Case History: Business & Viability Analysis

A pre-transaction analysis with a funding or turnaround plan for healthy or distressed businesses will help unlock value. 

Situation

Seated in Charlotte, NC is a full-service Italian restaurant serving the Ballantyne community in a casual dining atmosphere with private dining rooms and catering facilities. Chef-owned for less than 6 months, when financial challenges took hold the restaurant was surrendered to the construction firm that was owed the largest payable. The firm was not interested in the restaurant business, but the payable due was significant enough that they decided to operate the restaurant, expand the service offerings, address profitability challenges to minimize additional capital investment, and seek out a new buyer to recover the balance of the debt. Due to negative profitability trends, ownership had been poorly advised to sell the business at a premium price that included construction costs.

Objective

Fortis Business Advisors was engaged by a potential buyer to support due diligence in evaluating feasible profitability, cost-cutting measures and the efficacy of ownership’s arrival at its selling price. During the engagement, Fortis was asked to review floor plan layout, menu planning, food and beverage costing, back-of-house vs. front-of-house communication and culture, staffing efficiency and pay structure, and the effectiveness of the marketing and social media thrusts.  Utilizing Fortis ForeSight™, the financial and operational analysis included comparative quarterly income statement trends partitioned into different revenue drivers, ratio health, uncontrolled cost distribution, break-even efficiency, labor costs and pay structure reflective of a restaurant business. The analysis also included table turnover efficiency, number of tables per server, kitchen and food production line timing and efficiency.

Results         

Presented a comprehensive strategic plan that would engineer profit under controlled budgets and shift net profitability from -2.6% to 15.3% through cost-cutting measures

Identified that changes in the structure of how the service staff was being paid would immediately release 8%-10% cost savings to the bottom line and allow service staff to take home their income immediately

Uncovered that equipment costs were ballooning as a percentage of revenue and recommended replacement with used equipment at auction

Developed a comprehensive marketing strategy to re-position the restaurant’s image, and redesigned a floor plan that included an outdoor bar area to generate additional revenue

With the new projections, presented a value and acquisition price that was explainable for both the seller and buyer.

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