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How to Open a Bar: Our Top Tips to Start a Bar

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So you want to open a bar? Well, the first thing to know is that starting a bar business isn’t for the feint of heart. It demands long hours, patience, and resourcefulness to keep going even when you want to throw in the towel. The key to success for starting a bar is education and planning.

Knowledge will give you the tools you need to adapt to a changing market, while planning will make sure you’re prepared. Here are our top tips for opening a successful bar!

Strategic planning is required to open a bar

The best tip to opening a bar is to have a plan before you start or commit to anything. Neglecting this single step is one of the main reasons that businesses fail within the first three years of opening. That means you’ll need to research your market carefully as you write up your business plan for a bar.

It’s not enough to have an idea; it has to be a good one and preferably one that is unique to stand out from the competition. You’ll have a hard time succeeding if you open a bar in an area overloaded with other venues. Learn the niches of other establishments so that your business will offer something different.

Check out the bar competition

Another smart strategy is to research your competition. Visit other bars, taking note of different systems, promotions, and other business ideas. You should also read reviews of other bars.

Find out what works and what doesn’t. There’s no point in rehashing a failed idea. The time you devote to this background work will help you avoid some of the same mistakes.

It’s an excellent opportunity to get ideas for your own business. And it can help you plan your promotions. If other places offer Monday burger specials, try a fish and chip deal instead. You could also run a similar discount on a different day.

Have the capital

When considering how to start a bar business, it’s crucial that you have the capital to see you through the first lean months. Your planning will provide a start, but it’s the day-to-day operations where you’ll get your on-the-job training. That’s where you find out if your idea looks as good in real life as it did on paper.

Let’s be honest. Just because you open a new drinking joint doesn’t mean that everyone is going to flock to it. You’re going to need capital to keep the doors open until it catches on and you get a loyal following. That means cash in the bank to keep the lights on until the money starts flowing.


Long-term plans

Opening a bar isn’t just about what happens day to day. It also involves what you’re going to do down the road. That means planning for advertising and marketing as well as seasonal changes you can expect for your business. Thinking of taking advantage of sport events on TV? Partner with your wholesaler now to work out promotion details.

Many tips for opening a bar focus on the here and now, like trends in the industry. But you also must consider the long-term situation such as how to stay open and keep attracting business during the slow times of the year.

Stay current with the industry and your clientele

It’s essential that you keep up with the changing trends in your industry. That means you need to educate yourself and train your staff so that your business grows with your customer base. If craft drinks are hot, have your bartender create—or reinvent—a classic cocktail to become your bar’s signature drink.

And listen to your customers. If you have strong wine sales, consider adding some new varietal to your list of offerings.

But it will do little to help business if you don’t have a well-trained staff. Make sure every team member knows and understands the bar menu. In the course of your planning, make sure you include a regular schedule of staff training.

Get help when you need it

Australian business owners are fortunate because there are government programs to help small business owners. Take advantage of them if you need help. Don’t let a minor problem become the big issue that closes down your bar.

Also, talk to others in your industry to get the insider’s perspective. Often the best advice comes from those who have the years in the saddle.

The best tips on opening a bar include common sense advice about planning before you make a financial commitment. As American statesman, Benjamin Franklin, once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”


Of course, a key to your bar’s success is an efficient bar POS system that works intuitively with your business. Learn more about our POS system today to improve efficiency and sales in your bar!