If you’re a wine savant, chances are you’ve thought about opening your own wine bar. Who could blame you? The idea of serving up your favorite pinot noir and cabernet paired alongside decadent cheese and mouthwatering charcuterie boards is enough to get any wine lover revved up. However, opening a wine bar can be a lot more complicated than wine selection and leasing issues. If you’ve decided to jump in headfirst and open your own wine bar, it’s important to examine the strategies that will make your establishment profitable for years to come. Keep the following in mind as you get started and position yourself for success.
Outlining Your Business Plan
As with any small business, your first step comes in the formation of a business plan. Before you can approach investors and look seriously into financing options, you’ll need to detail a variety of aspects about your business. This includes planned upfront costs, maintenance costs, vendor expenses, planned revenue, target demographics, and much more. The more extensive and detailed you can be, the better chance you’ll have of securing lending. When it comes time to approach lenders, consider the variety of avenues available. If you’ve never opened a business before and don’t have proven success in the industry, you’ll struggle to acquire traditional loans from banks and financial institutions. Instead, you may need to pursue less conventional lending methods. For some, this means using a crowdfunding campaign, while others turn to peer lending opportunities. Do your research and determine which option is best for your situation.
Creating the Perfect Atmosphere
Wine bar patrons have certain expectations when it comes to ambiance. If you want to turn your establishment into a favorite haunt, you’ll need to cultivate the right atmosphere. Set yourself apart from the competition while playing into customer desires. Dimmed lighting provides a relaxed environment in which patrons will love to lounge. Curate a soft playlist of easy listening music to set the tone; be sure to have your speakers playing at the right volume—too loud and it’ll be impossible to talk, too quiet and customers will feel uncomfortable having conversations that can be overheard by the entirety of the restaurant.
Offer a Diverse Array of Beverage Options
As a wine bar, your establishment is expected to provide an array of options to suit a variety of different tastes. Consider how much a beer and wine license costs, it’s important to recoup your investment through consistent sales. You can’t please everyone, but you can please the majority of your target demographic. It might seem glib, but there are instances in which wine bars simply don’t serve enough varieties of wine. Connoisseurs expect a variety of wine options, with an exemplary collection. If you hear customers complaining about the lack of diverse offerings, do what you can to contact vendors and secure a larger cache of wine offerings. Always be sure to serve wine flights. This allows the non-connoisseurs to sample a nice selection of your offerings, and gives you more opportunity to make larger sales.
Will You Serve Food?
Many wine bar owners find that they must serve small bites to secure customer loyalty. Customers are often looking for a dining experience, and making efforts to expand your offerings to food can greatly improve your profits and bottom line. Wine may not be enough to attract a multitude of customers; offering snacks and appetizers to pair with your wide array of bottles can pull in patrons who might have walked right on by before. Simple cheese boards and meat offerings can be enough to entice the occasional wine drinker, and opens up the opportunity for your wait staff to upsell customers, ultimately increasing your profit potential.
If you’re looking to turn your love of wine into a lucrative business opportunity, consider opening a wine bar and make your passion a great form of income.