ownership dreams into a reality! Browse our business listings or contact our team of brokers to find your next venture.


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