Time for me to spend way to many words (probably) making simple point that you gotta get as much information about as many different things as possible:
The 1st question has not been mentioned or answered . . . . do you and your husband have a business plan written out? My position is that unless you develop a plan that outlines the marketplace, competition, customer base/demographics, products, price point, goals, expectations, financing, projected sales and revenues, plus the whole other stuff, then this purchase makes no sense whatsoever.
Without knowing what you need for the business to accomplish, then nothing the owner says will tell you if this existing business in this location will accomplish it. One VERY REAL difference between current owner and the next owers is that new owners will have a honking big debt payment on top of any existing expenses. Will the business sustain that? You don’t know yet.
The information you or your husband will need is a pretty detailed picture of the physical and financial health of the business as it sits before you ‘adopt’ it:
What are the reported revenues for last 5 years? if it ain’t reported, it doesn’t exisit
What are reported labor expenses same 5 years?
What are food cost expenses same 5 years?
What are tax expenses same 5 years? Unemployment, sales tax, alcohol taxes, Workers’ Comp, Occupational, etc.
How much AC/HEAT is supplying business, and is it adequate (ask a professional) and in good repair?
Does current owner work daily shifts in the business or is it run by competant manager(s)?
Detailed list of all FREE AND CLEAR appliances and equipment that is owned and not collateral for current debt
Age of existing assets that are free and clear . . . a shop full of 25 year old coolers could be a time bomb
What equipment is leased or on loan from someone other party?
Maintanence records for last 3 years or more?
What are current city/state alcohol licensing costs?
What is economic health of area near store? Other businesses stable, growing or failing?
What restaurant/eateries opened in area in last 2 years/1 year/6 months that could be impacting this business?
LEASE: what items is landlord responsible to maintain, and what is business supposed to? What is current duration, and what extensions? Ask around with commercial realtors to find out accepted and reasonable rent rates in area. Consider getting a commercial realtor or agent to negotiate the lease with/for you. This can be make or break for the business cash flow and profitability.
All these above need to paint a pretty consistent picture and make sense. When the time comes, you will require from seller tax records, receipts, inoices and other documentation of all sorts on this stuff. It is pretty standard stuff when getting to serious business of purchase. Accountants and attorneys to review it all to make sure it is sensible. You gotta compare all this to your own independent business plan to see if it can all be done and done well.
REGARDING CITY/COUNTY and you purchasing
Does current grease trap meet expected specs for you?
Does current fire suppression meet expected requirements?
Are other current other fire code expectations met?
ZONING: do you have adequate parking for assuming this business?
Are any alcohol licenses legally transferrable? What are requirements?
What new requirements, if any, must be met for alcohol licenses? (zoning, signage, etc.)
What crime activity has been reported at or near the property in last 3 years?
What is population movement in town . . . moving in or moving out?
What is current zoing of parcel? Any limits that could impact your business goals?
There are tons of things to check on. Best bet is to meet with someone in Planning/Zoning and with fire marshall to get as much forewarning as possible. Surprises later will be expensive and potentially devestating.