Anyone going alcohol-free?

No liquor license? Just soft drinks, juices, teas, coffee, bottled water?

I have very mixed feelings about trying to do it.


Works out very well for us. No expensive Washington Liquor License or Alcohol Server training…anything I can do to pay less money to the state is always a positive thing.

The previous owners sales on beer and wine were minimal, and if people really want to drink, there is a micro brewery right next door that we deliver to.

Years ago we served Beer and Wine and for the last 12 plus years we have not.

We are currently in the process of getting our liquor license again. :mrgreen:

Why you ask? To increase sales and increase our customer base. We continue even today to lose a table or two a week wanting alcohol.

One of our mistakes when we sold alcohol was theft and a low price point which was bringing in “drinkers” who were causing some issues. Employee theft was also an issue with our bottled beer and managers not keeping inventory up to par and us being too young and dumb to fix it.

This time around we are keeping our selection limited to draft and charging an appropriate amount to keep the drinkers at bay. Accountability is going to be much different this time! :wink:

In my mind adding beer and wine will certainly increase sales to folks that want beer and wine…But I also think it will cost you sales from folks who do not want to patronize an establishment that offers these products…But with any business decision, it is usually hard to “guess” right so sometimes it takes trial and error…

I don’t think having it available would be a negative impact, having it flowing freely would be. I think Kris has the right idea, have it available for those tables that want a pitcher with their meal, but not priced low enough that you are a drinking destination for those looking to get more than a little relaxed.


Hi eupher61

If a major portion of your business is dine in I would certainly recommend at least beer and wine be offered.

George Mills

Alcohol free and would never even consider adding it. We would end up losing customers here in the bible belt and I do not want to deal with extra insurance costs and liability to my business. Personally, I see nothing wrong with have a couple of beers, but you need to weigh all the pros and cons.

The restaurant in our building before us was more “bar” then restaurant. I lost track of the number of folks who had mentioned they’d never been in “because it was a bar”. When we set up our Pub, we purposefully brand ourselves a Pub not a bar. What ever that means in folks minds might vary but it’s sure working for us.

We don’t do spirits, cocktails what ever you want to call them, and our focus is on American Craft Brews. We have 9 on tap, and as a nod to yellow beer drinkers we do pull Bud Light and Miller Lite, but our main sellers are the small label beers that we’re building a very loyal following with.

The plus, we do avoid the “drinkers”, and the profit margins on the up-scale beers is nice too!

I think one can control the direction and image they want for their establishment with what and how it’s served. There are some that no alcohol whatsoever will be the right choice, and others, like us, it’s a perfect fit and we maintain a strong “family friendly” image in the process.

I lost track of the number of folks who had mentioned they’d never been in “because it was a bar”. When we set up our Pub, we purposefully brand ourselves a Pub not a bar. What ever that means in folks minds might vary but it’s sure working for us.

Interesting you should say that. A “sports bar” recently opened up in our small town. It’s a nice-looking place, clean, etc. They have standard bar food including a kid’s menu, so it’s clearly not a seedy, adult-only, anything goes type of place. That being said, there has been a much talk by some that, gasp, another “bar” has opened up in town. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, of course, but I would guess that the majority of those folks wouldn’t think twice about going to Pizza Hut, Olive Garden, or other similar establishment despite the fact that alcohol is served because they’re not “bars”.

Beer = profit. One of the most basic of equations. Unless you have some moral issue with it go for it. 99% of the public is not looking to get drunk and cause a scene. In my experience most guys (and girls) would love a cold beer with pizza and wings. It’s just part of the experience. Mark-up Mark-up Mark-up…

I purposely left my real reasoning out of the question originally. The location we are now focusing on is directly across the street from the school campus. State law in MO prohibits liquor licenses within 100 ft of a school, and this is (according to Google Earth measurements) 90’ at the very longest. I realize that may not be accurate; I’m afraid it’s a lot shorter than that in reality.

The deal for the space is hard to pass up, although proximity to the school could cause problems with “hanging out” too…I’ll just try to put those kids to work doing door hangers or something.

But the beer and wine (NOT a full bar, no way) sales are pretty important to me, although I’m somewhat reassured by some of the comments here.
We can petition to the City Council to get a waver, but they are likely to refuse it, given the overall mood in the town. I’ll try to set procedures in order to all but eliminate the possibility of kids drinking at all, and adults drinking too much. We won’t be a bar, as someone mentioned above.

Thanks to all…please, keep your comments coming.

The space is only a good deal if the math works…Sometimes the deal of a lifetime in terms of cheap rent costs you plenty in traffic and sales…

Do a spreadsheet with variables with and without liquor sales…What do the numbers look like when you factor in liquor sales?..How much liquor do you have to sell to cover a higher rent at a higher traffic location…And remember that years down the line a higher sales location should be more valuable…

As far as being across from a school…You may have to re-work your menu to cater to the traffic you get…I had a client try to sell pizza across from a school and got killed by another place that mostly sold fries and gravy…

The math works fine. Town of 2600 or so, the traffic pattern is all but negligable. But, being the county seat, the majority of the traffic from the highest population areas of the county will go right past us. Not to mention the after-school, pick-up-the-kids traffic. And all the school activities in a 3,000+ student district.

We’d take the approach of slightly higher prices anyway, to eliminate the purely social drinking crowd (if there is one), but hope to offer a bit more than just the major beer brands. I’m a fan of microbreweries, and while the majority of the town proper may not be in that mindset, it’s also a growing bedroom community, so a lot of more educated types are in the immediate area, with kids at the schools. I’m treating beer and wine as more of a bonus income item, rather than depending on it as a core. At this point, at least.

We can petition to the City Council to get a waver, but they are likely to refuse it, given the overall mood in the town.

I started on a tangent(below lol)—I’m within a hundred feet of two schools AND a church. In MA that law was struck down. BUT—NOONE. NOONE. Except one realtor knew this…plz check and dbl check ur laws!

I did go to services at a very southern baptist church and sang hallelujahs with my mom, I did go to each principal of the schools and gave their sports teams big discounts, I did go to the town Council and offer them personally a discount on catering, etc…

ps no booze?–I’d be closed. no doubt in my mind.

This one hits a little close to home. Our store is very unconventional, in practice and in location. Cape Cod (MA) is very seasonal. Two months a year the very best places in town either close, or don’t make money. We are sustaining. (20 months) but…I went for a FULL liquor license. Everyone called me crazy. Turned out to be the best thing I ever did.

edit: full disclosure I’m a bartender at heart not a chef.

I did have a plan in place if they only gave me a beer and wine license.

It involved as many drafts as i could reasonably afford to put in place(6-8)(used equipment)(tell those asses from bud they r giving u a free keg or three at least!), a really good selection of well priced, unheard of wines, very good red AND white sangrias, and SAKI!! lol nothing like a pizza place with a good saki list to really freak people out lol :wink:

mebbe it works, maybe not…

Double check with your ATF rep I think you are mistaken about the 100 feet. My recollection is you have to get a petition for area immediately surrounding you.

Double check with your ATF rep I think you are mistaken about the 100 feet
Not according to MO state law. It says within 100’, approval from the local government. The local ordinance might say all property owners must be informed. The only other commercial property within 500’ is a car repair shop. There are a couple of houses across the road.