So you’re thinking of opening a bar in 2016?

Many of us harbour a dream of running our own business, often focussing on opening a bar. The prospect of being our own boss and making customers happy is too good to pass up; however, the reality can be difficult. If you are seriously thinking about opening a bar, here are some key things to consider.

opening a bar in 2016

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1) Do your research – part 1

Visit your favourite bars and talk to the owners. Ask all the questions you need answers to over a quiet drink, including what it takes to open a bar and hints for keeping it running. Bear in mind that they might not give trade secrets away if you are about to become their competition!

2) Do your research – part 2

Visit successful bars in your area, buy drinks and take notes on your likes and dislikes. Try to understand their business model and what is attracting customers; for example, does the bar run themed nights? Does it offer discounted drinks? Also consider whether the bars are attracting your ‘ideal’ customer. The Guardian has some great tips on market research.

3) Do your financial homework

If you work under the illusion that people will come to you just because you are there, you are set to fail. You need to assess the size of the local market, establish whether there is room for another player, and establish the average spend per customer. If the numbers don’t add up, be prepared to formulate a new plan.

4) Choose your theme and decor wisely

You may hanker after a particular theme; however, if it doesn’t appeal to potential customers, it will be a non-starter. Look at what is missing in the area for your chosen demographic; for example, there may be an opportunity for an old-style pub theme, in which case you should look at antique bar furniture in London available from specialists such as

5) Attend trade shows

Trade shows are better than publications in that you will make contact with retailers and distributors, learn from others’ experience, identify the latest trends, and potentially obtain special deals.

If you are in the market to open a bar in 2016, consider our tips and you will be well on the road to success. Good luck!

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