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Thread: CASE STUDY:Buying a bar

  1. #1
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    Mar 2004
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    CASE STUDY:Buying a bar

    Am just about to close on a small bar in Northern Cali, no big price tag its going to run about 100,000 for land and building along with onsale and offsale licence.

    So far dealing with the abc has been a real pleasure, they have been very helpful and useful, and the investigator that I have got is a really nice guy as well.

    Just talked to the guy who owns the pool table plus juke box and other assorted entertainment in the bar, its a fifty split with the exception of the juke box which rents for 320 a month.

    why dont bar owners simply buy their pool tables and other entertainment facilities, does anyone own theirs and does it make more sense to purchase?

    Thinking of putting tile into the restrooms and behind the bar, have been in old bars before where the only thing still new looking was the tile floor, any thought or suggestions on flooring for restrooms, behind bar and in main area, where people also dance, no formal dance area in other words.

    Many more questions but dont want to ask two much at once,

    Allan.

  2. #2
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    Mar 2004
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    Sunnyvale, CA
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    tile

    If you go with tile, try to get the kind that has pigment throughout the clay, rather than just a surface glaze color. That way, the inevitable chips won't show as much. Even more important, ask your tile setter about grout sealer, and mix a fungicide with the grout, to avoid the grout getting stained or mildewed.

  3. #3
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    Nov 2002
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    massachusetts
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    pool tables

    for alot of guys ( including me ) when we were building there was not alot left over to spend 2500 on a pool table or 10k on a video game. it is alot cheaper to go the way of a split. there really is no down side to letting someone else buy it for you. now if it is a very busy table, simply have them pull it out after you are open a while and have some cash flow going and buy it yourself.
    www.thesaltydog.net

  4. #4
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    Mar 2004
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    cocoa beach Fl.
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    I own my pool tables but work a split on everything else the technology in bar tops and Jukes and the like changes too fast for me to want to keep up with upgrades and repairs keep your floors in high splill areas simple and swabbable I like a cement floor behind the bar with comfy mats for the tenders that can be pulled and cleaned once a week. for the bathrooms, what ywgk said. oh and (I think you could do better on the Juke unless its gonna be doin a thousand a month) good luck
    www.TheRiverRoost.com

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    Western Pennsylvania, USA
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    Part of this, at least, I have some thoughts about:

    The 50% (and I have a lot to say about that number a bit later) of the coin-op split you are giving away to an operator pays for:

    1) Repairs and maintenance (not trivial: how much does it cost to re-felt a pool table and do you have a source that can get that sucker back up in a day or two (don't forget that you also have to provide sticks and cue/hand chalk, bridges, stand for the cuestics, etc?)) Ever priced a touchscreen for a Megatouch when some jerk punches it?, Do you know how to troubleshoot a classic Pac-Man motherboard or re-cap the monitor? The latest machines get more rugged, but I'm confident your customers will prove themselves worthy of representing thermodynamic bothers concerning entropy and decay.

    2) Moving them in and out. Depending on your physical layout, this can be a GIANT pain. Come to think of it, even on flat ground, moving coin-ops is a GIANT pain.

    3) Replacing stale machines with fresh ones, and providing updates (you should see what they pay to make a Golden Tee 2004 into a 2005, or update to the latest ang greatest Megatouch version) to existing moneymakers. Go price a Dance Dance Revolution. Price a Golden Tee 2005 and the latest Megatouches. For jukes, this also means updating the music.

    4) Dealing with the other coin-op guys in the business (depending on where you live, this ranges from Sopranos to just-plain-cutthroat.)

    5) Providing and renewing any and all local, state and/or government stickers, and ASCAP/BMI/SESAC royalties for music boxen.

    6) Expert advice about in-house location. We've had machines that got moved from one corner to another that picked up better that 200% income in one month. They worry about that stuff at night, you don't. Don't get me wrong - a lot of coin-op venders would love to put a Megatouch/Poker/Cherry bartop in front of every barstool, but these things have big footprints and are exceptionally intrusive to what the people behind the bar are trying to do.

    Before you start pricing machines on eBay or local auctions (and they are both plentiful and disceptively CHEAP,) recognize this: lots of amusement companies will flat out refuse to service you if you try to work both sides of the fence with them (exceptions: gumball machines and bathroom medicine/condom machines can usually be worked out as being non-competitive.) If you're thinking about bringing in your own machines, clear it with them first.

    My advice:

    1) By yourself a 3-brand or better gumball machine off of eBay, buy the junk to stock it with from a local Sam's Club. Put it right next to the front door or real close to the exit route from the bar. Price it at 25 cents and sit back and prepare to be amazed at how fast it pays itself back with very little interaction from the owner. LISTEN: NO BUSINESS OWNER SHOULD EVER ALLOW A THIRD PARTY GUMBALL MACHINE IN THEIR BUSINESS. (These machines are generically known as "gumballs", but can also dispense Peanut or regular M&M's, Runts, Mike & Ike's, etc. - AND SHOULD.) I have never in any property I own made less from one of these machines than to pay for one really nice vacation.

    2) If you have a guy who will re-felt it and can move it (they are deadly heavy) then the next machine you want to own is a coin-op pool table. Beware that many amusement folks will NOT tolerate you competing with them. Some will. Do NOT buy one brand new - as long as you aren't shopping in the Christmas season you should be able to pick up a gorgeous table for less than half the price of new (my local guys told me yesterday they pay $1795 direct to Valley (the Cadlillacs) and less for a Dynamo.) That's for brand new with shipping included.

    3) Foosball, Super-Chexx Hockey, and soft-tip darts (Arachnid brand is the only I'm familiar with) are then the next three things (in order) that I would tell you to buy, based on how easy they are to fix when things go wrong and how easy it is to buy parts online, if not local. Of course, you don't buy anything if they aren't bringing in big bucks. Route operators spread out their investment over many places, some hot, some not, and by rotating games when they get slow. You don't have that luxury unless you own several (ummm...many) stores.

    4) Never, ever, ever buy a video game (this is easy advice since most of the hot cutting-edge money movers START at $6K-8K and quickly move to $15K-$20K+) unless it's a very popular classic, and you have a source set up to fix it for you. I can count the qualified of these on my fingers: (to wit: Pac-Man, Centipede, Galaga, Donkey Kong, Tempest, Gauntlet, Star Wars, Marble Madness, Asteroids.) This is my hobby (I own over 150 classic arcade games and wished to hell I collected stamps instead) and I can tell you these are a giant PAIN for a non-electronics-geek bar owner to keep running long enough to make them worthwhile.

    5) Never let a coin-op guy hassle you for less than a 50/50 split on any machine, with the sole and ONLY exception of a cigarette machine. Cigarette machines you generally provide as a convenience to keep your customers in-place, and most of you would be smarter paying for a license (if required in your state) to sell a very few brands from behind the bar anyway. If you ever take less than 50/50 in the U.S.A., you are being played for a Rube. If you don't believe me, then spend a few bucks for a subscription to Replay magazine. There is simply no other machine, NOT the latest jukebox, NOT the latest bartop, NOT the latest golf game, nothing, nada, that you don't get 50% for. If they won't budge and they're the only game in town - tell 'em to F.Off because your uncle in Missouri owns a coin-op business and wants you to take it over and set it up in your new town, but you're thinking against it because your hands are full with your bar/club business -> the only thing that scares a coin-op company more than a savvy operator is new competition. Yes, and I say this quietly - that also goes for cherry and pokers.

    6) As you contract with a company, part of your negotiations is how the money is to be counted. This is how it should work:
    A) Collections are to be done on specified and agreed upon days and hours - do NOT let them come in on a whim or because "they're in the neighborhood" without notice and agreement.

    B) Counts are to be done in full view of the owner. Counts are to be done for each machine individually (see D) below for the audit trail)

    C) Coins are to be rolled, and bills are to be strapped.

    D) There are to be mechanical play-counters (look like odometers) inside of each machine: DO NOT rely on video screen displays which can be easily adjusted by the machine owner - the owner should write down the play count each collection period to resolve their split as well as establish which machines are worthy of the real estate they are occupying.

    E) Recognize that some machines (e.g Golden Tee and Megatouch) have national league capabilities (if you hook them up to a phone line or Internet connection) and these require payments to the machine developer that isn't part of your split. Go over this and understand it.

    F) Don't be shy - ask your coin-op vender up front what the process is for you to have an off-night "Free Pool" or "Free Jukebox" promo. Mine says paint an "X" on the quarters and they separate those out and return them to me before the count-split. Hardasses may tell you no-way/no-how.

    G) Recognize how much money your vender is spending on machines and be his buddy. Clean them, do not allow people to abuse them, treat them as if they're your own. BUT... do you REALLY need the latest internet-downloadable-jukebox that costs him $7000+ wholesale or do you just want one of the fifty wall or floormounted CD jukeboxes he has in his shop gathering dust? I don't like the internet downloadable boxes and wouldn't have one of them in any of my properties simply because I <----I <-----ME <-----OWNER decides what kind of music gets played here.

    H) NEVER be afraid to tell the operator precisely what music you want and won't tolerate on your jukebox. NEVER allow new music to be put in your box without your approval (hint: NOT the daytime bartender's approval.) Ambient and active music has a HUGE effect on how customers perceive your business.

    I) Take good advice from your coin-op venders about contests, tournaments and leagues, but be wary (wary, that is, not dismissing them out of hand) about those that are run by them. I've seen more than one league self-destruct that was run by the coin-op vender simply because they wouldn't settle disputes for fear of losing an account. Leagues run by coin-up venders mimic cheap bottle rockets - promising beginning, dissatisfying end. Sponsored contests or tournaments can be very profitable AND have legs.

    O.K. - I say this with reservation - how much does a PlayStation 2 or XBOX cost with 2 or 3 good games and how much does an inFocus X1 cost to shine it onto an 8-foot diagonal screen? No quarters coming in (well perhaps, but that's up to you) but butts stuck on the barstools, eh? Strange as it sounds, many of us bar owners made lots of money from dart players long before the soft-tip dart machines started moving in.

    I designed a concept where the pool, jukebox (my own mp3 touchscreen bar jukebox software), classic videos (some I owned plus some MAME machines) and pinballs, and home video arcade games were completely free. along with free broadband internet terminals around the bar and it worked on paper simply because most of us owners neglect to consider game income in our monthly budgets to begin with (unless were a big joint with lots of them or are running gambling machines.) Give it some thought. Sometimes I wonder just how much we owners know where our bread is buttered.

    Give me 2 more beers and/or 2 more hours and I'll add another 25 paragraphs to the above. Meanwhile, I know that there's some smart operators here - what can you guys throw in?

    And, oh yeah, I always do floor to ceiling ceramic tiles in my bathrooms - simply because it hits back. :-D

    But never, ever, use the color white (including off-whites) in a bathroom anywhere except the ceiling. Bad strategy.

    Think earthtones, black floor, dark colors low getting lighter as you go higher (and grout can and should be dyed, by the way.) Bathroom design is a subject for a different day. Whooeee could I write a few paragraphs on that...

    Baudtender

  6. #6
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    Mar 2004
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    cocoa beach Fl.
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    good info Baudtender I appreciate your indepth perspective and read every word since I have been coming here. I would like to say tho that I have a download type Juke It has over 2,000 tunes instantly available that I approved it also has 700,000 songs that can be down loaded within a matter of seconds, they cost the customer an extra credit. the juke box plays almost alla time these days and the proceeds have more than tripled
    www.TheRiverRoost.com

  7. #7
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    northern california
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    I would really like to thank everyone who responded first of all, some really very interesting info.

    Am just about to close, some minor/major things like sellers have more debts than the offering price and hope thats going to be ironed out in the next week.

    Have met with local law enforcement, lucky enough the top guy here is someone I kinda knew long time ago when he was still new, but hes now in charge here and I really like and respect him and I got the message across that I intend to co-operate fully with them in getting problems reduced to a minimum.

    Thanks for the restroom info, simply confirms my original thoughts about tile, its the best way to go I believe, and adds a touch of class at very little additional expense.

    I believe ministry is right, owning ones own pool table is the way to go, but in the process I was offered an ultimatum, no private pool table or lose all the other machines which were in the bar, so now I have an empty bar and more time will have to be spent researching which machines to replace them with along with the additional expense.

    Am going to get myself a gumball machine for sure, thanks baudtender, and I will explore further your other tips as well to see how they may fit into my current situation.

    I would appreciate if you could give me more info on your internet jukebox falcon, sounds kinda interesting to me.

    I also found out I have termites, yes indeed, just another small surpise along with the seller having a lot of outstanding bills.

    Allan.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
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    There is boatload of good info in this thread concerning gaming tables. Some stuff I wasn't even aware of.
    But the part about floors, I can turn you on to something really cool. It's called Acid Stain.
    (First off though, I'm going to have to assume you are on a first floor or single story with a concrete foundation. You have to be on a concrete foundation for this info to be of any real value. If you aren't then this might be useful to others anyway)
    This acid stain method is absolutely awesome. It started more in the residential market as an alternative to tile and/or carpet but has made a huge splash in the business industry. You can simulate all types of surfaces with this stuff on a concrete slab. You can even include logos and patterns permanently burned into the concrete itself. It is now being used for counter tops in homes and therefore could just as easily be used for Bar tops. That's where I want to go with this stuff. The grocery division of Wal-Mart is currently using it for a stone floor look. You can see some really good examples of its use at this link: www.acidstain.com
    I'm learning more about how to do some of the higher end patterns and logos with this stuff so I can add it to the design elements I offer already. I'm really excited about the possibilities. Just thought you might want to look into it yourselves.
    J.T.
    I don't own a bar. I just make them look good and leave.
    www.nightclubdesigner.com

  9. #9
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    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
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    Talk about plodding slowly forward, my quest to become owner of a bar has slowed to a glacial crawl.

    The current owners have a negative net worth, and creditors with judgements against the bar total 12000 more than my purchase price. In order to close I was forced to send in an additional 12000 to pay their debts. My only justification is that 107 for a bar is still not all that much, but 95000 would have been soooo much better.

    Have decided to buy much of my equipment via the internet to save money. Have settled on the top of the line sony speakers model save835, and augmented these with an additional two speakers from sony save831 which are simply carbon copies of the 835 sattelite speakers. This should work well with the sony reciever which has 5.1 or 7.1 output the model strde995.

    Gonna call bigdealtv.com http://www.bigdealtv.com/policies.aspx on monday as a sign of my faith this bar deal will finally close after three tortourous months.

    Have decided to get a pool table from global billiards manufacturing, the buckingham model seems just right for my bar decor. http://www.pool-tables.com/

    Have also kinda decided on the top of the line pergo laminate flooring, pergo select, and buy it online as well cause the price seems very right at http://www.floorshop.com/Store/Subca...categoryID=234

    Still researching vidio games and still not sure if I should demolish the bars old walk in freezer, its an electric hog and makes a whole part of the bar unusable.

    Anyone having any ideas on freezers for bars and where to buy them I would love to hear from you please. Also if anyone has any better ideas about pool tables, flooring etc please let me hear your thoughts,

    Allan.

  10. #10
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    Mar 2004
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    cocoa beach Fl.
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    the fact that the sellers have run aground and owe more money should not be your problem. I bought my first business under simalar circumstances. if the owners could not sell at a loss they would have had to peice out everything at an auction just to satisfy their debts they made more money selling at a loss.

    a walk in cooler is invaluable... if the refridge componants need up dating ("electricity hog") you will cut down on electric by making it more efficient at a lot less cost than demolishing replacing

    next time I replace my pool tables I am going to try wranglers they are in all the trade mags and cost less than 2 grand shipped
    that is if we are talking about coin ops... also pool halls that have been around for awhile know where there are great deals on used tables sometimes thay even have one or two stored... recovering costs anywhere from 200 to 350

    Last floor I put in I used abs tiles cheap easy to clean looks great and relatively inexpensive. used a local guy who turned out to be a good man and brought me quite a bit of business this is true in a lot of the trades you will need to interact with... how much money is some internet salesman going to spend in your place?

    if you have a 'touch tunes' rep in your area they supply your juke box and sound system with Bose surround sound at no cost to you... get your bar tops/videos from the same guy zero upkeep

    money is an object
    www.TheRiverRoost.com

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    Allen

    Don't know the politics of cali bar life but a couple of points for you to ponder.

    Do they have pool, dart, golf, foosball ect. leagues there?

    Up here in the great white north we depend on leagues to fill up our slow times. A lot of these leagues are run by the vendors thus if you purchase these machines by yourself you could possibly be left out in the cold. Tournaments are also a big moneymaker. If I wish to run a pool tourny and need an extra table or two my vendor will make the arrangements. Same with dart boards. We're big on state dart and pool tournaments and to qualify league games must be played on vendor machines. The very wise Baudtender makes some excellent points. Develop a great releationship with the vendor and the return will more then makeup on the split. Remember this is a substantial investment on the vendors part. $30 - $40 k in equipment is an attainable figure on capitol investment of the vendor. Not sure of your finances but would rather hang on to the capitol for unforseen expinditures then spend foolishly at the beginning.

    If it were me, I would let the vendor fill it with machines desired, keep count as Baudtender suggested and if you feel that you be better off owning your own profit centers, buy at that time. The vendor might even sell you the equipment instead of moving them.

    Good Luck

    Thomas

  12. #12
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    Dec 2002
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    Western Pennsylvania, USA
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    Some after-comments:

    1) I really like that acid-stain idea - but I wonder how durable a polyurethane sealer would be in this environment. It only takes a nick or scratch in the sealer and any liquid is going to permeate the concrete and stain it from what I can see. Am I off-kilter here?

    2) Over the years, I've used many different brands of coin-op pool tables and the only two that have held up exceptionally well are those made by Valley and Dynamo. A good investment (or part of the deal with the vender if one is placed on your site) is to get one of those table jacks with casters - makes it much easier when it's time to strip, wax, polish, etc your floors. On one smaller property, I used one of these to move the table out of the way on the nights we had entertainment or did banquets. It was a pain-in-in-rear to re-level the table after moving it, but at the time it was our best option. If it's fairly easy for you to move the light (e.g. drop ceiling) consider moving the table periodically - the feet will divet the flooring if it sits in one place for a long time.

    3) Don't lose faith in your closing - I once made a ridiculously low offer on a property, and the first offer was accepted by a bank, rather than the owner, in 15 minutes (damn - wish I'd offered less!). It took 8 months to get everyone paid off (we got smart and used the same lawyer for both buyer and seller.) But it was worth it. My experience is that unless you have unlimited capital, profitable businesses are better made than purchased.

    4) If you can get on Usenet or can figure out how to use http://groups.google.com (link goes to the relevant groups), check out the newsgroups:
    rec.games.video.arcade
    rec.games.video.arcade.marketplace
    and
    rec.games.video.arcade.collecting

    There's a wealth of advice and counsel concerning oldie but goodie games (and more than a few moderns offered for sale) but of particular interest to you would be to inquire about coin-op auctions in your area. These guys know where they're at and you might just pick up a pool table, foosball, megatouch, jukebox, gumball, crane, classic vid or pinball at a fantastic price. I don't know why you don't see more plush cranes in bars/clubs (except for the large footprint) - these can be great money magnets for the rubes trying to impress chicks (and yes, sorry to burst anyone's bubble, but if you value your money, don't play these.) Reaction time games (such as Sports Arena are such a natural where alcohol is served it's nearly an embarassment. If you've got the space, a foldup good quality ping-pong table can also build up some devoted regulars. In spite of my original post warning, I have a Pac-Man machine that pulls in an amazing amount of money from the 35 years old and up crowd. Unless you're opening a bar in Berkeley, if you catch my drift, a shooting game (such as Police Trainer, Lethal Enforcer, or Deer Hunter) can also pull big bucks.

    5) Make sure you know someone who can fix your machines. Realize that all pinballs are now classic, since they aren't made anymore.

    6) Laminates such as Pergo or Mannington are expensive (compared to commercial vinyl tile,) but absolutely incredible how durable they are. On my last build-out, I got ahold of enough of a discontinued Mannington pattern for dirt cheap to do my restaurant floor and had enough left over to do a 30 seat bar. No one has yet found a way to stain (but I wouldn't try harsh chemicals or use it as a bathroom floor due to uric acid from urine inaccuracies), chip, dent, or cigarette burn it. The decision to use it was made after a carpenter let his freshly lit cigarette roll out of an ashtry onto the floor - it burned all the way down and it wiped up clean with just a rub or two - it's proven to be the best bartop surface I've ever seen (we just put it over the old wood with no pad and used a urethaned oak trim on the edges.) One caveat is that it probably wouldn't make a good dance floor surface. You're supposed to use a pad underneath the laminate - gives it a rather pleasant spongy feel - not sure how that would hold up to heavy equipment moving over it (bands, DJ, pool tables, etc.) One bonus is that when padded, glasses and bottles don't often break when dropped. Breakage is damned near a sure thing on vinyl tile over concrete - you get many years out of it, but stripping/sealing/waxing costs finally convinced me to invest in a highspeed buffer and do it ourselves.

    7) Walk-in coolers are not designed to be frequently opened and closed - I do my best to limit access to no more than 3 times per day. If there's no way around it, make sure you install a plastic strip door inside to help out with the cooled air loss and humidity entry when the door is opened, or even better would be an air curtain blower. Perhaps you can get the cooler space out of your sales floor by moving the bulk of it outside so that only the door(s) are on your inside wall. If you can't move the sucker, have your carpenters build a new one to your specs (check out Thermax sheathing made by Celotex.) I'd sure recommend a stainless or thick aluminum sheet flooring with a 4" lip up the walls, but if that's too expensive for your budget, you can use a two-part epoxy enamel paint and resign yourself to repainting every year or so. The key to good performance and longevity with all refrigeration is to KEEP THE COILS CLEAN. I use a spray-on coil cleaner and do every coil in the building at least once per month (and more often in humid weather, when they have to work harder.) I've heard bar-lore about never cleaning dirty coils or the compressor will fail (it gets "used" to the dirt, so it goes) and can tell you that's utter nonsense, and at best a really bad and expensive excuse for laziness. Have a refrigeration tech come out and really service the compressor and evaporator units on ALL your refrigeration equipment and unless it's in really, really bad shape, you'll save a bundle in replacement costs.

    I still agree with Thomas - except for a low-maintenance item like a gumball, I would much rather see you use a vender's equipment than buy it yourself out of the gate. Don't add any non-essential headaches to your opening year - trust me, you'll have enough. There's two ways I know to cure you of sleep - have a baby or open a bar (and God help you if you do like me and do them both simultaneously.)

    Let us know of your progress!

    Baudtender
    Last edited by Baudtender; 07-23-2004 at 10:10 PM.

  13. #13
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    Feb 2004
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
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    >>>1) I really like that acid-stain idea - but I wonder how durable a polyurethane sealer would be in this environment. It only takes a nick or scratch in the sealer and any liquid is going to permeate the concrete and stain it from what I can see. Am I off-kilter here?<<<

    What actually colors the concrete is a chemical reaction. It burns in deep. You use wax inside. Just keep it mopped and waxed periodically and it lasts for years even in heavy traffic.
    J.T.
    I don't own a bar. I just make them look good and leave.
    www.nightclubdesigner.com

  14. #14
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    Mar 2004
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    northern california
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    Am just sitting here waiting for tomorrow to hear from Bret at the abc, todays his day off. Hope he tells me he sent in the final paperwork cause its now been close to 90 days and after sitting around now for a month doing nothing I am very ready to get back to a hard work situation.

    You are a fountain of knowledge baudtender, and I also have appreciated all the other good advice as well from everyone else.

    The walk in cooler I currently have has glass doors on side and the bartenders use this as their stock when a customer orders. Its old and uses up a lot of space as well. Was considering removing it and using something along this line http://www.bigtray.com/productdetails.asp!sku.TRUGDM72,catid.10120.html

    Then using an underbar cooler like this as well http://www.bigtray.com/productdetails.asp!sku.TRUTD9538S,catid.10315.html

    There is a possible place to put a walk in cooler that is out of the main customer area, would make the place look much better I believe and serve the same purpose.

    I checked out the valley pool table, damn its so UGLY cant you reccomend something that looks better? but their foosball table looks good to me at first glance. I like the idea of a table jack, and am going to get one for sure.

    Spoke to my accountant, he suggested I buy quickbooks http://quickbooks.intuit.com/ and this add on seemed kinda interesting to me as well.
    http://quickbooks.intuit.com/commerc...4331262&lid=ap

    wonder if anyone uses point of sale software/hardware?

    an update on the top of the line sony speakers, they are no longer available and it appears they are comming out with a new line called the save845 hope they become available soon.

    Hey baudtender, I think your a really tough guy to be able to start a new bar and have a new kid at same time, lol, just hopes I dont get in the same sitaution.

    I quit trucking and its 80 hour work week in order to have a life again, Money is not my real motivater anymore, just want to have something to do while I live in a really nice area, but being me I just love the mental challenge of learning something totally different.

    All the best,

    Allan.

  15. #15
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    Mar 2004
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    cocoa beach Fl.
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    277
    yer gonna need luck kid , here's wishin ya some
    www.TheRiverRoost.com

  16. #16
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    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
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    When I became a stockbroker at 23 they, whoever they is said I would not succeed, guess what I stuck with it for 16 years and became a certified financial planner while working, when I got divorced and decided to become a trucker they said I would not last, four years later I quit on my own terms.

    Thanks for your kind sentiments falcon I hope to make this succeed as long as I dont make any fatal mistakes. My financing is mostly cash, I have a huge credit line if need be, I dont depend on any of the expected cash flow from the bar for my personal needs.

    They have said to me that I will either not make it or will lose my investment, I hope to prove them wrong, and try to have some fun doing it,

    Allan.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    269
    Just spoke to abc, gonna get my final go ahead sometime next week, boy am I ready for some hard work,

    ON my agenda is termite extinction, sewage pipe removal and replacement, toilet replacement and new flooring, lucky my brother is a plumber. New bar equipment like pool table, sound equipment plus new computer and software.

    Gonna be a steep learning curve for sure, about all I have going for me is its the only bar in town and I dont personally need any of the income which the bar generates.

    I am getting excited but am also worried about the huge mountain I am going to have to climb,

    Allan.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    132

    Talking

    > ...about all I have going for me is its
    > the only bar in town and I dont
    > personally need any of the income
    > which the bar generates.

    The former is fantastic, the latter is presumptious.

    If you take out your walk-in, where will you keep your working and/or staged draught beer kegs? Where will you stage (cool to stocking temperature) your bottled beer and takeout cans? Where will your bartenders sneak to smoke cigarettes. O.K., forget that last part. In a previous property, I had a self-contained draught box (refrigerated underneath for kegs and faucets on the top) and had to lug kegs and cases from my kitchen walk-in - IT SUCKED! But if you have no other better option, you do what you have to do. Knowing what I do now, I would never trade a properly designed and placed dedicated bar walk-in.

    Now, I'll wisely defer to your aesthetic impression of the Valley pool table (notice I never said it or the Dynamo were particular good looking) - but I wonder, have you ever heard a fellow say "I ain't going there, their pool table is UGLY, man!"

    I use two of the True glass door uprights (except mine are double door instead of triple, and are on either side of a 100" diagonal projection screen - neat layout for a horseshoe bar) - I use them mainly for my imports, microbrews, and to-go beer and use the deep bin beer coolers (like in your second link) for my fast-moving domestics (since I can stock a lot more of them at one time) and green/clear bottles.

    Some suggestions:

    First of all, on your glass door coolers, turn off the internal flourescent lights and leave them off - the blue spectrum skunks beer fast, ESPECIALLY clear and green bottles. In fact, beer hates light, so I never stock clear or green bottles in them at all, since ambient light is getting through the glass at all times. Bartenders can be lazy - make sure they practice proper stock rotation (new goes to the back) and placement (make a drawing or affix labels to the shelves) and they "face" the product (labels facing forward.) Watch out for the top shelves of these coolers - that's where the air from the evaporator blows and it freezes stuff easy - put your higher alcohol stuff on the top - never NA's unless you like cleaning up broken glass and beer muck from burst bottles. NEVER (and I mean post big signs on the glass doors) allow self-service from the uprights if you do to-go beer. Also make sure the doors close each and every time freely on their own (keep the rails clean and lubed) because these loose their cool real quick when a door is stuck open just a couple of inches.

    Build a nice shelf or display case to show one of each bottle brand you serve, and print up a beer list (you can stick them in plastic table tents and distribute them around the bar and tables) to make up for the lack of customer view into the uprights (which ain't so good from behind the bar distance anyway.)

    The deep-bin coolers:
    I always save my cardboard beer cases and (flattened) use them to line the bottom of my deep bin beer coolers - they soak up broken bottle droppings and condensation and make removing broken glass and trash easier (amazing what you'll find down there.) At least once per week (and more often if I suspect theft or other shenanigans) during a stock-in, every bottle is pulled and counted (so I achieve true inventory counts - the rest of the week I'll just eyeball how much to bring in), the old cardboard is removed and the bottom is cleaned up, and new cardboard from the saved cases is put flat on the bottom (don't cover up the drain hole near the compressor or you'll get a real mucky mess on the bottom - this ritual will become clear some day when you have to throw away 6+ cases of really old beer bottles (per cooler) covered in ice and rust and sludge because everyone avoided dealing with the bottom rows.) New bottles are stocked in followed by the old, so I get proper inventory rotation. Keep to this ritual and you'll get many years of service out of these. Neglect them and the bottoms will rust out. Except for short rush periods and never on really humid days, I don't allow bartenders to run with the deep bin doors open - you don't lose cold air, but I notice a lot more condensation on the bottom when doing so.

    Don't presume that your bartenders know how to properly stock a deep bin cooler - many don't and done improperly, you can't stock nearly as much in the same space and you get avalanches that cause broken bottles. If you're not sure how it's to be done (it varies as to the width you give a particular brand,) get someone knowledgable to show you (good daytime bartenders - the ones who usually have to stock - love to show off this skill, and it truly is one.) Likewise, train and insist that your bartenders completely remove each row before descending to the next. Short chicks hate deep bin coolers (hell, I'm 6'0" and it's a giant pain getting to the bottom row or two - if you have speed rails on the front of the cooler - a good idea - going deep can often mean a near nipplectomy from the pourers), unless they're gifted with cleavage/booty in which case their tips will increase with how far/deep they have to reach - don't shoot the messenger, it's science, dammit.

    QuickBooks is just fine. A good POS system is not an option or a place to save money - it's an absolute necessity - PLEASE don't operate with a "glorified cigar box" type register with one key for Domestic Beer, another key for Imports, etc, and/or prices punched in by the operator. If you can't afford state of the art, see if you can grab some used Micros 2700's off of eBay (they're built like battleships, to the chagrin of Micros, because they have a helluva time upselling to the new expensive models to the people who own them) or from a refurbisher like this wonderful guy: refurbisher.

    Then have that sucker programmed so that EVERY product has it's own key so you can have inventory management that is actually useful (pay a CPA to train you in perpetual inventory and money handling/analysis - saves you a fortune later.) If you think all of your employees will be honest by nature, man are you in for a shock.

    This ain't advice, it's gospel. There is no better way to sink your business faster than with crappy money and inventory management tools. Every bar/club owner that I've convinced to get rid of the cigar boxes and start practicing real inventory & money control has never seen less than a 25% increase in profits "magically" without increasing sales. I've seen 75% increases and wondered how the hell they survived beforehand. Now you say you don't need any of the income generated by the bar, but I'm confident (3 to 1 against you is a fair bet) that you'll never see any profit until you fight tooth and nail for it. If you want to be charitable and distribute that profit, that's up to you. Think about it - somewhere between 70% and 80% (depending on whose stats you buy) of new bar owners never see any income but instead bleed money to death. How many times will you need to put in another $25K to keep it afloat before you knuckle down? For my first bar/restaurant, the answer was twice in the first 18 months, and it HURT. Expensive education.

    I appreciate the compliment, but I'm not as tough as you think - at 45 years old, my firstborn is now four years old and my second is 1 1/2 (by God, I am fertile, if nothing else.) I'm just now finalizing a lease with some new tenents for my last (and best) property - all the other ones were sold off. I'm still going to stay close and mentor them for at least the first year, but I want lots of time left in the day for going home, writing software (my first true love) and playing husband and daddy. Much easier getting a rent check than working for a living, at least until the boys are old enough to introduce to a commercial dishwashing machine - it's in my blood, man.


    Good luck!

    Baudtender
    Last edited by Baudtender; 07-29-2004 at 08:54 PM.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    269
    You are a deep well of knowledge Baudtender, take some time off from writing software and write a book about running a bar.

    You are smart to spend more time with your children now, once the hormones kick in(teen years) you can expect to lose them for six to ten years.

    I usually think long and hard before I do anything irrevocable, so still thinking about the walk in, its not that big anyway and really destroys the ambiance of that part of the bar, as well as being wastefull of energy and space. Will make my final decision after more consideration but now leaning to keeping it.

    Your info on keeping beer in top shape was right on the money, I came across this site and it mirrors what you said.
    http://www.abwholesaler.com/eprise/m...ertender03.htm

    Thanks for steering me in direction of micros unit, now I just have to find out how it interacts with quickbooks,

    Allan.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    132
    As far as how the Micros 2700 interacts with Quickbooks - it doesn't directly. You can get an interface card (but it requires an ISA slot and Windows NT) and import the 2700's data into your PC, and there may be some third party software that will further massage into a format that Quickbooks will import, but there's little point as there are relatively few numbers coming from your POS that you need in your accounting software that would warrant more than hand-entering.

    Now, inventory usage numbers are a different matter. Until I get the time to finish my own bar/restaurant inventory control software, I've been playing with a package called IPro (search for that in eBay - you can usually pick it up for around $50 and they do have an import module available for the Micros 2700 - I haven't done much with it yet, but it looks promising from an overview standpoint.)

    What's behind the wall where the walk-in sits against? If it's outside, problem solved - most walk-ins can be easily converted to outside units, so you'd just flushmount the doors then on the inside wall.

    Interesting idea about writing a book...I've read so many crappy ones that weren't worth the paper they're written on that I wonder if it would sell. Years ago, I worked as an editor and before that had a couple of books published (computer programming) so that may still be in my blood somewhere as well.
    Thanks for the idea fodder!

    Baudtender

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    269
    I am looking for something that logs drinks sold via pos and interacts automatically with quickbooks, will let you know once I get everything to work. Idea being to keep right up to date on invertory and also how productive each bartend is, perhaps this will also help keep theft low and finally will help with taxes. Anyway thats my idea, hope I can make it work if anyone reading this has similar setup PLEASE let me know.

    cant put walkin cooler in side wall, but could perhaps move it however then it would lose its close proximity to bar, think I am gonna just sit on this one for while.

    Writing a book will not make you much money, but it would be great to do I would imagine, writing a book may help you break into consulting, which I would say could make you money you certainly have the knowledge base baudtender.

    Just got back from three hour seminar put on by abc here in santa rhosa, ca. It was kinda interesting and free. Their main push is against serving to minors and serving people till they are drop dead drunk. Lady called Carol gave it, she was way smart you could tell, seems to me this agency has a lot of really sharp female agents, which of course makes sense, lol. She more or less confirmed what I already suspected, if they want to shut down any bar they can, so good relations with local law enforcement and community a MUST.

    Still waiting to get go ahead from abc, and of course the waiting gives me time to wonder what on earth I was thinking about when I decided to get into bar business.

    Allan.

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    269
    Have finally got the licence transfer from abc, so bar is now mine.

    Have been spending last number of days cleaning, my brother, as I watched with some concern, used a power pressure washer to clean the entire bar, you should have seen the accumulated nicotine dripping down from everywhere, place now smells much better. Have pulled out much of the old flooring, gonna put in that pergo select which I just ordered yesterday from www.floorshop.com and also ordered a pool table as well from http://www.pool-tables.com/

    Found out that the sewer blockage is caused by a HUGE root, which is good news kinda, just remove root and the problem will go away, plus termites here are very mellow and relatively few, they have also stayed away from my main beams, which are redwood.

    Ordered quickbooks from gateway computer, they have the cheapest prices for software so far, and got accupos point of sale which links up directly with quickbooks http://www.attitudepositive.com/foodservice.htm

    Also ordered hardware bundle from http://www.posworld.com/newm1ser15lc.html to complete setup.

    Have an appointment with accountant this thursday and I hope to have him set up the system, he already has two other bars which he takes care of so he knows what to do.

    Also get to meet bud distributor today, eagle distributing installs all types of bar fixtures, and I have feeling they are gonna be big help.

    Talked to bobbie fetzer of fetzer vinyard fame, he thinks a pool table in the bar is going to attract the same old bad crowd, and advised against it, however I simply find it really hard to walk away from such a huge potential money maker, hope I am making right choice.

    Finally, was working with guy digging up sewer, and alarm sounded, I raced him to volunteer fire station just down the road, and upon finding out that I had current valid cdl the fire chief was very happy to have me play water tanker driver for a few hours, was kinda fun.

    Hey baudtender, here are few web sites for self publishing, www.xlibris.com www.iuniverse.com www.fidlardoubleday.com www.cameopublications.com www.trafford.com www.parapublishing.com

    I really have appreciated your input so far, hope you keep on giving me your thoughts, all the best.

    Allan.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    269
    I guess I am making this forum my personal diary site, anyway its been another great day.

    I had just got to bar today, wondering where I was going to find someone to help me fix the wet rot flooring which I had uncovered while removing all the old non working fixtures from behind the bar, when this huge giant of a guy(must be at least 6.7) walked into the bar and asked if I needed any work done.

    A group of them had come to Covelo in past week so that his friends wife could have access to a midwife who they knew. Anyway it turns out they are really good old Texas boys who just travel around the country in a huge old school bus, they look kinda hippie but really know how to work, boy did I get lucky, my old flooring is about replaced and ready for pergo select, which I have been informed is on its way. Painting is in its final stages and pool table and under bar cooler and draft beer dispenser are ordered and on their way.

    http://www.galasource.com/prodList.c...lers,1,1,F,MX1

    http://www.galasource.com/prodDetail...0Dispenser,MX2

    Still have to check back with accountant about pos system, but finally hopefull I may open before end of month, or at least within a few days anyhow.

    Sony save series speakers which I know from personal experence to be great are not available right now, and still researching jukeboxes but may go with this one

    http://win.eagle-distributing.com/wu...rjukeboxes.htm

    Allan.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Western Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    132
    Looks like some pretty good refrigeration you ordered. One very important thing I forgot to mention about the deep-bin bottle coolers:

    One of the greatest sins behind my bar is to let me catch a bartender sitting (or worse standing) on a bottle cooler. The slide doors have rather flimsy rails that don't support weight (and a real pain to fix), and the doors themselves bend and warp easily. You will never hear such a profane cacophony as you will when I catch someone abusing the slides. Keep those rails lubed with food-grade silicone grease and baby them.

    Am I to understand that you are buying your own jukebox, or is the vender allowing you to pick one out?

    If you have a dropped ceiling (ceiling tiles and grids), these speakers are not cheap (vender's problem) but do sound very nice:
    Dropped Ceiling Speakers

    Be careful if they want to put up bookshelf style speakers on wall brackets - make SURE if they do that separate safety chains are securely installed - I once had one of those 20-lb. MTX speakers come down on a female customer's noggin. Thank God she had a thick skull, a sense of humor and a belly full of cheap tequila.

    Keep us up to date on your developments - I for one am very much enjoying your "diary."

    Baudtender

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    northern california
    Posts
    269
    I have decided to buy my own jukebox, am fairly good with numbers and figure a healthy return via the ownership route.

    Really like the idea of internet jukeboxes, but they appear to track every cent that goes into juke, and also I hate rap and heavy metal.

    Am also going to have to fork out big amounts for mega touch machines http://www.meritind.com/index_ie.asp

    These machines bring in the girls, who love playing them, and of course girls bring in guys who enjoy drinking.

    I checked out the speakers, they go down to 40hz, I really want speakers which are full range down to 20hz, of course one option is to install these speakers then simply add a subwoofer to bring it down to 20hz. I must be honest, I have not heard any speakers which are better than the sony save line of speakers, just my bad luck that right now they are inbetween product introductions. Gonna have to make a decision really soon however, just hoping sony gets their act together soon.

    Another good day at the bar, all the subflooring is now repaired, and those two hippie texas boys have allready demolished the bathrooms and tomorrow will start rebuilding them.

    Next task I am going to research hd tv, probably lcd, low maintenance and now just about as good pic as any out there.

    All the best,

    Allan.

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