Any Bar Owners on the Forum?

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  • Bully

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    Jun 5, 2021
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    As I've mentioned several times, I'm moving that way. I'll be in Allen in a week-ish. Hoping to be relatively settled by 1 Sept.
    I don't have a job.

    In clarifying my "dream job" I've concluded that the possibility of owning a bar is high on the list. However looking at the TABC website creates a lot of apprehension in my heart as it's a very convoluted process to obtain a license. I'm wondering if there are any bar/restaurant owners on here willing to answer a few rudimentary questions from a relative newb to the restaurant ownership gig in Texas (via PM once the info gets rolling).
    Thanks in advance for any help anyone can provide.
     

    Axxe55

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    Not a bar owner, but the failure rate is probably pretty close to those of most restaurants. Plus I think you are already seeing all the hoops and hurdles that are in the way of obtaining a liquor license in Texas. i would suspect the same in most other states as well.

    I had a really good friend that owned a club in town, and his family had owned it for many years prior. At one point, I started to be an investor in the club. I had dreamed of wanting to own my own club at one time.

    You would think that a bar, or saloon, or club would be a huge money-maker, but in truth most aren't. I am not going to tell you what to do, but even if I was flush with massive amounts of disposable money, and knowing what I have seen, I'd never invest money in one.

    This is strictly an opinion based upon personal experiences and observations. YMMV.
     

    jordanmills

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    You really want to have held a significant management/operations role in a business in the bar and restaurant industry before you go into ownership. Or at least hire a general manager/operations director who has that kind of experience and who you trust completely. Among many industries, that's one that has one of greatest requirements for experience, having "tribal knowledge", and specific aptitude. If you doubt that, look at the failure rates - commonly accepted figures are 50% by the end of the first year and 80% by the end of the second. The most effective advice for opening a bar or restaurant is "don't". By the time you have the experience and knowledge to effectively counter that advice, you MIGHT have a CHANCE at beating the odds.
     

    Daley_G

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    15+ years ago I did some freelance/side work for a bar in Houston so I got to see a glimpse of the business and operations side. The owner explained to me that he's had the place since before Beltway 8 became Beltway 8 in 1969. He said that it wasn't so tough to obtain the liquor license back then but if he had to do it "today" (again his statements to me were 15+ years ago), he'd never go through the hassle. He just has to keep up with renewals. That's just the license portion. Then there's the keeping up with staff who will at best long-pour or all-too-often give away drinks to friends or big tippers. Beyond that you have the alcohol itself which is fight fuel for idiots who can't handle their liquor. Girls flashing, etc. The list of legal troubles goes on. As much as I'd love to welcome you to Texas by buying a round in your new bar, I'd rather see you successful and without the headache by celebrating that round after a range-day meet at someone's property.
     

    Byrd666

    Flyin' 'round in circles........somewhere
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    I did restaurant and bar layout and design, as well as custom stainless fabrication and millwork drawings for almost twenty years. Along with that, I worked in a large variety of eateries with many and varied menus and client bases. I learned quite a bit over the years with those experiences, with one that stands out first and foremost. ARE YOU F*****G NUTZZ!

    Assuming you truly are, PM me with your contact info., and I'll see what I can do about guiding you to the right folks
     
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    baboon

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    Lots of cash turn hands in the bar industry. That being said your employees can get to feeling you owe them more of that cash! If your not willing to be there all the hours of operation you can expect lots of your money being taken! If not pocketing cash, then by over poring and free drinks.

    Inventory is very important! Selling bottles & cans are much easier controlled then draft beer! License & insurance cost are a big thing to remember. Selling hard liquor only increases liability & license cost.
     

    Bully

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    Allen
    Thank you all for your input.
    This is strictly in the planning/dreaming/scheming stage and may never leave it.
    A couple of years ago I looked at opening a restaurant in my current town. It was a solid deal and would have been relatively easy (not cheap) to do. Ultimately what turned me off was the lack of people around here willing to be employed.
    Then COVID happened..
    Escaped that one, thank the good Lord.
    However I simply must do more research to satisfy my curiosity.

    FWIW, I started in the restaurant business when. I was 13. Got out for a bit for the Army and went back in for another few years. Ultimately got out to chase my current career. Considering stepping back as I do love it. Just need to see if I love it THAT much.
     

    Texasjack

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    I was watching an episode of Bar Rescues the other night and they had an interesting little thing that cropped up. The guy doing the rescues checked the number of times per night that the register was opened with "No Sale". Turns out that if it's more than once or twice, the bartenders are probably stealing money from you. (Guy pays for a drink with cash. Bartender opens register with No Sale to make change, but pockets what he charged the customer.) I would never have thought of that. I suspect there are a 1000 little nuances like that and you would have to work in such a place for a while to know what to look for.

    Another thing is the liability. I went through the TABC training so I could work at the concessions booths for my kid's high school band. It's tough to do all the things you have to do to limit your liability if a customer goes out and crashes his car or something. Seems like it wouldn't be that hard, but sometimes you can't tell how much a customer drank before he got to your place, or what drugs he might be doing. I had 2 girls come up and order beer and food, and they seemed to be acceptably sober. The food took a few minutes and while they were waiting, they devolved into a real mess. The cop working the area told me what drugs were going around at that concert (drugs vary depending on the concert - sometimes it's pot, sometimes "X", etc.) I forget what he said, but basically they took the drugs before coming to the booth and it took a few minutes to kick in. I had to withhold the beers and the girls were most unhappy. Also, TABC would sneak around and try to get us on some technicality. Like 3 people would come up and each get a beer. Then 2 of them would go to the bathroom, leaving one to hold the drinks. Next thing you know, TABC agents are accusing one of us of selling 3 beers to an individual. There was an article in the local news a couple years ago where a TABC guy was having dinner with his wife. As they paid, they chatted with the waitress. Turned out she was underage and had served them wine. The guy issued fines for her and the owner.
     

    glenbo

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    My wife had a beer joint for almost 20 years before finally retiring. She ran it, worked it most of the time with a couple of part-time bar girls, and I worked every Saturday to open and give her some rest for a couple of hours. She is a tightwad and sharp minded, so she made decent money. She also has the personality, absolutely everyone loves her. She had a small bunch of people who came to the bar but they were there every day and weren't shy about spending money.

    It also almost killed her. 4 months after retiring she had a stroke and is almost an invalid, and it's due to the long hours and never getting a break. As a sole owner, she had to do everything, and it's a lot. Not just inventory of beers, there are also sodas, having enough ice, paper towels, 3 times as much toilet paper as you would think, clean bar rags, cleaning supplies, kleenex, mops and buckets, the list is endless. She would go shopping on Sunday for everything she needed at Kroger or other grocery store, wash all the bar rags and towels, try to relax a little, but she still had to have her deposit ready to drop off on Monday on her way to the bar, then unload, clean if I hadn't already gotten there to do that. She kept her financial records, I did the final bookkeeping before turning it over to our accountant.

    I'm probably leaving half of it out, and that's just for a small beer joint. She took one year off and when she went back to reopen, all the rules had changed. The lady who ran the TABC office in Dickinson, where her bar was, was just wonderful and adored my wife so things went well but it was still much work and expense.

    A friend of ours changed his beer joint over to liquor and it cost him a fortune. He might be making a little more money with full liquor but it's not worth the hassle. Whiskey drunks are total assholes.

    If you're looking at starting a large, full liquor bar, have a bank full of disposable money.
     
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