Going into the restaurant and / or bar business is hard, but it can be a great way to make a living. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, which is a national trade association, the distilled spirits industry alone accounts for $100 billion in economic activity in the United States, so the business is definitely out there if you're willing to work hard to capture part of it.
Even if you plan to be a more 'hands off' owner and have a team of highly competent managers run the place for you, you will have to be closely involved in the planning, construction, and pre-opening stages with your new business. There is really no substitute for doing the research necessary before opening a business, particularly one with extensive regulations like in the food and hospitality industry.
Before buying your restaurant supplies, you'll want to create a profile of the clientele you imagine serving, including their general age range, professions, income level, and musical tastes. Knowing your target market makes many of the other decisions you'll make simpler, because you know up front that you're not going to try to be everything to everyone.
With your customer profile, you'll be able to develop your inventory. Trade magazines and publications by the food and hospitality industry will give you terrific data on spending patterns on food and beverage, as well as performance details of many types of establishments. Another great source of information can be your wholesale suppliers. They have a very accurate picture of what long-term trends are, what the latest hot idea in the industry is, and how you can work with the direction the industry is taking.
At some point you will have to order your bar supplies, kitchen equipment, and other supplies and equipment. You will have a lot of decisions to make, such as the type of bar stools, tables, and chairs you want, plus supplementary equipment you may want down the line, such as televisions, a jukebox, or games like darts. You'll want to start out by shopping around and getting a feel for which suppliers really know the industry and what the various suppliers' terms and prices are like. Once you find an honest, dependable source of restaurant supplies, you'll have set yourself up for success and not headaches.
Starting a business that's as interactive as a restaurant or bar is like having a child: it's way more work than you imagined, but when it's good, it's as good as it gets! There are plenty of things you can't predict about running your restaurant, but if you find a wholesale supplier for your equipment that you can count on, you'll have more time and energy to devote to those unexpected challenges and rewards that come with being a business owner.