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How to Write a Liquor Store Business Plan

Tyler MartinezAuthor

Opening a liquor store presents a lucrative opportunity in a growing market. Over the past five years, beer, wine, and liquor stores have seen significant growth, driven by factors such as evolving consumer preferences towards local craft beverages, and the adoption of e-commerce. This growth is reflected in the industry's revenue, which is expected to reach $81.6 billion, with a 3.8% CAGR, according to IBISWorld. Aspiring entrepreneurs can capitalize on these trends to establish successful businesses in the liquor retail sector, but will first need to develop the right business plan.

This article will help you:

  • Learn the essential elements of a business plan

  • Write a successful liquor store business plan

  • Present your business plan to potential partners or investors

How to Write a Liquor Store Business Plan

A liquor store business plan acts as a road map for the business. Business plans are a resource for securing financing, getting licenses, opening the store, and sustaining operations. A business plan is your ticket into meetings with lenders.

Business plans guide the daily, quarterly, and yearly operations of a liquor store. It helps to keep your ideas organized and breathes life into your unique concept. This is the first step toward making your ideas into reality.

Justin Holman tells the story of opening a liquor store in Pueblo, Colorado. He writes, “Running a small liquor store requires business acumen – accounting, operations, human resources, customer service, marketing, sales – the whole enchilada.”

Elements of a Liquor Store Business Plan

Executive Summary

Business plans start with an executive summary–this section introduces all the key elements of your plans for a liquor store. The executive summary typically includes an overview of the concept, budget, and plans of the store’s operations.

When writing the executive summary, consider who will read the plan and how you can catch their attention. Provide a peek into what makes your store unique. Impress potential investors with what makes this plan a recipe for success. It is good to provide direct and clear descriptions of exactly what your liquor store sells and how it fills a market gap.

Company Overview

The company overview section is a more practical and detailed description of your business. It can include descriptions of the concept, location, and target customer. This section acts as an introduction to the rest of the business plan.

The company overview brings to rest of the business plan together. It is a good idea to show how the moving parts of your staffing plan, market analysis, finances, and operations work in tandem. It might be smart to write this section after you nail down those details.

This section can include images of your liquor store’s logo and branding materials. The company overview helps potential investors picture how the different elements of your vision come together.

Team and Management

Staffing is a top priority for any business. For a liquor store, you should research the state and local laws regulating who can get a license to sell alcohol.  The team and management section to design a scalable staffing plan that works no matter how much your liquor store expands.

This section of your business plan provides all the details of your liquor store’s staffing needs and management structure. This information will influence other elements of the business plan. It’s important to be clear and precise with the team and management plan.

Consider what kind of jobs you plan to create. Are they full-time or part-time? What kind of benefits do you want to offer? What state and local laws apply to your liquor store’s employees? 

It’s good to provide concrete details about how many employees you need to keep the store open. Think about how many managers you’ll need to keep things running smoothly. The staff is responsible for the customer experience. Creating a strong staffing structure is vital for the store’s success.

The team and management section is also where you plan for hiring and training new staff. You might also plan for staff retention and promotion to help you keep good employees.

Market Analysis

Market analysis is one of the most critical parts of your liquor store business plan. Investors and loan officers are interested in the profitability and risks of investing in your business. Three core areas can be addressed in this section: target market, location, and competition.

Target Market

The target market of your liquor store is a snapshot of the customers that will visit your store. It can be good to show investors that there is a demand for the kinds of beverages your store will stock. You can also provide data about customers’ purchasing habits based on your liquor store’s location.

Liquor stores can similarly target distinct market segments based on their offerings and pricing strategies.

  • Low-End Segment: Catering to budget-conscious shoppers, our liquor store specializes in offering affordable options without sacrificing quality. From well-known value brands to economical local selections, we provide a range of choices that meet the needs of cost-conscious consumers seeking budget-friendly liquor options.
  • Mid-Market Segment: In our liquor store, we strike a balance between affordability and quality by offering a diverse selection of products. From popular mid-range brands to premium local distilleries, we provide options that cater to a wide range of tastes and preferences. With our focus on value and variety, we ensure that every customer finds something that suits their budget and palate.
  • Premium Segment: For discerning consumers who value luxury and sophistication, our liquor store offers an exclusive collection of premium brands and specialty products. From rare single malts to limited edition spirits, we curate a selection that exemplifies excellence and craftsmanship. With our commitment to quality and exclusivity, we provide an unparalleled shopping experience for those seeking the finest offerings in the world of spirits.

Location Analysis

There are a few key things to write about the location of your liquor store. What kind of traffic already visits the area? How will you attract target customers to your store? Potential investors would like to know if your store is positioned in an advantageous location.

Competitive Analysis

That brings us to an analysis of the competition in the location. Do research on the other liquor stores in the area. Show that there is a demand for your products in the area. If your store provides unique or rare products, you can write about how that sets your liquor store apart.

This analysis can also tie into the marketing section–how your marketing strategy will attract your target customers. This kind of research can help investors see that it is a smart business venture.

Marketing and Publicity

The marketing and publicity section of your liquor store business plan offers a comprehensive marketing strategy. Setting up your liquor store is only half the work–the road to profitability requires brand awareness to drive sales.

It is good to include information about the media that you will use to drive traffic to your store, such as billboards or social media. Liquor stores can offer special discounts based on their relationship with a wholesaler–advertising these discounts can set your store apart from the competition.

You can plan to allocate a specific percentage of your sales to marketing. Potential partners or investors are likely interested in how your liquor store will become and remain profitable. Marketing and publicity are critical to that equation.

Here are potential marketing ideas to improve your liquor store's marketing strategy, that you can include in your business plan.

  • Themed Tasting Events: Host themed tastings (e.g., whiskey, wine) to attract customers and promote new products.
  • Loyalty Programs: Offer rewards for repeat purchases to encourage customer loyalty and retention.
  • Online Ordering and Delivery: Expand reach by offering online ordering and delivery services.
  • Collaborate with Local Businesses: Partner with restaurants/bars for cross-promotions to drive foot traffic.
  • Educational Workshops: Host workshops on cocktail mixing, wine pairing, etc., to engage customers and provide value.
  • Holiday Gift Guides: Create gift guides for occasions and promote them through various channels.
  • Community Events Sponsorship: Sponsor local events to increase brand visibility and community engagement.

Business Operations

The business operations section plans for the daily workflow and ongoing demands. The day-to-day operations of your liquor store make the big picture possible. Help your investors rest easy knowing that your liquor store’s operations are under control.

Systems and Equipment

Equipment includes small appliances, cash registers, computers, and other things essential to your store’s operations. It’s good to research the exact things you will buy to make accurate financial projections.

Your liquor store can’t operate without a point of sale. Deciding on a system that is easy to operate for employees and powerful on the back end is crucial to your liquor store’s success.

Suppliers

Supplying liquor stores is a unique undertaking. Many top brands of beer, wine, and spirits work with a select few distributors. This is because of the three-tier distribution system mandated by the 21st Amendment.  For all the other necessities, such as paper products and cleaning supplies, shop around to find the most affordable options.

Sales Forecasts and Operating Expenses

Calculating sales and expenses can be make-or-break for new businesses. And finances are likely to be investors’ main concern. There are a few different reports that you can create to strengthen your liquor store business plan: profit and loss projections, a break-even analysis, and expected cash flow.

Profit & Loss

A profit and loss statement forecasts sales and balances them against expenses. Example profit and loss statements can help you get an idea of how to build one for your business. This report will probably require some educated projections. It’s a good idea to do research and generate expense statements and sales forecasts that are as accurate as possible. 

Break-even analysis

break-even analysis compares your liquor store’s expenses against projected sales and lets you imagine a timeline for when your business will become profitable. This analysis accounts for everything: labor, equipment costs, financing interest, and sales projections..

Expected cash flow

cash flow report provides a breakdown of start-up funding, expenses, and sales projections. The purpose is to show that you know exactly how much capital is needed to sustain your business until it is profitable. 

Financing and Loans

With time and persistence, a liquor store can become a great asset. Many businesses need start-up financing to make ideas into reality. There are lots of ways to obtain the needed funding. The amount of start-up funds will depend on the size of your store and the products you stock. The average cost of starting a liquor store also varies widely by state, because of licensing and legal requirements.  

These means of funding can help you to start your liquor store:

  • SBA Microloans for small businesses.

  • Business lines of credit.

  • Equipment and supply financing.

  • Startup business grants.

  • Business loans and investments.

Forbes breaks down business startup costs. They say that knowing startup costs “makes you better prepared as an entrepreneur and can improve your odds of success.”

How to present a liquor store business plan

As you write and edit your liquor store’s business plan, you’ll become an expert on the concept, market, and financing. Practice talking about your business idea as often as possible. When it comes time, you can impress potential investors or partners with your confidence in your business.

It’s also a good idea to prepare a 30-second “elevator pitch” so that you can quickly communicate all the main points. You never know when you’ll find yourself in the presence of a potential partner or investor. Another good strategy is to anticipate potential follow-up questions and have answers prepared.

Send your business plan to investors far and wide. Getting this plan to as many people as possible can only increase your chances of securing the necessary funding. And you might create some valuable professional relationships along the way.

Have a detailed, 10-15 minute presentation prepared for when you secure meetings. Experiment with different ways to make your liquor store sound like an exciting opportunity. The first rule of sales can help you here too: always be closing. Once you have a potential partner or investor’s attention, don’t hesitate to ask for the investments you need.

Remember to be honest and genuine when networking or presenting your business plan. Charisma and business savvy can go a long way toward building rapport and professional relationships.

Why Toast Retail is Perfect for Liquor Stores

In today's competitive retail landscape, selecting the right technology is essential for both new ventures and established businesses aiming for success. Solutions like Toast retail not only streamline operations, making them more efficient, but also provide invaluable insights to optimize the financial health of the business. 

By harnessing the power of point of sale technology, retailers can gain a competitive edge, improve customer satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth. Choosing the right technology sets the foundation for long-term success, empowering businesses to adapt to evolving market demands and thrive in an increasingly digital world.

The tech that redefined restaurants is now here to transform retail. Supercharge your store with the POS built for high volumes and complexity, offering everything you need to run your business on one platform. Toast's retail offering is a game-changer for businesses like convenience stores, and liquor stores revolutionizing how they operate and interact with customers. Here's why Toast is the perfect fit for these retail environments.

1. Helps Modernize How You Sell

Toast's intuitive, cloud-based system simplifies daily operations. Its user-friendly interface makes staff training a breeze, ensuring seamless adoption across your team. Whether it's processing payments in-store or integrating with online sales channels, Toast ensures a smooth and consistent experience for your customers regardless of how they shop.

  • Intuitive Cloud-Based System: Our intuitive, cloud-based system is easy to learn and easy to use. Say goodbye to complicated interfaces and hello to streamlined processes. Toast is designed to simplify your day-to-day operations, from staff training to consolidated operations, ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity.

  • Seamless Payment Processing: Toast’s seamless payment processing easily integrates with online payments for smoother sales every time, no matter how your customers are shopping. This integration ensures a hassle-free experience for both customers and staff, leading to increased satisfaction and faster transactions.

  • Flexible Order and Checkout Options: Offer flexible and efficient order and checkout options with reliable hardware including handhelds, kiosks, and guest-facing terminals. Adapt to the diverse needs of your customers and reduce wait times at checkout with Toast's versatile hardware solutions, enhancing the overall shopping experience.

2. Streamline Retail Management

Efficiency is key in retail, and Toast delivers with automated, mobile-first inventory management. Say goodbye to manual inventory tracking and hello to SmartScan, a feature that enables quick product scanning and shelf placement. Managing thousands of SKUs becomes effortless with Toast's intuitive product database and bulk update capabilities.

  • Automated, Mobile-First Inventory: Experience the freedom of automated, mobile-first inventory management with Toast. Create and print barcodes in bulk, and take new products from scan to shelf in seconds with our SmartScan feature. Say goodbye to tedious manual inventory tasks and hello to streamlined operations.

  • Efficient SKU Management: Easily manage thousands of SKUs with our intuitive product database and bulk updates feature. Modify, reprice, and import multiple products at once, saving valuable time and resources. With Toast, keeping track of your inventory has never been easier.

  • Retail-Enhanced Dashboards: Stay on top of your business with retail-specific dashboards and cost-tracking reports. Monitor trends, maximize margins, and ensure your top-selling products are always stocked, empowering you to make data-driven decisions that drive profitability.

3. Tailor Your Customer Experience

Toast empowers you to tailor the customer experience to fit your unique retail concept. Whether you're considering adding food service or expanding your offerings, Toast's flexible platform accommodates creative expansion.

  • Creative Expansion Opportunities: Thinking of adding food service to your retail concept? Including Kitchen Display Systems and Order Ready Boards, our flexible platform allows for creative expansion. Explore new revenue streams and enhance the overall customer experience with Toast's versatile features.

  • Online Ordering and Delivery Integrations: Give your guests the option to order from home with Toast’s Online Ordering and our third-party delivery integrations. Meet your customers where they are and provide convenience that keeps them coming back, increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

  • Loyalty Rewards and Personalized Offers: Be your neighborhood's favorite shop (and incentivize repeat visits) with loyalty rewards and personalized offers. Transform one-time shoppers into loyal patrons by engaging with your community and offering enticing rewards, making your store the go-to destination for your customers.

In conclusion, Toast's retail solution is more than just a point of sale system; it's a comprehensive toolkit designed to elevate your retail store to new heights. From modernizing sales processes to streamlining management and enhancing the customer experience, Toast empowers retail businesses to thrive in today's competitive market.

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DISCLAIMER: This information is provided for general informational purposes only, and publication does not constitute an endorsement. Toast does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of any information, text, graphics, links, or other items contained within this content. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein. It may be advisable for you to consult with a professional such as a lawyer, accountant, or business advisor for advice specific to your situation.