Opening a wine bar is an exciting venture. There are many things to consider, from the licensing and permitting process to the layout of your bar. This article will walk you through the entire process, from start to finish.
Here are nine steps you can take to start a wine bar.
Nine Steps to Launching a Wine Bar
1. Name Your Wine Bar
Give your wine bar an identity so people will consider it a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your wine bar business from your industry, focus on a geographical location, or use your name, among other options.
The main goal of naming your wine bar business is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so people will visit it.
2. Determine Your Wine Bar Business Model
There are several possible types of business models for a wine bar business, including:
- Wine bar that serves food
- Wine bar that does not serve food
- Restaurant with a wine bar
- Wine bar that has live music
No matter which model you choose, ensure that it aligns with your goals and the patrons you serve.
3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business
Incorporating your wine bar 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 wine bar 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 wine bar business structures.
4. Write a Wine Bar Business Plan
All wine bar 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 wine bar business plan.
5. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses
You may need to obtain the required licenses and permits before opening your wine bar.
For example, you will need to obtain a liquor license. The process for obtaining a liquor license can vary from state to state. You will also need to get a business license, which you can get from your local city or county clerk’s office.
You must also register your wine bar 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 wine bar business licenses.
6. Determine Your Budget and Apply for Funding as Needed
In developing your wine bar business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.
If you have your funds to invest in your wine bar business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to your personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your wine bar business include traditional bank loans, SBA loans, credit cards, angel investors and family and friends.
Read our article about the costs associated with starting a wine bar to help you determine if funding is needed.
7. Get the Technology and Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently
When you start your wine bar, 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 bar management software to help you with tasks like inventory management and employee scheduling.
8. Market Your Wine Bar to Potential Patrons
Before you can pack your wine bar, you must let the world know you exist. The first step is to create a website so people can learn more about your menu and unique differentiators.
After you launch your website, start promoting it through social media channels like Facebook and Instagram. Also, consider networking with other people in the wine industry through social media 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. Wine bars should consider the following promotional strategies.
- Developing a database of potential customers
- Designing and distributing print materials like menus and flyers
- Organizing special events or promotions
- Advertising in local publications
- Engaging in online marketing efforts
Read our article about how to market your wine bar for more tips.
9. 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 wine bar.
Read our article about how to effectively grow your wine bar to learn more.
Starting a Wine Bar FAQs
The barriers to entry for starting a wine bar business are relatively low, which makes it a great option for entrepreneurs. Additionally, the demand for bars is always high since people love to socialize and drink wine.
Some tips for starting a wine bar business include finding the right location, getting the right technology and software, developing a strong marketing strategy, and hiring the right people.
When starting a wine bar business, you also need to make sure you have a strong business plan, the right location, the right technology and software, a good marketing strategy, and the right people working for you.
A simple checklist to use when starting a wine bar is as follows:
- Name Your Wine Bar: 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 Wine Bar Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
- Write a Wine Bar 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 business licenses and 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 the right tools to succeed. Implement software that will help you manage your time, contacts, and business operations in general.
- Market Your Wine Bar 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.
Open a Wine Bar
Opening a wine bar can be a lucrative and exciting business venture. There are many things to consider, such as naming your bar, writing a business plan, getting the necessary permits and licenses, and marketing your business. With the proper planning and execution, you can open a successful wine bar that attracts customers.