Seeking out a restaurant with a liquor license is a great way to own a profitable operation as a restaurateur. With higher profit margins on the sale of alcohol alone, restaurants serving alcohol are generally known to yield higher revenue than those that do not sell alcohol. However, obtaining the legal licensure to serve beer, wine, and/or liquor at a restaurant requires some leg work from the owner. Learn more about restaurants for sale with a liquor license to see how these opportunties could eliminate that extra leg work and set you up for success sooner.
Finding a restaurant with an existing liquor license is one option for any aspiring owner of a bar, brewery, pub, or restaurant with alcohol service. Buying Restaurants for sale with a Liquor License can be a shorter path to operations than a startup operation, particularly if the state allows for the transfer of that permit. Since the profit associated with alcohol sales is significant to an operator, it’s best to understand the requirements upfront.
Restaurants for sale with a liquor license are typically identified in the description written by the seller. For a savvy buyer, however, you must do some additional investigation to understand how—or if—the liquor license in place will transfer. If the liquor license will not transfer, then you may want to confirm if the existing licence will allow you to operate until you complete the process to obtain your own.License requirements are very specific and guided by state law in almost all instances. In general terms, there are different types of licenses that allow for the service of alcohol. These could include:
Restaurant Liquor License – This is the most common type of license and generally allows the service of beer, wine, and a full bar. It allows one to serve all types of alcohol including mixed drinks.
Beer and Wine License – This is often the type of license that would accompany a pizza shop or similar location where the concept is fast-casual, or the food is best when accompanied by a glass of wine, but a full mixed drink menu is not required. Full alcohol service is not allowed when buying restaurants for sale with a liquor license of this type as it limits the consumption on-premise to beer and wine only.
Quota License – This is a specific type of license offered in some states where the ability to serve alcohol is subject to a maximum number of locations and they are won through a yearly lottery system. They can also be re-sold on the open market. Florida is a state with quota licenses and their 4COP-Quota is an example of their quota. If someone holds this license in Florida, independent of a restaurant, they may sell it or use it for any concept like a bar or club and don’t have to meet minimum seating, size space, or have minimum requirements for food service.
For many restaurants for sale with a liquor license, the service of alcohol is measured in relationship to food and nonalcoholic beverages. Thus, food nad non-alcoholic beverages must account for at least 51 percent of the business revenue.
The fees for a license to service vary by county and state. Most require an annual renewal paid in order to renew the license. In addition to the general types of liquor licenses, states may have more specific types of liquor licenses in varying availabilities. A buyer is better equipped by famlizing themselves with his or her state's requirements and restrictions when it comes to obtaining a liquor license.
It is important when considering restaurants for sale with real estate to be familiar with the state laws allowing for the service of alcohol. Adequate training of all staff members is critical to be sure that you are complying with regulatory requirements in accordance with the law. In addition, some municipalities require a Server License. In addition to liquor licenses for establishments, this is a requirement for individual servers to be licensed.
One challenge to acquiring a liquor license for a restaurant is the landlord. In some cases, landlords may not approve concepts that sell alcohol. When a buyer browses listings which already have a liquor license in place, they can avoid this road block altogether. For instance, a restaurant for sale in a shopping center may be convertible concept, but the buyer's dreams of converting to a bar or serving wine to customers may be crushed by a landlord that can't approve the sale of alcohol.
Buying a restaurant with an liquor license can be a great path for any buyer hoping to serve alcohol in a restaurant without starting from square one in the application process. When a buyer purchases a restaurant for sale with a liquor license, they are not buying the liquor license. Rather, they are buying the current restaurant and its operations. An existing restaurant owner looking to acquire a liquor license for their restaurant should visit their state's alcohol, drugs and tobacco adminstration for specific details on the application process. While there are costs associated with obtaining a brand new liquor license for a restaurant, a restaurant owner does not buy the liquor license itself. Instead, the owner applies and is approved for permission to serve alcohol. There are some services available with liquour license brokers who can assist you in the process. Although, these services come at cost. Buying a restaurant for sale with a liquor license already means you can start your busines sooner. Moreover, the expertise of a Certified Restaurant Broker is an excellent guide on your route to restaurant ownership.
Overall, buying restaurants for sale with a liquor license can be an excellent option to acquire existing cash flow, profitability, trained staff, and more. Going through the initial application process can be tedious and time-consuming. The ability to acquire an existing business with the proper license in place can, in some instances, cut down the red tape and provide a shortcut to alcohol service.
The listings offered by We Sell Restaurants on this page represent some of those opportunities available nationwide. To browse bars, breweries, or pubs in particular, take a look at our Bars for Sale page where you can continue your search for the perfect restaurant with a liquor license.
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The process to obtain meet the regulatory requirement varies greatly from state to state however and often requires local understanding and knowledge.
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We Sell Restaurants has compiled the basics for those aspiring to perfect the cocktail hour and buy a bar from our inventory of locations. Read on to move forward in your quest.