So, you’ve made it. But can you do it again?

Business is good—the bar or restaurant you’ve poured your life and heart into is thriving, healthy and successful. You have a complete handle on the day-to-day, a core of talented and dedicated senior staff who have bought into your concept, and you have a complete grasp on the local area.

But even knowing this, it won’t guarantee that your next venture will be an instant success. Opening a new bar or restaurant location might not be as easy as you think.

As long as you keep these tips in mind, your second, third or even fourth spot might stand a fighting chance.

Differentiate and distance

A common fear of opening another location is cannibalizing your already-thriving business. There are two main tools to combat this: differentiation and distance from your original location.

There are dangers that come with using these tools. Veer too far away from your original location and you’ll be faced with the added challenge of educating an entirely new audience on who you are and what you can offer to their community. Change too much and you risk alienating guests who are fans of your past success and look to follow you to your new enterprise.

Finding the right balance between both differentiation and distance is key to avoid eating up your own business.

Understand it’s a completely different market

Assuming that your new location going to draw the same crowd as your first is very dangerous. It is essential to do your due diligence and thoroughly research the area you’re moving into.

There are many questions you should know the answer to before deciding on a new location.

  • Is the makeup of the area mainly business, or is it more residential?
  • What kind of restaurants and bars are already there, and what are their guests like?
  • Are the people who frequent the area actually excited about your concept, or lukewarm?

These are just a few of the market research points you should have answers to before jumping into a new spot.

Running into unexpected answers to these questions shouldn’t discourage you completely. They can give you a better idea of the challenges your new location will face, and what you can do to try and turn negative opinions around.

Don’t rest too hard on your laurels

This next point can really be applied to any situation, but, when developing a sister establishment, depending too much on your past success can get you into trouble.

The food and beverage industry is always changing and evolving; if you rest too much on your current state right now, you risk being left in the dust as the next hot trends quickly emerge in the market.

Staying in touch with the desires of your community, as well as overall industry trends, can keep your good reputation intact as you develop your next big bar or restaurant.

Get creative with it

As many professionals in the industry will already know, the art of hospitality should always be a creative process.

One of the really exciting aspects of opening a new establishment is the ability to flex your creative muscles. It gives you the option to try things that perhaps wouldn’t fit the character of your first establishment but you’ve always wanted to try.

When working through concept ideas, keep in mind that people are naturally drawn to authenticity. One of the best bars in Boston, State Park, which is the second location of the Hungry Mother team, was essentially born from the team’s desire to pay tribute to their Southern and Mid-Western roots and develop a classic neighborhood bar concept that both their parents and the team themselves would be proud to frequent. This is on display in every part of the bar and really speaks toward its success.

For more tips on how to develop your new establishment, stay tuned to the BevSpot blog by subscribing below. And feel free to discuss the challenges you’re facing with expansion in the comments section.

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