How to Open an Oyster Bar

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When setting up your oyster bar, bear in mind that the customer will remember the experience as much as the food.
When setting up your oyster bar, bear in mind that the customer will remember the experience as much as the food. (Image: six oysters four eaten image by green308 from Fotolia.com)

You’ve gotten the funding; now it’s time to put the plans of starting your oyster bar in motion. Seafood prices change quickly and sourcing can be based on the seasons, so unless you have experience in the industry, you will want to make sure you have someone on board who can teach you about opening an oyster bar.

Things You'll Need

  • Funding
  • Chefs
  • Waitstaff
  • Cooking equipment
  • Tables and chairs

Choose your location based on the demographic you hope to attract. Oyster bars generally attract an affluent and culturally-savvy clientele. Think about who will frequent your establishment, and why, and then choose your building based on that. If you think it will be a hip dating scene, choose a location within a nightlife district. If you think that it will be people on business trips, position yourself near upscale hotels. You will want to hire an interior decorator who specializes in restaurants to create the ambiance you desire.

Create your menu and decide on its sourcing. Oysters are distinguished by where they were caught, and popular locations to get them from are Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Nova Scotia, and British Columbia. In addition to raw oyster dishes, such as oysters on the half-shell and oyster shooters, you may also want to serve cooked oyster dishes such as oysters Rockefeller or otherwise baked, broiled, steamed, or fried oysters. You may also want to consider having non-oyster seafood such as fish, clams, shrimp, crab, and scallops so that your menu is more diverse.

Hire and train your staff. Chefs and cooks who have experience working with oysters are essential. Be prepared to pay more for them than you would for an untrained cook. Be thorough when you train them so they understand exactly what you expect from them.

Promote your new restaurant within your community through advertisements in newspapers, local magazines, television, and radio. On your opening night, place signs on the sidewalk announcing half-price appetizers or some other promotion so you can attract your first customers, who will then tell their friends.

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