How to Find Restaurants for Sale: An In-depth Guide With Possible Restaurant Listings to Aid Your Search 

Finding a restaurant space for sale or lease is one of the first steps to starting your restaurant. However, it can also be the most challenging for several reasons. For one, you may not know where to begin your search. There’s also the problem of finding a property that fits your budget. And, when you do find a place, you may discover the demographic doesn’t match your ideal customers. 

How to Find Restaurants for Sale

When you put all of these factors together, it might be tempting to give up your dream of owning a restaurant. However, don’t throw in the towel yet. This article will provide in-depth solutions on finding restaurant properties for sale. We’ll also recommend possible restaurant listings you can check out to ease your search. That said, we’ve kept you waiting long enough; here are the best ways to find restaurant property for sale:

Restaurant Listings Online 

If you’ve ever tried to buy a home, then you know finding listings online is pretty straightforward. There are tons of websites with houses for sale you can check out to look for what’s ideal for you. However, we can’t say the same for restaurants. Restaurant listings are practically non-existent, and this factor makes finding a space challenging for prospective restaurant owners. Fortunately, though, there are a few commercial real estate websites that list properties for sale that could be helpful. While these sites aren’t Multiple Listing Services (MLS) like you have for homes, they have an extensive range of commercial real estate properties for lease or sale, including land, retail, industrial, and office buildings. For example, you could find the latest restaurant listings at NNN Deal Finder. There are also other sites you can look at, such as,, and 

Commercial Real Estate Brokers 

Real estate brokers are the traditional way to go when looking for real estate properties to buy. Thus, if you’re looking for a restaurant property for lease, they should be your go-to option. Typically, some commercial real estate brokers specialize in a specific type of commercial property. As such, you should find one that focuses on restaurants. There are real estate agents for property investments in a particular location, as well. Therefore, If you have an ideal city with your target audience in mind, it’s best to pick a real estate agent with experience with properties in that area. 

Furthermore, aside from making your search easier, commercial real estate agents can also assist you with the negotiations involved in sealing the deal. Generally, real estate brokers have the necessary expertise in the different types of lease agreements in commercial real estate, such as modified gross lease and triple net lease. This knowledge will come in handy as you discuss terms with the owner of the property you want to buy. Also, many real estate agents are connected to architects, kitchen designers, attorneys, and liquor license expediters. You’ll need the help of these professionals to set up the technical and aesthetic details of your new restaurant. 

Business Brokers 

Business brokers specialize in facilitating the buying and selling of businesses for business owners and prospective buyers. As such, they’re also an excellent option to help you find restaurant properties for sale. Many business brokers also have websites with listings of businesses that are available for sale. Thus, before contacting a business broker in person, you could check out the properties available on their website to see if any of them fit your criteria. However, there are some things to note before hiring a business broker

For example, unlike real estate agents, business brokers do not have experience with commercial real estate lease agreements. Some are all about just selling the properties on their listings and, as such, they may not be helpful during the negotiation process. Furthermore, most business brokers do not work with real estate agents during a sale, as this factor could mean they may share the commission. Therefore, before hiring a broker to help you out with purchasing your first restaurant, ensure you confirm if they’ll be willing to work with a real estate agent and possibly split the commission. 

How to Find Restaurants for Sale - restaurant

Driving Through the Target Area to Find Opportunities 

This method is the do-it-yourself approach. It requires you to drive through your target area to search for restaurant lease or sale signs. Generally, you’ll learn a lot about your preferred business location this way. You may discover crucial details like traffic patterns, demographics, and the busy spots in the area. Once you find a place you like, hiring a real estate broker to help with vital elements, such as lease agreements, is the next step. A business broker could also come in handy to facilitate the transition. 

However, this approach may be time-consuming and physically draining. You may drive around for days or weeks before finding something you like. Furthermore, you won’t find a lot of options this way. And, when you eventually do find a restaurant space for sale, you may have to leave your phone number to find out about rent and square footage. Nevertheless, it’s still an option you could try. 

Target a Specific Property 

Another option to help you purchase your first restaurant is to target a specific property in your preferred location and discuss it with the owner over a possible sale. The business in question might not be necessarily up for sale. But, with the right price and negotiation skills, you could get the owner to part ways with their restaurant for you. You may also need a real estate broker to help with the negotiations. However, it’s vital to note that this method isn’t the most efficient for several reasons. For one, the business owner might not be willing to sell, no matter how much you try to convince them, especially if the establishment is thriving. You could still give it a try regardless. 

Final Thoughts 

Starting a restaurant can be challenging. Finding a restaurant property for lease isn’t exactly the most straightforward task in the world, especially since there aren’t Multiple Listing Services (MLS) for fast food joints like you have for houses. Nevertheless, there are options available to you. Chief among them are commercial real estate listings that have commercial properties up for sale. You could also work with real estate or business brokers. Alternatively, DIY methods could come in handy, such as driving through your preferred location or picking a target property and contacting the owner over a possible sale. 

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