How to Write a Great Bar Business Plan

How to Write a Great Bar Business Plan
When you open a bar, you need objectives and strategies to stay on track. Here’s how to write a bar business plan that will roadmap your success.
by Meredith Galante Oct 14, 2021 — 6 min read
How to Write a Great Bar Business Plan

Making the decision to open a bar is an exciting first step. You’ve got the passion and the vision, next is the business plan. There’s a tried and tested formula for business plans, but if you’re starting a bar it’s good to take a more specialist approach.

To kick things off, picture the people who will be reading your bar business plan. Most likely it will be prospective business partners, investors and lenders. These parties want proof that a company is worth their time and money, and it’s the job of your business plan to do that. In the future, it will also be read by you, as you gauge your bar’s success to date and plan your next steps. With the interests of all these people in mind, you’re ready to start writing.

Executive summary

The executive summary outlines the key points of your business plan. It gives people a summation of the deeper content, whilst preparing and inviting them to read on. It’s succinct and highlights key points.

Though mostly a summary, this section does include a mission statement to highlight your company’s values, intentions and unique selling points (USPs). It will trickle through every aspect of your business and influence who decides to do business with you. It can also help you clearly identify what you need to focus on to draw in customers, beat out the competition and stay true to the brand.

Most of what you cover in the executive summary will be touched on again in the business plan. This is exactly how it should be, but you can avoid absolute repetition by building out your points and highlighting their relevance.

What to include in an executive summary:

Company description

The company description is a fuller overview of your bar business. It details the things your reader really needs to know in a 360-degree view, including your concept, location and target market. After reading, there should be no questions left as to who, what and where you are, and why you’re doing what you’re doing.

What to include in a company description:

Market analysis

Investors are attracted to industry and market knowledge, and this is the section to prove you have it. The market analysis compiles industry insights, information on your target audience and a competitive analysis, and outlines what success looks like. You can break it down into four stages:

  1. Start with a service industry analysis and then dive deeper into your specific segmentation to compare forecasts and trends.
  2. Design a customer persona based on experience and research, and explain why your bar will appeal to them.
  3. Analyse your competitors — how many other local bars are there and how do they stack up against yours?
  4. Write a SWOT analysis for your bar. Discuss its potential strengths and weaknesses, and the opportunities and threats it may face.

Product line and menu

What you offer on your menu can attract customers (and investors). List everything on your menu with descriptions and photos — from chips, beers and cocktails, to mixers, garnishes and other add-ons.

Many purchasing decisions are based on emotion and identity, so naming drinks and writing descriptions according to your audience’s tastes is important. Take your time to consider how the language and themes you use will resonate with them.

Next, focus on how you’ll source products and produce, and what impact that has on your brand identity and bottom line. After you decide what to source, lay out how you’ll manage your products and ingredients. Developing an inventory management system for your bar is necessary to optimise your daily operations and cut down spending.

Finally, write up your competitive comparison to other bars in the area. This can include the drinks you offer and the ingredients you use just as much as it can mean the way you prepare and serve them. Keeping track of your competitors allows you to diversify and use your menu as a competitive advantage.

Marketing strategy

The marketing strategy section in your bar business plan outlines your overall plan for finding, attracting and retaining customers.

What to include in a marketing strategy:

Financial plan

Finally in your bar business plan comes the section on your financials. This will define how you plan to succeed as a healthy, growing business. For a new bar, this section will include your bar startup costs and a break-even analysis.

Your bar startup costs are the expenses incurred during the process of getting off the ground. Naturally, startup costs will vary depending on the type of establishment you’re opening, but there are some things every bar can’t go without:

You’ve probably considered your funding opportunities already by this point. In the financial plan section, you should lay out your plan for these in detail. Are your self-funding or raising investment? Are you planning to take out a small business loan and for how long?

The financial plan should also look at how much revenue it will take you to break even. Create a financial analysis that discusses your profit and loss account, the cash flow you need and how you’ll manage a balance sheet.

Solid financial planning and management will be one of the biggest influencers in your bar’s success. If you’re inexperienced or don’t have the time to do all the analyses above, don’t be afraid of reaching out to a financial and/or legal professional to give you a helping hand.

If there’s one thing Australians never tire of, it’s discovering new drinking establishments and returning back to their favourites. For an entrepreneur planning to open a new bar, the opportunities to become a thriving business are pretty much endless. At the same time, success doesn’t come without planning. A bar business plan will not only form the roadmap of your business’s first few years, it can serve as a tool to help you adapt and grow way into the future.

Meredith Galante
Meredith Galante is a freelancer writer based in New York City. She's been writing for Square since 2017 where she's covered everything from the best software for restaurants to use to maximize profit, minimum wage laws across the country, and tips for entrepreneurs to maximize their impact.

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