Wondering how to start a wine bar? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
What's the Big Deal About Wine Bars?
The past few decades have seen consistent growth in wine sales in the U.S. In an industry once dominated by European winemakers, U.S. vineyards and winemakers have come into their own, propelled by Americans' increasing thirst for good quality vino.
Given the rising popularity of wine among American consumers, the emergence of wine bars was only a matter of time. Wine drinkers tend to prefer to enjoy their libations in a more sophisticated atmosphere than most bars can offer, creating a market gap which wine bars are happy to fill.
But if you think starting a profitable wine bar is a no-brainer, think again. Competition for wine industry dollars is tight and wine bar startups experience a failure rate that is equal to or even greater than the failure rate for the average small business.
Performing Market Research for a Wine Bar Startup
Market research is a non-negotiable requirement for wine bar startups. Launching a wine bar based solely on your love of wine or a hunch that your community has enough wine lovers to support yet another wine bar is a recipe for disaster.
The bottom line is that you need solid numbers to support your startup plan. It's also a good idea to survey the local wine community to identify gaps in the marketplace. Food menus, wine tastings and other services can contribute to your wine bar's success -- but only if there is real demand for them in the local market.
It's All About Location
If your market research reveals that there is sufficient demand for another wine bar, the next big challenge you'll need to tackle is location. Like it or not, location can either make or break your wine bar.
Selecting the right location for a wine bar is trickier than it sounds. Ideally, you're looking for a busy area that is frequently trafficked by middle- to upper-class consumers.
If you're having trouble finding the right spot for your wine bar startup, take a look at Gaebler's tips for selecting the right location for a startup small business.
How to Create Effective Wine Bar Business Plans
A great business plan will lay a strong foundation for growth in your startup wine bar.
The financial section of your business plan is especially relevant to funding concerns. Not surprisingly, lenders immediately turn to the financial section and use the accuracy of your forecasts to gauge the value of other parts of the plan.
Subsequently, a thorough understanding of business plan financial basics is a prerequisite to effective business plan writing for wine bars.
How to Become a Local Success
New wine bars need to focus on securing the support of their local communities. Compared to other kinds of businesses, wine bars are highly local, i.e. they mainly market to customers in the local area. If people like you, they buy more from you. It's that simple, and that's why wine bars need to be active in their local communities.
Well in advance of opening a wine bar in your town, it's a good idea to find out what the competition looks like. We've provided the link below to help you find competitors nearby. Complete the form by entering your city, state and zip code to get a list of wine bars that are close by.
Is the local market large enough to support another wine bar? If not, you had better be sure that you are doing things much better than the competition.
Talk to People Who Are Already in the Business
If you are seriously contemplating launching a wine bar, the next step is to learn from folks who are already in business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. It'd be crazy for them to teach you the business.
But, a person who owns a wine bar on the other side of the country may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, as long as they don't view you as a competitive threat. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. It can take a while to find an entrepreneur who is willing to talk, but it's well worth the effort.
Where do you find a wine bar manager on the other side of the country to talk to?
Simple. Let your fingers do the walking by using the link below.
Wine Bar Acquisitions: Financial Considerations
Startup wine bars carry a host of financial risks and concerns. Without an operational history, it's hard to predict how your startup will actually perform in the marketplace.
Although there are many benefits to buying an existing wine bar, the financial advantages rank near the top of the list. Many entrepreneurs buy an existing business for the sole purpose of tapping into the financial benefits of an established customer base.
An acquired business also has documented assets and earnings - a big advantage with lenders and investors.
Franchising May Be a Better Way to Go
Startup small business owners are under enormous pressure to achieve profitability quickly.
No doubt about it, you have a lot of decisions to make. And one of the smartest decisions may be to pursue a franchise opportunity for your business startup.
Our wine franchise directory is full of wine bar startup opportunities. Just clink on the link below to get started.
These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.
If you sell to wine bars, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.