advice on moving across town

This is my first post but I have been reading for about 10 years. This might be long but I want to try to get as much info as possible out. An opportunity might be coming up and I was hoping to get some thoughts.

My store has been open for almost 20 years and I have owned it for 15 of those. It is in a small town of about 7300 with my delivery area reaching about 8500. I own the building the store is in. It is on the corner of a busy intersection in town. It has a small dining room and no parking lot. It is the oldest building in town and was not made to house a restaurant. Customers park on the street wherever they can find a spot or in the bank parking lot across the street. Our sales consist of about 40% delivery, 40% carry out, and 20% dine in. This is by # of sales not dollars. There are three other stores in my town; one of the big three, a local chain that is in a gas station, and another independent. I’m very confident that I am doing the most business in town because I have talked with people who work at the others but don’t know for sure because I didn’t ask for sales numbers.

The owner of the other independent has been looking to sell for the last few years but can’t find a buyer because he is asking too much. He offered it to me but I am not interested in his place. I also found out last week that the big three store is struggling and did away with their buffet to try to save money. The struggling part is a rumor but the buffet closing is confirmed. This place does interest me. My thoughts were if they close, I would be interested in buying their building and moving my store across town. Their dining area is about 2.5-3 times bigger than mine and they have their own parking lot. As I said before, it is a small town and customers would not lose me if I were to move.

My Dad (who is also my general manager) thinks I am crazy because I own my business and have no business debt but I would have to take out a loan to buy that building. However, I’m thinking with the increased revenue from the combination of taking out a competitor and possibly expanding my menu, it would pay for itself in the long run. I also think that if they do close, some other pizza place may swoop in if I decide not to. I was hoping to get the opinions from people who have been in my situation on a few questions.

  1. Am I crazy? Should I look to expand in this way or should I just be happy with what I have?

  2. Would it be rude of me as their competitor to contact the owner and tell them I am interested in their place?

  3. If I were to contact them, how should I go about it? My cousin is a realtor. I thought of having her write them a letter and telling them someone is interested. Should I do that or call them myself to discuss the possibilities of a buyout?

Thanks in advance for any info.

I can’t speak for your exaxct case,however

I just moved my store 5 blocks up the street to a stand alone building with its own parking lot. Before I was in a building on the side of the street with no parking lot

dine in was about 5-8% of sales. We were already an busy store

its been 2 months since we moved and November is up 70% over last November and we are beating Domino’s in our town by close to 10k a week

now dine in is 25-30% of sales

so for me it was worth it to move for sure. But that’s just my situation for what its worth

How far is across town?..The reason I ask is wondering how such a move effects walk-in / carryout sales? Have you considered operating 2 locations even if only for a short time…The new location will be your commissary and the old location a satellite for take out & some deliveries…

How much is the value of your building now versus the new building?..If it is just a little bit more, you do not have to gain much in sales to make a go of it…But if it is a large jump, you need to generate larger sales almost right away…

Good luck and welcome to TT…