After years of going to bars, has the idea of opening your own crossed your mind? It can be an exciting thought, combining a love of bars with a desire to run a business and feeling that sense of pride that comes with owning a bar. However, those who do open drinking establishments should make some important decisions first.
The obvious first one is deciding whether you are the right type of person to own a bar. The people who have the greatest success at bar ownership usually have skills in both the social and business aspects of running a bar. The social part is essential due to the type of business being operated; it is important to be able to socially interact with both customers and employees. The business piece is essential as the place needs to pay for itself and earn however much money would allow you to live comfortably.
Your next step should be determining what goes into getting a liquor license in your area. These requirements can vary significantly from state to state and even from block to block in some cities. Prospective bar owners in Houston will be researching Texas license services to get the type liquor license they need. You may only need a Texas beer license if this is the only kind of alcoholic beverage you will be serving. Bar owners also need to obtain liability insurance that protects them from any actions their customers may make after drinking at their establishments.
Another important step in the process is determining what the personality of your bar will be. This is essential as the buzz and word-of-mouth advertising that your place receives will likely be more important than the quality of your service, your selection of drinks or your prices. The bar’s feel will also play a dramatic role in determining the clientele that it will attract.
Some of the basic personality options available include opening a neighborhood bar or pub – a home away from home for your local customers, a sports bar where people come to watch the big game on your large-screen televisions or a brewpub, a place where your customers can taste the beer that has been brewed on the premises. One thing to consider about opening a brewpub is acquiring a Texas liquor license – or a liquor license for the state where your bar will be located.
A factor connected with these steps is determining where the bar will be. Money will likely play a role as you will the need to determine what location fits into your budget. The locale can have a significant role in determining the personality of the bar as one next to a university will likely have a completely different feel to it than a drinking establishment situated in the cosmopolitan area of a major city. You also need to decide if you will build a bar or purchase one that already exists.
Another important step in the process is deciding on the name of your drinking establishment. You should consider your personality and the fact that this will be the most obvious form of advertising that your bar will ever have. When making this decision, consider what thoughts will cross the mind of somebody hearing the name for the first time.
You should also determine how important food will be to your establishment. This will likely be more important if you are going to run a sports bar as fans look to have tasty hamburgers, pizza and appetizers in addition to the drinks that you are serving. However, make sure that the focus of your place remains on your drinks as it is more cost effective to serve drinks instead of food as it is cheaper to make a drink. If you want to focus on food, you should open a restaurant instead.
In the months and days leading up to your bar opening to the public, you should take advantage of this time period and build anticipation among those passing by the building. This could be done with a “Grand Opening on Feb. 3” sign, or you could visibly count down the days until your place opens. Another idea would be to take out an advertisement in the local newspaper and announce the grand opening.
From a financial standpoint, make sure that you have not planned on making any money the first several months. Although you hope that you will be in the black from day one, I would not plan on it. Also, make sure that you set aside an emergency fund to take care of any unexpected snags that come up as there will surely be some. I would recommend adding about 25 percent to your original budget for this purpose.