Guide To Restaurant Asset Purchase Agreement

Updated September 25, 2023
12 min read
Guide To Restaurant Asset Purchase Agreement


Welcome to the bustling and vibrant world of the restaurant business! If you've stumbled upon this article, then there's a good chance that you're considering buying a restaurant. One of the first steps in this journey is understanding the workings of the restaurant asset purchase agreement. This guide provides a detailed road map to navigate this critical contractual document. 

Understanding Restaurant Asset Purchase Agreement

In the simplest terms, a 'restaurant asset purchase agreement' delineates the terms and conditions for selling a restaurant's assets. These aren't just physical assets like furniture or kitchen equipment, but intangibles like brand recognition and customer base, too. This agreement serves as the backbone of the restaurant-acquisition process, as it defines the items being purchased, the agreed price, and other intricacies.

Why restaurant asset purchase agreements are critical in restaurant acquisition

Imagine stepping into a high-stakes poker match without knowing the rules — unnerving, right? Devising a restaurant asset purchase agreement without knowing the ins and outs can feel just as daunting. This legally binding document is, in essence, the rulebook for acquiring a restaurant. It clearly identifies the assets being bought, the liabilities being assumed, the purchase price, and the terms of the deal. Without an asset purchase agreement restaurant acquisitions can quickly transform from an exciting endeavor into a thorny maze of legal liabilities. 

Difference between 'asset purchase' and 'stock purchase' in a restaurant acquisition

Navigating the process of restaurant acquisition necessitates making informed decisions. One crucial decision is choosing between an 'asset purchase' and a 'stock purchase'. Let's understand the key characteristics of both:

  • Asset purchase: When you opt for a restaurant asset purchase agreement, you're essentially buying the 'goods'. This includes both tangible assets, like kitchen equipment and furniture, and intangible assets, like the restaurant's reputation or customer goodwill.

  • Stock purchase: In contrast, choosing a stock purchase means you're buying the 'business', which entails acquiring everything — the assets, the liabilities, the whole package. 

A restaurant asset purchase agreement often appears less risky. Why? This agreement allows you to select the assets you want and, more importantly, avoid certain liabilities. In the dynamic world of restaurant acquisitions, this ability to choose can genuinely make all the difference.

Key parts of a restaurant asset purchase agreement

A restaurant asset purchase agreement is a critical document that contains several key sections. Think of it as a detailed list of fundamental components that are required for the smooth execution of a restaurant purchase deal. Here are the key parts of a restaurant asset purchase agreement:

  1. Asset listings: This part outlines all the assets, both tangible and intangible, that are being transferred as part of the restaurant acquisition.

  2. Purchase price: Here, the agreed-upon price for the restaurant's assets is clearly laid out. This section often includes the method of payment and any related terms.

  3. Lease assignments: If the restaurant's premises are leased, this agreement section discusses how the lease will be transferred or assigned to the new owner.

  4. Non-competition provisions: These clauses prevent the previous owner from opening a similar business within a specific geographical area for a stated period to protect the buyer's investment. 

  5. Warranties or representations: These are the guarantees provided by the seller about the condition and legal status of the restaurant's assets.

The accuracy and detail of these sections in your restaurant asset purchase agreement form directly determine the efficiency and success of your acquisition process. Always remember that precision and thorough review are critical for an effective restaurant asset purchase agreement.

Benefits of a Restaurant Asset Purchase Agreement

A well-structured restaurant asset purchase agreement is pivotal to the successful acquisition of a restaurant business. This document offers significant benefits, providing protection to both the buyer and the seller. It outlines crucial aspects such as risk allocation, tax implications, and exit strategies, making it indispensable in any restaurant acquisition process.

For instance, let's say the buyer is interested in acquiring a local pizza restaurant, "Delicious Dough Pizzeria". To safeguard their investment, the buyer would approach the transaction with a comprehensive restaurant asset purchase agreement. This agreement would precisely outline all existing assets of the pizzeria, such as kitchen equipment, interior decor, and even intangible assets like brand recognition and secret pizza recipes, that the buyer will acquire.

Simultaneously, the restaurant asset purchase agreement would also detail potential risks and liabilities, such as loans, leasing agreements, and any pending legal actions, giving the buyer an opportunity to decide what liabilities they are willing to accept. The agreement would also clearly lay out the agreed-upon price and how it will be paid, providing financial clarity to both parties involved.

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Furthermore, the agreement could also stipulate how much tax is to be paid by each party, thereby minimizing post-acquisition financial surprises. Finally, the document also encapsulates exit strategies, clearly detailing what happens if either party wishes to terminate the agreement.

In summary, the restaurant asset purchase agreement serves as a safety net, protecting both parties' interests and making the acquisition as transparent and smooth as possible.

Steps To Draft a Restaurant Asset Purchase Agreement

Drafting a restaurant asset purchase agreement can feel a bit like recipe development. It requires precision, understanding, and a dash of creativity. Following certain guidelines — like listing all assets and agreed-upon values, including payment terms, and perhaps the most exciting step – the tasting, i.e., pre-closing inspection — can help ensure your asset purchase agreement restaurant-centered, will turn out just right.

Remember, though it might be tempting to explore a restaurant asset purchase agreement simple, don't overlook the need for comprehensive legal coverage that comes with the advice from lawyers who work with business-related issues. 


When crossing forks with a restaurant asset purchase agreement, a recipe (or, in our case, a well-structured agreement form) is vital. Just like a mixologist mastering the perfect cocktail, Lawrina, your reliable legaltech ecosystem can help you garner the ingredients for a seamless acquisition process, helping you stay ahead of the game. So, whether you are a restaurant veteran or just testing the foodservice waters, remember that drafting a restaurant asset purchase agreement is just the appetizer course.

Article by
Alina Kalyna

Alina Kalyna is the Content Specialist at Lawrina. With her experience in content creation, Alina is adept at producing comprehensive and engaging content across various platforms. Her role at Lawrina involves generating high-quality content for the blog, guides, and other materials.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a restaurant asset purchase agreement be revised or changed?

Absolutely, a restaurant asset purchase agreement, much like other legal contracts, can be amended. Both parties should agree to any changes before the final signing. For instance, according to the Revised Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) which governs sales transactions in the US, terms of an agreement may be reasonably modified or rescinded by subsequent agreement of the parties.

What assets and liabilities are included in a restaurant acquisition?

A standard restaurant acquisition might include both tangible and intangible assets. Tangible assets are physical things like kitchen equipment, furniture, or inventory. The intangible assets could include elements like brand reputation or trademarks. 


As for liabilities, it can range from financial obligations such as outstanding loans to operational liabilities like unresolved health and safety issues. For example, in the case of "Golden Enterprises, Inc. v. United States" (2007) it was established that both tangible and intangible assets of a restaurant (including its operating license) were included as key components in the restaurant asset purchase agreement.

Why are restaurant asset purchase agreements critical in the restaurant acquisition process?

A restaurant asset purchase agreement essentially offers a blueprint of the transaction, outlining each element in detail. It sets the terms and conditions, the agreed-upon purchase price, and stipulates any legal obligations. For example, under the US Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) Franchise Rule, the seller is legally required to provide certain disclosure documents which would typically be outlined in the restaurant asset purchase agreement. This makes it a critical tool for ensuring a successful and legally compliant acquisition.