What You Need to Know About Opening a Bar in Florida
When you hear “Florida”, there is a good chance that the acclaimed nightlife is one of the first things that comes to mind. Visitors from all over the world come to the state for a good time with beautiful weather. It is a much-loved destination for students on spring break; many older people also opt to retire in the sunshine state, and then there are the locals!
Due to Florida’s worldwide reputation, it comes as no surprise that there are always new bars and restaurants opening up. All over the state, establishments are looking to bring something new to visitors and residents alike, and many of them end up being incredibly lucrative.
If you are looking to open a bar in Florida, read on for four things you must know.
1. Ensure the vibe of your bar goes with your new neighborhood.
Even the greatest bar in the world can be a disastrous undertaking if it is located in the wrong neighborhood. In order to find the perfect spot for your new business, you need to spend some time getting to know potential areas and building up your understanding of local demographics. Keep in mind: You need to select a spot near the people you yearn to attract.
During this research phase, make sure to acquaint yourself with the local competition. You want to see what is working in particular neighborhoods and whether you can bring something new and dynamic to the area.
Once you have found a neighbourhood that matches the vibe of your future bar, you can then start to narrow down the physical space itself. In addition to the inside area, keep in mind parking and public transportation options.
2. You need to apply for a liquor license.
Every business in Florida that wants to sell alcoholic beverages must apply for a license. There are a few Florida liquor license types: a consumption-on-premise license, a package license, and a quota license.
When looking to open a bar in Florida, you are going to want to apply for a consumption-on-premise license as this allows patrons to consume wine or beer in your space. Additionally, you are going to need to apply for a quota license so that you can sell liquor.
However, there is a limit to the number of quota licenses that are given out, and it depends on the number of inhabitants in a given area.
The process for obtaining a liquor license can take a long time, so make sure to apply for it at least half a year before opening your bar.
3. But, you can lose your liquor license.
After spending so much time, energy and resources on obtaining your liquor license, you want to ensure that you can keep it for as long as you have your bar. However, liquor license laws are strict in Florida, and so it is up to you as the owner to ensure that you are running your bar in accordance with the rules.
Make sure you establish and maintain your serving times. Legally, your bar is permitted to distribute alcoholic beverages any time between 7 a.m. and 3 a.m. the following day, from Monday to Sunday. Ensure that you give your employees full training so that they know the rules and also understand how to handle any issues that may arise when you are trying to close.
In fact, you want to guarantee that your employees know how to stop serving drinks to those who are too inebriated, and how to prevent disorderly conduct. Communicate with your staff to envision how your bar can sustain a welcoming, positive reputation in the neighborhood.
Always check IDs as individuals under the age of 18 are not allowed to go inside a bar (unless their parent or legal guardian is with them) and those under 21 are not allowed to consume any alcohol.
4. Recruit the best staff.
When it comes to opening a bar in Florida, one of the most critical aspects is recruiting the best bartenders and staff possible. After all, no matter which city you open up in, there is going to be plenty of competition.
In order to find quality bartenders, your strategy should be to use a combination of networking events, online job postings, and even an old-school “We’re hiring” ad on your bar window or on your Instagram page.
When it comes to recruiting potential bar staff, ensure that you have enough financial stability that you will be able to pay them a competitive salary. Additionally, make sure you are creating a team culture and morale from the get-go and show potential employees how important that will be to the team.
This is how you will recruit the best staff which, in turn, will help bring customers back to your bar again and again.
Are you looking to open a bar in Florida or somewhere else in the world? What are the most significant challenges you are currently facing? Let us know in the comments below!
Richard Bantock is the President of Liquor License Consultants, Inc. (formerly known as The Liquor License Guy) which specializes in the purchasing and selling of Florida liquor licenses. For 20 years, he successfully operated liquor store, nightclub, bar and restaurant companies, gaining first-hand knowledge of business planning, financial negotiations and the liquor licensing process. Liquor License Consultants, Inc. reflects his insight and expertise.