68 Questions to Ask When Buying a Restaurant

The restaurant business is notoriously difficult. Long hours, tight margins, and fickle customers make it hard to succeed. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If you’re thinking about buying a restaurant, there are a few things you should consider. Here are the questions you should ask before you take the plunge.

47 Questions you should ask before purchasing a restaurant:

  1. What is the location’s foot traffic like?
  2. Is the restaurant in a high-rent district?
  3. How long has the current owner been in business?
  4. What are the current owner’s motivations for selling?
  5. What does the lease look like?
  6. Is the restaurant turnkey or will it need extensive renovations?
  7. What’s included in the sale (e.g., equipment, furnishings, etc.)?
  8. What does the menu look like? Does it need to be updated?
  9. What style of service does the restaurant use (e.g., table service, buffet, etc.)?
  10. How many employees does the restaurant have? Are they unionized?
  11. What are the current sales and profitability?
  12. What’s the growth potential?
  13. What are the major competitors?
  14. What are the customer demographics?
  15. Does the restaurant have any liabilities or pending litigation?
  16. Are there any health code violations?
  17. What’s the insurance situation?
  18. Does the restaurant have any outstanding loans or other debts?
  19. What does a typical day look like?
  20. What are the monthly sales?
  21. What’s the condition of the equipment?
  22. Who are the suppliers?
  23. Is the restaurant leased or owned? If leased, how much is the rent per month/year?
  24. Does the staff turn over frequently?
  25. What time of day are most customers in the restaurant?
  26. What marketing efforts have been made?
  27. Is there a unique selling point that could be highlighted?
  28. What’s the square footage of the restaurant?
  29. How much seating capacity does the restaurant have?
  30. Does the restaurant have any undeveloped areas that could be utilized (e.g., outdoor seating, private dining room)?
  31. What are the demographics of the surrounding neighborhood?
  32. How much do menu items cost on average? Are there opportunities to increase prices or add higher-priced items?
  33. What are labor costs like (e.g., number of employees, hourly wage)?
  34. Does the restaurant have strong relationships with vendors/suppliers?
  35. What do online reviews say about the restaurant?
  36. Is there untapped potential for revenue from catering or special events?
  37. What are point-of-sale (POS) and other technical systems (e.g., outdated, in need of repair)?
  38. Does the kitchen need to be renewed (e.g. new appliances, ventilation hood)?
  39. Is there a possibility of purchasing multiple locations as part of a franchise agreement?
  40. What are the hours of operation?
  41. Is the restaurant open 7 days a week?
  42. Are there any special events or promotions that take place?
  43. Does the restaurant have any outstanding loans or judgments against it?
  44. Is the lease transferable? If so, how long is the lease valid?
  45. Does the lease contain any restrictions that might limit your ability to effectively operate the business?
  46. Does the restaurant have proprietary recipes or methods that are difficult to replicate?
  47. How well-established is the customer base?

21 Questions to ask yourself before you buy a restaurant:

  1. What’s your budget?
  2. What kind of cuisine do you want to serve?
  3. What kind of atmosphere do you want to create?
  4. What kind of service do you want to provide?
  5. Do you want to buy an existing restaurant or start from scratch?
  6. How much experience do you have in the restaurant industry?
  7. Do you have any business partners?
  8. Do you have any investors?
  9. How much debt are you willing to take on?
  10. How much equity are you willing to give up?
  11. What are your long-term goals for the restaurant?
  12. What are your short-term goals for the restaurant?
  13. How will you generate revenue?
  14. How will you generate profits?
  15. What are your marketing strategies?
  16. What are your advertising strategies?
  17. What are your social media strategies?
  18. Is the restaurant in a good neighborhood?
  19. Is the restaurant near other businesses?
  20. Is the restaurant located near residential areas?
  21. Is there parking available at the restaurant?

Frequently Asked Questions

What would be the risk in buying an existing restaurant?

If you’re considering purchasing an existing restaurant, there are a few key risks to take into account. One is the financial stability of the business – you want to make sure it’s not in debt or has legal issues that could cause it to close down soon after the purchase.

You should also research the market and make sure the restaurant is in a location that’s likely to be successful. If the surrounding businesses are struggling or there’s too much competition in the area, your restaurant may not be as successful as you’d hoped.

Finally, you should also check the condition of the property and equipment – if major repairs are needed, it could cost you a lot of money in the long run.

What are the 4 P’s of a restaurant?

Many factors make up a great restaurant, but four of the most important are the 4 P’s: price, product, place, and promotion. Price is how much customers have to pay for their meals. Product is what’s served, from the menu to the d├ęcor. The place is where the restaurant is located and how easy it’s to get to. Promotion is how well the restaurant is marketed and how its reputation spreads by word of mouth. All of these factors play a role in whether or not a restaurant is successful.


Asking these questions will help you get a better picture of what you’re getting yourself into – and whether or not buying a particular restaurant is a good idea for you and your business goals. Be sure to do your due diligence and seek the advice of an experienced industry professional before making a final decision!

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