Opening a lounge can be a great way to provide a space for people to relax and enjoy themselves. If you’re thinking of opening a lounge, there are a few things you’ll need to know beforehand.
This article will outline the step-by-step process for opening a lounge, from finding the right location to hiring employees. Here are ten steps you can take to build a lounge.
Ten Steps to Launching a New Lounge
1. Choose Your Type of Lounge
The first step in launching a lounge is to identify the type of lounge business you want to launch. You might choose from the following types, among others:
- Cigar lounge
- Wine bar
- Sports bar
2. Name Your Lounge
Give your lounge an identity so people will consider it a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your lounge business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your name, among other options.
The main goal of naming your lounge business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so that potential customers will want to visit.
3. Determine Your Lounge Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a lounge business, including:
- Independent businesses
- Businesses that are part of networks
- Alcohol-free bars
No matter which model you choose, ensure it aligns with your business goals and the services you offer.
4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
By incorporating your lounge business, you will limit your liability. You can incorporate as a Limited Liability Company (LLC), a C Corporation (C-Corp), or an S Corporation (S-Corp). Or you can operate as a sole proprietorship.
The business structure you choose for your lounge business will determine the taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.
Read our article comparing the most common lounge business structures.
5. Write a Lounge Business Plan
All lounge business owners should develop a business plan.
A business plan is a document that outlines the goals, strategies, and operations of a business. It can be used to secure funding from investors or lenders, as well as to guide the day-to-day operations of the business. The business plan should include information on the company’s products or services, market analysis, financial projections, and management team.
Read our article about how to write a lounge business plan.
6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
You may need to obtain required licenses and permits before launching your lounge business.
For example, if your lounge serves alcohol, you’ll need to get a liquor license. You may also need a business license, a food handler’s permit, and a sign permit among other things.
You must also register your lounge as a legal entity with the state where you plan to do business. You can simply file an online form through your Secretary of State website.
Registering with the federal government is also essential so you can properly pay taxes for your business. You will also need an Employer Identification Number (EIN), which you can apply for at the IRS website, if you plan to hire employees.
Read our article about obtaining the proper lounge business licenses.
7. Determine Your Budget and Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your lounge business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your own funds to invest in your lounge, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your lounge include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a lounge to help you determine if funding is needed.
8. Get the Technology and Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your lounge business, it’s essential to have the right technology in place to maximize efficiency. You need a computer with Internet access, and accounting software for tracking expenses and revenues.
You may also want to invest in point-of-sale (POS) software to streamline transactions and track inventory. A POS system can also help you manage loyalty programs and gift cards. If your lounge offers food and drinks, you may need a kitchen management system to help with ordering, inventory, and menu development.
9. Market Your Lounge Business to Potential Customers
Before selling your services, you must let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your services and how they benefit them.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Also, consider networking with other people in the lounge industry through social media and blogs so they can help share your business.
You also need to start gathering the materials needed to execute on your promotions strategy, which is your strategy for attracting new customers. Bar and grill businesses should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared:
- Branded T-shirts, coasters, napkins, and other promotional items with your business name, logo, and contact information
- Sponsoring local events or charity fundraisers
- Creating a loyalty program to incentivize customers to keep coming back
- Offering discounts and coupons
- Hosting special events at your lounge
- Creating an email list to send updates and promotions to customers
Read our article about how to market your lounge for more tips.
10. Get New Customers and Grow Your Business
When you promote your services, you’ll start to get interest from potential customers.
Make sure you’re ready to serve these customers. Also, be sure to establish systems to ensure consistency and reduce costs. And be sure to find and train the right people to help you grow your lounge business.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your lounge to learn more.
Starting a Lounge FAQs
Why Start a Lounge?
There are many reasons to start a lounge. Some people want to be their own boss, others want to tap into a growing industry, and others want to interact with locals and travelers.
Whatever your reason for starting a lounge, know that it can be an enriching experience.
What is Needed to Start a Successful Lounge?
To start a successful lounge business, you need to understand the industry and what it takes to run a successful business. You also need the right mix of marketing, sales, customer service, and management skills.
Of course, you also need the financial resources to get your business off the ground.
What are Some Tips for Starting a Lounge?
There are a few tips you should keep in mind when starting a lounge.
First, ensure you have a strong understanding of the industry and what it takes to run a successful lounge. Second, put together the right team of people to help you grow your business.
And third, create a solid marketing and promotional plan to attract new customers to your lounge.
Where Can I Find a Simple Checklist for Starting a Lounge?
A simple checklist to use when starting a lounge business is as follows:
- Choose Your Type of Lounge: This should be based on what you are best at and how much experience you have. Remember to keep your interests, skills, and experience in mind at all times.
- Name Your Lounge: This should be done with care, as your brand is important for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
- Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you choose to become a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation or another option will depend on your business. Ensure that you are aware of all the implications of each type.
- Determine Your Lounge Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Lounge Business Plan: Your business plan will also help you determine what your start-up costs will be and will provide a roadmap with which you can launch and grow.
- Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations you will be required to apply for a business license and/or permits before you can begin operations.
- Determine Your Budget and Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on all of your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
- Get the Technology and Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently: You need to have the right tools in place to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Lounge Business to Potential Customers: A solid marketing plan will be crucial to your success. It should focus on attracting the right customers so that you can provide them with the services they truly need.
- Get Customers and Grow Your Business: Once you have a solid marketing plan, it's time to actively pursue and secure those who could benefit the most from your services.
Opening a lounge can be a lucrative and exciting business venture. By following the steps we’ve outlined in this article, you’ll be on your way to opening your very own lounge in no time. Keep in mind that starting a business takes dedication, but with careful planning and execution, you can make your dream of owning a lounge come true.