You put in the hard work and long hours, and your bar has become a success. While most people would sit back, catch their breath and enjoy the moment, your mind is already focused on opening a second and third location. Your friends and family may be questioning your sanity, but we certainly applaud your ambition. However, before you make another huge commitment, there are some important topics to consider. Here is what you need to think about before you decide to become a multi-location bar owner:
1. Why Was Your First Bar Successful?
Ultimately, a bar is successful because it is able to create a certain atmosphere and culture that keeps people coming back. You probably had some very specific ideas about how you wanted your first bar to look and feel and the type of crowd you wanted to attract. Over time, this evolved into a clear brand.
As you begin to think about opening other locations, you have to make sure you're re-creating that same type of environment so that you are offering customers a consistent brand. They are going to want to be able to go to any location and know what to expect. It is important not to lose sight of what made you special in the first place.
With your first bar, you might have had more room for some trial and error when it came to finding the right combination of staff. Once you open a second location, you are going to be even more strapped for time. You will need to be able to rely on an efficient and trustworthy staff that can deliver. This might mean taking the time and effort to recruit. Draw on your connections and years of experience in the industry to find the best talent and make it worth their while to come work for you.
3. How Can You Stay Organized?
It's going to be tough. If you thought you were juggling a lot of balls before, just wait. The good news is that there are plenty of available tools to help you manage some of the more detailed and mundane aspects of running a bar.
- Find a scheduling system that can help you fill-in shifts and coordinate staff.
- Update your point of sale system. Using outdated equipment and software will slow down the bar and make it more difficult to track performance. You will be doing yourself, your staff and your customers a favor by investing in the latest technology.
- Stop taking inventory by hand. Get with the times. Bar inventory software makes it easier than ever to reduce shrinkage, make smart purchasing decisions and accurately track your inventory.
4. You Will Have to Set Some Boundaries
Inevitably, you are going to feel like you need to be in every place at once. You will soon learn just how impossible it is to do it all. Not only will you have to get comfortable with delegating tasks, but you will also have to set some clear boundaries so that you can have free time and keep your sanity. It might be out the question to take a full weekend off while things are getting off the ground, but make it a point to set aside time that is completely "bar free."
There is no question that you can successfully run several bar locations. The key is to go into it with your eyes wide open. Consider all the potential challenges and set up a clear, step-by-step plan for success that you will be able to execute.