You Can Do It Too: What To Know When Opening a Bar – Food & Beverage Magazine

You Can Do It Too: What To Know When Opening a Bar

The idea of opening a bar can be exciting, thrilling, and at the same time, nerve-wracking. Overall, a bar sounds like a great idea. It provides entertainment, beverages, bar fare, and creates a stellar atmosphere that cultivates continuous enjoyment and fun times. However, is opening a bar the right move? What is needed to open a bar? Do you have to be a business mogul to pull it off successfully? These are just a few questions, among the hundreds asked, when opening a bar. Still thinking about opening that bar?

Great! Before you can actually open a bar, there are some things you need to go over and plan to ensure your newfound business venture doesn’t sink before you get a chance to test the waters.

Let’s take a brief look at a small list and then expand on our findings:

  • Bar Type
  • Bar Theme
  • Bar Neighborhood
  • Bar Event Marketing

Already it seems like a bar is going to be fun to plan, right?

Being Passionate About Your Bar Type

The bar type is one of the most important questions to ask and answer when opening a bar. The type of bar you choose to open will set the pace for everything else in your business model. It will dictate the theme, the crowd, and ultimately the revenue. Have a bar type in mind already?

Whether you are looking to open a sports bar, cocktail lounge, nightclub, or some other type of bar, there will always be complicated paperwork and other tedious administrative tasks that have to be executed. Depending on the bar type, you will need to obtain the right liquor license in order to serve alcohol at the establishment. Different styles of bars have different licensing rules & rates, with some licenses ranging from almost $400,000 to well over the $1 million mark. If you are not sure what your bar type will be just yet, skip this part and move on to deciding your bar theme.

What Will Customers Think About Your Bar Theme?

Even if you have not decided on a sports bar, nightclub, or a different type of bar, you’ll need a gimmick to help build your brand. Will you choose to go for an outdoorsy theme? Perhaps a glamorous fire & ice contrasting idea to keep things spicy is more up your alley. Your theme will prove to be a powerful marketing tool, and it’s becoming more about the brand than what the brand is selling now. How will your customers see your brand? What message will they get?

Another alternative is to set up a basic bar scene, and host themed events. This keeps the mystery and helps build an established brick and mortar, that doesn’t necessarily need to have a theme. You do have to admit how cool it would be to have your very own space-themed watering hole.

Will Your Bar Fit In The Neighborhood?

Too many times, startups have fallen short because of poor locational choices. We may not be able to afford that premium spot downtown, right on the corner where the busiest hotspots in town are. That also doesn’t mean you have to try and bring a different customer to certain neighborhoods. Some geographical areas just cannot support a new bar, nonetheless, provide it with enough traffic to turn a profit. So what can you do if you are coming up as one of the small guys?

Take the time to talk to customers, listen to what they like and don’t like, and create a welcoming space that accommodates your style of customer and the message you want them to take home. What type of bar does your neighborhood need?

Pre-Plan Special Events and Market It

Depending on your business model and whether you are starting a new brand or buying into a franchise, the events you plan and the market for your bar will ultimately determine how successful your business will be. Have you already decided on a drinks menu? What type of fare you’ll serve if any? Will it be a recurring event? These are just a few of the questions we try to answer when planning events. Whether you are hosting a cocktail party, boasting the best cocktail recipes in the city or a black-tie event, you’ll need to know the crowd, what they are expecting, and plan accordingly.

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