How to Open a Bar & Grill in North Carolina

by Marlene Affeld; Updated September 26, 2017
Opening a new bar and grill is a risky business venture.

Opening your own bar and grill can offer financial independence, a sense of accomplishment and the satisfaction of building a business yourself. If the bar and grill fails, you assume the financial liabilities and emotional stress. Research and careful planning are integral ingredients in opening a successful bar and grill. Income is dependent on geographic location, the state of the local economy, the quality of the bar's food and service and the degree of customer satisfaction.

Items you will need

  • Business license
  • Permits
  • Employer identification number (EIN)
Step 1

Contact your tax attorney or accountant to determine the best organizational structure for your new North Carolina bar and grill. You may decide to be a sole proprietor, partnership or corporation. Contact the North Carolina Corporation Commission to determine if your business name is available and to obtain an application of incorporation, if required. Register your business with the state and obtain information on eligibility, licensing requirements and an application. In addition to a state business license, county or city licenses or permits may be required.

Step 2

Determine if you will purchase an established business or if you will open your bar and grill in a new location. Purchasing an established business relieves much of the burden of start-up costs associated with creating a new venture. An established bar and grill may have existing goodwill and loyal patrons. Whether you are purchasing an established business or opening a bar and grill at a new commercial location, it is imperative to research the demographics and amenities that will attract customers to your chosen site. Evaluate how parking, traffic flow and nearby businesses will affect your establishment.

Step 3

Contact the local city or county health department, fire department, building inspections and zoning to determine the rules and regulations that apply to your new venture. Your location will have to pass building and fire inspections and comply with local zoning ordinances.

Step 4

Contact the United States Department of Internal Revenue to apply for an employer identification number (EIN). This number will be required for all federal tax returns, payroll processing and banking relationships. Contact the North Carolina Department of Revenue to determine your tax-reporting requirements and to obtain a sales tax number for reporting retail sales.

Step 5

Contact the North Carolina ABC Commission to apply for a permit to serve alcohol in your bar and grill. There are several different types of permits for beer, wine or cocktails with varying rules and regulations. Your permit is essential to the operation of your business. Make sure you completely understand the rules and limitations of each type of permit. All owners, bartenders and servers must attend an ABC Responsible Alcohol Seller Program. The training is free, but mandatory. You can not open for business until all designated employees and management have obtained valid server credentials.

Step 6

Submit an application, proposed menu and detailed scale drawing of your establishment to your North Carolina county health department. List all food preparation and storage equipment. If your new business is a franchise, all franchise applications must be submitted to the North Carolina Division of Environmental Health in Raleigh, as well as your local health department. Construction of your new establishment must comply with reviewed and approved plans.

Step 7

Establish accounts with wholesale food and alcohol vendors. Open a commercial bank account and contact credit card companies to process credit card transactions. Shop around for a processor as fees and charges can vary considerably. The amount you pay to process credit card transactions can significantly affect profit.

Step 8

Hire employees and conduct training classes required by the state of North Carolina for food and beverage servers. All food handlers and servers must have a valid health card obtained from the North Carolina Department of Health. Once you have received approval from all state and local licensing and permitting authorities, you are ready to open for business.

About the Author

A passionate writer for more than 30 years, Marlene Affeld writes of her love of all things natural. Affeld's passion for the environment inspires her to write informative articles to assist others in living a green lifestyle. She writes for a prominent website as a nature travel writer and contributes articles to other online outlets covering wildlife, travel destinations and the beauty of nature.

Photo Credits

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