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Buying a bar, restaurant or nightclub

Cocktail making

How often have you been dining with a group of friends and been interested in more than just the menu?

Maybe joining the gang at the bar for Happy Hour or taking it up a notch in the V.I.P. Lounge Area for bottle service at the top Nightclub in town?

As you struggle to relax, you can't help but notice the constant ringing of the cash register behind the bar, the pace of the action and the general excitement of the food and beverage business. The attractive people, the breezy, bumping music, the unmatched atmosphere…so where's your cut of the action? How do you get in on this fascinating line of work? So many questions - but where do you go for answers? Where to learn how to open a bar?

Start here.

As a twenty year veteran General Manager of every conceivable venue in the Food & Beverage and Hospitality Industry, I can tell you that everyone has an opinion. From your professional friend who has saved a little coin and wants to invest as your partner to your family who assures you this is the worst decision you will ever make, there is no limit to the range of advice you may get when you start shopping a serious business intention amongst your network of confidants.

I will also tell you that you need  this advice. Learn from my experience. I offer it with no strings attached. Nothing to gain. Since retiring at the top of my game, I have seen many people from many walks and tiers of life try it just about every way. I have seen what works and what fails. Truthfully, it really seems that too many people are out of touch with themselves and only really discover their true identities AFTER having it forced out of them by their businesses.

Before you go any further, STOP and carefully ask yourself these five serious questions:

1.Do you have the support of your family?

This is the MOST important question to ask by far. Is your spouse going to be supportive if the going gets tough? Will they accommodate the sometimes long and thankless hours? Do you have young children that may not adjust well to your new schedule and routine?  Business opportunities come and go - but you only get one crack at a family.  Make sure to carefully and seriously weigh out your options in this area before proceeding. Discuss your ideas and plans with your family and listen to their concerns without taking offense at their apprehensions.

2.Are you a networked, business-savvy person that has the ability to plan?

All successful businesses need a strong leader to head up the operation, but let's get real: Do YOU have what it takes to constantly plan, budget, monitor financials  and liaise with like-minded persons in order that your bar business is profitable and can evolve with time and challenges? You will need to be an organized, people-person with a professional support network who does not shy away from regular paperwork and meetings.

3.Would someone call you a "Multi-Tasker?"

Let's hope so.  The Food & Beverage and Hospitality industries demand it.  Long hours, a challenging customer base and a constantly changing, fast-paced work environment require a multi-tasking person that can go from paperwork to physical work in a moment's notice - all while keeping a cool head. You MUST be that person.

4.Are you easily tempted in social situations?

"Everything in moderation."  "Self control." We have heard it all before. However, take a hard look at yourself.  When much is at stake, do you have the will-power and the focus to keep your eye on the prize when certain temptations and challenging social situations arise? No one is perfect, but it won't help if you set yourself up to fail.  Bars, restaurants and nightclubs are not a forgiving atmosphere for social maladies such as alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, infidelity and compulsive gambling, et cetera.  Possess the fortitude to see your business endeavors through, and, seek proper medical help and/or counseling if you are experiencing any of these challenges.

5.Are you a "People Person?"

F&B and Hospitality are customer service based business models.  You need to at least be friendly and be able to communicate on a mean level.  How well you demonstrate these faculties dictates the level of customer service your business will exhibit and what kind of owner you will be.  A level-headed, calm and thoughtful boss will be better received and respected than a hot-headed, hostile figurehead.  Having an ego  is nice, but are you someone who is able to dial it back it bit when it becomes necessary to exemplify leadership and ownership? Make sure that you will uphold the highest standards for yourself and your own behavior before taking on the command of others.

Taking time to carefully consider these five basic questions will wake you up to the real possibilities of what can be achieved when you take an inventory of yourself.  Better to have the business modeled after you than the other way around.  Isn't that what you are trying to do in the first place? So don't sell yourself short when considering how to open a bar, restaurant or nightclub.

Take it from me, it all starts, and ultimately ends, with you.

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