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How to Start a Sports Bar in Wisconsin

By Edited May 29, 2015 0 0

Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, the Green Bay Packers and the Milwaukee Brewers enjoy cheering on their teams to victory.  While many choose to do it from the comfort of their home, others seek out a sports bar where they can drink, eat and socialize with other fans of their team while watching the game.  You can provide a place for these fans to gather by starting your own sports bar in Wisconsin.


Assess your competition.  Review the sports bars and other drinking and restaurant establishments in the Wisconsin city where you want your bar to be located.  Determine how you’ll make your sports bar stand out from competitors.  Analyze whether or not any other weaknesses or threats pose a problem to the overall success of your sports bar.  An example threat may be the high cost to deliver supplies to your location if your sports bar is located in a small town or rural area.  Create a plan for how you will overcome these weaknesses.  Assess what strengths and opportunities are available to help make your business profitable, and make a plan for capitalizing on them.


Write a business plan.  Decide how much financing you need to start your sports bar as well as how much is needed to pay operating expenses until your bar makes a profit.  Make a plan for marketing and promoting your bar as well as staffing it.  Detail this information in a business plan that you can use to provide direction as you establish your bar as well as help qualify you for business loans.


Acquire funding.  Provide a copy of your business plan for your sports bar with your loan application when applying for a business loan with a bank or credit union in your community.  Find out if you qualify for special funding targeted specifically to new entrepreneurs through the U.S. Small Business Administration.  Review your credit score and report with a loan officer if turned down for a business loan to learn what steps you need to take to be able to qualify for the loan in the future.  Take time to repair your credit or raise your score before applying for another loan.  If you don’t want to wait, you have the option to get a co-signer who has good credit to take out the loan with you.  If you don’t want to use a loan to start a business, find a partner who has the capital to provide the funding in return for a portion of the profits from your Wisconsin bar.


Complete business registration.  Obtain an employer identification number for your sports bar in Wisconsin by filling out the form from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) via mail, phone, internet or fax.  Use this employer identification number when completing the registration process with the Wisconsin Department of Revenue (WDR) to collect and pay sales tax on the food and drinks your bar provides.  Get a local business license from your city government to operate your bar at your physical location, and have your facility approved to serve food by passing an inspection by the health department.  Apply for a liquor license through the WDR, and know the requirements for food and drink sales in the state.


Secure a location.  Review commercial and restaurant properties available in Wisconsin on the website LoopNet, or contract with a local real estate agent to search for properties for you.  Ideally find a commercial space that has already served as a restaurant or bar since this has the kitchen and bar space you need.  Purchase the property if you need to make major renovations or install a kitchen if one doesn’t exist.  If finances are limited, consider leasing instead. 


Obtain equipment and supplies.  Purchase heavy-duty pots, pans and other cooking equipment needed to run your sports bar.  Buy shot glasses and beer mugs to serve alcoholic drinks to customers.  Outfit your sports bar with televisions as well as sports memorabilia to create a fun, party atmosphere.  Order food and alcohol to serve in your restaurant from a food supplier or alcohol distributor.  Create a weekly inventory system that allows you to review what food and alcohol you have and order new supplies you need for the next week.


Hire employees.  Place advertisements in local newspapers and on popular career websites to recruit employees to work in your sports bar.  Find staff with experience waitressing as well as bartending.  Employ kitchen staff to cook and clean dishes while also hiring individuals with business management experience to serve as managers who oversee the staff and manage the day-to-day responsibilities associated with your sports bar.


Promote your business.  Advertise your sports bar via mass communication tools such as radio, television and newspaper.  Create discounts and specials to attract customers into your sports bar.  Hold special celebrations at your sports bar on major sporting days in Wisconsin such as when the Green Bay Packers make the playoffs or play their rival the Minnesota Vikings. 



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