How to Open a Bar in a Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has posed serious challenges to a variety of industries, with the hospitality industry hit particularly hard. Opening a bar prior to the pandemic was challenging enough, but it has become much more difficult today, although not impossible.
Obviously, when opening a bar in a pandemic, the first consideration is to ensure that your bar is compliant with the rules and regulations that are in place in the country, state or region, of your bar’s location. Although these restrictions vary in scope depending on the location of your bar, complying with rules relating to social distancing, face masks and excellent hygiene practices, is going to be essential. As well as having a legal responsibility to comply with these rules, it is important that your customers feel comfortable and safe in your venue.
As well as complying with rules however, there are other important factors to consider. After reviewing the Covid-19 rules in many areas and the comments by current bar owners, two important factors stand out as being important at increasing the chances of your bar being a success:
- Making food sales a sizeable part of your business.
- Gaining access to outdoor space where you can trade.
The Importance of Food Sales
In many parts of the country, bars have been allowed to reopen if food sales exceed 50% of their revenue. In fact, many bars have now started food trucks in order to boost food sales, which has allowed them to reopen their bar. Even if you were not necessarily considering food sales as being a major part of your business, it is worth seriously looking at ways that you could increase food sales, as this literally could be the difference between your bar legally being allowed to open, or not. Furthermore, you could focus on having a good take-away menu for food, giving your bar more flexibility if severe restrictions are imposed over the winter months.
The Importance of Outdoor Space
Since Covid-19 has limited the capacity of bars how to hire bartenders to serve customers indoors, having access to outdoor space has become an important factor for maintaining reasonable sales. In most places, Covid restrictions are less stringent when your bar is serving outdoors, which will often allow you to serve more customers, maximizing potential sales. Whether you are buying a venue, or you already have one (or many), finding creative ways to serve outdoors can really make a massive difference in the success of your bar. Most important to make sure your outdoor seating area is considered a legal area to serve alcohol and the bartender/waitstaff are following the rules set forth by the local government and liquor license.
Although opening a bar during the Covid-19 pandemic is a major challenge, there are steps that you can take that will give your bar the best chance of succeeding.