Do you want to start a bar and grill? If YES, here is a complete guide to starting a bar and grill business with NO money and no experience.

Okay, so we have provided you an in-depth sample bar and grill business plan template. We also took it further by analyzing and drafting a sample bar and grill marketing plan backed up by actionable guerrilla marketing ideas for bar and grills. In this article, we will be considering all the requirements for starting a bar and grill business. So put on your entrepreneurial hat and let’s proceed.

Why Start a Bar and Grill Business?

Opening a bar and grill business can be fascinating at the same time worthwhile especially if you position your bar and grill business in a strategic location where you can easily attract socialites and people who love drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and grills. The fact that people will always hangout in bars makes it one of those businesses that is in high demand.

Bar and grill business is one of the businesses that an entrepreneur can successfully start in the corner of a busy street (open bar) without breaking the bank for cash. At the same time, established entrepreneurs can also leverage on the high demand for drinks and grills to set up their own standard bar and grill restaurant in strategic locations all around key cities in the United States of America.

It is important to note that bar and grill restaurants can be located in any part of town as long as there are people living or working there and they have local authority issue permits. One good thing about starting a bar and grill restaurant business is that if you are diligent enough and if you have good business/marketing strategies, you can build the business from just one outlet to numerous outlets across different cities in the United States of America from the sale of franchise.

Opening a bar and grill restaurant, just like starting any other business might not be entirely easy but one thing is certain, it is a straight forward business that can generate huge and steady profits if well positioned and properly managed.

In as much as starting a bar and grill restaurant does not require any professional skills, you would still need to learn how to prepare tasty barbeque cum grills, and have good business and customer services skills if indeed you want to build a profitable business.

So, if you are considering opening a bar and grill restaurant business, all you would need is some capital to purchase or lease/rent a suitable facility, get the required equipment, purchase the initial supply of drinks and meat for grilling, pay your employees at least for the first 3 months, and also pay your utility bills.

Below is an article that will give you a proper perspective on how to go about launching your bar and grill business in any part of the United States of America.

Starting a Bar and Grill Business With No Money – A Complete Guide

  • Industry Overview

Businesses in the Bar and Grill Restaurants Industry are engaged in retailing both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, served along grilled beef, chicken, turkey, bacon, pork, fish and corn et al as requested by customers. Grilling or roasting is done slowly over low, indirect heat and the food is flavored by the smoking process.

If you reside in the United States of America, you will come to an agreement that grilled meats alongside chilled drinks remain one of the most traditional foods in the United States. Even though many foods are only served on particular days or holidays, grill meats and drinks can be served on any day. Grill is so often served on the Fourth of July and it tends to bring family and friends together at any time of the year, and it is mostly served outdoors.

A report shows that over the five years to 2016, the revenue for the Bar and Grill Restaurant industry has trended upward thanks to the status of industry products as a staple in consumers’ diet. The report further stated that over the next five years, merger and acquisition activity will cause the industry’s major companies to leverage on brand value and economies of scale to increase their market share, pushing up their revenue and profit growth. Furthermore, companies in the industry will continue to seek out growing consumer markets.

The Bar and Grill Restaurants industry is a thriving sector of the economy of the United States which generates a whooping sum of $2 billion annually from more than 521 registered bar and grill restaurants scattered all around the United States of America. The industry is responsible for the employment of well over 31,712 people. Experts project the bar and grill restaurant industry to grow at a 1.2 percent annual rate between 2011 and 2016.

The Bar and Grill Restaurants industry has minimal barriers to entry, with moderate startup capital and few specific licensing requirements such as liquor serving license and health code compliance permit. On the other hand, the high level of competition and market saturation in a declining industry can prove challenging to aspiring entrepreneurs who want to start their own bar and grill restaurant. Most players in the bar and grill restaurant line of business are small to medium size establishments that cater to the local community.

The bar and grill restaurant business will continue to blossom because people will always want to drink and eat roasted beef, chicken, turkey and fish et al when they are outdoors. Despite the fact that the industry seems over -saturated, there is still room big enough to accommodate aspiring entrepreneurs who intend opening their own bar and grill restaurants in the United States of America.

Some of the factors that encourage entrepreneurs to start their own bar and grill restaurant business are that the business is a thriving business that is easy to set up and manage with minimal startup capital and minimal manpower.

In conclusion, bar and grill restaurant business is indeed a profitable line of business and it is open for any aspiring entrepreneur to come in and establish his or her business; you can choose to start on a small scale servicing a community or you can choose to start on a large scale with several outlets in major cities all around the United States of America.

Starting a Bar and Grill Business With No Money – Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The demographic composition of those who patronize bar and grill restaurants cut across all genders and age groups, hence the demographic composition for the bar and grill restaurant business is all encompassing. In essence, your target market can’t be restricted to just a group of people, but all those that reside around the locations where you have your bar and grill restaurant and who have purchasing power. 

List of Niche ideas Within the Bar and Grill Business That You Can Specialize in

It is important to state that there is no known niche area when it comes to the bar and grill restaurant business. Every player in this line of business are basically involved in preparing barbecued beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, and turkey et al, coffee and other drinks (both alcoholic and non – alcoholic).

The Level of Competition in the Bar and Grill Restaurants Industry

The competitions that exist in the bar and grill restaurant line of business goes beyond competitions amongst bar and grill restaurants in your location; you are expected to compete with bars, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, hotels, regular restaurants and any other outlets that also sell drinks and grilled beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey et al. Thus, it will be right to say the competition in the bar and grill restaurant business is tough.

The truth is that no matter the level of competition in an industry, if you have done your due diligence and you brand and promote your products or business properly, you will always make headway in the industry. Just ensure you are good at preparing grilled meats and every meal you have on your menu, you can deliver excellent customer care services and you know how to attract and reach out to your target market.

So, if you choose to start your own bar and grill restaurant business in the United States, you will definitely meet stiffer competitions amongst barbecue restaurants, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and any other outlets that also sell and serve drinks and grilled food. Besides, there are larger bar and grill restaurants that determine the trends in the industry and you should be ready to compete with them for customers.

List of Well – Known Brands in the Bar and Grill Industry

It is needless to say that in every industry, there are always brands that perform better or are better regarded by customers and the general public than others. Some of these brands are those that have been in the industry for a long time, while others are best known for how they conduct their businesses and the results they have achieved over the years.

These are some of the leading bar and grill restaurants in the United States of America and in the globe;

  • A J’s Bar & Grill
  • Main Street Bar & Grill
  • The Hideaway Grill
  • Gotham Bar and Grill
  • Tiki’s Grill & Bar
  • Rainbow Bar & Grill
  • Grant Grill Lounge
  • Weber Grill Restaurant
  • Highlands bar and grill
  • Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill
  • Arlington Rooftop Bar & Grill
  • Wipeout Bar & Grill
  • Porter House Bar and Grill
  • Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille – Sanibel Island
  • Down Under Bar & Grill
  • Grill 23 & Bar
  • Redmond’s Bar and Grill
  • Madisons New York Grill & Bar
  • Sunset Grille & Raw Bar
  • Miracle of Science Bar & Grill

Economic Analysis

If you are looking towards successfully launching a business and maximizing profits, then you need to ensure that you get your economic and cost analysis right and try as much as possible to adopt best practices in the industry you choose to build a business in.

The bar and grill restaurant business is not a green business as you will come across several bar and grill restaurants, barbecue restaurants, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and any other outlets that also serve drinks and grilled products when you drive through town.

So, if you are mapping out your economic and cost analysis, you should carry out thorough market survey and costing of what is required to rent a space where you are expected to open your bar and grill restaurant business and the amount required to purchase grill machines, cooking table, cooking utensils, commercial fridges and serving ware, supply alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, turkey et al and also the cost to successfully run the business.

Over and above, if you are considering starting a bar and grill restaurant business, then your concern should not be limited to the cost of renting a shop facility and purchasing grill making machines and supplies, but also on branding and on how to build a robust clientele base. The truth is that if you are able to build a robust clientele base, you are sure going to maximize profits in the business.

Starting Your Bar and Grill Restaurant Business from the Scratch vs Buying a Franchise

Your likelihood of avoiding failure in business is higher when you buy the franchise of a successful company rather than going it alone. As part of your business process in starting a bar and grill restaurant, you may want to investigate whether purchasing a franchise might help you avoid common entrepreneurial mistakes.

The truth is that there is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement.

But when it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will do you good to buy the franchise of a successful and well-established bar and grill restaurant/brand as against starting from the scratch. Even though it is relatively expensive buying the franchise of an established bar and grill restaurant brand, but it will definitely pay you in the long run.

Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face When Starting a Bar and Grill Restaurant Business

If you decide to start your own bar and grill restaurant business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well- established bar and grill restaurants, barbecue restaurant and fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and other outlets that also serve drinks and grilled meats. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market.

Some other challenges and threats that you are likely going to face is economic downturn; if the economy is in bad shape, bar and grill restaurant businesses, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks, regular restaurants and other outlets that also sell barbecue usually struggle to retain their old customers or even welcome new customers.

Unfavorable government policies can also hamper the growth of your bar and grill restaurant business. There is nothing you can do as regards these threats and challenges other than to stay positive that things will work well for you.

Starting a Bar and Grill Business With No Money – Legal Matters

  • Best legal entity to use for this type of business

When considering starting a bar and grill restaurant business, the legal entity you choose will go a long way to determine how big the business can grow; some bar and grill restaurant business design their business for neighborhood market, some for city wide market, while others for national market via franchising and opening chains of bar and grill restaurants.

Normally, you can choose a general partnership, Limited Liability Company or even a sole proprietorship for a bar and grill restaurant business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small scale barbecue restaurant business especially if you are just starting out with moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood and with just one outlet.

But if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of bar and grill restaurants across the United States of America and other countries of the world via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.

Setting up an LLC protects you from personal liability. If anything goes wrong in the business, it is only the money that you invested into the limited liability company that will be at risk. Limited liability companies are simpler and more flexible to operate and you don’t need a board of directors, shareholder meetings and other managerial formalities.

Catchy Business Name ideas Suitable for a Bar and Grill Restaurant Business

When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Usually it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.

If you are considering starting your own bar and grill restaurant business, here are some catchy names that you can choose from;

  • Roseline Behr® Bar and Grill Restaurant, LLC
  • Allen World™ Bar and Grill Restaurant, LLC
  • Mena Jackson© Bar and Grill Restaurant, Inc.
  • Moon Light® Bar and Grill Restaurant, Inc.
  • Uriel Boston™ Bar and Grill Restaurants & Bar, Inc.
  • Fresh Taste™ Bar and Grill Restaurant, Inc.
  • Finger Licking© Bar and Grill Restaurant & Bar, Inc.
  • Vince De Milo® Bar and Grill Restaurant & Bar, LLC
  • The Edge™ Bar and Grill Restaurant, Inc.
  • Frenzy Zone© Bar and Grill Restaurant, Inc.

Insurance Policies

Please not that in the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policy covers that are required by the industry you want to operate from. So, it is important to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your bar and grill restaurant business.

Here are some of the basic insurance covers that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own bar and grill restaurant business in the United States of America;

  • General insurance
  • Health/Medical insurance
  • Liability insurance
  • Workers compensation
  • Overhead expense disability insurance
  • Business owner’s policy group insurance

Intellectual Property Protection/Trademark

If you are considering starting your own bar and grill restaurant business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is so because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successfully run the business without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.

Is Professional Certification Needed to Run a Bar and Grill Business?

When it comes to starting and operating a bar and grill restaurant business, you do not need to have any formal training or special certification before you can be allowed to open and operate a barbecue restaurant business in the United States of America and in all countries of the world. All you need is informal training that will expose you to the in and out of preparing grilled beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, and turkey and effectively running the business.

On the other hand, if you come across any form of certification that can aid you to conduct your bar and grill restaurant business effectively, then by all means try and pursue such certification.

List of Legal Documents You Need to Run a Bar and Grill Restaurant Business

The essence of having the necessary documentation in place before launching a business in the United States of America cannot be overemphasized. It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hand of the law catches up with you.

These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your own bar and grill restaurant business in the United States of America;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Business License
  • Tax Payer’s ID/Tax Identification Number
  • Liquor serving permits
  • Foods and drinks handler certificate
  • Health inspection Certificate
  • Proof of district-issued food and drinks manager identification card
  • Copy of license for the service support facility and/or a recent inspection report
  • Business Plan
  • Employee Handbook
  • Employment Agreement (offer letters)
  • Operating Agreement for LLCs
  • Insurance Policy
  • Online Terms of Use
  • Company Bylaws
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • Building License
  • Franchise or Trademark License (optional)

Financing Your Bar and Grill Restaurant Business

Starting a bar and grill restaurant business can be cost effective especially if you choose to start on a small scale by running a small bar and grill restaurant business in a street corner. Securing a standard and well-positioned bar/restaurant facility and purchasing grill making machines and other supplies are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital. If you choose to start the business on a large scale, you would need to go source for fund to finance the business because it is expensive to start a standard large scale bar and grill restaurant business.

When it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business.

Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your bar and grill restaurant business;

  • Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
  • Raising money from investors and business partners
  • Applying for loan from your bank
  • Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends

Choosing a Suitable Location for a Bar and Grill Restaurant Business

When it comes to choosing a location for your bar and grill restaurant business, the rule of thumb is that you should be guided by the demand for drinks and grills and easy access to wholesale purchasing of beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, and fish directly from farmers, food/fruits hubs or wholesale distributors of drinks. Of course, if you are able to secure a central location for your bar and grill restaurant business, it will give people easy access to locate your restaurant.

It cannot be overemphasized that the location you chose to open your bar and grill restaurant business is key to the success of the business; hence entrepreneurs are willing to rent or lease a facility in a visible location; a location where the demography consists of people with the required purchasing power and lifestyle

Most importantly, before choosing a location for your bar and grill restaurant business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey. The possibility of you coming across similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out.

These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your bar and grill restaurant business;

  • The demography of the location
  • The demand for drinks, grilled beef, fish, bacon, pork, chicken, and turkey in the location
  • The purchasing power of the residents of the location
  • Accessibility of the location
  • The number of bar and grill restaurants, barbecue restaurants, fast food restaurants, mobile food trucks and regular restaurants and any other outlets that also sell and serve grilled goods in the location
  • The local laws and regulations in the community
  • Traffic, parking and security

Starting a Bar and Grill Business With No Money – Technical and Manpower Details

On the average, there is no special technology or equipment needed to run this type of business except for grill making machines (propane smoker and grilling machine), cooking table, cooking utensils, storage hardware (bins, utensil rack, shelves, food case), Counter area equipment (counter top, sink, ice machine, etc.), receipt issuing machines, Sound System (For playing music), Point of Sale Machines (POS Machines), CCTV Cameras and Flat Screen TVs. So also, you will definitely need computers, internet facility, telephone, fax machine and office furniture (chairs, tables, and shelves) amongst others and all these can be gotten as fairly used.

As regards leasing or outright purchase of a bar/restaurant facility, the choice is dependent on your financial standing, but the truth is that to be on the safe side, it is advisable to start off with a short term rent/lease while test running the business in the location. If things work out as planned, then you can go on a long term lease or outright purchase of the property but if not, then move on and source for other ideal location/facility for such business.

When it comes to hiring employees for a standard bar and grill restaurant business with more than one outlet, you should make plans to hire a competent Chief Executive Officer (you can occupy this role), Admin and Human Resources Manager, Merchandize Manager, Restaurant Manager, Chefs/Cooks, Sales Girls and Sales Boys (waiters and waitresses), Accounting Clerk and Cleaners. On the average, you will need a minimum of 5 to 10 key staff members to run a small scale but standard bar and grill restaurant business.

The Business Services Process Involved in a Bar and Grill Restaurant Business

When it comes to the business services process of bar and grill restaurant business, there are no hard and fast rules about it. Basically, it is the duty of the merchandize manager to help the organization purchase assorted alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, fish, spices, cooking ingredients and packaging/serving materials. They go out there to source for good purchasing deals and they also ensure that they only purchase at the right prices that will guarantee them good profits.

Once the bar and grill restaurant business is in full operation, the beef, pork, bacon, chicken, turkey, and fish et al are prepared and they are listed on the menu. Grilled products and drinks purchased from a bar and grill restaurant are usually eaten in the restaurant, but they can also be taken away.

It is important to state that a bar and grill restaurant business may decide to improvise or adopt any business process and structure that will guarantee them efficiency and flexibility; the above stated bar and grill restaurant business process is not cast on stone.

Starting a Bar and Grill Business With No Money – The Marketing Plan

  • Marketing ideas and Strategies

Usually, running a business requires that you should be proactive when it comes to marketing your goods or services. If you choose to launch a bar and grill restaurant business, then you must go all out to employ strategies that will help you attract customers or else you will likely struggle with the business because there are well – known brands that determine the market direction for the bar and grill restaurant industry.

People and organizations will patronize your bar and grill restaurant if they know that they are going to get good grilled foods and drinks.

As a matter of fact, your marketing strategy will center on reliability, swiftness, safety, pricing, secured payment platform, and above all excellent customer service. You should ensure that whenever your customers purchase food and drinks from you, they will get excellent service. The truth is that if you are able to put the above stated in place, you won’t struggle to retain your old customers and at the same time win over new customers.

Businesses this days are aware of the power of the internet and which is why they will do all they can to maximize the internet to market their services. In other words, a larger percentage of your marketing effort will be directed to internet users.

These are some of the marketing ideas and strategies that you can adopt for your bar and grill restaurant business;

  • Introduce your bar and grill restaurant by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to corporate organizations, households, sports organizations, socialites, and other key stake holders throughout the city where your bar and grill restaurant is located
  • Advertise on the internet on blogs and forums, and also on social media like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn to get your message across
  • Create a basic website for your business so as to give your business an online presence
  • Directly market your products
  • Engage in road shows in targeted communities from time to time to promote your bar and grill restaurant business
  • Join local bar and grill restaurants business associations for industry trends and tips
  • Provide discount days for your customers
  • Advertise your business in community based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
  • List your business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)

Factors That Will Help You Get the Right Product Pricing

One key factor that will help you sell your drinks and grilled products at rock bottom prices is to purchase them directly from farmers, food hubs or from wholesalers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from farmers and wholesalers, the cheaper you tend to get them.

Another strategy that will help you retail your grilled meats and drinks at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, and channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name. Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products.

Strategies to Boost Your Bar and Grill Brand Awareness and Create Your Corporate Identity

If you are in business and you are not deliberate about boosting you brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portray your business to be.

If your intention of starting a bar and grill restaurant business is to grow the business beyond the city where you are going to be operating from to become a national and international brand by opening chains of bar and grill restaurants and franchising, then you must be ready to spend money on promotion and advertisement of your brand.

No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand awareness and create a corporate identity for your bar and grill restaurant business;

  • Place adverts on both print (newspapers and food and drink magazines) and electronic media platforms
  • Sponsor relevant community based events
  • Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your bar and grill restaurant business
  • Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
  • Engage in roadshows from time to time in targeted neighborhoods to create awareness of your bar and grill restaurant business
  • Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
  • Contact corporate organizations, households, sports organizations, socialites, celebrities and other key stakeholders throughout the city where your bar and grill restaurant is located informing them about your bar and grill restaurant business
  • List your bar and grill restaurant business in local directories/yellow pages
  • Advertise your bar and grill restaurant business in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
  • Position your Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your bar and grill restaurant business is located
  • Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are well branded with your company logo