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Setting Up a Restaurant Bar – Tips When Planning

The set-up of a restaurant bar depends on a long list of issues. Everything from the size of the building, to the theme, and of course the liquor license can affect the success of your bar. In some cases, bars are “service only” which mean that customers are unable to order directly, but the serving staff places the order for them. Other restaurant bars offer either full or limited bar menus. A lot of bars take part in “Happy Hour” which is generally when they get the majority of their business. If you happen to be an already successful restaurant owner and considering adding on a full service bar, keep the following pointers in mind.

1. The level of difficulty is pretty average but this type of project can usually take anywhere from 6-8 weeks depending on your bar’s specifications.

2. Before anything else, read through your liquor license agreement. Some licenses allow a bar to hold all the alcohols but some can only carry beer and wine by law. If you have the contract that only covers beers and wines, then you will probably consider building a smaller service bar. If you plan to serve all the hard liquor however, with the inclusion of wines and beers, you should map out the space accordingly so that you con construct a full service restaurant bar.

3. Before building or tearing down, take precise measurements of the entire interior space. This will help you determine how much space you actually have for your newly added bar.

4. Consider where the best place for your bar is in the building. Keep in mind that a bar usually has double functionality. They often serve as a second waiting staff area as well. For these staff members, a bar in the center of the dining room is the ideal location. This is especially true considering the dinner rush. For the more intimate setting, placing a restaurant bar at the very back of the building will be helpful in drowning out the hustle and bustle of the streets and the loud kitchen. Be sure to consider the location of your toilet facilities as well and how your staff operates on a normal basis. Remember, location is everything.

5. Keep your bar stocked with all the necessary equipment. That means multiple coolers and fridges, ice bins and dispensers, glass racks, bar stools, and coasters. Your bar stools and coasters may just match the theme of your entire restaurant and bar. Be sure to invest in all the right décor to set the mood and invite guests.

6. The perfect lighting can really help you set the tone of your bar. It should be very subtle. It shouldn’t be so dark that the customers can’t read the menus but they shouldn’t be so bright they feel like a spot light either. The perfect lighting situation for a bar includes recessed lighting and track lighting. Both of these come with dimmer switches that assist any staff member to control the intensity of each light bulb.

7. Know that your wine and beer salesperson can supply you with free merchandise whenever possible. This may include decorative mirrors and beer décor, glasses, cubs, and neon lights, everything perfect for a bar. Figure out what you are capable of getting for free in exchange for a little beer advertising and take full advantage.

Your main concern when beginning to design a restaurant bar is definitely your guests. Ask yourself these certain questions before you implement any part of your floor plan. Is the center or is the back the right location for my bar? Will the guests be more comfortable in these heightened or these cushioned bar stools? Does the décor I chose for my bar complement the theme of my restaurant? When you are ready to renovate and include a full or half service bar in your restaurant, refer to these very useful and practical tips.

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