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View Full Version : Anyone in the BAR business?


Datdude
06-11-2008, 05:38 PM
Anyone here in the bar business? I may have an opportunity to get into the biz at a very good price. The place has great food, but after a few ownership changes it has lost its way. I do not think it would be hard to regain its former glory. It is about 100' from a lake and has frontage on a busy state highway. Any input would be appreciated:cool:

tex
06-11-2008, 05:41 PM
Anyone here in the bar business? I may have an opportunity to get into the biz at a very good price. The place has great food, but after a few ownership changes it has lost its way. I do not think it would be hard to regain its former glory. It is about 100' from a lake and has frontage on a busy state highway. Any input would be appreciated:cool:

I keep a lot of bars in business.....does that help?

ski_king
06-11-2008, 05:46 PM
............ It is about 100' from a lake and has frontage on a busy state highway. .......
I say go for it!

unless it is on Lake Delton and Highway A

TMCNo1
06-11-2008, 05:55 PM
I usually just hire a lawyer!

06' X-2 R8R H8R
06-11-2008, 06:01 PM
You know its a great opertunity and you will never know till you try. If you dont succeed, dust off and move on, but if you dont try you will kick yourself everyday. I would rather try and fail than not try and regret.

JohnnyB
06-11-2008, 06:18 PM
If you wind up in the biz....let me know and I'll certainly be a patron......heck,I may already be a patron :D

rodltg2
06-11-2008, 06:31 PM
I looked into buying a night club a few years back. however the owner was high and was asking $800,000 for it and it didnt include the building which was leased.

place never sold and is gone now.

from what ive heard, you have to be very carefull of theft. alot of cash transactions. lots of cameras and a trustie manager!

thijs
06-11-2008, 06:42 PM
I would make sure ot have a good looking wait staff! Theft would be a concern, I have noticed that staff really become loyal and possessive of their restaurants and bars. I'd get a chance to meet the staff before you buy.

TMCNo1
06-11-2008, 06:48 PM
I would make sure ot have a good looking wait staff! Theft would be a concern, I have noticed that staff really become loyal and possessive of their restaurants and bars. I'd get a chance to meet the staff before you buy.


Just don't hire any pregnant bar hogs, it's bad for business!

mbeach
06-11-2008, 06:53 PM
in my opinion, this is risky business. you did not mention if you had prior experience in the bar/restaurant business. if not, be very careful since these types of establishments come and go. if weekday business is marginal, consider limited hours during week. in any case, i would hire an economist to do a thorough analysis of this venture paying particular attention to break even points. however, if you have a good product, as in the field of dreams "they will come". good luck.

thijs
06-11-2008, 07:10 PM
You could always resort to Chef Gordon Ramsay.

WTRSK1R
06-11-2008, 07:55 PM
DD,
You know the area there as well as anyone, but the one thing I would look long and hard at are what is the revenue potential in the "off season" Minocqua is a tourist town and you live and die based on the flow of tourists. If you have a solid local customer base, you are probably ok. On the other hand, I have heard many people say they are not traveling this year, or not traveling as far because of gas prices. Sitting in a bar / restaraunt could be one of the first things to get cut as the economy goes flat and gar prices go up. You should ask to see the books and try to do a "future value" analysis based on income from continued operations and then look at either upside due to your ability to turn the place around or downside based on the changing economy.

:twocents:

Cody
06-11-2008, 08:29 PM
I managed a grill and bar along with a college bar. If you have questions and want to talk specifics PM me. I'll help as much as I can.

Jerseydave
06-11-2008, 08:36 PM
Do an accurate breakeven analysis first..........overhead can kill you in the food and drink biz. I know of a bar/restaurant that pays almost $50,000/year for insurance alone!

Less than 20% of restaurants don't make it.

dapicatti
06-11-2008, 09:27 PM
Make sure you get an independant appraisal of what the business is worth. Had some friends do this a year ago, they passed on the "great opportunity"- could have cost them big but they were lucky to get out with the price of the advisor.

dapicatti
06-11-2008, 09:27 PM
Less than 20% of restaurants don't make it.

Its more like 75% fail in the first year

6ballsisall
06-11-2008, 10:16 PM
Chad, whats a "great deal?" What kinda multiple we talking here (and is that multiple based on revenue, net income, EBITDA, Rev minus COGS, etc....)

I am a biz broker, you can't hire me to help you as what you are buying isn't my specialization. However I can give you a few free tricks of the trade to make your good deal "legit" and make the good deal a better one. I will accept a beer at MM4 :)

Bottomline: NEVER trust the seller, a seller business broker (and I am one!) or anyone else thats providing info on behalf of the seller. (i.e. accountant or attorney) ALL those people have to earn your trust. The way they do that is by providing you clean, granular financial and business data to verify the viability of the business. (Profit and loss statements & Balance sheets ARE NOT verifiable biz docs) When things do check out like they say they do, then you can open up those doors of trust about 5%, and don't open them up anymore than that.

On the other side, realize just because you are showing interest in buying don't expect the seller just to open up his robe for you and show everything. Work with the process, if they require things like earnest deposit, formal letter of intent, personal financial statements, etc.... before opening up Due Diligence realize thats commonly part of the acquisition process.

Best wishes!

atlfootr
06-11-2008, 10:38 PM
Buy into a franchise of 'Coyote Ugly' :D

duckguy
06-11-2008, 11:05 PM
Which one Dat?

erkoehler
06-11-2008, 11:12 PM
Good luck Matt......I couldn't beat it out of him on the phone :)

duckguy
06-11-2008, 11:57 PM
I just was wondering being that I have been into all of em up there and may be able to a least shed my opinion on it.

Chicago190
06-12-2008, 09:36 AM
The bar by my lake has gone out of business and reopened 6 times in the last 10 years. Make sure it has a better customer base than that place.

onlyinboards
06-12-2008, 09:44 AM
I used to own a bar. Worst business decision I ever made. You had better plan on making that your full time job and I mean full time. I would never get into that business again.

I didn't like it because our bar was in a downtown location that had to compete with several other bars. It's tough to make a profit off of 1.50 beers. Plus we got sued when we had to remove a patron from the bar and on the way out we apparently bumped this girl and gave her a bruise on her leg. Sued us for 25k!! It took a lot for me not to lay into this b***h at the deposition.

Anyway, if you decide to do it, get ready for the long nights and headaches. Sorry to be so negative but you asked. I have owned one, would NEVER do it again, not even for 10 cents on the dollar.

Maristar210
06-12-2008, 09:44 AM
As a former chef and bar worker who once considered entering the business I would have to say you had better be very sure of the commitment you are about to undertake. Personally and financially it's about the toughest business there is.

In case you do, here's a tip:
The local place I go to has all female bartenders and none of them are hard on the eyes. Very important if you wish to be sucessful. I know guys that stay way longer than they should becasue the bartender "has those shorts on today", not trying to be sexist but how many hags do you see working in a sucessful bar? Not many...

Good luck Chad and no, I have not bought a dock yet ;)

wakeX2wake
06-12-2008, 11:04 AM
i'm far from an expert or anything of the matter... but it sounds like the place you're looking at is somewhat established... and being very interested in business in general i've seen some critical mistakes from restaurant owners... the way i look at it is you have 2 options
1) open the place up the same as it is now/before and do a better job of managing it
2) re-open w/ renovations and attracting a new crowd...

i've seen it work both ways for restaurant owners and i wish you the best of luck if you go w/ it... but you can always also open manage it better and see if the regular customer base is there and if not... take a hit and re-vamp and see if you can't attract a new customer base or improve the one you have

6ballsisall
06-12-2008, 11:14 AM
Anyone here in the bar business? I may have an opportunity to get into the biz at a very good price. The place has great food, but after a few ownership changes it has lost its way. I do not think it would be hard to regain its former glory. It is about 100' from a lake and has frontage on a busy state highway. Any input would be appreciated:cool:

Theres one of your negotiation pieces right off the bat........;) "the business appears to have lost it's way and has a branding crisis on it's hand. While some level of viability is visible in the business it's unknown if, how long, and to what expense it will take a new owner to rebuild it to glory. As a buyer, I feel this elevated level of risk has to be accounted for in any financial consideration for the business" ;)

Datdude
06-12-2008, 11:24 AM
DD,
Minocqua is a tourist town and you live and die based on the flow of tourists.

The bar is not located in Minocqua(or even close to it). Some have asked about my bar experience.....I have none except being a patron of a few. What I do have on my side is my parent's experience. They were in the bar business for 10 years when I was a kid. I saw first hand the long hours and hard work it took to make it work.....but I also saw the positive side of things (cash). The bar is located in a town that is not as tourist driven as the place I currently live. There is certainly "lake people" that come for the summer, but there is a normal town to also support it. If you look back through history, people have consumed alcohol even when it was illegal. I think the slowing economy will make people drink more to drown their sorrows and I want in on that market;). I understand it is a huge risk, but for the price it is hard to ignore. The owners are not interested in being there anymore (closing at 9:30pm on Saturdays) and it would be available to purchase for just the real estate value. I am going to meet with the owner on Saturday to get a little bit more information. I think the key to success is a MECHANICAL BULL:cool:. The one thing I have thought about is approachng the owner to set up a 12 month lease with a pre-negotaited purchase price if it goes well......a "try before you buy" type set up. If after a year it does not go well I can walk away and be out very little. Any thoughts on that if he will do it?

Good luck Chad and no, I have not bought a dock yet

What are you waiting for?:confused: Call Bulmann Docks when you are ready to go......it is great stuff. The Cubs still suck:D

Willski
06-12-2008, 11:42 AM
MECHANICAL BULL = HIGH INSURANCE RATES!!

I always thought it would be cool to own a bar. There is a lot of risk involved. Just don't sink your life savings into it! A good manager would be a must. Can't really tell you if it a good decision or not. Kind of like gambling....just don't wager more than you can afford to lose!!

Datdude
06-12-2008, 12:13 PM
MECHANICAL BULL = HIGH INSURANCE RATES!!

I always thought it would be cool to own a bar. There is a lot of risk involved. Just don't sink your life savings into it! A good manager would be a must. Can't really tell you if it a good decision or not. Kind of like gambling....just don't wager more than you can afford to lose!!

I am sure the insurance would be high, but it would be worth it.......:cool:

djhuff
06-12-2008, 12:19 PM
Or you could hire someone to bring their mechanical bull, set it up, and run it for you on, say, Saturday nights. They would carry their own insurance, and you would pay them for their time, the bull, and coverage for that night.

Rockman
06-12-2008, 01:27 PM
Is it downtown W or across the street from the parents' place? :D

Willski
06-12-2008, 01:34 PM
I am sure the insurance would be high, but it would be worth it.......:cool:

You may be right. I have ridden one by the way!! Almost broke my thumb. Hurt for about a month......maybe it was broken!

Datdude
06-12-2008, 10:21 PM
Is it downtown W or across the street from the parents' place? :D


I could tell you, but then I would have to kill you;)

Doug G
06-12-2008, 10:49 PM
Good advice to follow above.. I would add to surround yourself with smart people. If you have never owned a business or run one make sure you get the right help to go through the process. IMHO sound business plan, good diligence and frank financial analysis and plan will answer the question. If you move forward make sure you have a right hand that has demonstrated successfully taking a part time bar and improving the financial performance in a similar maket and demographics of your target customers / brand / theme. I am none of the above to a bar so that's all I got ;)

dapicatti
06-13-2008, 12:18 AM
Just realize when you own a bar/restraunt/mini mart/service business it owns you. I know you said your parents have been in the biz so you have the exposure and expertise, just expect to spend less time on the water and more time working.

Datdude
06-15-2008, 10:26 AM
Thanks for all of the input! I will see what happens in the next few weeks. Thanks again!:cool:

Thrall
06-16-2008, 05:52 PM
When I was presuming it was in Minocqua on a lake, I was going to say it sounds very promising with alot of potential. But, if it's not in Minocqua, Eagle River, or Hurley, I'd take alot harder look at itbefore jumping in.
I've spent alot of time in Park Falls. Sorta touristy, but really fluctuates with the year's snowfall and most of the lakes are pretty remote where you only see the hardcore fisherman tourists in the summer.
Every bar that I've frequented seems to be for sale or under new ownership every time I come back to visit. That tells me either the owners drink all the profits (which I know is not the case with a couple of the places, as I know the owners or who used to own it), or operating costs eat up all the revenue.
Butternut Lake for example, which is the most popular lake in the Park Falls area, the two most popular places there have changed hands several times in the last 10 years and one of the places, the husband ran the place and the wife had a full time job at Marshfield clinic and they couldn't make end meet and sold it.
Good part was, 2 people could go in there, have a fish fry and get half tanked and the bill would be about $30 with tip:D!
Don't mean to sound negative, but do your homework on the place first.
Good Luck, and let us all know where it is if you buy it! I'll come in and see if I can drink you out of something the next time I'm up there.:cool:

Datdude
06-17-2008, 02:40 PM
Thanks for your input Thrall! I was thinking since it is in a regular town that does have a small tourist increase that the locals would be preferable as a support system. They are around town all year regardless of gas prices unlike tourists. I know a few people in business up here (Minocqua) that are reliant on tourists coming to town and I would not want to be in that position right now. I think the ideal thing would be to have a nice solid base of local customers and get busier in the summer with the "lake people". Half of me thinks it is a horrible idea, and the other half is excited about the chance. I will have information in the next few weeks and will determine if this is going to happen or not.

dapicatti
06-17-2008, 11:20 PM
Good luck with your decision. Keep us posted.

Datdude
06-18-2008, 12:02 PM
Good luck with your decision. Keep us posted.

Will Do!!!:cool:

atlfootr
06-18-2008, 02:24 PM
The bar by my lake has gone out of business and reopened 6 times in the last 10 years.
Make sure it has a better customer base than that place.
I'd bet you, that you we're their #1 customer ;)

JohnnyB
07-13-2008, 08:42 PM
Datdude,

What ever happened to your possible entry into the Bar business???

Going to be up there on vacation in a few more weeks.....would love to do my best to help your profits :D

dapicatti
07-14-2008, 01:03 AM
Inquiring minds want to know..........................