I am planning to buy an existing pizza business
In answer to question A. Have a lawyer who specializes in leases and business sales go over everything. They can address your concerns the best as well as protect and provide you with other advice concerning the business. It will be the best money you spent whether you go through with buying the business or not.
In answer to question b. Yes and no. All though tax returns can be a tool to help you, usually only if they have 4 or 5 years. Find out if the owner will stay on for six months to train and help you with transition. If he says yes and does it, probably means everything he is tell you is true. The other thing is as long as you can verify 20+ years that also tells you a lot; ask him why he is closing. Other things you can ask him who supplies his take out containers, cheese and flour. If you can get those receipts check his menu prices and that will give you some kind of idea. Ask him when his busiest time is and clock the store, talk to his suppliers , take inventory of his equipment and condition it’s in then compare it to what that equipment sales for and of course see your lawyer.
Question 2. yes. Get a camera
Question b. In most cases you use your collection of experiences from running your 1st store.
Question c. He’s right. A POS system will also help you with the theft problem. Go to www.pmq.com
register for the forum and ask people their to recommend a POS. The site is a good resource for all your questions.
Question 3. Your lawyer or accountant can answer best. If you are worried about getting audited don’t go into the restaurant business. Because it’s not a matter of if you’ll get audited. . . it’s when
b. Question for your lawyer
c. question for your accountant
4. a. How the customer perceives the new owner is up to you. He’s also right about the menu. If it aint broker, don’t fix it. It doesn’t’ sound to me like he is selling because of lack of business, more like age or health. You can make your changes down the road, once people get use to you being there.
5)Pain points / Areas (as seen by the seller):
Welcome to business. Employees are as good or bad as you make them. You may not need a chef, you may need an employee who will give you more because you pay them a decent wage.
As far As not being hands on, you should look for another business. The restaurant business no matter what stage you’re at requires you to be hands on. Or atleast know how to be hands on. If you want to be successful, you will have to know and be able to do every part of the operation. Only when you can do it yourself can you start to duplicate yourself in certain parts of the operation.
5. Check your market and you can answer that one yourself.
6. To be successful you need to understand that there are 2 parts to being successful in business. The artist side, (making pizza’s, customer service, etc etc) and the Administration side (bookkeeping, employees, advertising etc) ; you need to pay attention to both equally.
Before you start draw up an extensive business plan. Spend a couple of weeks in the business with the owner to see if you do like it. But in the end, exit plan is simple. . . get out as quickly and as inexpensive to you as possible and take what you learned good and bad and use it for the next time.