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How to Open a Restaurant Bar


Opening a restaurant bar requires many things to consider, from licensing and permitting to designing and stocking your kitchen and bar. This article will walk you through the step-by-step process of opening a new restaurant and bar business. 

Here are ten steps to open a restaurant bar.


Ten Steps to Launch a New Restaurant Bar

1. Choose Your Type of Restaurant Bar 

The first step in launching a restaurant bar is to identify the type of restaurant bar you want to launch. You might choose from the following types, among others: 

  • Brewpub: A restaurant that serves beer brewed on-site.
  • Cocktail bar: A bar that specializes in making cocktails.
  • Dive bar: A casual bar with a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Gastropub: A restaurant that focuses on serving high-quality food.
  • Karaoke bar: A bar where people can sing karaoke.
  • Sports bar: A bar that shows televised sporting events.


2. Name Your Restaurant Bar 

Give your restaurant bar an identity so people will consider it a well-known and respected brand. You can take the name of your restaurant bar from your location or use your name, among other options.

The main goal of naming your restaurant bar is to make it sound appealing and trustworthy so customers will want to visit.


3. Determine Your Restaurant Bar Business Model

There are several possible types of business models for a restaurant bar, including:

  1. Chain: A group of restaurants with the same name and branding that a central company owns.
  2. Franchise: A business model in which a company licenses its trademarks and methods to another business owner.
  3. Independent: A stand-alone restaurant that is not part of a chain or franchise  

No matter which model you choose, make sure that it aligns with your business goals and the market you service.


4. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business

By incorporating your restaurant bar 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 restaurant bar will determine the amount of taxes you pay and which state or federal tax forms you need to file.

Read our article comparing the most common restaurant bar business structures.


5. Write a Restaurant Bar Business Plan

All restaurant 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 restaurant bar business plan.


6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses

You may need to obtain required licenses and permits before launching your restaurant bar business.

For example, if you plan to serve alcohol, you will need to obtain a liquor license from the state where your business is located. You will also need to inspect your business premises by the health department and obtain a food handler’s permit if you are serving food.

You must also register your restaurant 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 restaurant bar business licenses.


7. Determine Your Budget and Apply for Funding as Needed

In developing your restaurant bar business plan, you will figure out how much funding you need to start and grow your business.

If you have funds to invest in your restaurant bar business, you may consider taking advantage of that. In addition to personal funds, other forms of potential funding for your restaurant 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 restaurant bar to help you determine if funding is needed. 


8. Get the Technology and Software Needed to Run Your Business Efficiently

When you start your restaurant 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 software that helps manage inventory, schedule employees, and market your business.


9. Market Your Restaurant Bar 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, LinkedIn and Twitter. Also consider networking with other people in the restaurant bar 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 grills should consider the following promotional strategies for which you should start getting prepared: 

  1. Sponsoring a local sports team
  2. Hosting special events like karaoke night or trivia night
  3. Offering discounts and coupons
  4. Creating a loyalty program
  5. Getting involved in the community through volunteer work or charity events
  6. Creating marketing collateral like menus, flyers, and business cards
  7. Investing in some form of online marketing like search engine optimization or Google AdWords

Read our article about how to market your restaurant bar 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 restaurant bar business.

Read our article about how to effectively grow your restaurant bar to learn more.


Starting a Restaurant Bar FAQs

You might want to start a restaurant bar business for many reasons. Maybe you’re passionate about the food and beverage industry. Or maybe you see it as a way to be your own boss and control your destiny. Maybe you just think it would be fun and exciting.

Whatever your reasons, starting a restaurant bar can be a rewarding experience.

To start a successful restaurant bar business, you need more than a great menu and a passionate staff. You also need a solid business plan, the right technology and software, an effective marketing strategy, and a great location.

You must also prepare to deal with the costs associated with starting and running a business. These costs can include leasing or buying a space, outfitting it with the right equipment, hiring staff, and promoting your business.

Here are a few tips to help you get started with your restaurant bar:

  1. Start with a solid business plan. This will help you identify your goals, establish your budget, and find the right location for your business.
  2. Make sure you have the right technology and software in place. This will help you manage your menu, take orders, and process payments.
  3. Find the right location. This is one of the most critical factors in starting a successful restaurant bar business. Make sure you find a centrally located space with enough foot traffic to support your business.
  4. Promote your business through marketing and advertising. This will help you attract new customers and grow your business.
  5. Be prepared to deal with the costs of starting and running a business. These costs can include leasing or buying a space, outfitting it with the right equipment, hiring staff, and promoting your business.

A simple checklist to use when starting a restaurant bar is as follows:

  1. Choose Your Type of Restaurant Bar: 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.
  2. Name Your Restaurant Bar: This should be done carefully, as your brand is essential for attracting the right customers. A simple, memorable name will go a long way.
  3. Choose a Legal Form for Your Business: Whether you 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.
  4. Determine Your Restaurant Bar Business Model: Determine how your business will make money. Will you sell products, services, or a combination of both?
  5. Write a Restaurant 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.
  6. Apply for the Necessary Permits and Licenses: In most locations, you will be required to apply for a business license or permits before you can begin operations.
  7. Determine Your Budget and Apply for Funding as Needed: You will need to know how much money you have to spend on your business-related expenses before opening any doors. If needed, apply for a small business loan or other funding options.
  8. 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.
  9. Market Your Restaurant 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. 
  10. 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 Restaurant Bar

Opening a restaurant bar requires several steps. Research the market, have a solid business plan in place, and promote your business through effective marketing and advertising. Be prepared for the costs associated with running a business, and ensure you have the right technology and software to run your business efficiently. Finally, get customers and grow your business. With careful planning and execution, you can be on your way to success.