Essential Tips to Know Before You Open a Bar

by | CAREER GUIDANCE, Career Paths

Opening and running a successful bar is a big challenge no matter if it’s your first time or your 10th. There is always a sense of uncertainty when you take the risk to start a new business venture in a notoriously difficult industry. So, if you are going to open a bar, it’s important to gather as much information as you possibly can to help keep you on the right track to longevity.

We’ve already broken down the essential steps to take before you open a bar and spoke to the team from Radio Nossa who weathered the pandemic to come out on the other side stronger than ever. Now, we want to give you a few extra insider tips to keep in mind both before and after opening a bar of your own..

Understand the landscape

If you want to open a bar in a specific area, it’s important to get out and see what else is on offer. You should find out what other bars in the area are doing and see how you can distinguish yourself from them.

If the area is oversaturated with cocktail and wine bars then perhaps you should go with a dive bar concept. If there are few bars nearby that offer a substantial food menu, that could be your hook. Or, if you have the right kitchen, you could make your bar food the star of the show in order to bring customers in.

You should visit as many types of bars as you can before you open. From fancy bars to neighborhood dives and sports bars to brewpubs, going to as many places as possible will give you a clear idea of the different approaches to running a bar. You should observe the staff and the clientele closely and make note of what you think works well and what doesn’t.

This kind of research will tell you what your strengths and weaknesses are and help position yourself for success.

Market yourselves

So you’ve finally found the right spot and decided on your killer bar concept–great! 

A strategic location mixed with a catchy idea and concept is a strong start but it’s only half the battle. After all, what good is a cool bar if there is no one drinking in it? In order for your bar to truly take off you need to come up with a clear marketing plan and stick to it.

If you are going to use social media then you need to determine which platform is best for you. If you think your ideal clientele are more likely to use one platform over the other, focus your energy on that. Once you’ve chosen your preferred platform, do your homework to find out the best ways to engage with your customers and gain new ones as well.

Another great way to get free marketing is to obtain some media coverage of your bar. Getting a small write up in a cool local zine can be a great way to build early buzz. You should also try to contact cocktail and bar influencers to come check out your place and share it with their followers.

Choose Your Staff Carefully

In any hospitality setting, selecting the right people to be a part of your team is absolutely crucial. This is even more true in a bar where the team is usually small and tight knit. 

It’s important to have the right mixture of personalities to create a harmonious working relationship between all members of your crew. Working behind the bar on a busy weekend can be incredibly stressful, even at the best of times. Your bartenders must be supportive team players who know how to work hard while maintaining a positive attitude. 

You should also choose your bartenders wisely because they will be the public face of your bar. Bartenders have a more intimate relationship with their customers than most other hospitality jobs so you must find people that reflect your values. You want to hire bartenders that are outgoing, service oriented, and hard working. 

The right team of bartenders can help create a fun and inviting atmosphere that turns customers into regulars. Having regular customers is great because they often become advocates for your bar and help bring in even more people. If you’re having trouble finding the right profiles for your team, specialized hospitality recruitment platforms like Hosco can be incredibly helpful.

Make friends with the neighbors

The importance of this tip will vary depending on where you open a bar. However, if you are in a densely populated city center, like Barcelona or Paris, the neighbors that live around your bar can make life difficult for you.

It might be your dream but for the neighbors your bar is just another potential nuisance. To avoid this problem, before you open the bar, you should get to know the neighbors a bit

Go to the upstairs neighbors in your building and introduce yourself. Tell them your plan, listen to their concerns, and take it into account. You could even give them your personal phone number so they can contact you directly with a complaint before calling the authorities. 

If your neighbors can put a human face and name to your bar before it causes them any problems, they’ll be less combative when there is an issue to address.

If opening a bar has always been a dream of yours, getting some work experience will make that dream much easier to achieve. Check out the open bar positions available on Hosco and find your dream job today.



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