Postings Advertise Resources Blog Discussions About Us Register Login BizBen Podcast   BizBen Podcast  
BizBen.com
500 New & Refreshed Posts, Postings Daily
Over 8,000 Postings & 2,500 Resources
Assisting Buyers & Sellers Over 25 Years!

Categories

Buying A Bar - 4 Tips Worth Reading Before You Buy Your Bar

A lot of people think buying a bar would be a fun, easy business to get into. Your job would basically be to provide a place for people to have fun, right? 

Maybe, but bars are one of the riskiest businesses to buy into. The bar business is highly competitive and it tends to rely on contemporary trends within the area. Many owners find the most difficult part in buying a bar is to sustain consistent growth beyond the "buzz" factor.

Also, the laws that ban smoking in public places have changed the game for many bars, hurting profits, but at the end of the day there is no greater markup than that of liquor so there is potential to make money in this business.

Here are a few more things to take in consideration when exploring the possibility of buying a bar from a business broker or direct from a bar business owner:

Food Or No Food?

As I said, competition in this industry is high. You are not only competing with other small businesses but also the large chains that offer both food and liquor.  True bars, establishments that don't offer food, just liquor, are becoming less profitable. Bars in good, dense, urban locations are still strong but suburban bars are struggling. The absence of a kitchen increases the risk of losing hungry customers to other venues. So, while liquor is always more profitable than food and not having the expenses of a kitchen can be good for the bottom line, not having food can also hurt, so consider this option closely.

Liquor Licenses

Regardless of whether or not you offer food, without a liquor license you lose your greatest source of revenue, if not all of it. Not having a liquor license can completely stop your access to this industry so you need to make sure that the existing owner's license can be transferred to you. Liquor licenses in certain areas where there are high concentrations of establishments within major cities have become extremely difficult to obtain, thus driving the value of those licenses very high. In some states, such as New Jersey, they only offer a specific amount of licenses. Once those are gone, they do not issue more.

Owner Involvement, Staff, Inventory Control And Your Customers

If you plan to be involved in the day to day business, be prepared for some potential headaches. Most bars are open until the early morning hours and at least 6 days a week.  With so many operating hours, you have to be adequately staffed. Not only do you have to be staffed for all those hours but you also have to make sure your staff is friendly, hardworking and most importantly honest.

This can be a difficult business to control inventory as pouring an extra drink here and there can easily go unnoticed. Given that most bars do a lot of cash business, it is also easy for dishonest employees to pocket your cash. The bar and restaurant industry is also known for having high turnover, so be prepared for staffing challenges.

Let's not forget to talk about customers. While your customers are the life of your business, they can also be your biggest headache.  When buying a bar, you will encounter customers that come in, have a few too many drinks and become unruly. You also have to worry about how these unruly customers will leave your establishment. With new drunk driving laws being introduced every day, customers like these could up being a big problem.  Not everyone will be a problem, but it's important to ask the current owner what procedures are in place should one of these customers come in.

In my opinion a high degree of owner involvement on a day-to-day basis will make a bar business most successful as it will give you the ability to contain costs and prevent "˜shrinkage. As the Owner, you must have excellent people skills. This is not a business for introverts.

Benchmarks

Successful bars and nightclubs can usually generate up to $5,000 per well on a good night. As you are reviewing financials, keep in mind that the cost of goods should be below 28% of sales in a tavern/bar with little or no food. Payroll should be less than 20%.  Look closely at the rent, it should be about 6% to 8% of gross sales. Serving alcohol should be an extremely profitable endeavor, with average pour costs running as low as 16 percent for liquor, 21 percent for draft beer, 25 percent for bottled beer, and 28 percent for wine but despite these great numbers you have to make sure you have the right management and staff in place to run the operation efficiently.

#photo#About The Author: Peter Siegel, MBA is the Founder (of BizBen.com) & the Director Of the BizBen California Network (founded in 1994!) consisting of business buyers, owner/sellers, business brokers, agents, intermediaries, and advisors (there are over 90,000 users, and 8,000+ listings posted on BizBen.com). To join (FREE) the BizBen California Network, phone Peter Siegel direct at 925-785-3118 - get signed up for business for sale listings (Email Alerts) before they hit the market, view requests from serious business buyers - wanted notices, notices about upcoming FREE online webinars on the topic of buying and selling California small and mid-sized businesses and much more! Call 925-785-3118 to get info about bars, taverns, and nightclubs for sale in your area.

Categories: BizBen Blog Contributor, Buying A Business, How To Buy A Business


Other Related Blog Posts, Articles, And Discussions You May Be Interested In

Great Questions To Ask A Seller As A Business Buyer What Questions Should I Ask The Owner, Seller Or Broker?

Asking the seller straightforward questions and getting straightforward answers in return is an important part of the buying and due diligence process. In this Discussion, both ProIntermediaries and Advisors offer thorough questions you should be asking during your meeting with a business seller.
Business Brokerage Questionable Practices Sellers: Watch For These Business Broker Questionable Practices

Lee Petsas (Southern California Business Broker) shares his concerns regarding some questionable business practices by some California Business Brokers lately. Other Business Brokers and Advisors weigh in as well on this BizBen Blog post with other "dirty tricks" they have observed and heard about.
3 Car Wash Types To Purchase Buying A Car Wash Business: 3 Successful Types Of Car Washes To Consider

One of the most popular business searches (and eventual business purchase) on BizBen is the self serve and full service car wash. Peter Siegel, MBA (ProBuy & ProSell Programs Director) with BizBen.com reflects on three types of car wash models and what buyers should look for in a car wash purchase.
Why Many Deals Fail Why Many Deals Fail: Unrealistic High Asking Prices Are Usually The Culprit

The unfortunate truth is that approximately 50% of all small business sales transactions fall through. While failed transactions can happen for a variety of reasons, Peter Siegel, MBA (BizBen Founder & Lead Advisor) discusses the most common reason deals fall through; unrealistic asking prices.
Buying A Business Without Financials Business Seller Doesn't Have Recent Financial Figures: What Should I Do?

The owner selling the business doesn't have recent financial information or documentation but insists revenues are increasing. Should buyers believe the seller? What should buyers do in this situation? ProIntermediaries on BizBen answer the question of verifying seller/owner's financial claims.
Keeping A Business Sale Confidential Why Is A Small Business Sale Kept Confidential? Advisors Discuss This Topic

Recently a business owner asked me on the phone, "Why do you keep the sale of a business confidential? How do you keep the sale confidential - any good tips?" Multiple Advisors weigh in on this subject. What would be your answer to this business owner? ProIntermediaries on BizBen discuss this topic.
Questions When Buying A Liquor Store Buying A Liquor Store: 3 Questions To Consider And Ask Before You Purchase

Buying a liquor store? First, ask yourself these three critical questions to find out if owning a liquor store is right for you. Questions like hands on vs absentee ownership, inventory turnover, licensing issues. Peter Siegel, MBA (BizBen ProBuy & ProSell Program Lead Advisor) explores this topic.
Dual Agency Brokers Does Dual Agency Really Work For All? ProIntermediaries Discuss This Topic

Who really represents the buyer? The selling broker or agent through dual agency? Many brokers and agents weigh in on this Discussion on BizBen. Bottomline is all business buyers need to know who really represents them and has their best interest at heart when seeking and negotiating on deals.
Tips For Business Sellers Business Owners: Do Not Make It Hard To Buy Your Business - Successful Tips

Successful sellers of small businesses need a game plan to sell their California small business for maximum price and for the best terms. Peter Siegel, MBA discusses these seller strategies with BizBen Blog readers based on his experience as the lead Advisor with the ProSell Program on BizBen.com.
Should Buyers Take Control Before Closing? Should A Buyer Be Allowed To Operate A Small Business Before Escrow Closes?

Business buyers, brokers, owner/sellers all ask this question at some point. So I decided to ask some of the top Intermediaries in the California marketplace what they thought of the idea. Most of the ProIntermediaries on BizBen agreed with me on taking early possession before the close of escrow.