Opening a bar and grill business can be a financially rewarding and fun venture.
While owning a bar can offer the chance to enjoy yourself, getting one off the ground is a great deal of work just like any small business.
Do You Want To Open A Bar & Grill, Do You Like The Nightlife Do You Like To Boogie But Don’t KnowWhere To Start?
Know the key steps to opening a bar and you could have your own piece of the Nightlife.
You need proper licensing and state approval before you open your bar and grill.
You cannot serve alcohol in any location without a license from the state and in some areas from your county or city as well.
Food Establishment License
Since you will also be serving food at your sports bar, a license from local public health authorities is necessary. Check with your state health department about any inspections that the state requires before you open your doors.
Other Licenses and Taxes
In addition to the liquor and food licenses you will need, your city or county may require a general business license, zoning permits, occupancy permits or sales tax permits. Contact local city officials, your state tax board or the IRS for more information about obtaining the necessary permits or ID numbers for each.
Research Your Competition
Find out about other bars in the area of your proposed location.
Login to local message boards to find out where people are going, what’s hot, what works and what doesn’t.
Contact the Lifestyle writers of the local newspaper and magazines. They can give insight into the successful bars in your area, and even give clues to why others did not succeed.
Research Your Potential Customers Demographics
Start by doing some research on your local community. Most cities will post their most recent census information online. Your local Chamber and library are great places to start.
Try to limit your research to the immediate area. For downtown areas it would be within a few miles radius, while more suburban areas have a wider target radius.
When you have some key demographic info, start researching trends in those consumer groups. Is there an influx of single, young professionals in the neighbourhood? Find out how this group decides where to eat.
Decide what kind of bar you want to open.
Bars vary from neighborhood pubs, sports bars, or specialty like martini bars. This style of restaurant can take on several themes, from a sports bar supporting the local college team to a high-end restaurant featuring specialty cocktails and chef-inspired grilled creations.
Decide on a Format
There are many different kinds of bars and nightclubs. Some ideas to consider are a small neighborhood bar, a dance club, a live music club, a sports bar and a bar and grill. The kind of bar you decide on will have a lot to do with how much start-up capital you will need for liquor, equipment and staff.
Choose Bar Name
You bar name should be easy to remember and it needs to convey what kind of bar you have.
If you choose to name your bar after yourself, with a name like Bill’s Place, you will have a marketing problem, while the name is easy to remember, it does not give any indication of the type of bar your business is.
Bill’s Sports Bar would be a better name and would be more effective in your marketing materials.
A sports bar and restaurant is not much of a sports venue without a way to view games. Big-screen, high-definition televisions are what make a sports bar a sports bar. Plan this expense into your start-up budget, along with cable or satellite television service.
Be sure to include commercial kitchen and bar equipment, flatware and dishes, and tables and chairs in your budget.
Whether it’s a sports bar, tiki beach bar, pirate bars, or, even a Hooters style people like to be entertained. Identifying with a target market can bring in business like no tomorrow, people like to feel they belong.
A bar where sports nuts can see the team and sport they love, where geeks can be geeks, history buffs can be comfortably smug, and all are there for the booze and feeding their bellies.
The menu is the most important decision you will make when opening your bar and grill, so start creating it long before you open your doors. Talk with your head cook or if you plan to be in the kitchen what your special dishes are and let the menu feature the best ones.
Think about what types of foods your area is missing. If you have four burger joints on the same road, serve something more than the average cheeseburger. Always consider your demographic as well, if you want to attract a family crowd, be sure to create a separate kids’ menu.
While you may plan to do a lot of the daily work yourself, you cannot do everything.
At opening, your bar and grill will need, at minimum, a bartender, cook and server. As your business grows, you may need to hire more front-line staff, as well as a good manager. You can’t be there 24-7. You may live there your first 6 months but you have relinquish duties if you want to stay mentally and physically fit to run your own business.
Find a Location
Work closely with the zoning board of your town to find just the right location for your bar. If you are considering a place in or near a residential neighborhood, take the time to talk to the residents and find out how they would feel about your business and if there may be a problem.
You do not want to spend the time and money to open your bar only to find out the neighbors want to shut you down every night. I experienced this in one of my businesses. It was so frustrating to have neighbors complain and call the cops for every little thing. I eventually had to move my business, which created a whole other load of problems. Be sure you have the right location and not just because it has great foot traffic, plenty of parking and easy access, it has to be in location where other businesses and/or neighbors are HAPPY to have you there.
Create a Business Plan
After reviewing the above information and doing the research it may help with your business plan and the segments that most plans need to have for financial purposes and most importantly a map to follow as you open and run your Bar & Grill.
Put a business plan together that brings home the reality of everything that is involved in running a bar.
Your business plan will outline exactly how you will run your bar.
It specifies how much money you will need for initial location rental or leasing costs; costs for build-up and needed upgrades, opening expenses, fixtures, furniture and equipment; establishing utilities, initial liquor and food inventory; labor; marketing; licensing; and insurance.
Create a detailed business plan that will walk you through the different aspects of opening and running a restaurant and follow it!
Below is a breakdown of six important segments to include in your Bar & Grill Business Plan
- Describe your bar concept in general terms: the bar’s theme, atmosphere, business structure (partnership or sole proprietorship, for instance) and value proposition (atmosphere, product, service or all of the above).
Highlight the status and future outlook of the industry. How your bar will take advantage of any positive aspects while staying protected from negative ones.
Briefly identify who your target consumer will be, the approximate market size and any anticipated market growth.
State how you intend to serve your customers; in plush seats and private booths, lounge seating, bar stools or standing room only.
Describe how you will support the business effort through marketing and customer service.
- Define your market strategies by first preparing a market analysis. You will need to break down your target consumer into her component demographics, and then conduct market research to find out where she is and what will win her patronage.
- Identify your market competitors and their business strategies, particularly how successful (or unsuccessful) they are at attracting your target bar patrons and why.
Survey each competitor to determine its approximate number of patrons, traffic on a given night and what consumer type is attracted to its bar environment.
Use this information to find the best strategy to attract your target consumer.
Contrast your strategy with your competitors’ strategies to determine how it will succeed where theirs fall flat.
- Your “value proposition” what are you really selling the customer that will make your business a success. For example, your customer will be regularly coming to your bar because you offer relaxation, over 50 beers on tap, eclectic cuisine, excitement, fun, romance, seclusion or escape from the mundane.
- Detail your operations strategies and highlight any operational advantages you might have over your competition. (liquor discounts, special events, local beers or open mics for example).
- Complete your business plan by writing an executive summary that briefly restate all of the key information in each of the plan’s segments.
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