craft a killer bar

How to Craft a Killer Bar and Grill Business Plan


So you’ve decided to start a bar and a grill.

But before you move forward – you’ll have to draft a solid and comprehensive business plan. Creating a business plan for a bar and restaurant is about being specific. Remember, writing a business plan is the first and the most crucial step in starting any type of business.

When it comes to opening a bar and grill, you have to be practical and cover the societal and cultural aspects that complement your town or city. Pubs and bars have been quintessential social hubs for centuries. And why wouldn’t they be? Bars have become meeting and resting spots.

So, when starting a new bar and grill establishment, think about what cultural elements you want to cover and what are customers’ expectations. With a business plan, you can define every aspect of your bar and grill. Whether it’s identifying the target market or figuring out the perfect ambiance – cover essential elements in your business plan.

Without further ado, let’s touch on crucial elements for your killer bar and grill business plan:

Executive Summary

No business plan is complete without an executive summary. It is an overview that sets your vision in motion. Use this section to highlight what you want to cover throughout the bar and grill business plan. First, create a vision for your bar and grill business.

Since each bar has a unique clientele, make sure to be specific and figure out whether you want to create a space that serves cocktails or a bar that garners the attention of patrons enthusiastic about sports.

Your executive summary should also include a mission statement highlighting key elements that’ll make your bar a success. Note the value proposition that would make your bar and grill business stand out from the local competition.

Legal Structure

When choosing a legal structure for your new bar and grill establishment, understand that each business structure comes with some strings attached. Remember, the business structure you choose will have an impact on your taxes, personal liability, and business partners.

When starting a small bar and grill business, you can choose a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, limited liability corporation, or S corporation.

Instead of choosing an LLC business structure like most entities, take into account your business risks, challenges, and needs. Whichever business structure you choose, make sure to align it with your bar and grill business plan so that you can achieve your set goals on time.  

Company Description

Whether making a business plan for a restaurant or a business plan for a bar, curate the company description with as many details as possible. If you want to stand out in the local market and achieve your goals, make sure to cover the basics first.

For starters, include the business name, company history or origin, business structure, and mission statement. Also, include a description of products and services and how they can work in favor of the market and highlight the value proposition that will give you the competitive edge over your key competitors.

Cover a story of your company with facts and how it is bound to be successful through ad campaigns and other marketing strategies. Like major brands, use the company description to get the attention of potential consumers.

Products and Services

This section of your bar and grill business plan should cover the products or services you will offer to customers. Highlight menu elements like mixers, garnishes, liquor, and add-ons with proper descriptions.

It is no secret that people often use emotion to make their purchases. So, take this opportunity to name your drinks and write catchy descriptions for products and services. It is the best approach to communicate the message to potential customers and investors.

Get your product sources and opt for local sources that might appeal to most customers in your town or city. Whether it’s a beer selection or cocktails, write a thorough competitive analysis of similar products and services offered by bars in your area.

In fact, this analysis will help you diversify your menu and allow you to gain a competitive edge from the start. In any case, demonstrate your industry knowledge and expertise across all offered products and services. Focus on a value-driven approach and how it would work for your customers.

Also, mention trademarks, copyrights, or patents you’ve applied for or own at the time of writing the business plan. Ultimately, customers and investors would want to know “how” you get your source materials, make products, and the equipment and tech tools you’ve put in place.  

Licenses and Permits

When starting a service-based business like a bar and grill, you’ll need to get relevant licenses and permits. Focus on acquiring state-mandated licenses and permits to start a new bar and grill business. Getting authorizations takes a lot of time, but it is crucial to get familiar with how establishments deal with federal and state agencies.

Create a realistic timeline to get specific licenses and permits to start bar and grill business operations at a selected location. For a bar and grill business, you’ll need to get a certificate of occupancy, a liquor license, a business license, a food-service license, a health department permit, and a signage permit.

Marketing Strategy

Like the finance section, marketing strategy should be one of the detailed parts of your bar and grill business plan. Outline how to plan to find, attain, and retain potential customers for a long time. Include a positioning statement that outlines your target market and how they would likely see your brand.

At this stage, include pre-opening promotional tactics to create a buzz. Part of opening a successful bar and grill business is to set the most competitive prices for drinks from the start. So, make price calculations for each drink and food item.

After launching your bar and grill business, you can roll out consistent marketing campaigns in the form of paid ads, PR, social media, and email to attract new customers. Also, add screenshots of your new site and briefly touch on the content that customers would find most appealing.

Simultaneously, outline how you’ll use your website as an extension to maintain a ubiquitous social media profile. If you want potential customers to be aware of your new bar and grill, write up an overview of your brand positioning. Remember, your brand position creates your brand identity and allows customers to recognize the uniqueness of your brand. Ideal brand positioning involves highlighting details about how you’ll improve overall marketing strategies.

Technology and Suppliers

This part of the bar and grill business plan should include all the tech tools and solutions you intend to implement. Most importantly, mention the point of sale system you’ll be using to optimize, streamline, and manage your new bar and grill business operations. Include other tech solutions like reservation management and online ordering.

You should also highlight how you intend to deal with suppliers regularly. Since the restaurant industry deals with changing terms and prices, you’ll have to do some research before finalizing suppliers. You can either work with a farmer’s market or grow your own vegetables for each season.

Cover the Financial Ground

Like every business, you’ll need to cover the financial aspects. No matter how you get your startup business funds, outline a plan of “how” to spend these resources. With defined finances, you can see how much money you will need to get inventory per week and cover payroll expenses.

It is one of the elements in your bar and grill business plan that will require some quantitative research. You have to be objective about your funding and crunch the numbers based on “your” business concept. Run the bar and grill business’ financial projections to see whether or not you have enough funds to cover all the expenses.

Startup costs depend on the type of bar and grill you want to start. In cocktail bars – the main startup cost is interior design. On the other hand, the major startup cost of dive bars is real estate. On top of startups, ensure your bar and grill business plan includes a break-even analysis.

If you want to make your bar and grill successful, write down all the financial and technical items. You can also add a summary of potential revenues and profit and loss analysis for the first year or quarter. When starting a bar and grill business, one of your biggest expenses would be around getting the kitchen equipment. It can include:

  • Shelves
  • Sinks
  • Steam tables
  • Prep tables
  • walk-in freezers
  • Commercial dishwasher
  • Oven
  • fryers
  • grills
  • stove-top
  • Cookware
  • Glassware
  • Utensils

In terms of furnishings, you will also have to cover expenses to get décor, coolers, kegs, a beer-tap system, the main bar, a shelving system, tables, bar stools, chairs, and booths.

Summing Up

Opening a new bar and grill place is an exciting journey. But you also have to be strategic about your planning and focus on what is and isn’t sustainable. Hold onto your core idea that would make your bar and grill business unique. A detailed bar and grill business plan works like a guide and helps you stay on the right track.

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