How to Open & Operate a Sports Bar

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Friends, laughter, and fun--those are some of the images that will run through your mind when you envision yourself opening a sports bar. You can envision an exciting game on the big-screen television, as your customers are cheering loudly for their favorite teams all throughout the bar. Owning a sports bar is the perfect life... Hold on for a minute. The harsh reality is long hours, working on the weekends, and dealing with unruly customers. But if you have a vision and learn the ins and outs of owning a sports bar, it can become a successful business venture. Here are some tips.

  • Realize that you will have tough competition in the marketplace. Remember, your competition isn't strictly bars anymore, it has expanded to every entertainment option open to the public.

  • Pick your location depending on how you want your bar to be portrayed to the public. Are you looking for impulsive neighborhood traffic inside the bar or are you looking to create your own buzz and destination off the beaten path?

  • Name your sports bar. Ask yourself if the name fits the concept you are creating. Also, decide the type of customer who would be attracted by the bar's name. Keep in mind, people expect a certain atmosphere based on your bar's name.

  • Answer a big question before moving forward: Are you a person to own and operate a sports bar? Remember, you do not have to run the bar to own it, but you will need to hire a general manager that you trust.

  • Be involved in all decision-making processes. Meet and greet your patrons, and become a recognizable face in the community.

  • Discuss with your family, if you have one, the commitment needed to own a sports bar. Most days your hours at the bar will be from 11 a.m. to 5 a.m., and it will put a strain on your family.

  • Consider the capacity of your sports bar. Your establishment could be the size of a cozy neighborhood bar or go all the way up to the size of a night club.

  • Set the menu. Generally, all sports bars offer a menu that consist of sandwiches, burgers, pizza and appetizers.

  • Make sure all of the televisions are aligned with every seat in the bar. The main attraction of the bar is sporting events. Expect to use some of your revenue to purchase the latest technology offered in the audio and video market--from satellites to big-screen televisions.

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