Customers love sampling wines from small local wineries or far-off vintners in France, Chile and South Australia at their favorite wine bar, listening to live jazz and sampling appetizers. While opening a wine bar can be rewarding and profitable, the truth is that opening this type of business isn’t cheap. It’s difficult to name the precise cost of opening a wine bar because of variations in location and whether you’re going for a down-home or upscale venture. But understanding how much it generally costs to open a wine bar can help you frame a business plan.
Expect costs for opening a wine bar to start around $100,000, according to A Touch of Business. Upscale wine bars with restaurant elements may cost around $450,000 to get started, as described by Forbes.com. Overall costs includes elements such as buying equipment, initial inventory and paying monthly rent during the first six months (at least) when it’s unlikely that the wine bar will be generating income.
Permits and Licensing
Expect to spend several thousand dollars on permits and licensing, given the high expense of obtaining an alcohol license. Luckily for wine bars, beer-and-wine permits come much cheaper and more readily than alcohol permits involving hard alcohol. But if you’re planning to serve dirty martinis and Scotch highballs along with your wine specialties, the cost of your liquor license will increase. If negotiating lease and licensing requirements requires the assistance of an attorney, this may cost another several thousand dollars.
Your location becomes an important aspect of opening a wine bar, since customers want to spend time in an appealing environment while sipping their wines. Rent may cost $3,600 or more, as described by “The New York Guides.”
Inventory costs may reach $35,000 per month; plan to pay more if you’re carrying expensive or imported wines. Remember that although you may pay more (and charge more) for high-profile wines, the mark-up may be less because customers are more familiar with the going rate for well-known brands. Lesser-known brands can be marked up for sale by the bottle or glass with more subtlety.
Some wine bar owners may spend at least $5,000 on an awning for outdoor seating and store signage in 2011. Wine rack displays may cost over $3,600 if you’re going for something more upscale. Bar stools may cost $100 to $300 each, according to Forbes.com. Registers, point-of-sale equipment and accounting software may cost around $11,800, as described by “The New York Guides.” Save money by self-installing, if you’re comfortable working with computers. Because of the high cash volume involved with wine bars and restaurants, a security system becomes especially important. This may cost around $2,000. If you’re purchasing and storing expensive wines, it may cost over $18,000 to air-condition and equip an area of your location for appropriate inventory storage.
Wine bars may be open during the day and night, making it difficult to take care of all staffing needs alone. Hiring employees adds to expenses, especially if you’re offering health insurance benefits or paying overtime. Plan to pay required taxes associated with hiring employees. Staffing may cost $7,000 per month, as described by “The New York Guides.”
- "New York Guides"; Start Your Own; Michael Idov; February 19, 2006
- Forbes.com: So, You Want To Open A Restaurant?
- A Touch of Business: How To Start A Bar
- Entrepreneur.com: How to Start a Bar/Club
- "New York Times"; Wine Bars Grow Up and Squeeze In; Eric Asimov; April 9, 2008
- Entrepreneur.com: Wine and Champagne Bar
- wine image by DuÅ¡an Zidar from Fotolia.com