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

Open a wine bar

Who has never thought of opening a bar? And for you, wine lovers, it would be a wine bar! Go from dream to project, and open your wine bar thanks to the advice given by Les Grappes. In this article we trace 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 thetraining of restaurant owners, wine merchants,bartenders, etc.

The concept

First of all, you need to clearly define your project, by defining a concept around which your bar will flourish. 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 competitors, i.e. the consumption at home.
You must therefore create a new and original bar. For example, you can specialize in a type of wine,organic wines,red wines or 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 such as tastings, initiations to oenology.

You must arouse the curiosity of customers and then seduce them with the originality of your business. The project is the first concrete step towards your wine bar.

The ideal location for your wine bar

Next, you must choose the commercial premises in which you will set up your wine bar. This step is important because it is decisive. So we suggest some selection criteria to help you choose a relevant location:

- Choose places with a lot of traffic, such as the city centre for example. Places are more expensive, but this will allow your business to be known and frequented.
-The geographical context: you must find a place that is representative of your project: the bar must be in harmony with the area in which it will be located.
- Beware of the neighbourhood! Avoid residential areas as the noise may disturb the neighbours, especially if you have a terrace.
- The size of the premises: you must take into account thestorage space forthe wines as well as the surface area for receiving customers. You should therefore consider a fairly large space.
- The competition: you have the choice to put yourself close to competing bars to distinguish yourself from them or on the contrary to propose a place at a distance from the other bars, to avoid too much proximity with the competition.
- Catering: you should also consider a kitchen in your premises if you intend to accompany the tasting of wines with tapas or dishes.

Procedures and regulations

Then comes the more technical and sometimes more complicated part: it is the time of the administrative management. Several steps are involved in opening a bar. First of all, you must choose the legal status of your business and obtainthe necessarylicenses to sell drinks.

To define the legal status of the bar you must choose between these two options:

  • Either it is a partnership like a sole proprietorship. In this case, the company is subject to income tax and has no legal person, 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 corporation tax and have heavier administrative formalities. However, they allow you to benefit from a liability limited to your contributions.

As regards obtaining a licence for a public house, we refer you to this article dedicated to professionals:

Then you must obtain a permit to operate a public house. This is a specific training called "operating permit" or a training for the sale of alcoholic beverages at night. These courses will allow you to obtain a licence valid for 10 years.

This 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 licence for 10 years.The purpose of the training is to provide information on the prevention of and fight against alcoholism, the protection of minors and the repression of public drunkenness, the resale of alcohol, and the prevention of alcoholism.The training aims 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.

Financing your wine bar

This is one of the main requirements for opening 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: the bar counter, the wine storage space
-the furniture and crockery
- the wine stock
-the license
- the communication and mediation of the wine bar, in particular the installation of the bar counter which can be quite expensive, and thewine storage space which may require a system to controltemperature and humidity levels.

You should therefore quickly put in place a marketing plan: its purpose is to detail and cost the actions implemented to attract and retain customers. The marketing plan is the condition for the proper functioning and profitability of your business. It is therefore an essential data to take into account in the financing of your project. It may consist of the following actions:

  • 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.
  • 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, especially wine tourism, by trying to be listed in tourist guides.

Once the marketing plan has been drawn up, you can draw up the business plan, since it will take into account the marketing plan as well as the material and human costs of the bar, i.e. the cost of acquiring the premises, the material and human costs necessary for the proper functioning of the 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 must highlight the strengths of the project but also the risks associated with its implementation. 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.
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.

The customer is king!

Of course, we must remind you that your bar must be governed by consumer demand.
Indeed, you must be attentive to the demand of consumers to choose your concept. Also, the location should be chosen according to the clientele it aims to accommodate, but also in order to attract a maximum of customers, hence the importance of places of passage and downtown for wine bars.
It is the type of clientele frequenting your establishment that will help determine the prices of your menu: youwill create a menu according to the clientele you wish to attract. It is therefore up to you to define the multiplier coefficients of your menu according to your customers.

Then you have to 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!

Last tips

Before you launch your business for good, here are the last tips!

Surround yourself with mentors! Indeed, someone experienced will be able to guide you in the creation and the opening of your wine bar by his wise advice and his experience of the trade. They will help you to avoid bad situations. Professionals will surely be happy to help you, and this will be the best way for you to learn, to share, and then, in turn, to spread the knowledge and experience acquired.
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 support?

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, visit our website

Marie Lecrosnier-Wittkowsky for Les Grappes

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