How to Open a Bar: A Guide to Starting your Dream Business


How to Open a Bar: A Guide to Starting your Dream Business

How to Open a Bar: A Guide to Starting your Dream Business: Dreaming of opening your own bar but don't know where to start? Maybe you've thought about the concept and name, but aren't sure about the details, like how to raise money or get permits? There may be some points. Running a successful bar can be profitable and rewarding if you do thorough research and follow the right steps. We'll outline the process of opening your own bar, from initial concept to official opening. This will help you realize your dream of owning a bar.


How to Open the Bar

Opening a bar requires some initial research and planning. You can follow our bar opening checklist below to make sure you've covered all your bases.

How to Open a Bar: A Guide to Starting your Dream Business

1.  Choose a Bar Concept and Brand

2.  Choose a Name for Your Bar

3.  Choose a Business Entity for Your Bar

4.  Write a Bar Business Plan

5.  Secure Funding for Your Bar

6.  Find the Perfect Location

7.   Obtain Permits and Licenses

8.  Find a Liquor Supplier

9.  Design a Bar Layout

10.  Buy Your Equipment and Supplies

11.   Hire the Right Staff

12.  Advertise Your Bar

13.  Host Your Soft Opening

Let us look to details


1. Choose a Bar Concept and Brand

The fun part of opening your own bar is creating a concept and brand. The concept includes all your general ideas about the type of bar you want to open. Your brand will become a little more defined and reflect your company's personality and mission. Every detail of your bar should support your brand, from service style to decor and ambience. A good question to ask yourself is: How do you want people to feel when they walk into your bar?

Here are some examples of bar concepts to get you thinking about your own bar:

• Relax after work at our casual bar with comfortable booths and a jukebox playing classic hits.

• A barcade with vintage pinball games and several beers available for relaxing and entertaining on a Friday night.

• A cozy martini bar with neon lights and hypnotic music that will make you feel like you’re part of an exclusive club.

• A sophisticated wine bar with contemporary furniture and wall art, where you can enjoy a glass of wine with your appetizers.

The most important thing to note is that your concept and brand should match the demographics of your chosen location. As you begin your market research, you may need to tailor your brand to the needs of the regions you serve.


2. Choose a Name for Your Bar

Choosing a name for your bar may seem like a dream come true, but how do you choose the right name? Make sure it's memorable, reflects your brand, and is unique. Remember, your name will be used on all marketing materials and products, including menus, staff uniforms, and advertising. Avoid names that are too long or complex. Once you choose a name that perfectly describes your bar, consider trademarking it. This prevents other companies from using your name and is useful if you are in a populated area. This is especially important if you plan to expand your business to multiple locations in the future.

3. Choose a Business Entity for Your Bar

Every business owner must decide what type of business or business structure to create. This affects legal liability, property rights, how your business is taxed, and financing options.

Common types of items for small business owners include:

• Sole Proprietorships: Are the most common type of small business and do not require any documentation to set up. When you start a commercial business, you automatically become a sole proprietor. The downside to this arrangement is that, as the bar owner, you are responsible for any lawsuits against your business.

• Partnership: To start a partnership, a verbal agreement between two or more taxpayers is sufficient, which is what makes it so attractive. However, since you will be responsible for your partner's mistakes, we recommend that you conclude a partnership agreement in any case. Before signing a partnership agreement, be sure to have a lawyer review it.

• Limited Liability Company: This type of corporation, also known as an LLC, is very popular because of its liability protection. Because an LLC exists as a separate legal entity, business owners are not responsible for legal actions against the business. The disadvantage of an LLC is that you must file the appropriate documentation and fees with the Secretary of State's office.


4. Write a Bar Business Plan

This is when you need to sit down and put your business plan down on paper. Having a detailed business plan will help you when approaching investors and applying for financing. It's also a great way to overcome doubts about running your business. Your bar business plan should include:

• Executive summary

• Company presentation and explanation

• Market analysis

• Business proposal


 Marketing and public relations strategy

 Earnings forecast


5. Secure Funding for Your Bar

Creating a financial forecast will give you a better idea of ​​the funds you need to make your dreams come true. Make a list of all the startup costs needed to launch your bar. Next, add in the costs of everyday tasks such as alcohol, wages, utilities, and rent. From there, you can create a budget and predict how much money you'll need to run your bar next year.

Next, decide how much you need to invest in startup costs and how much additional capital you need. Now that you know your exact number, you can start the loan application process. If you run a successful bar, you can recoup your initial investment within a few years.


6. Find the Perfect Location

Location analysis is the best way to find the perfect location for your bar. There are many factors to consider, but here are some of the most important.

• Target Demographic: You should start by choosing a location whose demographics match your concept, or base your entire concept on the demographics of a predetermined location.

• Health Regulations and Zoning:  Zoning regulations can vary widely by city or county. Be sure to check the zoning laws in your area so you know what to expect.

• Visibility and Access: It is very important to choose a location that is visible to cars and passersby. Accessible parking is always best.

• Nearby Competitions: If the area is already saturated with bars, you can choose a different location or make sure your bar has a unique concept that makes it stand out.


7. Obtaining Permits and Licenses

Ensuring you have the proper licenses is probably the most tedious step in the process, but it's essential to opening your bar as a business. It never hurts to hire a lawyer to make sure you cover all your bases. The number of permits required and the total fees vary by state. Here are some of the most important licenses you need.

• Employee Identification Number: You will need an Employer Identification Number (EIN) to apply for most of the permits below. This number identifies you as an employer and allows you to officially hire employees. To obtain an EIN, visit the IRS website and complete the online application.

• Alcohol License: Without a liquor license, you cannot legally sell alcohol. A license not only allows you to sell alcohol, it also determines the types of alcohol you can sell, as well as the hours and days you can operate. The process of obtaining one can take some time, so you should contact your state's Liquor Control Board now. Or consider creating a zero strip. This step is optional.

• Catering License: If you wish to serve food at your bar, you will need a catering license. This will ensure your business is compliant with food safety laws and regulations. To obtain a food service license, apply online through the state government's website.

• Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau: This federal agency, known as the TTB, regulates businesses that sell alcohol. Before opening your business, you must register with TTB. Registration can be done on his TTB website. TTB is also required to maintain a logbook listing the dates and quantities of all alcohol received from suppliers. This step is critical because if you are stopped by a federal officer and you fail to provide your logbook, you could be fined up to $10,000. Here are some examples of other permits you may need to open a bar.

• Signature permission

• Music permission

• Employment certificate

• Pool table license

• Authority to install waste containers.


8. Find a Liquor Supplier

Once most of the paperwork is in place, it's time to make a list of the liquor, beer, and wine you'd like to drink at the bar. You may already have a choice, or you can do a little research to see what's popular in your area. The bar's concept can be a big factor in this decision, especially if it specializes in one type of alcohol, such as craft beer or small-batch wine or spirits. You need to find an alcohol retailer that carries the brands and products on your wish list. Many wholesalers have portfolio websites that display all of their products and prices.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a distributor:

• Brand selection

• Minimum purchase requirements

• Payment terms and discounts

• Transportation date

• Availability of brand representatives or promotional materials.

Once you have filled your bar with alcohol, you need to start checking your alcohol inventory to maintain the required amount. Maintaining an ongoing inventory of alcohol will help you understand how your bar is operating, normal levels, and what products are selling.


9. Design a Bar Layout

If you're designing your bar from scratch, it's best to measure the entire space. You can draw your design on paper or use design software to create a virtual design. Having a drawing will help you choose light fixtures, hardware, stools, and chairs that will fit your space. Remember that the space must remain functional. Employees must be able to move freely around tables and booths. There should be sufficient space behind the bar for liquor displays, speed rails, and bottle coolers. You should also leave enough space for as many bartenders as possible during your busiest shifts. When choosing decor, make sure it matches your brand and concept. You can use artwork, lighting, and furniture to create a memorable experience for your guests. Check out current design trends and find ideas.


10. Buy Your Equipment and Supplies

The bar should be equipped with basic equipment for serving drinks. It is important to consider the space and electrical requirements for these items.

• Bottle Cooler: These back-panel coolers provide space for all the bottles and cans you need to stay cool. Ideally, bottle coolers should be located under the bar so that bartenders can easily access them.

• Ice Machine: Bars need lots of ice to keep drinks flowing. To produce large amounts of ice during your shift, you need a reliable ice maker.

• Ice Container: Once the ice maker produces ice, it must be stored in a place that is convenient for bartenders to use. Underbars ice bins are located below the bar counter, giving staff easy access to ice for cocktails and mixed drinks.

• Glass Washer: Having a glass sink under the bar is very practical. Some models are designed to be installed in an underbars sink and do not require electricity.

• Bar Mixer: To make popular mixed drinks like daiquiris and margaritas, you need a reliable, commercial-grade bar blender. Look for models with lids to reduce mixing noise.

• Beer Distributors: A bar is incomplete without a beer dispenser. These units are equipped with a refrigerated cabinet in which beer kegs are stored and beer is dispensed through a faucet located on top of the dispenser.

In addition to bar equipment, you should also stock up on other essentials. Make sure you have suitable glassware to serve your drinks. Depending on the menu, garnishes, drink ingredients, and cocktail mixes may be required. For a bar, you'll need cocktail napkins, coasters, and stirrers.


11. Hire the Right Staff

Different types of bars may require different staffing. For example, a large nightclub will require additional staff that a small neighborhood bar might not need, such as bottle service staff or an on-site DJ. If you run a wine bar, you may need a staff of sommeliers. Below are some of the key positions needed to manage most bars.

• Bar manager

• Bartender

• barbecue

• Waiter

• Host and hostess

• Security/Identity Verification

Many potential employees are excited to start a new business and move into his first floor of a new bar. With staff turnover so high, the best way to retain your bartending team is to define your company culture from the beginning. In addition to interviewing and hiring new employees, be sure to create a solid training program with clear expectations. An important part of running a bar is making sure your staff is well trained to spot visible signs of intoxication. Training programs should pay close attention to these signs and include tips on how to deal with intoxicated customers. It is your responsibility to ensure the safety of your guests when consuming a drink at the bar and at all times when leaving the bar.


12. Advertise Your Bar

We've completed our due diligence and are ready to introduce our new bar to our community. This is where the important step in promoting and marketing your bar begins. Here are some tips you can use to educate potential customers about your business and create excitement on opening day.

• Create a Website: Creating a website for your bar is important. Many customers will research your business online before visiting. Therefore, you need to provide important information on your website. Your website should also represent your brand.

• Use Social Media:  Another way to reach potential customers is to create accounts on social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Share high-quality photos of your signature cocktails or announce promotions.

• Create a Yelp Account: Creating a business profile on Yelp increases your business's visibility online and allows customers to leave reviews about your bar. You can ask customers to leave a personal review by writing the request on your bar receipt.

• Register with Google My Business: Google My Business is a free service that ensures that your bar appears in his Google search results and Google Maps. Please provide as much information as possible, including your website, opening hours, photos, and price range.

• Use windows: When you build a new bar, passersby will naturally be interested in your new business. Be sure to use posters and sidewalk signs with information about the bar and its opening dates.

• Place an ad in your local Business: Buy advertising space in your local business to share information about your new bar. A half-price drink coupon can also be included.

• Create a Loyalty Program: Reward your guests for their continued activity by signing up for a mobile app loyalty program. If you specialize in craft beer, let your customers track and review the beers they're enjoying at your bar.

• Promote Happy Hour: Happy hour is a great way to attract customers with drink specials. You can also offer free samples or free snacks.

• Plan Events: There are many activities you can do to create a buzz at the bar. If you run a wine bar, consider hosting wine tastings. If you own a beer garden, quiz nights can be a huge success and bring in more customers. Don't forget the most important event - the grand opening.


13. Host Your Soft Opening

A soft opening is a practice session where bar staff can test their work with a limited number of customers before the actual grand opening. The benefit of a soft opening is that it gives your insight into what you're good at and which areas of your department need more attention. Employees have the opportunity to train without the pressure of a hectic start-up. The easiest way to host a soft opening is to invite your employees' friends and family to an orientation event.

Now that you have completed all the necessary steps to open your bar, you can start making your dreams come true. By planning every aspect of your bar in advance, you can get your business off to a good start.


Essential Equipment and Supplies for your Bar

Setting up your bar is more than just buying glasses and a cash register system. You need a wide range of equipment and supplies to keep your business running smoothly and efficiently. Understands that:

• Bar Equipment: Bar basics such as beer taps, wine and beer refrigeration units, cocktail stations, ice makers, and glass washers. Make sure the equipment meets your specific needs in terms of size, capacity, space and electrical requirements.

• POS System: A reliable POS system can streamline operations from order taking to inventory management. It should be user-friendly and offer detailed reporting features to help you track sales and trends and manage your inventory effectively.

• Glassware: Different drinks require different types of glasses. From beer steins and wine glasses to cocktail glasses and shot glasses, stocking a variety of glassware will help you serve each drink the right way.

• Bar Tools and Supplies: Includes shakers, jiggers, strainers, pourers, and other tools bartenders need to efficiently prepare drinks. Don't forget other essentials like napkins, straws, and decorations.

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