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wanting to open my own hookah bar

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  #1  
Old October 22nd, 2008, 10:47 PM
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Default wanting to open my own hookah bar

i live on the central coast of california, and there are a ton of people who love the hookah out here. and a few shops...but one hookah bar for the whole county. i want to open one in my own town in about a year or so (sooner if the economy picks up)

im just wondering if any of you happen to know how to get permits for that and what processes do i need to go through?

any help would be appreciated!
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  #2  
Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

since im in the middle of opening one in irvine ill give you some tips:

-Dont serve alcohol, way to big of a headache

-You will need a retail/Tobacco license which if you visit your cities website you may be able to download it or may have to stop in (but of course city regulations play a major factor)

-If you going to serve food you need a food permit which also can be obtained from your city's website or might have to stop in (best thing to do is email a city official in charge of business relations)

-Business plan
-Business plan
-Business plan
-Business plan
-Business plan
-Business plan x infinit

A business plan will help you SO much, i made mine in powerpoint and its pretty much the blue print to this business.

Dont worry so much about the hookah aspect right now but more of find a shop, a good lease rate, and most importantly a loan.


Best of luck
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  #3  
Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:08 PM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

wow thank you. im about six hours north of u in san luis obispo county.

and ya i need to sit down with my co owner and get everything on paper before going after the permits and loans. i didnt want to serve alch. (not my style...i believe the hookah should be the primary focus not getting shit faced.)

and we were planning on making it more of a jazz, rocksteady, reggae environment (me comming from a traditional ska/rocksteady band. and him from a jazz combo).
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  #4  
Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:12 PM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

sounds good man, are you guys close to Cal Poly? That would be a good source of traffic.
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  #5  
Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

cal poly is about 15 minute drive south.
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  #6  
Old October 22nd, 2008, 11:22 PM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

thats pretty sweet.. i wish more ppl were into hookah in my town.. i wanna open a shop/ bar all local shops sell overpriced crappy chinese hookahs and like crap coals and tobacco. the only thing is i need to find the right area to open this joint bc i dont know where the hookah culture is best at. good luck man.
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  #7  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:35 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

the hookah resources here are tapped to the max haha. there are 9 hookah lounges within 5 miles of me. AND the lease rate is about $10/sq ft (10k for 1000sq ft :/ ). But it's cool that the people here that are interested in doing this aren't in it to sell "crappy chinese hookahs" and want to spread the knowledge of quality smoking.

"HP.com, a place for young hookah entrepeneurs" lol
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  #8  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:53 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbonesown View Post
the hookah resources here are tapped to the max haha. there are 9 hookah lounges within 5 miles of me. AND the lease rate is about $10/sq ft (10k for 1000sq ft :/ ). But it's cool that the people here that are interested in doing this aren't in it to sell "crappy chinese hookahs" and want to spread the knowledge of quality smoking.

"HP.com, a place for young hookah entrepeneurs" lol

Damn!!! $10/sq.ft!!!!!! Insane
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

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Originally Posted by DJ HOSSEIX View Post
Damn!!! $10/sq.ft!!!!!! Insane
lol that's exactly what i said. the idea of opening one in THIS city went out the window quickly haha. But there's a TON of other places it can be done around here for cheaper though.

hey skankin, have you checked out the lease rates in your city? if so, what do they run
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  #10  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

Hosseix:

I am in Pasadena but go to OC often. Keep me as well as the other socal HP members updated as your business opens!
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  #11  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 01:27 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

well ive always wanted to run a lounge kind of place or be apart of one. and at the time of the first thought i was going to be a music major one foot out of HS.

then i switched to computer science...now im prolly going after a degree in business come next semester.
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  #12  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 02:03 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by skankinsmoker View Post
i live on the central coast of california, and there are a ton of people who love the hookah out here. and a few shops...but one hookah bar for the whole county. i want to open one in my own town in about a year or so (sooner if the economy picks up)

im just wondering if any of you happen to know how to get permits for that and what processes do i need to go through?

any help would be appreciated!
Short answer from some one that ran a shisha cafe successfully for a couple years before selling it: Don't.

Long answer - Don't try it unless you can answer yes to all of the following:

1) Have you successfully been a general manager owner of a cafe/restaurant for a few years?
2) Are you able to work effectively at one job for 80 hours a week for at least couple of years?
3) Do you have a flawless credit history?
4) Assuming you are successful do you realize that you most likely will lose money for a couple of years before being able to net a whopping 50K per year profit?
5) Can you raise a minimum of 100K for start up?
6) Do you have a spotless tax and criminal record?
7) Can you afford to lose a couple of grand a month for more then a year?
8) Do you have or are able generate a realistic business plan?
9) Do you understand that this passion of ours is overwhelmingly shared by college kids with little disposable income and the whole fad could vanish within a couple of years? If so do you have a backup plan to avoid financial ruin?
10) Do you realize that the anti-tobacco climate has already destroyed the possibility of running a smoking related business in much of the U.S.? If so what contingency do you have if such an eventuality happens in your community?
11) Have you considered the vast legal liabilities that tobacco related businesses are forced to contend with? If you have, do have the finances needed to handle the potential legal costs involved?
12) Do you realize that the U.S. economy is quite literally on the verge of collapse? Do you have realistic plan to maintain a profitable smoking cafe at a time when disposable income for most people is rapidly disappearing?
13) Given everything mentioned above con you honestly say you are able to manage a smoking cafe profitably as a long term business?
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  #13  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 03:06 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

Quote:
Originally Posted by tbonesown View Post
the hookah resources here are tapped to the max haha. there are 9 hookah lounges within 5 miles of me. AND the lease rate is about $10/sq ft (10k for 1000sq ft :/ ). But it's cool that the people here that are interested in doing this aren't in it to sell "crappy chinese hookahs" and want to spread the knowledge of quality smoking.

"HP.com, a place for young hookah entrepeneurs" lol
Shame about the over saturation. at the risk of punning I hope it doens't lead to hookah burnout.

Also, be sure to look into 2nd floor or garage options? I know there's no basements down there but in the right arrangement you could get someone's sparsely used storage space for a fraction of the price. I once rented the garage of a pizzeria out to some developers that turned it into a outdoor ice cream/Italian ices stand. To great success I might add. It would take a little more upfront in outfitting the place, at least in a garage's case, but you'd save more on the fixed monthly costs. The same could also be said for any restaurant, retail store, artist space with some interior space and a nice unused garden/patio.

While the 'stair blindness' factor could be a challenge, it could pay off in net in the end.

Oh and by the way I'm with DJ Hosseix: Business Plan, Business Plan, Business Plan! After you compose it revisit it often, don't assemble one just because you need a small business loan, it will help you stay focused and give you a barometer you can revisit at the annual assessment meeting.

Last edited by Kalkail; October 23rd, 2008 at 03:09 AM.
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  #14  
Old October 23rd, 2008, 06:26 AM
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Default Re: wanting to open my own hookah bar

I do like the questionaire by Hajo. I do believe you would have to have many of those qualities. Probably don't need as much money if just doing a small lounge without food. Does take a lot of time and effort and most likely will not see profit in the first couple of years. We are actually trying to start one in Houston as well.
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