You’ve decided to open a wine bar? Cheers! A wine bar is a great service industry business. It’s fast-paced, fun and rewarding.
But, running a successful wine bar takes a lot of planning. Choosing the right neighborhood to open your bar is a key element in its success. There are many factors to consider when choosing the right location.
Your concept is vital. If you haven’t defined it, your wine bar doesn’t have an identity. Are you opening an upscale, sophisticated bistro bar? Or, a laid-back neighborhood hangout where people can share a house bottle and laugh?
The Living Room Wine Cafe & Lounge in Chandler, Arizona settled on the concept of relaxing in a living room. Instead of standard tables and chairs, its layout is filled with couches and loungers. This concept helps defines the customer’s experience, making it a unique-destination wine bar.
Concept and experience go hand in hand. With so many wine bars out there, offering the right overall experience will separate your bar from the rest. A 2017 Wine Market Council study found that 70 percent of wine served in the U.S. is produced domestically. So, if everyone serves the same domestic wines, why should people give you their hard-earned money?
“Experience is everything,” says Collin James, owner of The Wine Tailor and franchise owner of Waters Edge Wineries. “Make your place the place where people want to go.”
Giving people a reason to visit helps make a location popular.
Who are your ideal customers? They can’t be “all wine lovers.” You need to be specific, and a good starting point is with demographics — gender, age, income, location, etc.
If you need help, you can find free demographic data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Once your demographics are defined, take it one step further with psychographics — values, habits, behaviors, hobbies, etc. Psychographics can allow you to further understand the needs and wants of your ideal customers.
Understanding your customers will help you identify a location your customers deem desirable.
Target Audience Location
After defining your target audience, find out where that audience is located. It’s a good rule of thumb to have your wine bar located close to where your customers are.
The U.S. Census Bureau’s Quick Facts section of its website is a great tool to help you locate your target audience, as it allows you filter by city, state and ZIP code. This data can ensure your audience is close to whatever location you choose. If you have two potential locations and one of them has eight times the number of ideal customers living nearby, you can make an educated decision about where to open your doors.
When you’re deciding on locations, know if there’s competition around. If you have a similar wine bar concept, you might not want to pick a location right next to a competitor, unless you want to share customers.
However, if your location is customer-rich and can support both businesses, having a competitor so close might not be an issue. There’s a reason why Home Depot and Lowe’s are usually close to one another.
Traffic And Activity
When you’re thinking of locations, it’s important to also take potential customer traffic into consideration. Having a location near a constant flow of people can really drive up sales.
“I specifically picked our Long Beach location because of the foot traffic,” James says. “Twelve million people walk past our doors weekly.” His ideal customers are travelers and tourists, and he picked a location that sees a lot of activity.
If you’re leaning toward a potential wine bar location, make sure the space works for your business. It should be properly zoned with the city and have plenty of square footage to operate.
Do you need parking? Is the building easily accessible? Are you in a location where employees want to work? These are all important things to consider when picking the right spot.
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