DISCLAIMER: This content is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal, accounting, tax, HR, or other professional advice. You are responsible for your own compliance with laws and regulations. You should contact your attorney or other relevant advisor for advice specific to your circumstances.
Business Plan for Sports Bars Guide
Sports bars are a cornerstone of American restaurant culture, providing cheap eats and a place to gather on game day, no matter the season. These raucous spaces can be lucrative business ventures, but the costs of a wall of TVs – and all the best cable channels – add overhead costs with which other restaurant models aren’t forced to contend.
You might want to build a traditional sports bar in an area without one, or chart a new course; perhaps you see a new market for an e-sports bar in your area. No matter what kind of sports bar you hope to open, your business plan will help you to define your vision for a restaurant and map a path to success.
Why You Need a Sports Bar Business Plan
A business plan pinpoints the unique niche or client base you plan to get through your doors (that will help pay for all those ESPN channels). How will you tempt all those sports lovers to watch the game at your bar instead of on the comfort of their couch?
Your sports bar’s business plan will show potential investors and partners that you have a plan to fund your new business and make it profitable, while also acting as an invaluable guide through your process of starting a restaurant.
How to Write a Sports Bar Business Plan (Description, Examples, Proposals)
Writing is challenging, especially when faced with the unlimited possibility of a blank page. So, don’t start your sports bar’s business plan with a blank page. This fully customizable bar business plan template will guide you through the process.
Read through this article for helpful tips on writing your sports bar business plan, and what to do with it once it's ready.
Elements of a Sports Bar Business Plan
The first section of your business plan, the executive summary, should get readers excited about your sports bar and encourage them to read through to the end of your plan. Your motivations and reasons for opening a sports bar – why now, in this market? – should be front and center in this section.
Introduce key elements of your business plan while keeping your audience interested. Your sports bar’s core mission and values, a coherent vision for the brand, and an overview of the budget are at home in this section. The customers’ experience might also be described in this section – how will your sports bar provide the balance of eats and atmosphere that customers are seeking?
The company overview and executive summary work together as a comprehensive glossary of your business plan. This section is more practical than attention-grabbing and should make it easy for readers to navigate your business plan.
Define the internal structure of your sports bar, describe the food, beverages, and services you want to offer guests, summarize your financial projections, and introduce your marketing strategy. Consider your audience when designing this section – how can you best communicate this information to the investors or partners you want to attract?
Team and Management
From hosts, bartenders, and servers to kitchen staff and management, staffing your sports bar will be one of the most critical concerns. Start by telling investors the role you plan to fill in your restaurant’s management structure – are you a hands-on owner/operator or a distant CFO?
List all the roles you’ll need to fill in the sports bar and write descriptions for expectations and duties for each of those roles. Across those descriptions, the management structure of your restaurant should become clear, and how your employees are expected to treat customers and each other should be clearly listed.
Don’t forget to look to the future – build job descriptions for not just the roles you’ll need to fill to open, but the roles you’ll need to hire for as you grow and expand. Staffing needs are a major factor in the budgetary considerations of planning for your sports bar, so it’s crucial that you are detailed in this section so that your financial projections are accurate.
Wings, fried cheese, spinach artichoke dip, burgers – all staple sports bar fare. There's a good chance that's the direction you'll want to take your sports bar menu, but if you want to forge a different path in the sports bar world — like opening an e-sports bar that serves ramen — share your plan to do so. Your sample menu decides if your sports bar embraces tradition or crafts a unique path in the market.
Tell potential investors and partners about the kind of food you’ll make, how you’ll source those ingredients, and, crucially, the labor and equipment you’ll need to produce those items. Showcase local ingredients or innovate unique vegan versions of traditional sports bar eats.
Sample menus inform several other sections of your business plan so take your time making these decisions. Craft a sample menu that you can be proud of, and then plan for all the time, labor, equipment, and investment it’ll take to get your restaurant up and running. These details will expand into your market analysis, financial, and operations sections later in your sports bar’s business plan.
A sports bar might not be a groundbreaking concept, but that doesn’t mean your restaurant can’t break new ground. Perhaps there’s never been a dedicated sports bar in your town or everyone gripes about the frozen and fried fare at the nearby corporate chain. Or, fortuitously, there might be a group of rugby enthusiasts that don’t have a place to gather in the city.
The market analysis shows your potential investors that you not only have a solid vision for a sports bar but also that you’ve charted a path to success for your new business. What market are you entering, why is it the right time to do so, and how have you tailored your business plan to meet that market need?
One of the most exciting aspects of starting your new business is working with a designer to imagine logos and typography that capture the ethos of your brand. Your graphics will generate brand recognition for your customers so consider their design carefully as rebranding can be risky and expensive.
Your graphics might be in the sports bar, on take-out bags or boxes, on menus, websites, and marketing. They’re a great way to communicate your brand to customers – like GYM sportsbar with locations in NYC, LA, and Fort Lauderdale.
Marketing and Publicity
Crafting a marketing and publicity strategy for your new sports bar will show your investors that you have a plan to spread the word and get customers in the door. Use this to plan your sports bar’s grand opening, describe loyalty programs or special events, and list exclusive seasonal fare or brews that will entice customers.
Once you establish a customer base, how do you get them to bring their friends? The marketing and publicity section will make plans for not just how you advertise your restaurant but how you plan to keep it successful. Social media, email marketing, and events are all great places to start.
The business operations section of your sports bar’s business plan asks you to make a plan for how the restaurant will run from the micro-level of each customer transaction to the macro-level of quarterly financial reports. Map a network of your business operations – how does food get from the supply chain to your restaurant, who decides how it’s prepared, and how does it get from your kitchen to the guest?
Include information about how each piece of your business plan builds into your vision for a sports bar outlined in the executive summary. Make plans to execute on the values of your business and the culture between your employees. Keep in mind, too, how all these details work to create an experience worth returning for.
Financing and Loans
A wall of high-definition TVs might get customers into your sports bar, but ensuring that the cost of all that wattage is offset by food and beverage sales is a critical component of your sports bar’s business plan. Use this section to detail how you will rent or lease a space, your budget for marketing, hire and train new staff, and purchase ingredients and equipment for opening day.
Consider all your financing options when planning to open a coffee roasting business. Some of those are lines of credit, small business administration (SBA) loans, merchant cash advances, crowdfunding, commercial real estate loans, equipment financing, purchase order financing, and bank or alternative loans.
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.
Sales Forecasts and Operating Expenses
The detail and care with which you crafted the other sections of your business plan will make planning a budget, sales forecasts, and operating expenses that much easier. Include in this section all the costs of running your sports bar, including training, equipment, maintenance, labor, supplies, rent, loan payments, etc.
Business plans often include a break-even analysis which compares the sales required to break even with the cost of expenses each month. Investors will be interested in the potential for profit and loss to assess the risk of contributing to your business, but a profit and loss statement for a business that isn’t open yet requires some educated projections.
A cash flow analysis shows investors that the company can support itself without additional investments by detailing planned spending on labor, supplies, and operations. Be sure to consider how the costs unique to your sport bar, such as cleaning supplies or seasonal labor costs, balance at the end of each quarter.
How to Present Your Sports Bar Business Plan
There are a few ways to prepare to communicate with investors about your business plan and get them interested. Remember that the way you talk about your business should be tailored to the situation you find yourself in. A full-length presentation is what you should prepare for a sit-down meeting with investors who are already interested, but you'll also want to prepare a shorter pitch of a few minutes to pique peoples' interest. And then, the ever-important elevator pitch sums up your whole business plan in just 30 seconds — and be sure to include something exciting or make an opportunity for questions to keep people talking.
Send your business plan to potential investors far and wide. You can’t hear no (or yes!) unless you ask.
Once you secure a meeting with a potential investor or partner, you’ll want a more detailed presentation that presents all the key elements of your business plan. It’s also good to anticipate potential questions and prepare answers for questions you encounter for the first time.
When networking, be honest and genuine, even if you don’t have a ready answer for each question that comes your way – investors will be interested in your charisma and savvy as well as your ability to build a detailed plan.