Nos conseils aux professionnels - Ouvrir un bar à vin - Les Grappes

Open a wine bar

Updated November 29, 2022

Who has never thought of opening a bar? Go from dream to project, and open your wine bar thanks to the advice of our teams at Les Grappes. In this article, we outline the steps necessary to open and run your wine bar. This article is aimed at both beginners and professionals, as we will not be discussing here the training of restaurateurs, wine merchants, bartenders...

Need help to create your wine bar menu? Les Grappes can help you

The concept

First of all, you need to clearly define your project, by defining a concept around which your bar will be built. It is a question of finding out how your business will be different from the others: you must play on the differentiation since you will have to distinguish yourself from the direct competitors that are the other drinking establishments, and from the indirect competition of the consumption at home.

So you need to create a new and original bar. For example, you can specialize in one type of wine,organic wines,red winesor on certain vintages. It is therefore the product that is original. However, you must always think about the profitability of your business, so try to reach a large audience.

Another way to differentiate yourself would be to play on the originality of the atmosphere of your bar by proposing activities; for example tastings or initiations to oenology.

In short, you must arouse the curiosity of your customers and then seduce them with the originality of your wine bar.

The ideal location for your wine bar

Next, you must choose the commercial space in which you will set up your wine bar. This step is important because it will have a decisive influence on the type and quantity of customers you will reach. We suggest some selection criteria to help you choose a relevant location:

  • The location: choose places where people pass by, in the city center for example. Places are more expensive, but this will allow your business to be known and frequented.
  • The geographical context: your premises and its location must be representative of your project. Your bar must be in harmony with the neighborhood in which it will be located.
  • Beware of the neighborhood! Avoid residential neighborhoods since the noise may disturb the neighbors, especially if you have a terrace.
  • The size of the premises: you must take into account the space ofwine storageas well as the surface area for receiving customers. It is therefore necessary to consider a rather large space.
  • Competition: you have the choice of placing your premises close to competing bars in order to distinguish yourself from them or, on the contrary, to propose a space at a distance from the other bars, to avoid too much proximity with the competition and to cover a less saturated space.
  • Catering: you should also consider a kitchen in your premises if you intend to accompany the wine tasting with tapas or dishes.

Procedures and regulations

Then comes the more technical and sometimes more complicated moment: it is the moment of the administrative management. Several steps are necessary to open a bar.

The choice of the legal status

First of all, you will have to choose the legal status of your business. You have the choice between several options:

  • Either it is a partnership such as a sole proprietorship. In this case, the company is subject to income tax and has no legal entity, i.e. the entrepreneur is responsible for the company's debts on his personal assets.
  • Or it is a capital company such as the one-man limited liability company (EURL). These companies are subject to corporate income tax and have heavier administrative formalities. However, they allow you to benefit from a liability limited to your contributions.
  • Finally, if you choose to open your bar with partners, a company form such as a limited liability company (SARL) will be more suitable for your project.

Obtaining a license

In order to serve wine in your bar, you will need to obtain the necessary liquor licenses. You will need at least a license III, also called restricted license, which authorizes the sale of non-distilled fermented beverages (wine, beer, cider, perry...) and alcoholic beverages below 18° of alcohol.

For more information on the licenses required to open a liquor store We refer you to our dedicated article.

Obtaining the operating license

To apply for your license, you must first have obtained a permit to operate a liquor store. This is a certificate issued after a specific training for the sale of alcoholic beverages. The operating permit is then valid for 10 years.

The training lasts three days - 20 hours of training - for new operators. It lasts one day - 6 hours of training - for people who have been operating a license for 10 years.The objective is to inform about the prevention and the fight against alcoholism, the protection of minors and the repression of public drunkenness, the resale of alcohol, and the prevention of alcoholism.The objective is to inform on the prevention and fight against alcoholism, the protection of minors and the repression of public drunkenness, the resale of tobacco, the fight against noise, the legislation on drugs and the general principles of civil and criminal liability.

The financing of your wine bar

This is one of the main things you need to know to open your wine bar.

Before financing your business, you need to consider the investments required to open a wine bar. These include:

  • the fitting out of the premises, in particular the installation of the bar counter which can be quite costly, and the wine storage space which may require the installation of a system to control the temperature of the wine. temperature and humidity level
  • Furniture and tableware
  • Wine inventory
  • the license
  • communication and marketing around your wine bar

To finance your bar, you will need a business plan: this is a document consisting of a presentation of the project and a financial forecast. The business plan should highlight the strengths of the project but also the risks associated with its realization. You must show the importance of the initial financing needs as well as the potential profitability of your wine bar. It is therefore necessary to define the initial budget.

In addition to the financing needed to open your wine bar, your business plan also includes the material and human costs necessary for the proper functioning of your business. You can add any relevant element to prove that your project is viable in the long term (your marketing plan for example).

The business plan will allow you to verify that your project is financially viable, and this document will be the reference that will allow you to present your project to banks, investors or toa financing platform. It is therefore a way to finance your project.

Promote your wine bar

You've defined your concept, found the perfect location, taken care of the administrative procedures... Your bar is ready to open. To make sure you attract customers (the sinews of war!), you will have to anticipate and set up a marketing plan.

The purpose of the marketing plan is to detail and quantify the actions implemented to attract and retain customers. It can differ according to your project, your location, your means... Here are some actions that you can put in place:

  • Development of communication on social networks to make your bar known and keep your customers informed of events
  • Referencing of the bar: creation of a website, appearance on Google Maps and creation of a Google My Business profile
  • Mediation: announce the opening of the bar in local newspapers, specialized blogs... play on the originality of your bar to arouse curiosity and attract customers
  • Focus on tourism, in particular wine tourism, by trying to be listed in tourist guides

The customer is king!

Of course, we must remind you that your bar must be governed by consumer demand. You must be attentive to this demand to choose your concept. The location should also be chosen according to the clientele it aims to welcome, but also with the aim of attracting a maximum of customers, hence the importance of places of passage and downtown for wine bars.

The type of clientele frequenting your establishment will help determine the price of your menu: you will have to choose the type of clientele you want to serve.Create a menuThe price of your menu will depend on the type of clientele you wish to attract. It is up to you to define the multiplier coefficients of your menu according to your customers.

Once your wine bar is ready to open, you must address the customers in order to seduce them and convince them to come to your bar: this is what the marketing plan is all about. For the success of your wine bar, communication is essential: it allows you to be known and to remind people that you exist.

Finally, don't forget to renew yourself to always surprise and fulfill your customers' expectations. There is no room for routine in the wine bar, always play on originality!

Our last tips

Before launching your business for good, here are some last tips:

Surround yourself with mentors! Someone with experience will be able to guide you in the creation and opening of your wine bar, thanks to their sound advice and their experience in the business. He or she will help you avoid mistakes and get through the rough patches. Many professionals will surely be happy to help you, and this will be the best way for you to learn and share your knowledge and experience.

Finally, take your time and don't rush the process. Opening a bar is a meticulous job, and each step is necessary. The project must be built with certainty and efficiency, the financing must be sure... All the foundations of your wine bar must be perfectly established before opening your business.

Need to be accompanied?

Les Grappes is an online platform for the sale of wines from winegrowers, for professionals. We accompany cafés, hotels, restaurants, wine cellars in their choice of wines, but also in the realization of customized wine lists! According to your project, your tastes and your budget, we help you to choose the best wines, among more than 800 wine growers, in short circuit. Register for free so that our team contacts you! For more information, please visit our website.

Marie Lecrosnier-Wittkowsky for Les Grappes

Restaurants, Bars, Hotels ? We can help you with your wine list!

Build an inimitable wine list and save a lot of time when ordering.

You might like...