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What You Need Before You Can Sell Alcohol at Your Restaurant

If you’re running a restaurant or preparing to open your first eatery, chances are you’ve thought about alcohol sales. While not every restaurant requires alcohol sales to succeed, many benefit from the added profit margins from wine, beer, and liquor sales. However, selling alcohol requires a few extra steps than you might think.

Between acquiring the appropriate licenses, finding the right equipment for your kitchen and bar, and developing a solid relationship with a beer distributor, there are plenty of steps to follow to ensure you’re on the right path. So if this is your first restaurant business or you’re preparing to add alcoholic beverages to the menu, here’s what you need before you can start selling.

Obtain the appropriate licenses

Naturally, before you can even think about selling alcohol through your business, you have to acquire licensure that legally permits you. These regulations can vary state by state, so it’s essential to check with your local authorities. Also, it’s important to note that this process can regularly take upwards of a year, so you must get started as soon as you’ve decided that you will apply for a wine, beer, or liquor license.

Source the proper equipment

Photo by Sérgio Alves Santos on Unsplash

Between offering an amazing selection of great beer, craft beer brewed on-site, or high-quality cocktails, you will also require some top-end restaurant equipment to help you make and store your supplies. There are a few ways to get the best prices and work with the nicest people, the first of which is to partner with a restaurant supply store. Search for stores based on your local area, using terms like “restaurant equipment Mount Vernon” or “restaurant supply company near me.” This will help you find relevant results.

Once you’ve found a restaurant supply company with quality reviews, you can browse the retailer’s catalog and find the perfect designs for your business. Sometimes, you can even find fantastic retailer specials on refurbished or renewed equipment. This can help you save on upfront costs on freezers, refrigerators, ice makers, and other mission-critical bar equipment.

Partner with a beverage distributor

From looking for a beer distributor in Allentown, PA, to partnering with the only master of wine in your New York neighborhood, finding the right distributor is essential. Between serving import beers, top-shelf liquors, and sumptuous wines, you’ll want to ensure a steady flow of high-quality products coming to your restaurant. Especially since many customers enjoy brands that work with local breweries, craft beer specialists, sommeliers, and other quality suppliers, it pays to partner with the best beer and liquor brands you can find. You may even get early access to new product launches and preferred partner discounts on bulk orders and larger purchases.

Find appropriate bartenders and servers

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

Depending on your state or locality, finding bartenders could be a straightforward task or a more complicated one. In a best-case scenario, your state makes it easy to hire anyone of age, regardless of whether they have a bartending license or certification. In other parts of the United States, certificates and licenses are required by law, and you have to verify these before employment. Non-compliance could result in penalties and fines assessed on your business. Whether you operate a food truck or run a catering company, licenses are vital to your overall customer service. Your diners and drinkers want to know that they’re being served by qualified professionals who represent your business well.

Between finding a beverage distributor and investing in quality equipment from your local restaurant depot, there’s plenty to do before you start selling import beers and craft cocktails at your restaurant. By following these key steps, you’ll be on the right path toward a successful liquor business.

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Written by Marcus Richards

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