Opening up a business sounds like a really attractive idea, you get to make your own schedules, be your own boss, and create exactly the kind of bar that you’ve always wanted. Of course, it’s not all fun and games. Opening up your own bar, requires a lot of planning beforehand. Here’s how to get started:
Know What Kind of Business to Open
Ask 3 people what they think of when they hear the word “bar”, and you get 10 different answers. There are a lot of business models, concepts, and establishments when it comes to bar. For starters, there’s the sport bar, there’s the upscale bar, there’s the neighborhood bar, and they all have their pros and cons.
- The club: This is a bar where people go to not just for the drinks, but to listen to music, socialize, and maybe even dance. Clubs can be small (like cocktail lounges), or big venues capable of hosting bands. Either way, they usually offer a lot more than just beer and a couple of drinks, and the atmosphere they provide is a really important aspect. If you opt for this kind of bar, you need to be ready to spend a lot of money of setting up the vibe of the place and designing a solid marketing strategy.
- The Neighborhood Bar: This is the bar for the locals to have a drink or two on the weekend. It’s usually small, friendly, cozy, and relaxed. Neighborhood bars tend to be simple when it comes to the menu; they could be beer-only bars, wine-only, or have a limited selection of liquors. If this is the kind of bar you want, take the time to research the neighborhood and study the competition before making any major commitments.
- The Specialty Bar: Similar to a neighborhood bar, specialty bars tend to be rather small and offer a limited amount of items. Say we’re talking about a vermouth bar, it will likely offer different types of vermouth plus a couple of vermouth-based cocktails. Though this kind of bar seems to have a built-in audience, you have to do a lot of research when it comes to the target and location to make sure you are actually offering something people will want.
- The Sports Bar: While the other types of bars we’ve covered focus mainly on the alcohol, sports bars need another element, food. They might not have the kind of extensive menus restaurants offers, but they should have a long enough menu to keep sports fans on the table. Additionally, people will walk in looking to watch a match, so having wide screen TVs is also a must.
Money, Money, Money
The next step is a really hard one: budgeting. Once you figure out what type of bar you want, it’s time to figure out how much money you’ll need just to get started. Keep in mind, that the more you research, the more accurate and realistic you can be with your budget.
Starting from Scratch or Buying a Franchise
One last thing to keep in mind, is that opening up a bar doesn’t always mean that you have to start from scratch. Depending on the amount of money you have available you might want to look into buying an existing bar. Of course, the key thing here is to study the place, look at the establishment, the crowd it attracts, the staff, and the location. Really get to know the place and see if what’s already happening there can translate into the concept you have in mind.
Another option is to join a franchise. Though it gives you less room to experiment, you get the support of a more experienced organization and benefit from being part of an established brand. It might even serve as experience before you actually venture out on your own.