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The Craft

The ultimate resource for alcohol beverage news, trends and reports for bars, distributors and suppliers.


You’ve dreamed of the idea, and now you finally want to make it come to life: you’re ready to open your own bar. You might be wondering how obtainable this goal truly is with the ever-changing world and large pool of competition. However, with a strong and presentable idea, strategic planning, and sufficient funds to keep you afloat, it is possible to achieve. 

In the alcohol and restaurant industry, success stems from the experience people have when they go to your business. Providing them with a positive place they know they can enjoy will bring back returning customers and welcome new ones. 

Starting and managing a business is all a learning and continuously improving cycle.

Turn your dream of owning a bar into reality by following these essential tips to succeed:

Create a Business Plan

Business Plan for a Bar

Take your ideas and plans to the drawing board. Research your type of business and its purpose. Create a document highlighting all the things your business will need. This includes your market strategies, your expenses, your team, and all other business essentials. Creating an organized list not only helps you get the full picture in case you miss anything, but gets you prepared to present it to a bank for a loan if needed.

Crafting a business plan is going to help you reach your goals efficiently. You will also take this time to think of the name of your business. Naming the business is the first step to the rest of your creative process. Make it something memorable and similar to the overall vibe you aim to display. 

The next crucial step is deciding on how your theme is going to differentiate your bar from others. Are you already thinking of trademarked beverages you can make for your own bar? How does that work in relation to the fastest-growing beverage categories and how can they  financially impact your sales? Are your ideas going to please your ideal customer traffic? Fundamental factors like these, big or small, can make or break your long-term success.  

Think About Location

Find the Right Location

Location is crucial for many reasons, and it will set the tone for the type of bar you own. Before you settle down in one spot, it’s important to ensure that your business can survive in the area long term. 

Look at your desired spot on a map and consider if there is competition close by, and if this location is getting more populated or run-down. Depending on which, this can help or hurt your business with the customers you’re trying to target. It’s also important to think about convenience and choose a location that is visible and easily accessible to people passing by. 

Prepare Financially

cost to open a bar

Every business requires its own set of unique initial capital when starting up. To open your bar, you’re going to have to factor in costs involving the rental or purchase of a location, possible renovations, liquor licenses and permits, insurance, employees, equipment, and inventory along with at least one type of technology to assist in operating your business.

Currently, the cost of opening a bar in 2021 averages between $125,000 and $850,000. Funding all of these components can put your earnings in the negative. On top of operation costs, it can potentially take months to start making a profit. Some of the ways you can be safe about funding your business in coordination with your finances include:

  • Get a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan
    This type of funding comes in a variety of forms. With this, banks can lend to small business owners with less risk involved. This is because the federal government guarantees to repay a large amount of each loan if the borrower defaults. Getting this loan can, however, take some time as they need to process your full business plan, annual revenue statements, a personal background statement, and much more time-consuming paperwork. 

  • Tap into your home equity
    Borrowing money against your home comes with lower interest rates than a business loan. Banks tend to be most flexible and quicker with  processing this type of loan due to having your house as collateral. You get your cash in a lump sum and can use it however you deem necessary.

  • Crowdsource
    Funding from crowds involves reaching out to friends, family, and various social networks to support your bar. They can contribute money to your PayPal or through a website such as Kickstarter. A bonus advantage to using this type of platform is that it can also help you build a customer base as word gets spread. Keep in mind that certain money-raising websites do take a fee.


Get the Word Out with Advertising and Marketing

Marketing Your Bar

One of the most organically successful ways to keep your bar succeeding is getting returning customers to create buzz about your business around the area and through social media. Luckily, there are also some things you can do on your end to speed traffic up. Take these creative ideas for example and implement them on a regular basis: 

  • Build your presence on social media
    This is where you can start a community. Post engaging content with eye-catching photographs of your products and entertainment environment. You can promote your posts to get more viewers or even host giveaways, but otherwise, this is a completely free way to grow your business.

  • Design a website
    Every bar or restaurant business should have a website. It can be a forgettable step, but doing so will help you show up in search results when people are looking for your type of business. Additionally, it’s a great way to make the first impression intriguing. Include your hours, menu, your bar’s story, photos, and even a booking calendar to reel customers in. 

  • Host special events like trivia night
    Activities like this don’t have to be expensive and can significantly speed up a slow weeknight. You can include prizes as simple as a $25 gift card for third place, $50 gift card for second place, and $100 gift card for first place winners. Take it a step further and keep a scoreboard of teams to provide more initiative for customers to come back and enjoy the fun times again.

Strive for the Best

As you grow your business, you’ll come across many hardships and milestones along the way. Having a slow night or complaints here and there can be discouraging. But with strategic planning and financial resources to avoid bankruptcy, you should feel confident that your budget will hold you through until your business stabilizes. 

Take the time to constantly improve your business each day by creating relationships and staying up to date with industry trends. In the end, you’re always aiming to keep your customers coming back for more. Maintaining a great environment where they know they can have a safe, clean, and fun experience will keep your business successful. 

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