If you ever thought that being the owner of a bar is an easy job that involves having fun all the time, it means that you didn’t look at it from a business perspective. This doesn’t mean that owning a bar is not nice but it’s a lot more difficult than you probably imagined. Opening a bar takes a lot of effort, brainstorming, organization, and courage. In this article, we will be talking about how to open a bar in ten steps that you should not ignore if you want a successful business.
1. Start planning
Before doing anything else, you should start thinking ahead and come up with a strong business plan. You can find lots of templates for specific types of businesses online or you can simply create your own plan. This is a mandatory element to have that should include all the necessary details of your future business. Write down what type of bar you want to open, the location, how big you want it to be, what it will serve, how it will fit in the industry’s current state, legal and financial aspects, as well as a marketing strategy.
Your business plan should be your guide for the next steps and it will keep you safe from straying away from your goal. Moreover, your business plan will help you obtain funding more easily or find investors for your bar because it will show that you know precisely what you are going to do next.
2. Find funding
In case you don’t already have the necessary funds to open a bar (which usually costs at least $100,000 depending on multiple factors), you might want to think about finding the money for it. A small business loan from a bank or online lender can be your go-to option. Banks are more traditional, have harsher eligibility requirements, and the actual funding could take a bit more than with online lenders. Another advantage is that online lenders can usually accept you for a small business loan even if you have a lower than average credit score. Just find one that fits your needs, verify its authenticity, and go for it.
You can also try obtaining a business credit card that will be extremely useful when it comes to bar-related expenses. It will allow you to cover small and medium purchases and might even earn you some reward points.
3. Find the perfect location
Placing your bar in the right area can make or break the whole deal. Before doing anything else, make sure that you know exactly what kind of bar you want to have. Also, think of what kind of people you want to serve. A good idea can be to enlist the help of a real estate agent for some fresh ideas. You can either rent a location or buy your own.
4. Complete the business registration phase
Obviously, you cannot have a business without registering it first. The requirements for doing so usually depend on your location. You will also have to pick a business type for your bar. You can go for either sole proprietorship or general partnership. An LLC or a corporation type of business is also an option but not as popular as the first two ones, especially for bar businesses.
5. Get the necessary permits and licenses
If you are going to sell alcohol in your bar, then you need a lot of permits and licenses for it. You should first obtain a license from the TTB but keep in mind that this entire process can take up to one year. A food seller’s permit and another liquor license will be needed from your state. Never ignore the fact that your bar will be subjected to periodic inspections and that everything should be in tip-top shape.
6. Don’t forget about the name
The name of your business represents the most important marketing strategy. Make sure that the name will be easy to remember, catchy, and that it completely represents your business idea. Besides that, you will need to come up with a name that hasn’t been taken by another business. If you want to also create a website for your bar, make sure that the domain name hasn’t been used before.
7. Good suppliers are a must
If you want happy clients then you need good suppliers. This is the golden rule of bars and restaurants in general. The easiest way to find them is through word of mouth. Ask your fellow bar owners about quality suppliers and get in contact with them. You can also do your own research and find good online suppliers that are professional and experienced.
8. Have a high-quality POS
Before actually opening your bar, you should first make sure that you have a high-quality point-of-sale system. There are a lot of options to pick from but, again, asking people who have more experience than you could help greatly. Keep in mind that a POS doesn’t have to be expensive to do its job well and facilitate payments, sales, and orders.
9. Think of your bar concept
If you want to take your business to the next level, design your bar with a clear concept in mind. Make it different and attractive for people who are sick of the same old bars where they go for a drink every now and then. Think of what type of atmosphere you want to create, what kind of clients you want to attract, and what they would like to experience. Buy high-quality furniture and equipment and create a story so people will want to return to your bar.
10. Have a good marketing strategy
Last but not least, coming up with a good marketing strategy to promote your business can prove to be one of the most important things that you can do. Remember that your bar is not the only one in the country and that your competitors might be better. Use social media channels to attract and keep clients around. Upload professional photos of your location and include snaps of happy clients. Make your menu public and you fancy cocktails too. Finally, kindly ask customers to leave honest reviews online.
In conclusion, it’s clear that opening a bar is no easy feat, even if, sometimes, it may seem like it. The aforementioned steps are crucial if you want to start your business on the right foot. It’s mandatory not to ignore any of them and to develop of habit of thinking ahead. If you can, enlist the help of a professional or a friend who has more experience in the business industry than you do. This could save you a lot of trouble and wasted time.