restaurant owner

Should you become a restaurant owner?

By Greg Kells

It requires long hours, passion, commitment and determination to run a restaurant, especially in the first few years. So, if you are thinking of buying a restaurant, do you know your reasons why?

As business brokers specializing in the foodservice industry, we have helped many prospective business owners to make the right choice by minimizing risk, helping to secure financing, developing a training and transition program and guiding them through the process of making a successful acquisition.

Based on our many years of experience, following are some of the top reasons you may choose to purchase a restaurant:


The freedom that comes with operating a restaurant lures many people. You don’t need to convince your boss – you are the boss. You choose the market niche you want to serve. You develop the menu you believe in, the food quality, the staff, systems, processes, technology, décor, lighting, music and ambiance, so you can offer the experience your clients want. You apply your creativity and energy to build something inspirational that provides a high level of satisfaction. You have the opportunity to express yourself – your vision, your values.


Every restaurant owner is a problem solver. You have a solution that others don’t. Whether the solution relates to marketing and communications, ambiance, food, or service, you know that your solution can be a driving factor in creating the best experience for your customers and generating a great bottom line. As a good operator you get to put order to chaos.


Restaurant owners ultimately decide on their work schedule and work style. As a restaurant owner, you determine how you want to run your business and how you want to live. If driving your kids to school is a priority, your day starts after the bell. Some restaurant owners are so committed to the lifestyle that they have developed new business models to accommodate their priorities.

External circumstances

This may include such situations as buying a restaurant because you have retired or been downsized. Someone with no experience who sees running a restaurant as a new career option is usually setting themselves up for a very difficult journey. At Sunbelt we discourage people who do not have suitable experience and skills.


Have you ever spoken to a restaurant owner who sums up their reason for starting their own business as, “I can do it differently or better.” Restaurant ownership is tough. It is filled with great accomplishments and bitter disappointments. It can be a tremendous source of pride and satisfaction and a pit of frustration. Engaging in ownership for the right reasons can be tremendously fulfilling.

Here are just a few more of the many reasons people might decide to buy a restaurant:

  • Sentiment: To recreate your favourite restaurant where you live
  • Benevolence: To give people an experience that they cannot currently get nearby
  • Entrepreneurism: To make money
  • Challenge: To capitalize on your experience and express yourself
  • Opportunism: To capitalize on a trend that has not reached your current market
  • Love: Because you get joy from serving others or cooking or both
  • Fun: People in the hospitality business are outgoing and fun to work with
  • Vision: You have a great idea
  • Distribution: You have access to niche food or beverage products
  • It worked the first time: Your previous restaurant was a success
  • Leadership: You like leading a team
  • Variety: There is a restaurant concept to suit every work style
  • Job Security: You are not likely to fire yourself
  • Helping Others: Developing, training, and mentoring staff
  • Creativity: Creating new dishes and drinks, introducing new concepts

About the author:

Greg Kells is President of Sunbelt Business Brokers, Canada’s largest business brokerage. With offices across the country, Sunbelt helps restaurant and foodservice business owners to maximize their selling price, reduce taxes, reduce risk and take the hassle out of selling. They also help many budding entrepreneurs to make the right choices in acquiring a business that works for them and matches their financial resources, skill, experience, and lifestyle goals. For more information, visit

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