a bar with many lights
Janina Corwin
Janina Corwin
Senior Staff Writer

7 Tips for Successfully Opening a Bar and Restaurant

Restaurants are great places to go and enjoy a meal with family and friends. Whether you’re celebrating a big occasion or just getting together for a chat, you can create very fond memories while sharing great food together at a bar or restaurant. Perhaps you have a passion for food and creating these moments for people. If that is the case, you may have a future in the restaurant business. Opening your own bar or restaurant may be a bit of a risky business venture, but with the right tools and proper motivation, you can create the perfect place for your guests.

Starting any new business requires the right tools and a great strategy. You also need to find the best team to support you and help get your restaurant up and running. Serving food is a multi-layered operation, so you need tools and staff to help you every step of the way. Get to know your community and understand the ways your restaurant can make a difference for the people you’re serving. These are some of the basic tips to help you get started.

1. Always start with a business plan.


No matter what kind of business you’re operating, it is essential to start out with a plan. Design a business plan that can help you run an efficient and effective business. Figure out your licensing, tax plan, and official business name. All these steps may seem tedious, but they’re important to start getting your business off the ground.

2. Get the right equipment.

Restaurants are all about the food and creating a great atmosphere. Well, you can’t cook the food or seat your guests without kitchen equipment and dining room furniture. This should be your next step in getting everything set up. Speak to a supplier who can help you invest in the right kind of items for your restaurant. Depending on the style of location, you’re going to need different equipment.

If you’re operating a food truck or a location that travels, you may need methods for collecting used cooking oil and other location-specific items. If you’re operating a brewery, you’re going to need the tools of a distiller. Overall, know what your goals are and get top-of-the-line items that can help you build an effective restaurant.

3. Create a great menu for guests to enjoy.

Your food is the star of your new business. Creating your menu should be a priority for you and your associates. Build something based on sustainability that many different people can enjoy. You’ll also want to know what style of restaurant you’re creating. For example, a five-star location is going to have a different menu than a dive bar or mom-and-pop shop. Don’t forget to include good alcohol as a part of your business. Find an alcohol beer distributor with access to an American IPA, quality wine, and other unique flavors for cocktails.

4. Hire an efficient and top-notch staff.

Whenever you’re running a business, your team is the backbone of the whole operation. For this reason, it’s essential that you hire great staff when opening a successful restaurant or bar. This goes for every aspect of the operation. You need a strong team in the kitchen to make and create your famous dishes. You need managers who keep the floor running effectively. And you need hosts, servers, and bartenders that create great experiences for guests when they walk through the doors. Happy, positive staff can make your new restaurant into a booming success.

5. Invest in relationships with your distributors.

No business exists completely on its own. You need to harness those important relationships with your distributors. From your produce guy to the alcoholic beverage distributor, be sure you’re establishing a healthy rapport with your providers. After all, these are the people that bring you the food and drinks you eventually serve to guests. Shop around for a good distributor who always gets you your items on time and allows you to operate at a high level.

6. Find the best ways to market your restaurant.

Opening a new restaurant is the first step. Now, you need to fill the seats with people. Figure out ways to market your restaurant and let people know you’re there. Get involved in the community. Throw an opening event with great deals and discounts. Start a loyalty program to get people excited about visiting again. These are the best ways to help you start making money with your new business.

7. Implement the best POS system.

With so many different people involved in your operation, you need a successful way to communicate. For many restaurants, this is found in the point-of-sale (POS) system. This technology allows the servers to communicate with the kitchen, you to track inventory, and guests to pay for their food. Look for a great POS provider that can help you efficiently run your operation.