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So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

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Old May 29th, 2008, 04:37 PM
Hajo Flettner
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Originally Posted by bigwhitet View Post
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
I'm going to be very blunt because you seem like decent guy and i'd prefer not to see you go down in flames.

First of all 5 or 6 co-owners is simply unworkable for any business so if that is what you are looking at you're sunk right off the bat. Given that the start up can't possibly be less then 50K and you'll need at least that much in reserves to keep the doors open you'd be crazy to depend upon 5 or 6 people chipping in that sort of money. You haven't said anything about cafe management and book keeping experience so I assume you don't have any and unless you're very capable in those areas it's a waste to even think about getting into the business. You never said why you think that it's a good idea to open up shop other then the lack of competition and until you get that sorted you'd be wasting your time and money. I you're serious you'd pay to get some marketing surveys done (count on that running no less then 10-15K) to see what sort of potential you've got to work with. Going into business with friends is a good way to lose your money and your friends. If want to why i'll tell but hopefully you can see that already. Assuming everything works out in a year or two your cafe will be bringing in 40 - 50k split 6 ways which doesn't strike me as worth the risk.

In short, do something else.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 08:00 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

yeah id say booze..but liquor license costs are INSANE and they're really hard to get...as for food...comfort food all the way...
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Old May 29th, 2008, 08:50 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

i would not recommend having 5 owners either. at most 2. but at least 1 of course.
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Old May 29th, 2008, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

Starting off will take at least 40-50k and a great location. If you want a bar open a bar, if you want a hookah lounge then open a hookah lounge, do not mix the two, only serve non-alcoholic drinks. As for food, only serve simple foods that are easy to prep and make; Sandwiches, cake/pie, bagels, muffins...kinda like a coffee shop, keep it simple, by all means nothing fried or spicy. Make sure you all know how to correctly pack a bowl!

Here are a few more pointers I can give.

1: Do not have 5 partners, you will lose, 2-3 people, 3 being too many IMO and you all have to work extra hard to keep it going!

2: Do a survey at the college to see how many people would be interested and how far they would be willing to travel as they will be 95% of your business. A hookah lounge near a college is a great idea.

3: Hire at least one good looking female to be a hookah/food/drink runner, this will attract more guys.

4:Get quality merchandise, you don't want cheap junk breaking down on you and you do NOT want bad tobacco and coals or smoke will be horrible which leads to no return customers.

5: Prices should vary, starting off with weekday specials having a door fee and on weekends charging per bowl, maybe $15-$20 all you can smoke weekdays and $7-$9 per bowl on weekends. Don't get too greedy, keep prices low at first then raise if you can get away with it.

6: Mid to late hours, opening at about 6PM and closing at around midnight should be great hours around a campus, although your first 2-3 months should tell what hours work best.

7: Make sure you have comfy yet sturdy furniture, the best I have seen is a place with large curved couches with a simple small round iron table screwed to the floor with an area for the hookah to sit inside so it cannot fall off.

8: Use the college talent to your advantage, hire on comedians, musicians, actors... whatever to get people in to see them. You will not have to pay much if anything to them... maybe even just tips!

9: Play various music on non-talent days... nothing hardcore, try alternative type music and some light rap, keep it fun playing Jack Black/Adam Sandler type music is good sometimes as well.

10: Keep the atmosphere a light mellow mood, blue, tan, brown... paint the walls different colors and find an artist that will sell his/her work in your shop to hang on the walls. That leave no upfront costs to you. Do a simple stained concrete floor so if any coals do drop you have no burns.

This is all I can think of ATM, but i put a lot of thought in this as I was going to open a shop with a friend in the past. Just make sure you are ready to put a lot of time and effort in making it, like any other business if you half ass it you will be on your ass in no time. Good luck and I hope you can make this happen.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 02:52 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

here i saw this on youtube: http://hookahbusiness.com/. its supposed to be some plan that you will buy that will supposedly gurantee hookah business success. I do not know if this is a waste of money or if it works. i just thought i would show you
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Old May 30th, 2008, 03:00 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

You might be better off as hookah shop rather than lounge. Then again I don't know how hookah density is in your area. If you dont have alot of people who smoke hookah then obviously it would be wise to go with a lounge. Hajo is a pretty business savvy man, I would take his advice to heart
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Old May 30th, 2008, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

the last hookah lounge that was in town around here was attached to a strip club. and now the only one left around here is attached to a smoking accessories shop im sure you know what that is and coffee shop next door that all attach to one another.
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Old May 30th, 2008, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: So iam looking to open a hookah lounge?

I'm sure you have looked at your surrounding area and made sure there was not a huge competition. It would be terribly hard to open a place and try to get customers when some people become loyal to a certain lounge. That being said, I would suggest you start by offering a good range of flavors, brands and food. The thing I think would yield the most profits are foods and drinks that are simple and fast to serve.

Another thing to take into consideration, since you are close to a college, offer an open mic. night to have people go in there and play their music. This would be good for word of mouth ("hey guys come watch me play at so and so's lounge, I'll be playing there wed. night").

DEFINITELY do a lot of research as far as demand. a cool area with maybe some free wi-fi for customers would be great IMO and definitely change the music up every once in a while.

My experience with lounges is that the atmosphere is important, but having clean hookahs is just as important. I went to this place where everyone was getting chunks through their hose, and we stopped going there.

The place we DID go to more often had an indoor/outdoor area and they offered food.

I hope this helps
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