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I attended the 2010 UCLA sponsored Chain Restaurant Operators Conference yesterday. The GE Capital Finance representative indicated with me the change of GE's 2010 game rules in financing restaurants.
GE has earmarked $1 billion for restaurant financing. That's way down from prior years.
The lender's primary interest is in selecting leading, name brand QSR franchisees, of at least 5 units or more to look at. And, secondarily, independent chains of 30-40 units, with multiple regional success demonstrated, with at least $5M in EBITDA.
Significant equity (30% plus cash) and tough loan covenants are routine requirements, now.