How To Build The Bar & Restaurant Business Of Your Dreams

How-To Guides

 Men drinking beer and clink glasses happy

Setting up an online food ordering system for your restaurant is just the tip of the iceberg because there’s more to a business other than technology and customer service itself. To provide a better chance of success in this industry, you must play the elements right.

Many people dream of developing a bar and restaurant business, sharing their cocktail and culinary creations with others. What could be better than making an exquisite menu and delivering mouth-watering drinks and dishes to guests every day?

A bar and restaurant is a complex yet rewarding business to operate. There are plenty of elements to work out. But as long as you have a good grasp of the basics, you’ll be good to go. 

This article discusses some fundamentals to help you build the bar and restaurant business of your dreams.

Essential Steps in Building a Bar & Restaurant

If you don’t know where to begin, you'll benefit from a resource that outlines the most fundamental steps in growing a bar and restaurant business

Begin with a Business PlanBusiness concepts, idea, plan, and action

In essence, a business plan is the recipe for your bar and restaurant with some essential steps to follow, alter, and adapt to your specific preferences. A functional business plan should have the following:

  • Executive Summary
  • Business Concept
  • Target Market Analysis
  • Competitor Analysis
  • Design Ideas
  • Sample Menu
  • Staff
  • Marketing Plan
  • Business Model
  • Financial Plan and Background

Conduct a Market Research

The market constantly develops different trends and spending behavior. To keep up with such changes, you must have a way to connect and communicate with your target audience. 

In the UK, the Restaurant Industry is a significant player in its economy. 28% of modern diners in London stated that they would head straight to a restaurant or a pub once all lockdown restrictions are lifted.

For sure, this pandemic has brought considerable changes in the spending habits of modern consumers. Meet those demands with ease by having a helpful insight through your market analysis. 

Check Out the Trends

Your business will appeal right away to customers when you know how to ride the trends in the industry. Just be careful on how you will incorporate such trends. Some trends are just passing by, while some are here to stay. Ensure that you’ll invest properly.

Here are some of the industry trends that stayed and are also continuously developing:

But don’t let trends define who you are as a bar or restaurant business. You must continue to cling to your concept and provide an authentic experience for your customers.

Analyze the Current Competition Business SWOT Analysis

Dig deeper and understand the current situation of the competition. Don’t go into the battlefield without proper battle equipment. If you want to compete in your local market, you should provide a superior or different offering.

Here’s a simple list of the steps you need to do to grasp the market competition better:

  • List all your competitors in your local community
  • Look into their operations
  • Run through their menus
  • Check out if you have the same target market
  • Read reviews about their bar or restaurant

Use the data you’ll collect to see where you can improve your service and what you need to stand out from the crowd. 

Prove Your Concept

Before investing heavily in an unproven idea, you might want to test it with a market stall if your concept seems a bit out of the ordinary.

With a market stall, you can quickly test a concept at a low cost while interacting with prospective customers, conducting preventive marketing, and receiving direct feedback on your product.  

You may also consider renting a short-term space for a temporary bar or restaurant to test your drink or culinary concept faithfully.

Branding and Marketing

The next step is to create a compelling and recognizable brand for your bar or restaurant. Here is the list of elements you need to work with your team to keep on moving forward:

  • Business Name
  • Menu
  • Social Media Profile
  • Company Website
  • Ordering Mobile App (if resources will permit)

Interior Design

You must make judicious use of space in your bar or restaurant because it will profoundly impact customer experience.

Many factors are at play here. You want to maximize the number of covers the floor space allows without sacrificing diner comfort or impeding customer flow. Ensure that you’ll work closely with an industry interior expert to develop the best outcome for your restaurant. 

Also, don’t forget that your design and premises should allow you to prepare food and drinks safely. Complying with necessary regulations is a basic must for you as a business owner.

Your bar and restaurant must have designated areas for the following

  • Handwashing and Toilet Facilities
  • Adequate Drainage, Ventilation, and Lighting
  • Changing Facilities
  • Food Preparation Areas
  • Washing Station (separate for food and tools)
  • Fire Safety Station

Bar & Restaurant Legal Requirements in the UK

Planning to build a bar or restaurant in the UK? Here are the basic requirements and legalities you need to deal with.

Planning PermissionPlanning permission form

A building's intended use is categorized under UK planning laws, so if a building that has not been used as a restaurant or café is purchased or rented, you may need planning permission to change it.

A planning portal makes it easy and accessible for you to find out which buildings require permission for a change of use.

Restaurant License

The council will also require you to apply for a food premises license if you will be preparing and serving foodstuffs that contain meat, eggs, or fish.

You need to contact the authority that administers a local council 28 days before opening your doors if you intend to conduct a food operation. It is free, so register your restaurant using the online government portal as soon as you can.

Alcohol License

Your application must include details of your premises, such as the outline of your venue and schedule when you will sell alcohol. If you intend to sell alcohol to your customers, you will need a premises license from your local council authority.

A designated premises supervisor should also be appointed, and he/she must obtain a license. Police and the local council can contact the DPS if they have concerns about the management or cleanliness of your bar or restaurant. The DPS is responsible for ensuring alcohol is served responsibly.

You can search through the government's licensing portal to find a list of accredited providers to complete the qualification.

Food Safety Standards

The Food Standards Agency inspects every restaurant and assigns it a hygiene rating. You're required to display your hygiene rating where your customers can see it, so receiving a low rating can be a big turn-off for potential customers.

Having a separate sink for dishwashing and hand-washing is essential to your restaurant's kitchen hygiene. You also need to separate preparation areas for raw and cooked foods.

Health and Safety

If you own or manage a bar or restaurant, you have extensive health and safety responsibilities. Check out this comprehensive guide from the Health and Safety Executive to learn how to conduct risk assessments and minimize accidents.

A professional kitchen is especially susceptible to minor burns and cuts, so be sure your staff has access to a first aid kit to treat minor injuries, namely plasters and burn dressings. 

It is your legal responsibility to do everything in your power to keep both staff and customers safe on the premises.

Costs of a Bar & Restaurant BusinessBusiness man Accounting Calculating Cost Economic Financial data analyzing

Although no one can provide you an exact amount of how much a bar or restaurant business costs, here is some information to help you set your expectations.

First, you should anticipate the location and venue to be the largest expense. Depending on its size and location, your venue will most likely eat up your capital. Whether you’re leasing, renting, or buying the area.

This is the highest upfront cost for you, so make sure you’ll make the most out of it. Don’t hurry in selecting one. Make sure that it’s the perfect venue for your concept, theme, and business model. 

You may want to consider taking professional insights to have a guiding light in this journey. They might cost you some, but it’ll be worth it.  

The food and dining business is a concrete jungle, so avoid being eaten alive by having industry experts on your side. Just make sure that they understand your business philosophy, so you’re both on the same page.

Also, ensure that you have the list of equipment and tools you’ll be needing for your start-up. The equipment you’re planning to buy should match your chosen food or drink to serve.

eTakeawayMax is an online ordering system in the UK that helps restaurants, pubs, liquor stores, delis, and other food establishments create their own branded mobile app and website.


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