Bar Business Plan Template

Written by Dave Lavinsky

Bar Business Plan

You’ve come to the right place to create a business plan for your bar or pub.

We have helped over 10,000 entrepreneurs and business owners create business plans and many have used them to start or grow their bars and pubs.

To write a successful bar business plan, you will first need to decide what type of bar you want to open. Do you plan to open a sports bar, a wine bar, a cocktail bar, or a nightclub? What kind of alcoholic beverages will you serve? Will you have live music?

You will then need to gather information about your business and the bar industry. This type of information includes data about your potential customers, marketing strategies to reach your target market, and 5-year pro-forma financial statements (income statement, balance sheet and cash flow statement).

Sample Bar Business Plan

The following bar business plan example gives you the key elements to include in a winning business plan:

  1. Executive Summary – The Executive Summary is the most important part of your business plan. It is a brief overview of your bar business concepts, its products and services, potential market opportunity, and competitive advantage.
  2. Company Overview – Also called the Company Analysis, here, you will provide a detailed description of your bar, its products and other services, and legal structure.
  3. Industry Analysis – In the Industry Analysis, you will provide an in-depth analysis of the industry in which your bar operates including major players in the local market, market size and growth, and profitability.
  4. Customer Analysis – In the Customer Analysis, you will identify your potential customers and provide insights into their purchasing habits. You will also create customer segments and discuss your marketing strategy for reaching them.
  5. Competitive Analysis – In the Competitive Analysis, you will identify your direct competition (other local bars and local businesses that serve alcohol) and provide insights into their strengths and weaknesses. You will also discuss your unique selling point and how you plan to stay ahead of the competition.
  6. Marketing Plan – The Marketing Plan includes a discussion of your marketing strategy to drive more foot traffic to your bar along with your pricing strategies. You will also provide a sales forecast and budget for your marketing efforts.
  7. Operations Plan – In the Operations Plan, you will discuss your bar’s day-to-day operations including inventory management, providing exceptional customer service, and creating loyal customers. You will also provide your business goals that you plan to achieve and a budget for your operating expenses.
  8. Management Team – In this section, you will provide a brief overview of your bar management team, including the bar owner, and their experience in the industry.
  9. Financial Plan – In this section, you will provide a three-year financial statement for your bar. This will include your income statement, projected balance sheet, and cash flow analysis.

Bar Business Plan FAQs

A business plan is a planning tool used to start a new bar and/or grow your thriving bar business. Among other things, it outlines your business concept, identifies your target customers, presents your marketing plan and details your financial projections.

You can easily complete your bar business plan using our Bar Business Plan Template here.

There are many types of bars. Most bars are local bars and are known as dive bars or a neighborhood bar.  Sports bars are also a very popular business option. There are also posh and luxurious bars that craft cocktails and offer high-end alcoholic drinks. There are trendy bars that offer the latest industry trends in cocktail and wine offerings. Other bars are location-focused and are unique to the area of town or location that it is in. Many bars also serve food as an option to accompany the alcoholic drink choices.

The primary source of revenue for a bar are the alcoholic drink items and food sold at the establishment.

The key expenses for a bar are the costs to purchase the alcohol (beer, wine, liquor) inventory, bar equipment and supplies, overhead expenses for the staff and rent, and any marketing costs the bar chooses to partake in.

Bar businesses are most likely to receive funding from banks. To attract potential investors, you should have an effective bar business plan with a solid business strategy and financial plan. Another option for a bar is to obtain a small business loan to help cover startup costs. SBA loans are a popular option as they offer longer loan terms with lower interest rates. Outside investors, crowdfunding, and/or friends or family are other typical funding options.

Starting a bar business can be an exciting endeavor. Having a clear roadmap of the steps to start a business will help you stay focused on your goals and get started faster.

  1. Write A Bar Business Plan - The first step in starting a business is to create a detailed bar business plan for a bar that outlines all aspects of the venture. This should include market research on the local market and potential target market size, information about the services or products you will offer, the bar's concept, marketing efforts, pricing strategies and a detailed financial forecast.  
  2. Choose Your Legal Structure - It's important to select an appropriate legal entity for your bar. This could be a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship. Each type has its own benefits and drawbacks so it’s important to do research and choose wisely so that your bar business is in compliance with local laws.
  3. Register Your Bar Business - Once you have chosen a legal structure, the next step is to register your bar with the government or state where you’re operating from. This includes obtaining business licenses and permits (i.e., food service license and/or liquor license) as required by federal, state, and local laws. 
  4. Identify Financing Options - It’s likely that you’ll need some capital to start your bar or pub, so take some time to identify what financing options are available such as bank loans, investor funding, grants, or crowdfunding platforms. 
  5. Choose a Bar Location - Whether you plan on operating out of a physical location or not, you should always have an idea of where you’ll be based should it become necessary in the future as well as what kind of space would be suitable for your business operations. 
  6. Hire Employees - There are several ways to find qualified employees including job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed as well as hiring agencies if needed – depending on what type of employees you need it might also be more effective to reach out directly through networking events. 
  7. Acquire Necessary Bar Equipment & Supplies - In order to start your bar business, you'll need to purchase all of the necessary equipment and supplies to run a successful operation. 
  8. Market & Promote Your Business - Once you have all the necessary pieces in place, it’s time to start promoting and marketing your bar. Your marketing strategy should include creating a website, utilizing social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter, and having an effective Search Engine Optimization (SEO) strategy. You should also consider traditional marketing techniques such as radio or print advertising. 

Learn more about how to start a thriving bar business:

You can download our free bar business plan template PDF here. This is a sample business plan template you can use in PDF format.