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What Do You Need to Start a Juice Bar Business? (Checklist)
Despite the past couple years of uncertainty, the juice bar industry continues to experience growth. In 2021, there are over 5,000 active juice bars open in the United States. Over the past 5 years, the industry has grown at a steady 2.5% annually and shows no signs of slowing down in the years to come.
Devoted customers flock to their preferred juice bar to get special, often made-to-order juice blends that they can't find in a grocery aisle, and can't easily make at home. It takes a lot of prep work to get a pineapple from whole to juiced and strained, so juice lovers often prefer to pay for fresh-pressed juice at a juice bar instead of chopping, coring, peeling, pressing, and straining it themselves. Plus, the quality of an at-home juicer is often far inferior to that of industrial juicing machines.
As the juice bar industry continues to flourish, entrepreneurs are eagerly opening their own establishments. To ensure nothing is missed before opening day, here is everything you need to know to start a juice bar.
1. Choose a Juice Bar Format
The first thing you need to do to start a juice bar is choose the format of before opening a restaurant.
Will your juice bar serve fresh drinks from a cart or a truck? Will you have a brick and mortar location? Or five? The format of your restaurant will depend on your target customers, restaurant funding or budget, location, and business goals.
The most common juice bar formats include:
Dine-in: The dine in-format provides customers with the option to take their juice to go or enjoy it at your location. The dine-in format can include indoor or outdoor seating, and customers order at the counter. Sometimes, these shops also offer food like sandwiches or wraps.
Counter only: Remove the tables and chairs and you have a counter-only juice bar format, a common decision for those juice bars with smaller locations.
Window only: In a window-only juice bar format customers order and receive their juice through a window or series of windows on the side of the juice bar building.
Juice truck: A popular decision for juice bars in larger cities, the food truck or push cart format allows companies to reach a larger, previously untapped audience.
2. Write your Juice Bar Business Plan
Your business plan is the single most valuable resource you’ll have when opening a juice bar. It will exist both as a trail map, to help you stay on track during the long planning process before your bar opens, and as a living document that evolves alongside your business.
Take the time to write a thorough business plan that outlines your current standings, plan of action, and projections. This is when you will define your target customer base, your menu, and your staffing plan, begin to outline your restaurant marketing plan, and work on procuring funding to start your shop.
Your juice bar business plan should include:
A market analysis of your local competition and the industry as a whole.
An executive summary that details your purpose behind opening the juice bar and how you plan to generate success.
Outlines of your marketing strategy, sales strategy, and projected financial growth over the first five years of operation.
And of course, your juice bar name. (Just remember to run the name you choose through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office before finalizing your decision to ensure your name hasn’t already been taken.)
To get started writing yours today, use Toast’s Restaurant Business Plan Template.
3. Find the Right Location for your Juice Bar
Looking for a restaurant location can be challenging, especially if you've got in mind a perfect neighborhood or even block. Take a strategic approach and enlist the help of a local commercial real estate agent, and when you feel confident in your decision, you can take the plunge. Center your search in the communities and areas where your target audience naturally spends their time and look for areas with high foot traffic, a population who spends their time outdoors and on the go, and a place with similar businesses.
For example, if you are opening a juice bar tailored to active college students, then the closer you set up shop to a bustling campus — or even better, the building where the outdoors club meets — the better your chances are of attracting your ideal crowd.
Take your time during the location search. The goal is to find a space that will allow your juice bar to thrive for years to come.
4. Obtain the Necessary Restaurant Licenses and Permits
Collecting all of the required restaurant licenses and permits is a task best started as early as possible. Opening an establishment is a paperwork-heavy process, with many states (and even counties) having their own particular requirements regarding the opening of new businesses. Starting early help you avoid missing any deadlines or steps in the process.
The licenses and permits needed to start a juice bar include, but are not limited to:
Food handler’s license
Passing a health and safety inspection
5. Collect the Restaurant Tax, DBA, and EIN Information Needed to Open your Juice Shop
Just as some states have different license and permit requirements, so too do state tax and employer requirements differ. Familiarize yourself with the tax requirements in your state before proceeding any further and keep an eye peeled for annual deadlines or any changes.
Decide if you are going to be taking an in-house approach to your taxes, or if you will be outsourcing to a third-party account. Then, file your DBA (the trade name of your juice bar).
Finally, if you plan at any time to hire employees, then now would be the time to apply for an EIN (employee identification number) that will allow you to file payroll and income tax returns.
Choosing a Business Structure
For restaurant tax planning purposes, you’ll need to establish your restaurant as a business and choose a business structure. An LLC can protect business owners from personal liability, and other business structures may be more appropriate if you have a business partner or multiple locations. Do your research and consider working with a professional to ensure you get this right.
6. Design your Juice Bar’s Branding, Marketing, Promotion, and Advertising Strategy
With so many juice bars out there to choose from, how will you get yours to stand out from the competition? While the allure of being a brand new addition to the community may fuel some initial awareness of your juice bar, it will be your marketing and advertising strategies that bring in new faces and create loyal customers that keep coming back.
How do you communicate your passion for juice and mission statement through marketing? The key here is to take time to develop a brand that is effective and geared towards your target market.
To develop your signature brand, ask yourself guiding questions such as these:
Will you pay for advertising or use organic marketing practices?
Where does your target audience spend their time? Find out how to advertise in these spaces.
What platforms will you use for marketing? What about advertising?
How will influencer marketing play a role in your strategy?
What makes your juice bar special?
Why should customers go to your shop instead of the juice shop down the street?
What is your restaurant social media marketing plan?
Toast’s Restaurant Marketing Plan template can help you detail your marketing strategies and plan for the year.
7. Determine your Juice Bar Finances, Sales Forecasts, and Operating Expenses
Opening a juice shop can be a great way to earn revenue with a respectable profit margin. The average juice bar makes $100,000-$600,000 every year. Here’s how to plan out operating expenses for your new restaurant and a simple way to project future revenue.
Restaurant Finances + Operating Expenses
Restaurant expenses encompass everything from food to equipment to utilities. It also includes operations materials like software, packaging, and marketing, and labor costs. Be prepared for unexpected restaurant startup costs like equipment repairs or supply chain shortages and include incidentals in your restaurant budget.
Operating expenses for restaurants can include utilities, equipment, appliances, licenses, permits, technology, and the cost of food, which can all vary widely depending on if you are renting or buying equipment, regional differences in food prices, supplies, and labor, square footage, and other factors.
Restaurant Sales Forecasting
To create a basic projection for your juice bar’s sales, take your estimated revenue and deduct expenses. Then, use a monthly estimate to project growth. Once you’re a more established restaurant, you can use month over month growth projections to map out future years of revenue.
When building systems for your restaurant finances, you'll want to create a business bank account to keep your personal and business expenses separate. Depending on which state you are opening your shop in, it may be mandatory for you to open a separate business bank account. Either way, this is also when you can open a business credit card. Consult with an accountant through this step and ensure you’ve done everything right.
8. Gather all of your Funding and Loans
So, how much does it cost to start a juice bar? With all the ongoing expenses and restaurant start-up costs, many turn to restaurant funding sources for additional support.
Some of the business loans and government grants you may apply for to obtain funding for new restaurants include:
Startup business grants
A business line of credit
Equipment financing for the juice bar kitchen
SBA Microloans for small-businesses
Read more about ways you can get restaurant financing.
Whether you’re opening a new restaurant, expanding your concept, or renovating within your existing four-walls, you’re going to need capital to make it all happen.
9. Create Your Juice Bar Menu
At first glance, the menu of a standard juice bar comes across as simple. Depending on the exact offerings of your bar, the items may include any number of fruits, vegetables, seeds, milks, and other proteins to be juiced. How will you make your menu unique and have it reflect local flavors and ingredients?
Some juice bars specialize in healthy juice blends with added "superfoods" like bee pollen, hemp, wheatgrass, spirulina, açai, or chia seeds, while others focus on smoothies, blending fruit with yogurt, sorbet, or even chocolate or other flavored syrups. Others still ofter a combination of both, like the country's best-known juice bar chain, Jamba Juice.
Find your juice bar’s signature personality. For example, if you are running a playful and friendly bar then you can write silly or unique names for your menu items. Or perhaps you often feature limited time or seasonal drink specials.
Whatever the appeal of your juice bar may be, use strategic menu design to highlight your signature items. Remember, it’ll be your marketing and advertising efforts that draw people to your juice bar, but it’ll be the menu that keeps them coming back for more week after week.
10. Purchase and Track Your Inventory
Now that you’ve determined your juice bar menu, you have an understanding of the ingredients, produce, supplies, and equipment you’ll need to turn the items into a reality. However, before you rush off to begin placing your orders, it’s a good idea to first take the time to familiarize yourself with the wholesale suppliers in your area.
Read reviews, compare pricing and shipping schedules, and — if you’re able to — even have a chat with other juice bars and restaurant owners about the pros and cons of each supplier. It may be your instinct to rush to the least expensive or nearest supplier, but remember that the juice bar owner-supplier relationship is an ongoing one. The most important thing is that you are partnering with a supplier that you trust and feel comfortable communicating with.
There’s no need to stick with just the largest suppliers, either. For smaller and more community-driven juice bars, consider partnering with a local or more niche supplier instead — especially if your juice bar requires small-batch or specialty ingredients.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to continuously track your inventory to be on the lookout for delays. Use a restaurant inventory management software that can track food costs and sales, giving you insights on profitable items and areas for menu design improvements. Last, create a contingency plan for yourself in case unforeseen inventory delays occur.
11. Buy a Juice Bar Point of Sale System
Before you can start selling juices left and right, you first need to choose your point of sale system. The best POS systems are easy to use in order to simplify the new employee training process and they are intuitive, capable of scaling alongside your growing business. Many also offer helpful features for fast-paced juice shops, like handheld POS devices, a kitchen display for easier communication between front and back of house, and an intuitive system to make hiring and training simple.
For restaurant owners looking for ease of use and a seamless way to optimize your payment process, look no further than the Toast Cafe & Bakery POS system, with featured made for small food businesses like a juice bar.
12. Craft the Design and Atmosphere of your Juice Bar
Now that you’ve begun to plan out your restaurant’s business strategy, you should now have a thorough understanding of what you need to do next. When it comes to your own history as a business owner and experience as a juicer, you are the reigning expert. Therefore, it’s up to you to squeeze the actionable insights from your personal experiences to find factors that can contribute to the design of your bar.
Using restaurant design principles, design a space that is geared towards your customers. Will your shop be counter-service for folks who are on the go with an area for online orders? Will you have a sitting area for people to spend time after their workout? Will you have a display area with your fruit and juice ingredients?
The layout and design of your restaurant can improve restaurant efficiency and revenue when done correctly.
13. Hire your Juice Bar Shop Team and Management
Finally, it’s time for you to hire your juice bar team. Depending on the specific offerings of your juice bar, the size of it, its format and design, and even the location of your bar, you may need to hire:
Juice bar managers
Congratulations! You’ve finished all of the steps and are ready to open your juice bar. Complete your business plan using the Restaurant Business Plan template and prepare for your shop’s opening day.