How to Open a Pub — Ultimate guide

How to Open Your Own Pub

Start with the Business Plan

  • Business concept. What is your overall idea for the pub, and how will it set you apart from the others? What is the end goal in mind when it comes to the customer experience? When you figure out the “why”, it will bring you closer to the “how”.
  • Branding. What style are you going for inside the restaurant? What is your logo? Your pub name? How will you make it so that they all fit together? Name and logo recognition are crucial to brand success. The logo you use on your menu and coasters, for instance, is the logo you will use throughout the pub and on any other takeaways people can get their hands on, such as business cards and flyers. Keep everything standard.
  • Market overview. This is going to be a research-heavy component of the plan. How viable is the pub market right now, especially in your area? What are the potential strengths and threats to your establishment? What is the demand for a good pub, and are there already other pubs that are fulfilling that desire? If so, who is frequenting them? Examine the patrons in terms of their age group, where they come from (local vs. tourist), and if they’re there more for the food than the drinks and vice versa. This will give you an indication of what people want.
  • Management. What role will you take on in this pub? Who will you need to employ, and what positions are you looking to fill?
  • Cost Analysis. You will have start-up costs as well as recurring costs. Try to come up with a list of items that fall into either category. Eventually, you will have to tie all of these together to figure out how much you will be spending per month. This will, in turn, influence how much you charge for your menu items.

Get your Paperwork in Order

  • Business License, which is granted by the locality in which you intend to open your business.
  • Food Service License, which permits you to handle food and serve it to customers.
  • Liquor License. This goes without saying.
  • Certificate of Occupancy, should you choose to buy the building you intend on opening your pub in. (Note that if you are leasing, then that is another set of paperwork.)

Register Your Business Entity

  • Sole proprietorship
  • Partnership
  • Limited Liability Company, or LLC
  • Corporation

Focus on the Food and Service

  • Comfortable seating. Due to the social nature of the experience, pubs feature close stool seating or booth seats for people to enjoy a meal. Since you want them to spend time in your establishment, making sure the seating is comfortable will be key.
  • The right music. No one enjoys shouting over loud music. The music you choose to play should only add to the vibe, not take away from it. If you want to instill an upbeat atmosphere, the music you play should be reflective of that. There’s also nothing wrong with playing music that is true to your pub’s identity, such as music from the U.K.
  • Clean facilities. It might not sound important, but customers will certainly judge the cleanliness of your establishment by the standard to which you hold your restrooms. They do not want to use the facilities only to find that your bathrooms are unclean. Your customers will thus not feel clean themselves, and you can expect a complaint or a poor review to come your way. Take care to keep all areas where your customers will be clean and sterilized.

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