No matter where you live, you’ve probably noticed bars and pubs are always brimming with people looking to unwind, and given that in a normal year, the bar and nightclub industry alone is worth over $23 billion USD, that’s a fair observation to make. If you’re tired of working for someone else and enjoy the casual drinking scene, you’ve probably thought about taking a slice of that $23 billion for yourself. If you’re serious about buying your own bar, here are three tips you’ll want to keep in mind. 

You Need to Spend (a lot) of Money to Make Money

Just like when you buy any property – especially a commercial or hospitality property – you need to be prepared to spend a lot of money in order to get it off the ground and start making money. Estimates suggest it costs around $710,000 to open and run a bar for the first year. That includes buying the property, purchasing stock, paying staff, and taking into account other overheads. Buying a bar is not for the faint-hearted and it could be a while before you see a return on your business, so you need to be prepared to spend a huge chunk of money and wait it out until you start making a profit. 

spend money - tips to buying first bar

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It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you open your first business, and few guzzle money in the way a bar does, but it’s essential you keep in mind that profits will eventually grace your business accounts, it’s just that it takes a bit longer with a bar. So, don’t feel down if you don’t turn a profit immediately and don’t let people tell you it’s bad business – it’s not. 

You Need a Niche

As mentioned, it can take a long time before you see a return on your investment when you buy a bar, but one thing that can help speed that process up is by having a niche. The market is flooded with bog-standard pubs and bars, but the market is shifting. People want an experience and a unique one at that. If you’re just like the others, why would people visit you? Whether it’s your fun décor, a dress-up photo-booth or magical cocktails that offer a novelty drinking experience, you need to figure out what you can do to make your bar stand out. You can opt for a theme, such as the roaring ’20s, a safari, heroes and villains, or a popular video game. 

If changing the aesthetic of your bar isn’t for you, you can provide a unique experience in the form of entertainment. Mini golf, stand up comedy, live music and craft evenings are but a few ideas. Whatever you choose, it needs to offer the customer something they can’t get anywhere else. 

Serve Food 

Who doesn’t love grabbing a bite to eat and enjoying a lightly alcoholic beverage at a bar of a summer’s evening? No one and that’s all the convincing you need to serve food when you open a bar. Sure, running a restaurant is an entirely different ball game to running a bar, but it’s a big moneymaker. Bars that serve food are more profitable, and it’s not too hard to weave in, either. You can offer a limited menu, or you can hire a proper chef and cater to a wider audience of diners. By offering food, people are likely to stay at your bar for longer, and the longer they’re there, the more drinks they’ll order and the more money they’ll spend. 

tips to buying your first bar

If you don’t have space indoors for large tables, take a look at your outdoor space. Many pubs and restaurants use artificial grass and string lights to make their concrete yards cozier, and it works. Add some heaters and people can drink and dine in comfort all year round, therefore securing a reliable income.

If you’re thinking of taking the plunge and buying a bar, keep these three tips in mind before you sign the lease – they could just save your skin (and your sanity).

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