You like the idea of opening a bar. You’ve been thinking about it for a while and discussing it with your friends. Now, you’ve decided to go ahead and just do it. While you’re convinced it’s a good idea, you’re not sure where to begin.
Here is a quick overview of the main steps you’ll need to consider:
- What type of bar do you want to open?
- What is it like to be in the trade?
- What do customers want when they go to a bar?
- What kind of licenses and business permits do you need to get?
- How do you open up a business?
As you’ll notice, the actual building of the bar is the least difficult aspect of it. Essentially, there are two aspects you need to look into: research your idea to see if it’s what you really want to do (steps one and two); and research the business aspect to see if you’ll be able to turn a profit. (steps three, four, and five.)
Step #1: What type of bar do you want to open?
The most important aspect is to choose the right type of bar. If you get this wrong, you won’t have a passion for your business and it will fail.
The more specialized your bar, the more likely it will be successful. The most popular types, in no particular order of importance, are the college bar, the cigar bar, the dive bar, the lounge, the Irish pub, the night club, and the sports bar.
Choose the one that interests you the most rather than figuring out which is most profitable. If you don’t like the theme you’ve picked, you won’t be able to make it profitable. As a bar owner, you’ve got to enjoy your business as you’re going to spend a lot of your time there.
For the sake of illustration, let’s suppose that you love football. In that case, a sports bar would suit you.
If you had a sports bar, here are some things you might think of doing:
- Buy some high-quality TVs and strategically place them in the room, as well as sign up for a good sports channel. DIRECTV, for instance, has an excellent reputation for comprehensive coverage of the big ball games every football season. Why not check local Directv availability in your area?
- Support your local football teams. Fans want a place that they can call home. Create a place where they can root for their favorite players on the big screen.
- Host special events during the football season. Have drink specials, food specials, and contests.
- Also feature other sports. Although you may have a passion for football, give baseball players and basketball players a chance to follow their favorite games, too. In other words, while you might emphasize football games, feature other popular sports games, too.
Step #2: What is it like to be in the trade?
Do everything you can to learn the business from the inside-out, including getting a job at a bar to see what it’s like. You want to get a realistic idea about what it’s like. You may have just seen it from the point of view of a customer. It will be different from the other side of the counter. Also talk to bar owners and frequent bar hoppers, subscribe to bar magazines, read review sites online, and attend trade shows.
Step #3: What do customers want when they go to a bar?
Understand customer behavior in your local area by interviewing customers and bar owners. You don’t have to tell people you’re planning on opening a bar. This will skew their answers. Just ask general questions to find out what they really think.
Essentially you want to find out two things:
- What do people like or not like about the bars in your area.
- What should you do or not do when you open up your own bar?
Next, based on your new understanding of your target demographics, find the geographical area where they are most likely to live or work in. For instance, if you’re opening a sports bar, you have to figure out where sports fans hang out. Do they hang out in the business district and like to go to a bar immediately after work or do you need to be in a more downtown area where there are a variety of restaurants?
Step #4: What kind of licenses and business permits do you need to get?
Understand the legalities of starting a bar business. For instance, you’ll need to get a liquor license, business permits, etc.
Step #5: How do you open up a business?
You’ll need to create a business plan to get the funding you need to buy a business on sale or build your own, and you’ll need to comply with business regulations. At this stage, it’s best to work with a business consultant, as you will need quite a bit of help figuring out how everything works.You’ll need to get good at the economics of starting a bar business.
Follow All 5 Steps.
As you can see, there are a lot of details in each step. To be successful you must cover all five steps–deciding what type of bar you’d enjoy running, learning the trade from the inside, understanding your target audience, complying with all the legal requirement, and, finally, launching the business.