Neighborhood Bar

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Startup Costs: $50,000 - $100,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? Yes
Online Operation? No

THE BRIEF:

As long as people live, they will drink. If you want to start your own bar, you need to make sure they drink with you. There are a number of important factors to setting up your bar, namely location, equipment, furniture, staff and, last but not least, a liquor license. Once these things are in place, there are a number of other important decisions: Will your bar have a theme? Classic pub or modern decor? Will you have a dance floor? Will you offer mocktails (it's a good idea as many people drop drinking)? What will you name your establishment? Pour one out and think about it.

ASK THE PROS:

How much money can you make?

“Successful new bars can be in the black within the first six months, and they can go on to recover their initial investment within three to five years. However, like many new businesses, the statistics for bars aren't in favor of the startup. Why do they fail? The first reason is they didn't have enough capital to keep the business going. The second reason is a lack of knowledge about the business.”—Bar and Club: Step-by-Step Startup Guide

What kind of experience do you need to have?

Prior industry can be helpful, but it's not necessary. However, “You need to ask yourself if you're really the type of person who wants to own and run a bar. Of course, you don't have to run it if you own it, but you'd better make sure you have a team of good, trustworthy managers working for you if you plan to be 'hands off.' In the beginning, you will probably have to be greatly involved whether you plan to be an active owner or not. If you're the kind of person who would rather deal with paperwork or sit in an office where you don't have to talk to people, this business is not for you. You will need to be out there talking to people and shaking hands. Getting to know your patrons, even if it's just to say 'Hi,' can go a long way for your customer service.” —Bar and Club: Step-by-Step Startup Guide

What’s the most important thing to know about this business?

“Consider the time commitment and hours of operation. If you're an early riser, you might not enjoy having to work until 3 or 4 a.m. at your bar. If you have a family, you need to discuss how owning a bar will affect them. Many days you will have to be at your bar from the time you wake up -- say, around 10 or 11 a.m. -- to the time you go to sleep -- say, around 4 or 5 a.m. As you can see, this could take its toll on your family life. Eventually, you'll probably be able to have a saner schedule, once your managers and staff are well-trained, but it may take six months to a year to reach that point. If this could cause problems for you or your family, you may want to reconsider the idea of owning a bar.” —Bar and Club: Step-by-Step Startup Guide

Related

How to Start a Bar/Club

The Legal Side of Owning a Bar

Mistakes to Avoid When Running Your Bar

The Market

When creating your neighborhood bar concept, keep in mind the people you'd like as customers. Contact the local chamber of commerce or SBA to get information on age, gender, income level, marital status, and political and religious affiliations of your target market. You bar's concept may go in a totally different direction if you're in a college town with a high percentage of young, single students than if you're in a quiet, conservative suburb populated with families. Once you've established your bar, how can you get the neighborhood to come? Generate word-of-mouth buzz through direct-mail campaigns, developing a Web site or getting involved in community events and charity functions.

Needed Equipment

Once you have your location selected and have gotten the necessary licenses, you will need to decide how to layout your bar and what equipment you'll need, including: glassware, compartment sinks, glass racks, taps and dispending systems for beer and soft drinks, cooler for beer kegs, freezer, ice bins, ice machine, ice pick, ice scoops, dishwasher, storage cabinets and display shelves. You may also need kitchen equipment if you're offering food items and machines for making coffee drinks. And don't forget the beer, wine and liquor!

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