The Circumstances

Having worked for an alcoholic beverages corporation for over twenty years, this individual was downsized in a corporate reorganization and at the age of 48 was looking for a way of getting into business, She had no experience in the restaurant business other than working part-time as a bartender while at college. She realized that this was probably going to be her last chance to go into business for herself and she had always wanted to open a pub. She had limited funds but felt confident that she had the necessary collateral, good credit record and business acumen to generate a bank loan.

The Decision Process

She was familiar with the Irish Pub Concept from her work in the alcoholic beverages industry and understood the differences between it and Irish-themed bars. She has made contact with pub franchise companies but sees them as a very expensive route to market. Having got in touch with the Irish Pub Concept people, over several conference calls she was able to get a much better handle on what someone with her experience and funds could achieve when it came to developing an Irish Pub. She knew that she would be opening a small place, less than 4,000 square feet, probably rented, probably with an existing kitchen and HVAC and in an area that was accessible to a particular demographic. She also was helped to understand that, given her inexperience, she needed to employ the services of a restaurant consultant who was very familiar with Pubs. Using the criteria given to her, she started looking at available real estate in her geographical area.

The Planning

Having found a suitable premises on the right leasehold terms, and working with the consultant, she was able to build a solid, persuasive business plan for her bank and to present her case for a loan of approximately $300,000. With this and her savings of $200,000, she would be able to complete a quality renovation of the premises. The bank granted her the loan, and as collateral asked for a combination of stock and other assets. Proposals were sought from design/build companies, a design was selected and work began on the project. The budget was decided and estimates were sought across all components of the build-out.

The Renovation

With the assistance of the consultant, the renovation and operational planning were carried out on a tight critical path over a period of eight weeks. Training for employees in how to adopt the culture of an Irish Pub was carried out and the entire place was prepared for an authentic Pub launch.

The Outcome

Sales were excellent during the initial few months and settled down very satisfactorily after that. The learning curve was quite steep for the owner during the initial few weeks….the constant demands on time and money during the opening phase were tremendous and, combined with the long working hours and late nights, this made for a stressful environment at times. However, as the business began to establish a pattern, employees began to gain confidence and cash flow concerns started to ease, the pub became an enjoyable, if hard-working, day to day experience.

Owner Insights
COVID19 has really shaken up our industry and created immense challenges. That said, having a community-based pub has allowed me to be completely flexible with menus, delivery, pickup and a host of other changes I have had to make to my business. If I had owned a regular restaurant in a downtown location, I doubt the business would have survived.
Irish Pub Operator | New JerseyView Owner Insights
Pub Facts

Casual-dining restaurants usually require significant local populations to survive and thrive. Because of the frequency of consumer visits to an Irish Pub, they can thrive in populations of less than 15,000.