Living the Dream – Owning Your Own Restaurant

Everyone has dreams. Own your own business, maybe a restaurant. Live in a beautiful area. How about combining the two – own your own restaurant in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire! Owning a restaurant is a common dream. Most folks love the social aspects of the restaurant scene- the interaction with people in a good times atmosphere, the satisfaction of serving customers well, the opportunity to run a business with family and of course the FOOD. Here in the Lakes Region our tourist based economy provides a great incubator for food based service industries. The Lakes Region has many eating establishments that run the gamut of tastes and service. In Meredith, at last count, we have over 25 places where you can get something to eat ranging from McDonald’s to lovely fine dining restaurants; this in a town of 7000 year round people. To show how crazy the business can be, foodie heaven Portsmouth has 22,000 residents and 25,000 restaurant seats.

Mame's Restaurant, Meredith, NH
Mame’s Restaurant, Meredith, NH

If owning a restaurant is your dream, where do you start? There are two basic paths to take: start your own or buy an existing business. Starting from scratch may be necessary if your plan is to be theme based or unique and there are no existing same theme restaurants for sale in the area you want to be. For instance, if you want to own a specialty pub (say Irish or Brew Pub) and there are none for sale in your target area, you would have to start from scratch. There are plusses and minuses to everything, and there are as well with from starting with a blank piece of paper. Positively, you will get a physical plant specific to your needs and you will be able to tailor the design to your specific theme. You also will get a new plant with new furniture, fixtures and equipment. Everything will be shiny and clean and will work. Negatively, you will pay for this privilege in terms of time and money. Starting from scratch requires design work, engineering, and city and state licenses and approvals. Not to mention construction headaches. But the big thing here is you get what you want where you want it.

The other route to take is the fastest, cheapest and most direct way to owning your own restaurant – buy either the existing assets or the entire business of an existing establishment. Here all the heavy lifting has been done. You skip all the planning approvals, licensing, and build out issues – you just basically take the keys and drive the car. Granted, it’s not that simple. You’ll probably want to do some renovation and establish your new menu, but if the restaurant is successful as is you don’t have to even do that. In the past, buying a business required paying a premium for the business itself if it was throwing off cash flow (I covered how businesses are priced in a previous article). Today however the dips in the economy and certain circumstances have conspired to offer opportunities where you can buy restaurants and pay only for the real estate, furniture, fixtures and equipment.

Recently, partnering with Lynn Bonneau, I put the former William Tell Restaurant under agreement. The buyers are experienced restaurant folks who will be open soon with a new theme and the future looks good for them. This property sold as Real Estate and assets only and was a very good value. Also, currently I am acting as a consultant for the sale of a restaurant in Ports

mouth. This is a very successful business and will be purchased as going concern of the business only with no real estate. The buyers are paying for the business as well as the furniture, fixtures and equipment and the cash flow fully justifies the price. These are two different types of sales, placing value on different things – real estate, furniture, fixtures and equipment at the William Tell and cash flow in the other.

Right now, I have some great listings that demonstrate the different possibilities available:

4225943Mames Restaurant  ( MLS# 42259943 ) has been in business for over 30 year and is a landmark in downtown Meredith. The owner is retiring and this is a great opportunity to step in and take this to the next level. Mames’s is offered as a collection of assets and real estate only and is priced at a reasonable $599,000.00 – pretty much the value of the real estate alone! If you have the restaurant bug, you shouldn’t miss this opportunity! 

The Meredith Coffee House  ( MLS# 4215095 ) is a fully renovated operating breakfast and lunch restaurant4215095 and bakery located on the very busy DW Highway in Meredith. There is great opportunity to expand this business and grow it into your dream. Listed for $329,000 for the real estate and negotiable for the furniture, fixtures, and equipment, this can be your chance to make this your own.

Have a great idea or concept for a large scale restaurant? I have a great location available for your concept. 2 Lily Pond Road in Gilford has over 300 feet on scenic Lily Pond at a four way stop light on one of the heaviest traveled roads in Central NH with more than ample parking. There are just less than 2 acres and an existing set of buildings with a 2400 sq. ft. Post and Beam front building attached to a 5600 sq. ft. steel building. You will start from scratch and can make this site into the restaurant of your dreams.

So, if you are considering buying, starting, or selling a restaurant give me a call at (603) 520-6609.

There are many opportunities available, but there are also many pitfalls. We can provide consulting for startups, purchasing, or selling the restaurant of you dreams helping you get where you want to be with the least hassle and expense. Buying a restaurant is a big deal and is not like just buying a piece of real estate. We know the business of restaurant sales. Make sure you know what you are buying or selling and get what you want – contact me to start LIVING THE DREAM.

By Kim Cedarstrom Commercial and Residential Realtor® e-mail: kcedarstrom@rocherealtygroup.com

Kim Cedarstrom is a licensed residential and commercial Realtor© and consultant and president of Great Northern Real Estate and Business Consultants, an affiliate of Roche Realty Group offering a lakefront/residential real estate practice as well as commercial property and business sales services. Kim can be reached at kcedarstrom@roche.g.corvida.com or directly at 603-520-6609.

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