Making the decision to open a bar is exciting and an impressive goal to achieve. Once you have established your concept and business plan, you can get started on buying the tangible inventory.
Buying bar equipment is a step in turning your bar dream into reality. However, that doesn't make it any less daunting and we understand there are so many considerations to get it right. That's why we have put together the ultimate checklist of bar equipment, software and other key factors you need in order to give yourself the best chance of success.
Deciding Factors for Bar Equipment
The initial cost of fitting out a bar is a big investment and it is essential that you are able to forecast a profit after some time. Before jumping straight into your bar equipment checklist, consider the following factors:
- Floor Plan - Carefully planning your bar floor plan will give you a clear idea of what will fit in the space and the room your staff will have behind the bar. You can also realistically calculate the amount of customers you can serve and whether you will be able to offer table service. This will stop you from buying unessential or impractical items and allow you to map out exactly where your inventory will be stored.
- Menu - A creatively planned menu design will help you establish the exact equipment your bar staff will need to make your drinks. Even if you are a new bar, deciding ahead whether you will also sell bar food in the future will help you plan for that.
- New, Used or Leased - Buying quality second-hand bar equipment can save you money upfront, but it may not be the smartest investment in the long haul. When deciding on high quality equipment, calculate the life cycle of the item and how many uses you plan to get out of it. Leasing large items like an ice machine may be most cost effective in the long run if the maintenance is managed by your supplier.
- Wholesale - Establishing a wholesale supplier relationship from the beginning will make restocking easier. Wholesale can save you money and stress as the supplier can source the right equipment you need for a more affordable price.
The Ultimate Bar Equipment Checklist: 66 Items to Consider
Once you have established your floor plan, menu and supplier choices; you will have a clear idea of the essential equipment you need to achieve your bar concept. For the definitive checklist, we have gone beyond just bartending tools and listed everything you need from innovative software to health and safety equipment. Planning your inventory management from the start will help you effectively restock going forward.
Each venue type will have its own specific bar equipment list depending on what they specialise in. As a starting point, we have split out our recommendations into essential bar equipment and more specialised:
Essential bar equipment checklist
- Spirit measurers
- Spirit wall mounts
- Free pourers for easy pouring
- Drip trays
- Reliable ice maker
- Ice cube trays and ice buckets
- Bottle openers
- Chopping boards and knives
- Beer taps
- Dishwasher and rack for wet glasses
- Bar mat
- Bar glasses
- Bar fridge
- Industrial fridge
- Industrial freezer
Wine bar equipment
- Champagne stopper
- Wine glasses
- Wine cooler
Cocktail bar equipment
- Lemon zester
- Ice molds
- Cocktail shakers
- Cocktail strainer
- Bar spoon and muddler
- Juicer or blender
- Array of glasses in different shapes
Brewery bar equipment
- Pint glasses
- Beer tasting glasses
- Beer tasting trays
The amount of equipment you need will depend on your choice to serve food. A smaller bar snacks menu may only need a small area, but a full dining menu will need more specialised equipment. As a general guide, think about:
- Grill or hob
- Preparation areas
- Cooking utensils
Every bar will have a different vibe which is influenced by how they organise and display their bar supplies. If you are starting a wine bar, think about having your expensive wine bottles in luxurious shelving displays. Alternatively, if you have a cocktail bar, you may need an extensive amount of open shelves to highlight the full range of spirits on offer. As a general rule, add the following to your checklist:
- Glass racks
- Display shelves
- Wine shelves
- Storage containers - for napkins, fruit garnishes, food etc
- Drink bottles - for fruit juices, sugar syrup etc
- Storeroom shelving
- Kitchen shelving and racks
- Napkin and straw holders
Health and Safety
The regulations and requirements for the food and beverage industry are strict. From sanitation practices to safety standards for both bar staff and customers, you will want to ensure you have the right equipment you need to implement compliance processes. This can include:
- Rubbish bins and recycling
- Industrial cleaning supplies
- Fire extinguisher
- Fire safety equipment
- Separate sinks for bar glasses, dishes and hand wash
- First aid kit
- Burglar alarms
- Smoke Alarm
- CCTV Cameras
One of the most crucial elements to think about is your ability to accept payment from customers. Old fashioned cash registers are becoming a thing of the past as cash transactions only make up 13% of all Australian payments. Therefore, it is essential that a bar has the ability to accept card payments with the following POS system equipment:
- Touchscreen display and computer
- EFTPOS machine
- Cash drawer
- Receipt printer
Before finding the right POS system, you should consider what you will require from it. As a bar owner, ask the following questions:
- Can it accept Google and Apple Pay? - Not all EFTPOS machines will have the ability to accept wireless payments. Usually, customers in a bar will expect a fast payment system so it would be hugely beneficial to invest in this.
- Will you need a pre authorisation of cards? - Expensive bar tabs may need some security to ensure the customer has sufficient funds to pay. Often bars will take a pre authorised amount in order to open a tab.
- Will you offer split bills? - Will the system manage this effectively?
- Will you offer QR code ordering? - In a post pandemic world, QR codes are here to stay. Many large and busy bars may see the benefit of using QR code ordering and payments to ensure everything is running smoothly during peak times.
- Can it integrate with other software? - Not only do you need the right tools in the bar, you also need the right tools to analyse and help with marketing.
Running a successful bar is a demanding job, so implementing the right software from the start will help you thrive. It is incredibly important that your software works together for accurate insights and processes. Some software you should think about:
- Reservation Software - Whether you will take online reservations or not, the software will help you manage your table availability and walk-ins. It will also enable you to analyse accurate data on your peak times and forecast your customer footfall.
- Inventory Management - This is particularly important for every bar as staying on top of your inventory will help you manage your profits. A huge benefit of inventory management is being able to integrate it with your payments data and reservation data. This allows you to make effective management decisions on costs, profitability and marketing.
- Employee Management - Efficiently manage staff rosters, back of house operations and payroll with employee management software. This is one of the hardest elements to get right in an industry with a high turnover of staff, so alleviate some stress and automate your processes.
- Marketing Software - Attract and retain diners with email marketing, website content and loyalty programs.
Why ResDiary should be on your bar equipment list
Here are some of the reasons why ResDiary should be an essential part of your bar equipment list:
- Bookings and integrations with online platforms - Customers expect every business to be online and available 24/7. ResDiary booking integration with Google, your website, social media and other platforms allows you to reach customers at any time of the day. Increase customer experience by allowing them to make a booking in your bar without having to wait for opening times to call.
- Table management - The online booking system automatically links in with your table management so you always know your availability and capacity. It allows you to maximise your space and provide efficient service to your customers.
- Menu management - Keep your menu online and allow your customers to order contactless. Updating your menu items has never been easier, you can instantly change your available items and promote special menus.
- Marketing - ResDiary can assist with email marketing, promoting events, menu changes and attracting new and returning customers. Our loyalty feature can help you boost the customer experience and ensure your customers stay loyal and return.
- Forecasting - Using your reservation and ordering data, you can forecast your sales for peak times, the month ahead and find the patterns throughout the year. All of this will speed up your analysis and help you make accurate management decisions.
- Operations Management - Improve efficiency by tracking staff performance, integrating with payroll and inventory management. Keeping accurate data of your bar's performance will help you plan for the future and aim for profitability.
After investing a fair amount on bar equipment and your inventory; it is important to ensure you can boost your profits. ResDiary can play a crucial role in the efficient management of your bar and give you the right data and tools to succeed.