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How to Start a Wine Bar

Starting a wine bar is your ticket to owning a good, stable business as long as you separate yourself from the competition. We offer tips and advice on the essential elements for business success.

Wondering how to start a wine bar? We take you step-by-step from start to success.

Open a Wine Bar

Before opening a wine bar, survey the local wine community to identify gaps in the marketplace.

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.

Consider Competitors

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.

Related Articles on Starting a Company

These additional resources regarding getting started as an entrepreneur may be of interest to you.

Business Idea Evaluation

Consideration Before Buying a Franchise

Recurring Revenue Business Models

Conversation Board

What's your experience with trying to open a wine bar? This site for small business owners and entrepreneurs greatly appreciates your feedback.

chrismasters 6/29/2010

One thing I would add is to make sure you don't get carried away by the idea that running a bar is going to be glamorous. However attractive it might look from your barstool, you can bet it'll be completely different on the other side of the bar. You can find yourself with the local authorities breathing down your neck, whether you're doing anything wrong or not, (And I'd advise not!!) dealing with nightmarish beer suppliers and that's before you even get to the drunks. There's not such thing as a perfect job and running a bar is no exception.

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Already Own a Wine Bar?

If you currently own a wine bar, try these useful resources:

Marketing a Wine Bar

Selling a Wine Bar

Do You Sell to Wine Bars?

If you sell to wine bars, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:

Selling to Wine Bars

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