To start a business, a proprietor needs to make a lot of decisions. Including things such as which bank has the right deal, and which location will be the right fit, all the way down to floor, ceiling and wall finishes.
I expected to have to make lots of decisions and, in some ways, relished in the fact that I was ultimately in charge of ALL of them. But the ones that I thought would be easy were considerably harder than expected. Even simple things like what table and chair finish to use. Balancing out top-of-the-line desires with a build budget doesn’t always work well.
So compromises are made, but where to compromise and where not to compromise are also tough decisions. A compromise here could save me thousands of dollars, but is that right for the customer? Or by making that compromise, am I selling myself short on my ambiance or customer service potential? Most of the time, it came down to asking myself one question: Are my customers going to turn away because of this decision? For example, right now, I can’t afford 100 chairs all made of solid wood, so I have metal chairs with wood seats as a compromise. You know, the kind you see at nearly every smaller start-up these days. 😉 But, are my customers going to turn away because I don’t have wood chairs? No. (I hope not.) So that money is better spent somewhere else, like the pretty pricey, but visually stunning (and properly “tuned” for beer serving pressure and temperature) beer tap system I’m putting in. (I know the anticipation is killing you and I won’t post a picture of it, yet.) This place is about beer, so the beer should be the centerpiece, not the chairs.
Here’s a partial list of some of the other decisions (and not-really-decisions) that have come across my desk over the past months.
- Coke or Pepsi?
- What type of flooring? What pattern/color?
- What color should the walls be?
- What color do you want for the bathroom stall partitions? (Yep, even have to choose those.)
- How much kitchen equipment do I put in? (Read: how much can I afford.)
- TVs or no TVs, or just one TV?
- Which brewery equipment supplier? How many fermentation tanks?
- We have to put a wall and door here, even though you didn’t want one, is that ok?
- Well, if you have to, do I really have a choice?
- How many point of sale terminals? Who is supplying them?
- How much wine and liquor are you going to sell?
- Where do we run the soda line from the back room?
- What type of insulated walk-in cooler floor is going to hold up to 15,000 pounds of beer and 3,500 pounds of stainless steel on it? (Yes, you read that right. 15,000 pounds of beer. This was the subject of multiple discussions and multiple decision changes.)
- What type of ceiling? What color?
- Bar top – wood, metal or stone? (I’m pretty proud of this decision and can’t wait to show you.)
- What type of bathroom vanity top?
- We have to move your office to the farthest, darkest corner of the space is that ok?
- Again… not really a choice.
- What color should the bathroom doors be?
- Can you send the electrician examples of the types of light fixtures you want?
- How many outlets do you want? Where?
- By the way, we have outlets under the bar on the customer side, including USB outlets for your use.
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I've spent a lot of late nights at the pub by myself lately, working on the final push to open. At least when I'm here, I know I have power right under the bar. Outlets and USB outlets right there for my customers, when I can finally let them in. (And purse/coat hooks too.) #brewpub #brewery #craftbeer #madison #madisoncraftbeer
- How much water are you going to use? (Ummm, all of it.)
- What type of signage are you putting up?
- What type of security system?
- Where do the wi-fi boxes go?
- Where do we put the grease trap?
- Where do we put the soda system?
- Are you going to want to hang stuff on the walls? If so, where? Because we need to reinforce the walls in those spots.
- Shelving too. Can you tell us where that will go?
I’m sure the list could go on for many more bullet points. But you get the idea. Hopefully, I didn’t compromise in the wrong place, for the customer, or operationally.