Handling the change of restaurant ownership

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Handling the change of restaurant ownership

Franco Pardini of successful northern restaurant Franco’s shares his tips for successfully managing your restaurant purchase and the transition of ownership.

Restaurants change hands all the time, with over 400,000 restaurants in the UK, there are thousands changing hands every month.

The trouble is, the way you to handle your change of ownership can be key to the success of the success of your newly purchased business.

Should you change the name? Do I tell the customers? How soon can I let employees go?

These are all important questions you might be asking yourself as you take over the restaurant.

Based on our experience of buying restaurants, I’ve put together a guide to help you successfully manage the transition from the previous owners.


Clear communication is the key to successfully guiding your customers through the business ownership transition. By careful and strategically inform clients, especially the regulars, about the sale. Try to build their confidence in what lies ahead for the restaurant.

Moving quickly, quietly and personally is an important factor when considering how to handle the transition and informing your customers. It is important to be timely in your communications with clients otherwise key customers could learn about the transition from other sources, competitors or gossip. If you leave it to this there’s no guarantee that the information that your customers receive will be accurate or beneficial to you.

This could cause your clients to doubt the continuation of the previous quality and hinder your chances of success.

Be mindful of the need to preserve the stability of the business early in the transition process and coordinate the release of information with the previous owner. This being said don’t wait too long. It’s a delicate balance.

Stay positive & build confidence

Lastly stay positive. When you communicate your ownership to customers it’s important for you to be enthusiastic, positive and confident in your abilities. But also recognise the success of the previous owner. Introduce yourself with a short statement that conveys your confidence in your expertise, enthusiasm and plans for the company.

If necessary or helpful, you might also want to explain why you’re choosing to buy the business in question, what your plans will be after completion and the role you will play during the transition.

The key is to build customers’ continued confidence in the business and instill their confidence in you the new owner.

During your ownership tenure, good communication will undoubtedly help you maintain a positive relationship with your clients, especially the regular ones. By communicating confidently, clearly and strategically your clients will be more likely to embrace you and continue to enjoy a positive relationship with the business.

Posted on April 10, 2015 | Buying a restaurant, Change of ownership

By Jonathan Russell

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