From custard and frozen yogurt to gelato and sundaes, there’s no denying Americans love ice cream. In fact, over the last five years, ice cream stores experienced a 2.1 percent industry growth rate. If you want to know how to buy an ice cream shop in Charlotte, NC, keep reading as VR Business Brokers covers the five essential questions you should consider before heading into this new venture.
5 QUESTIONS TO ASK BEFORE YOU PURCHASE A CHARLOTTE, NC ICE CREAM SHOP
Whether you’ve thought about opening up a family-run Charlotte ice cream parlor or are leaning towards franchise opportunities in the Charlotte area, there’s a lot that goes into the buying process. To prepare yourself, start by answering the following questions.
1. HOW WILL YOU DIFFERENTIATE YOUR ICE CREAM SHOP FROM THE REST?
As a prospective Charlotte ice cream shop owner, there are several franchised and smaller mom and pop shop businesses to keep up with, including Two Scoops Creamery, Elizabeth Creamery, Ben & Jerry’s, and Dairy Queen. To stay competitive, start thinking of how you can attract more customers and expand your menu options. Some ideas include:
- Adding non-dairy and vegan alternatives, such as Italian ice, popsicles, and smoothies
- Broadening your list of ice cream flavors to include standard and non-traditional options like mint chocolate chip, raspberry, peanut butter, and cookie dough
- Providing additional toppings, including chocolate chip chunks, cheesecake crumbles, caramel, and pecans
- Offering homemade ice cream and soft-serve options
- Including other dessert items, like cheesecake, brownies, milkshakes, and ice cream sandwiches
- Buying an ice cream truck
2. WHY IS THE OWNER LOOKING TO SELL THEIR CHARLOTTE ICE CREAM SHOP?
Next, you’ll need to figure out why the current owner wants to list their ice cream shop for sale in North Carolina. Typically, owners sell a business due to retirement, moving, or because of low sales. With COVID-19’s impact on consumer spending, more restaurant owners are listing their business on the market. However, this reason alone shouldn’t necessarily hold you back from buying. Under normal circumstances, it’s usually not smart to invest in underperforming businesses, but you may be able to land a better deal.
3. WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THE SALE?
When acquiring new businesses for sale, the cost of equipment and other needed supplies can quickly add up. Make sure you consult with the current shop owner and ask them what comes in the sale. You may need to plan accordingly and buy the necessities needed to run an ice cream shop if not already included otherwise.
Likewise, you’ll need to find out if the property is owned or leased. If the current owner owns the building, ask if the shop is included in the overall purchase. If they rent, don’t forget to run over the leasing agreement with the landlord, and look into potentially transferring the ownership.
4. WHAT ARE THE ICE CREAM SHOP’S CURRENT EXPENSES?
After determining your real estate and equipment needs, it’s time to inquire about the shop’s current expenses. You’ll want to have a solid understanding of the average daily costs of operating an ice cream shop in Charlotte, NC. When discussing present expenses with the owner, ask to review financial documents, including tax returns, cash flow, income statements, and balance sheets.
5. WHAT IS THE ASKING PRICE?
Lastly, as you’re finishing up your final questions for the owner, you’ll need to determine the asking price. Once disclosed, make sure you know how they calculated that price. Understanding the reasoning behind the selling price can potentially help you negotiate during the final buying stages. If they used a third-party service, it’s likely an accurate representation of the ice cream shop’s real business value. Unfortunately, this also minimizes your chances of landing a better deal.