Shawn Sanborn: Business Broker/Restaurant Owner – Why that matters

By Shawn Sanborn, Colorado Restaurant Broker and Restaurant Owner

Most business brokers enter the profession later in their life after a long business career. Many recently sold their own business and see business brokerage as a natural progression.  I made the decision for many different reasons. True, when I founded Sanborn and Company I had sold three successful businesses that I founded. However, I had just turned thirty and it was still early in my business career. The previous year I sold my neighborhood sports bar and restaurant and for the first time I paid a commission. I learned first-hand how a well intentioned business broker who has limited knowledge of a bar and restaurant can cause many problems. I realized my restaurant and bar experience would be valuable to buyers and sellers and that was the main reason why I became a business broker.

How does owning and operating restaurants make a business broker better?  This is a great question and there are many reasons. Here are a few:

One of the most important parts of the brokerage process is identifying the true earnings of the restaurant business.  As a broker and evaluator, I have reviewed thousands of restaurant income statements, balance sheets and tax returns. However, it is my experience as an operator that enables me to identify legitimate “add backs” or “non-operating” expenses which translates to a more accurate representation of earnings.

Professional business brokers should be consultative sales people. At Sanborn and Company we believe this and many of our listings come months or years after our first consultation. Our experience allows us to identify operational issues that can be corrected which will achieve a higher selling price. Sure, some professional business brokers will identify issues and make suggestions but their advice is usually based solely on industry averages, operational reports etc. As an operator I know what can be corrected and what cannot, my recommendations are realistic and achievable.  Believe me, I’ve been there and “I do not live in a glass house and cast stones.”

As an owner I know what it takes to operate a successful restaurant. It’s not just the long hours, employee issues, rising costs, liquor liability, health department issues etc. Sure it is physical but there is also an emotional attachment to the business, employees and customers. Business brokers will tell you that most owners of small business have an emotional attachment to their business. I agree, but as a restaurant owner it is much more complicated. Having sold my own restaurants I understand the emotional side of the transaction. I am immersed in the restaurant business and culture, have a thorough understanding and respect it. You can’t comprehend this until you have been an operator. This experience enables me to develop long term trusted relationships with both buyers and sellers.

How to Use this information

If you are a restaurant or bar owner considering selling or a buyer looking for the right opportunity you need the best representation.  Sanborn and Company is a Colorado leader in assisting and representing people buying restaurants, bars, liquor stores and hotels.  Our Full Service Success System™ goes beyond completing a successful transaction by helping clients master operational best practices. We are experienced restauranteurs who have learned the business from the bottom up.   Let us know how we can help, call us today  at 303-220-7919 or request an online appointment.

Shawn Sanborn, President of Sanborn and Company is a recognized industry expert, speaker, expert witness, restaurant owner and considered one of the top restaurant brokers in the country.