Starting a Tavern Business Plan – from Build-Out to Grand Opening

January 2022

Owning your own tavern or bar is a dream for many people, but what goes into getting started? We take a peek behind the scenes at how to start a tavern business, some things you need to know about the industry, and why starting a tavern business with Barrel House could be the right move for you.

How to Start a Tavern Business — Location and Build-Out

Making the decision to open a tavern business is exciting but nerve-wracking!  There’s so much to know about how to start a tavern business, and it’s important to get things right.

One of the most significant decisions you’ll make when setting up your new tavern business is the location.  You need somewhere that’s accessible, highly visible, in the right zoning areas, and not too close to the competition.  Keep your customers in mind as you choose a location. Factors like availability of foot traffic or parking, or the proximity to a local arena or business center, can affect your customer demographics.  Make sure you choose a location that’s right for the people you want to attract.

Once you’ve chosen your location, it’s time to build out your tavern!  There’s lots of guidance available on how to open a bar, but your interior is an important factor that sometimes gets overlooked.

First, your tavern must look the part.  That means choosing the right configuration of booths, tables, and bar seating. Don’t forget practicalities either!  Your tavern must be spacious enough for waitstaff to move freely between tables, and guests shouldn’t feel crowded.  You want your tavern to be a relaxed, welcoming place for workers and customers alike.

Imagine your busiest night, when your staff and occupancy are both at full capacity.  Is there room for the barbacks to work?  Can food get from the kitchen to tables without risking an accident? Will your guests be able to move between the entrance and their tables and the restroom?

Franchising with Barrel House can give you an advantage when choosing your location and building out your tavern.  We give our new franchisees lots of advice and guidance on how to start a tavern business, from finding an amazing location to building out a practical and functional space.

How to Start a Tavern Business — Finding the Right Staff

Putting together the right team to run your tavern is the next major step in starting a tavern business.  Taverns like Barrel House that serve both food and drink have three key areas of staffing requirements: the bar, the kitchen, and the dining room.

Behind your bar, you might need an experienced bar manager, bartenders, and barbacks for the busiest nights.  In the kitchen and back of house, think about cooks and porters, and maybe a prep cook or kitchen manager, depending on the size of your tavern.  At the front of the house, you might need waitstaff, a host/hostess, and table bussers.

It’s not unusual for taverns to employ a mixture of experienced and novice employees. Don’t forget to think about how you’re going to train your staff, what policies and procedures you’ll put in place, and how you’ll manage disagreements and disputes.

Barrel House franchisees can benefit from access to our We Care Culture™️ and training program, which defines our commitment to our staff, customers, and franchise owners. It’s all about setting the right expectations and making everybody feel equally valued from the moment they step inside the Barrel House doors.

How to Start a Tavern Business — Stocking Your Tavern

The next step of starting a tavern business is to make arrangements with suppliers to keep your tavern stocked.  Each distributor will have its own brand selections, minimum purchase requirements, payment terms, and delivery schedule.  If you have the choice of several suppliers, take the time to understand what each of them offers and find the best deal for your tavern.

Taverns are often known for their beer selections, so don’t overlook local breweries when sourcing suppliers.  Having the local brew on tap is a great selling point for any tavern, and one that Barrel House takes seriously.  We love local beers, and the breweries that supply them!

When you know how to open a bar franchise with Barrel House, you can take advantage of our expertise and advice when choosing suppliers and stock.  We provide our new franchisees with guidance on many aspects of how to start a tavern business, including what stock to carry, how much to purchase, and we may also negotiate exclusive rates with certain suppliers on behalf of our franchise owners.

How to Start a Tavern Business — Marketing and Grand Opening

Now you’ve got a location and staff, you need to attract customers!  Spreading the word about your new bar is an important part of how to start a tavern business.  To reach as many people as possible, use a combination of free and paid ads both online and offline.

Online promotional methods to consider include starting a website, setting up social media accounts, and creating profiles on Yelp, Google Business Profile, and other platforms.   Offline, look into local newspapers, run flyer campaigns, consider partnering with other businesses, and don’t overlook your storefront to entice people off the street.  A grand opening is a great way to attract attention and drum up interest in your tavern.

When you’ve secured your first customers, it’s time to keep them coming back!  Of course, that means good food, a varied drinks selection, and a welcoming atmosphere.  But a choice of awesome specials never hurt!

At Barrel House, our menu features seasonal cocktails to entice a range of palates and daily specials that encourage repeat business.  And it’s all served with a healthy side of our We Care Culture™️!

How to Start a Tavern Business — Let Barrel House Help

From choosing a location to celebrating the grand opening and beyond, Barrel House is there for all our franchisees, providing the advice, guidance, and training they need to help them in starting a tavern business of their own.  Contact us today to learn more about bar and grill franchises and Barrel House and decide if franchising with us is the right decision for you.