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Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

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  #1  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:38 AM
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Default Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Hey there. I have been searching for the appropriate threat but cannot quite seem to find it.

I have a partner who for the past two months have seriously been considering opening up a hookah lounge in the greater Seattle area of Washington. We have our ideal location (Kirkland,WA , to be exact for those Seattlelites up here) & have done the statistics for:

Rent
Initial startup costs (12 months rent, 18 hookahs, 25 bowls, 10 Razan/Grand Hoses, 3,000 AF Coconut Coals, 25 Kilos of Shisha ( AF / Layalina / Select Nakhla Flavors, Stove, Ice Maker)
It is roughly $22,000 dollars for just those items.
I would estimate another $10,000 dollars for decorations.
I would assume we would present our business plan for a $30,000 dollar loan to pe able to be paid off within 60 months.

Ideally we would be profitable within 26 months (variables can always change goals).

We have been talking to past hookah lounge & former hookah lounge owners & they ALL say it is quite simple. I have wondered why there are only 4-5 lounges in the entire state of Washington, in a state so liberal as us especially. But I have come to the conclusion that there just isn't a need that is being met. The hookah lounges ARE all popular up here, every one that I have been to. Not a single one in the past 4 years has closed down due to lack of income. It is either spilt coals causing the place to burn, or illegal operations (serving alcohol, having employees, not checking ID, etc.).

My question is pretty simple. I have been set on this goal / idea for quite some time but I want to be tested.
Ask me some questions that may stump me.
Give me advice on opening up a lounge.
Any helpful advice or helpful questions are greatly appreciated!

Thanks
Michael Cullen... or Massacre
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  #2  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

so you are going to furnish the place on 10,000$?

Going to serve food?

is 10 hoses enough?

Utilities? Taxes? Licensing fees?
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  #3  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 10:54 AM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

ur gona need at least 1 hose per hookah and a few just incase they break for one

Have you considered using other bowls instead of standard clay ones for the more wet shisha?

How much are you looking to large for each shisha?

How many people per shisha?

What will the age limit be?

Are you gonna allow anyone over a certain age in, i know this place that does not allow "hood rats" in, even tho i could be one, they dont let anyone in that gonna casue trouble, i know its discrimitation but thats they policy, and they seem to attact a different sort of crowd, but its still very busy.

I know i dont like doing to lounges that just allow anyone in, as in lounges that let anyone in theys always trouble
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  #4  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 11:18 AM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

so you are going to furnish the place on 10,000$?

Yeah. Couches will be free, just gonna have flooring / paintingfor about $2,000 max.
2 flat screen TVs, ideally & a stereo system. Then about $2.5k on misc. decorations. All estimates are 'rounded' up. I don't have the statistical portion of the business plan done yet. But, that is what the forum is here for, to help out .
Going to serve food?
Not allowed in WA...

is 10 hoses enough?
The hookahs will come with the KM stock hoses. The 10 additional IS for hoses breaking / ghosting flavors of some sort. Just to be prepared for the first few months.

Utilities? Taxes? Licensing fees?
Included in the budget are utilities.
To own a hookah lounge in WA you must not have any employees (only co-owners) & must be a 'private membership'. Hence why I am not ready yet & still in the process, because I need the appropriate contacts in the local county & city councils to respond to my e-mails. But that will give us a better idea on exact licenses. If any hookah lounge representatives in WA could speak up too, that'd be great.

Have you considered using other bowls instead of standard clay ones for the more wet shisha?
We plan on using both vortexs & phunnels

How much are you looking to large for each shisha?
We plan on charging $15.00 a bowl for standard AF.
$13.00 a bowl for house blends (mixes of left over shisha from each kilo/tub)
$7.00 for refills.

How many people per shisha?
2 people per hookah, but we will 'allow' 3 if requested.

What will the age limit be?
No age limit as of yet. But a min age of 18... obviously.
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  #5  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 11:35 AM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Kind of pricey, but you can always change the prices if it doesn't work out.
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  #6  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 11:37 AM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

There are two hookah bars in Seattle.
One, Majiles Cafe = $19 a bowl for AF, $22 for AF Golden.
Night Owl - $18.99 for AF, $22.99 a bowl for SB.

Our prices would allow for high profit AND the best hookah prices in the greater Seattle area.
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  #7  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Wow pricey up there! $8/bowl for AF and $11/bowl for SB here.
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  #8  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:33 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Why flat screens?
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  #9  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:45 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Your going to want to make sure you have ALL the correct permits. That's how The Rabbit Hole originally got in trouble.

KM's are definately great hookahs to use, however they are pretty expensive. Why not MZ's? They are a little cheaper and still work great.

Also, the reason Majles and Night Owl do so well has a lot to do with the fact that they are both right by Universities. So you may want to check around to see if you can find a location somewhat close to a college.
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  #10  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt-641 View Post
Your going to want to make sure you have ALL the correct permits. That's how The Rabbit Hole originally got in trouble.

KM's are definately great hookahs to use, however they are pretty expensive. Why not MZ's? They are a little cheaper and still work great.

Also, the reason Majles and Night Owl do so well has a lot to do with the fact that they are both right by Universities. So you may want to check around to see if you can find a location somewhat close to a college.
Yep. Hence why Edmonds / Kirkland would be great. Right by two of the top community colleges in the state. As well as popular for night life in the area.
Rabbit Hole was fine, they got closed because the whole place caught on fire due to a coal under a couch. Mira's just closed because they had so many fines against them & decided to get out while they could instead of leaving unprofitably. But Mira's didn't check ID 24/7, had employees & also had some tax problems.

& I haven't tested out an MZ yet. But we are more than likely going with a KMs/MYAs just due to our sources we have for purchasing.
But anyone have suggestions for wholesale purchasing?
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  #11  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

hey michael, about 6 months ago matt (aka wonderland) posted a thread about this. check it out, it's got some useful info.

http://www.hookahpro.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10836
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  #12  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 02:08 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Thanks Chad! That was actually the only useful thread I found though. I did read it, & got some useful law info out of it. Now I am mainly looking for wholesale contacts.
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  #13  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 02:53 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

My advice is:

Start with small venue in a good location. You need to build your reputation, then you can expand, and move onto bigger and better things.
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  #14  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelMassacre View Post
Thanks Chad! That was actually the only useful thread I found though. I did read it, & got some useful law info out of it. Now I am mainly looking for wholesale contacts.
no problem dude, off the top of my head southsmoke.com, hookahcompany.com, and myasaray.com do wholesale.

if you're buying al fakher wholesale you probably have to go through http://www.sierranetworkinc.com/ . if you do that, then you can get your AF tobacco, AF syrian hookahs, AF coals, and AF bowls/hoses/accessories from one spot. the number is [FONT=Arial](310) 637-5020 [FONT=Verdana]and the mans name is Emil Hakim. [/FONT][/FONT]
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  #15  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

How does your plan cover staffing? How much of a misc/ oh shit buffer does it have?
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  #16  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

i would recommend that as tempting as it sounds that the staff should not smoke hookah while on the job i have been to a lounge in san jose ca called GIZA where the staff also smoked as well as the guest they had one it will kill the shisha that u have on hand and 2 being light head while talking to guest does not look too good
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  #17  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:02 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Staffing: Illegal in washington to have staff where there is any type of smoking involved. So the 'profit' will be split 50/50. But it will be quite some time before we are profitable, as with most businesses, but ideally 50/50 profit after debts are paid & expenses. & Our loan would be $30,000 & have a $5,000 dollar 'misc' section which will be used to cover things such as 'misc expenses' which will more than likely be decorations & such.
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  #18  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

well then if ur charging like 13, 18 bucks per bowl then ull be making a huge profit like maybe around 500-800% which is good and as a heads up try to buy those small bowls instead of using the standard clay ones it will save ur the amount of shisha u have on hand and up ur profit since u will be using less of ur input(shisha) while still charging the same amount as a regular clay bowl
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  #19  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:35 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Which bowls, thaidude? Like standard chinese bowls?
Ideally vortex bowls/small phunnels is what we want. Just due to the quality of the smoke being so much better.
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  #20  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

small phunnels is ur best bet to get the most money out of ur guest vortex bowls yes look great and save the shisha but then u are going to have to give more coals to ur guest so u will be losing money there yea sure lets just say one coal is like wat 5 /10 cents a peice now think about it this way how many guest are u going to have perday and also how much coals+gas(for the stove) will cost the total might come out to like maybe 20 bucks a day does not sound like a lot but after about 5 days bam u just lost 100 bucks now that is quiet abit of money so small phunnel bowls are the way to go

Last edited by thaidude; August 3rd, 2009 at 04:45 PM.
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  #21  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

We plan on using 3 AF Coconut coals per bowl. Valued at $.09 cents a piece per coal that makes it $.30 cents per bowl for one round of coals & $.90 cents for shisha for the bowl.

Definitely agree that the small phunnel is the best to go.
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  #22  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:51 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

make sure ur location is good also the best places i found has always been by a college haha everywhere else seems like a dud
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  #23  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 04:56 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Quote:
make sure ur location is good also the best places i found has always been by a college haha everywhere else seems like a dud
Sometimes even ones by colleges will close down. There was one open by me down at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale that closed due to not enough revenue and the smoking bans in IL. Now all there stuff is sold at the gas station. Hopefully this will work for you.
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  #24  
Old August 3rd, 2009, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Opening Up A Hookah Lounge

Yeah location isn't an issue, we've established many venues. Definitely appreciate the marketing advice, but I am mainly looking for the actual distributors (Like AF, Thanks Chad! I sent them an e-mail) & the legal questions anyone may have.
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Last edited by MichaelMassacre; August 3rd, 2009 at 05:52 PM.
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