Opening a bar is the dream of many – and it’s no surprise why: imagining ourselves creating a stunning, relaxed space where folk will flock to chill out with friends and laugh through the evening is a tempting proposition indeed.
If you’re ready to take the big step and get started on turning your dream into a reality, then there are a few crucial practical points to take into consideration to ensure that you achieve your goal and get up and running as smoothly as possible.
Get Really Clear on Your Vision
It is key to get clear on exactly the type of bar you want to open for the best chance of success – this can also make the process of opening your business easier: if you know exactly the style of furniture you want ahead of shopping for it, example, you can focus on relevant retailers and concentrate on looking for the best deals. The type of bar will determine everything from your marketing plan to your signage and staff uniforms.
Your vision may be to open a craft beer bar, perhaps with links to local breweries, or your dream could be a neighborhood bar, a space for local residents to come and relax with cozy seating and a range of simple bar snacks. Alternatively, a stylish wine bar could be what you’re interested in, or perhaps a rustic, intimate little place catering to couples and small groups – or even a sports bar or a club.
Deciding on exactly the type, style, and ambiance of the bar you want to open will allow you to get focused and design a business that fits perfectly into its market niche.
Write Your Business Plan
A business plan is a vital part of opening any new venture and can help to keep you on track, determine the expenditure required, and to outline any funding or investment to be sought, for example.
Identifying your business structure is an important part of your business plan. So, do you envisage buying an existing bar, either to continue running or to renovate/restyle? Or are you planning on buying or renting a commercial property and creating a bar from scratch? Or is buying a franchise what you’d prefer? All of these options will require different levels of investment and business modeling.
Get a POS in Place
As well as buying your furniture and designing your decor, getting in place an effective POS (point of sale) system is one of the most important things you need to do before opening it to the public. A POS system relates to how your business processes customer transactions and incorporates both physical equipment (such as cash registers and handheld devices) and online processes, such as the ordering system on your website.
It’s a great idea to choose a POS system that’s designed specifically for your industry. Have a look at https://www.top10.com/pos/the-best-pos-system-for-bars-and-pubs for more information on systems that could be perfect for your new business.
Features to look for in a POS system include tableside ordering, inventory tracking, and the ability to tailor menus, drinks, and dishes in real-time. As well as making your processes run smoothly, a good POS system can also enhance security, make ordering and paying easier for your customers, and allow for sales tracking – you can use this to make instant alterations to your drinks menu, for example, if you notice that a certain beverage is selling fast at a particular time.
Apply for Licences
You’ll need to obtain your liquor license, https://www.ttb.gov/wine/alcohol-beverage-control-boards, before opening the doors of your bar to the thirsty public! To do so, make contact with your district’s Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) office to get the forms that you need. Bear in mind that once you’ve submitted these forms, it will take the ABC around forty to sixty days to carry out the required checks, and then it may take a further thirty days to issue your license, so get the wheels in motion early so that you’re not waiting on this license to open. Every state will have its own requirements regarding this, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the relevant details.
If you’re planning on offering food, whether that’s a full menu or a small selection of bar snacks, you’ll also need a food service license. This license guarantees that you’re operating safely and sanitarily in terms of food preparation, storage, and service, and the cost to apply starts at $50. Licenses are granted on an annual basis, and you’ll need to apply for it to be renewed every year. To apply for this license, get in touch with your state’s public health department, which will give you all the information you need.
Some states also require you to have a permit from the local fire department to ensure that you’re operating safely regarding fire risk. Whether or not it’s a requirement where your bar is located, it’s a good idea to get in touch with the fire department to ask them to inspect your premises or for advice on how best to maintain the highest levels of fire safety.
Getting your dream bar up and running really is achievable: follow the practical steps above to get started with making it a reality.