A very good friend of mine has propositioned me to go into a business venture with him. We're contemplating opening a bar/lounge targeting the upscale clientele and featuring a distinctive wine list.
The more thought I give it, the more issues I come up with. One for example is the issue of smoking. As most of you know, smoking is commonplace at bars and clubs. So with impending (June 1, 2004) legislation banning smoking at all bars and restaurants, you can imagine how much it will affect business.
I quit smoking last fall. Occasionally, I will social smoke as the temptation is still too hard to cope with in a bar environment (which I don't frequent as much as I used to). So I see the arguments for both smokers and non-smokers. But putting aside the health and moral issues of smoking. I need to look at this topic in a different light now, how it will affect my business. Simply speaking, I'm of the opinion that banning smoking in bars will decrease business. Sure there will be the non-smoking patrons that will be attracted because of the cleaner environment, etc. But my feeling is the smokers outnumber the non-smokers. So, my partner and I are throwing around the idea of making our lounge a private establishment for smokers. We're confident that making the business a private club with membership required will give us the loophole required to allow smoking within the lounge. Being private also enforces the 'upscale' image we're aiming for.
Right now the biggest hurdle is finding a location. Our initial searches haven't been too promising as alot of stores are zoned as "retail" and not "bar/restaurant" which we require for obvious reasons.