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So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

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  #1  
Old May 27th, 2008, 01:29 AM
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Default So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

So any suggestions guys, like how much should i charge and like should there be a cover charge, what type of food would i serve and should i include alcohol. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. and should i charge by bowl ? Plus i live right by a college and how close should i be to it or not so close and does location matter that much in a small town?
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  #2  
Old May 27th, 2008, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

walking range to the college would be good.
i dont know what kind of food, depends what kind you want to open
most places end up being far from a lounge....id keep it simple.

it really depends, a lot of hookah lounges are terrible, in terms of service, quality, flavors, hookahs.

it really depends how youre going to run your business.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 03:09 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Pick a area where tons of people like college students could see it. Make sure you carry some awesome shish. Like some starbuzz or fusion and then a lower priced one like af. The hookah bar I went too would charge 8 for a bowl of the cheaper stuff, and 12 for a bowl of the more expensive starbuzz. There wasn't a cover charge. If you can get some TV's going in there. Maybe a beanbag room or something
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Old May 27th, 2008, 05:06 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

hire me
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  #5  
Old May 27th, 2008, 07:12 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

I hope you have $40,000 to $50,000 to start.
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  #6  
Old May 27th, 2008, 09:23 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

The lounges in my area charge $10-15 a bowl. Almost every one is near a university. They offer a wide variety of food and drinks as some, and just snacks and drinks at others. I believe I read a while back that Hajo Flettner ran a lounge. He might be able to tell you more.

Last edited by Kwikwi; May 27th, 2008 at 09:25 AM.
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  #7  
Old May 27th, 2008, 09:30 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

If that's true, what Husky says, it seems that it isn't so good deal. 50.000$ for start divide from 10$ each bowl, so you gonna get back 50.000$ in 5.000 bowls. I think that will take much of time.
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Old May 27th, 2008, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

just because you will spend around $50.000, it doesn't mean its not a good business, If you do it right, it will work and you will make a profit, it will take time like all business does but it will be worth it!
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  #9  
Old May 27th, 2008, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

I went to a Hookah lounge in Columbus OH and they were charging around $7 for your first Bowl and then $5 for your next bowls. This Hookah lounge wouldn't happen to be in ohio would it? Oh yeah i have found that Al Waha and Romman shisha has a very good flavor and is a really good smoke. Hope that helps!
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  #10  
Old May 27th, 2008, 12:52 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Offer smooth smoke. That is more important than people getting a good buzz. People will quickly turn down your place for another if the hookah isn't smooth. To do this I think the easiest thing to do would be to use Al Fakhr.

Use real coals. QL will run you more money plus they don't last as long.

Start the prices low. If you feel you can, then increase the price later on.

Offer multiple price sets. Make the cheapest around 7-10, and go from there.

Make things interesting. Ask customers if they want anything in the vase, if they have ever smoked hookah bubbles, and if they want to try it, whatever.

Atmosphere is more important than you may think. Have a good sound system with good music.

Make sure the furniture you put in is sturdy and doesn't slide around. This will minimize hookahs falling over and such.

Keep the hookahs on the ground!! The last thing you need is to have people getting 3rd degree burns from the coals.

I wouldn't worry too much about food. I would worry more so about drinks. Do not make alcohol available, but that's my opinion. A lot of the south Asian people might not appreciate that, and they could very well be a strong part of your customer base.

Make non-alcoholic drinks available like Pina Coladas, Daquerie's (sp?), things like that. People love that stuff along with their shisha.

If you decide to have food, make sure it's not too greasy or heavy. That stuff with shisha may give customers a feeling of nausea. Try light stuff.

Sell shisha too. Once people get a taste they will want to have it in their own hookahs as well, so mark up the shisha and take your own cut.

If I think of anything else I'll post.
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  #11  
Old May 27th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

I ran one successfully for a couple of years and my advice is don't unless you have:

1) About 50K for the start up and enough money to operate at a loss for a year
2) You have severals years experience operating a cafe at a profit.
3) You can afford to lose it all when the anti-tobacco lobby shuts you down
4) You are willing to work 16 hour days 7 days a week for a year
5) You can explain exactly why you've chosen the location you have to get into the shisha business.
6) Understand that that if all goes well you'll only make around 50K a year at best
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  #12  
Old May 27th, 2008, 03:42 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

If you don't have competition the location will only matter when you are new. Once the word gets out that you are the only hookah place around hopefully peopel will seek you out. I would mix the mood too, have theme nights to see what works well, for example you could have chill music one night, then middle easter mellow music another, and dj style another, etc. Wish I could advise more, and I wish you luck, and I'd like to see it finished!
Let us know how you are progressing.
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  #13  
Old May 27th, 2008, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

been bags and good hookahs and Tabaccoo. Good music, maybe a gumbo TV ~ 80"-100" DLP with a PS3 / XBox and multi player games like Guitar Heros or something.

it works best if you got alcohol served, because there is nothing like people drunk trying to play the game.

Good music is a must

foods: if the place has a back yard, perhaps you can grill up burgers or something or other. Hummas is great in places like this. Good Sandwitches and finger foods.

Remember to make the atmasphere relaxing... one thingk you dont want to do is blast hip hop like crazy all the time.
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  #14  
Old May 27th, 2008, 04:15 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hajo Flettner View Post
I ran one successfully for a couple of years and my advice is don't unless you have:

1) About 50K for the start up and enough money to operate at a loss for a year
2) You have severals years experience operating a cafe at a profit.
3) You can afford to lose it all when the anti-tobacco lobby shuts you down
4) You are willing to work 16 hour days 7 days a week for a year
5) You can explain exactly why you've chosen the location you have to get into the shisha business.
6) Understand that that if all goes well you'll only make around 50K a year at best

this is a great make sure you focus on #1 and #2 because you cannot open a business and expect it to blossom right away you have to have money to keep it running for at least a year. in the figure out when the place would be packed and make sure you have minimum staff in the biggining and expand once more people show up.


It would make sense to throw parties with all your friends to come and pack the place remember preseption is 90% if people see its packed, they will want to go in, if its empty no one will show up. when i go resturants i dont look at the menu, i look on how many people are inside. If its packed the food got to be good , if its empty the food is crap.
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  #15  
Old May 27th, 2008, 05:40 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

My suggestion?

DONT

I hate to be the guy thats the downer in a thread.... but I say this out genuine concern.

I say dont because I dont believe the lounge trend is going to hold up for many more years. The first year, as stated could very well be at a loss....or most if it scraping by to pay off debt.

Unless I was damn sure that I could go in.... hurt the first year...and then get rich over the next 2-3....and then be able to walk away from it completely after that time...I wouldnt touch it. Case scenario # 2 is if I could basically open it up on the strength of liqour sales.... and the hookah could be there as a gimmick or easily ditched in favor of some other attraction when the interest bottoms out.
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  #16  
Old May 27th, 2008, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Go talk to the owner of your local Cigar lounge -- they will advise you about the prospects of running a trendy tobacco-based business. Er, uh wait a minute....

But seriously, if you are in a college town that isn't already beset with lounges you might have a good chance of making it for a year or two and then maybe you can convert to a shop.
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  #17  
Old May 27th, 2008, 09:20 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Location matters, unless...
you fly dmc over from the UK and get him to do ALL of his crazy experiments.
It's almost guranteed that you will get good business. LOL
JK
First of all, make sure you are nice. Make sure there isn't bad music that can taint the hookah smoking experience, or taint the image of hookah. I'm not good with numbers, so you're not gonna get a "how much should i charge" number from me. make sure you use natural coals. I wouldn't include alcohol, too much of a hassle. Also, getting windcovers for all your hookahs is a must; it cuts down on all the coals you'll have to use.
You could also have a VIP club where people could get discounts if they join and are frequent smokers. There's a bunch of stuff that the HP community has talked about, i'm sure you can find it all with the search.
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  #18  
Old May 28th, 2008, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

I would really take Hajo's advice into consideration. Like he said he has ran one successfully for a number of years so his advice is invaluable.
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  #19  
Old May 28th, 2008, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

hey bigwhitet, have these suggestion helped you out in your decision making?
oh and another question, do hp memebers get a vip pass when you open!
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  #20  
Old May 29th, 2008, 05:56 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

well all of these suggestions are great, just a couple things, there is no hookah lounge within 80 miles of where i live, and there is only one smoke shop within 50 miles, I have about 5 people plus me that want to do this and we would all go in on it as co-owners. i dont know if that is the best thing but you know i dont have the credit or the funds to do something like this but with all of us together i think we can do this. All of these suggestioins are great and you guys are awesome but all in all do you guys think that this is a good idea and yes john all of you can be vip members
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  #21  
Old May 29th, 2008, 06:22 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

I thought about opening a bar. something like 90% of restaruant (sp) business fail within their first year, after reading into it, and seeing that... i walked away. It's just to much of a risk. One day when i'm able to throw that type of money around maybe. It's still a dream. But, until then, i can't risk losing my equity.
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  #22  
Old May 29th, 2008, 06:23 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Also- We're not trying to make you dislike us. We're trying to give you honest opinions on the hookah market as we see it.

big but honestly...- going in with 5 co owners is probably not the best ideal. The reason why, is there a 5 different people trying to run the place, and 5 different people who will want their hands on the cash.
Take this into consideration. Would you move in to a house with these 5 people? Will their habits drive you crazy? Do they run a "tidy" house? How are their finances and money skills? How about decision making skills? How about handling things under financial pressure? Are they party animals that don't know when enough is enough? Will they respect your decisions and not go behind your back? If one or 4 lose their jobs will you be able to swing the bills in this economic decline?

If you are un sure. Walk away now. The reason I say this, even though it's not a bar, I have several friends who are like brothers to me. My fiance and I were about to buy a house with 3 other people to make sure everyone would live comfortably *my fiance and I finance the house, they pay rent to us*..... long story short is, even though they are STILL like my brothers and I love them all dearly. I'd kill them. I stepped back and saw it would not work, because of all the formentioned reasons.


If you are serious and still want to head fourth, i wish you luck. The local bars around here serve middle eastern cuisine. They sell alcohol, and hookahs. Hookahs are 10-20 dollars depending on tobacco and base. They have happy hour until 7 w/ half priced hookah and alcohol. They also have belly dancers and live music on certian nights.

Also, ambiance is a great thing too. don't over look it. and a killer name and location. got to have that.
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  #23  
Old May 29th, 2008, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

well two of the five i live with right now, they are my best freinds in the world, and the other three are all part of my small group of intracite freinds, we do everything together we smoke every night and cook every night, but i dont know bout opening a buisness with them.
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  #24  
Old May 29th, 2008, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

if you have 5 people going in on it, all of you are going to be working your asses off for 10 grand a year profit in each pocket...totally not worth it.
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  #25  
Old May 29th, 2008, 04:24 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Haha, yeah 5 people....You will end up not making enough money each. Unless your business is huge and can operate steadily year round.

Last edited by sabsz; May 29th, 2008 at 04:27 PM.
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