How to Open a Kava Bar: What to Know to Start

You have a passion for kava that you want to share. Your dream is to open the best kava bar in your community. Does that sound right?

Then you’re in the right place. We’ll explore the nine essential steps of how to open a kava bar and help your new business flourish instead of crash and burn.

Related: Best Kava Cocktails to Serve at Your Kava Bar

Know the Market

First, you should look into existing kava bars in the area you want to open one — look at their menu, atmosphere, reviews, etc. Go visit these kava bars to experience it firsthand; how’s the quality of their kava? What’s the ambiance like? Do the customers seem happy?

You need to identify market gaps where you could draw people away from those kava bars to your new one. For example, you could offer a wider variety of kava, incorporate community events, or create an entirely different environment than others offer.

Consider Local and FDA Regulations

If you want to open a kava bar, you have to understand FDA regulations and local compliance laws. If you want to maintain a reputable business, you have to keep up with ever-changing FDA guidelines, like importation restrictions, labeling requirements, etc.

In addition, you’ll need permits and licenses from your local municipality. Other local regulations to understand and comply with include:

  • Food handling
  • Employee certification
  • Waste disposal guidelines
  • Health and safety regulations
  • Noise restrictions

And don’t forget about the importance of insurance: Liability, property, workers’ comp, etc.

Make a Business Plan

What’s your goal for your kava bar? What do you want to offer your customers? You need to develop a clear vision for your kava bar well before you open it.

Start by creating a mission statement that outlines the experience you want to provide and the aim of your kava bar. In addition, your vision should dive into long-term goals — do you want to run on a fully sustainable business model, foster a sense of community, promote cultural exchange, etc.?

During this time, you’ll also set up financial goals and your plan for staffing and training.

How will you offer customers the highest-quality kava products? Shop our kava shots and gummies here!

Design Your Kava Bar

This next step is one of the most fun in the process: Setting up your kava bar. Kava bars are generally a place for relaxation, so go for a cozy, welcoming setting that encourages people to stay, relax, and socialize.

Warm lighting, inviting colors, and comfy seating are all great ways to bring customers in and keep them drinking your delicious kava beverages. Live plants and natural woods can also complement this atmosphere, along with abstract artwork or decorations related to kava’s long history.

You’ll also determine restroom placement, kava prep areas, cashier stations, etc. during this phase.

Furnish and Equip Your Space

High-quality furniture, decorations, and equipment are key to the success of your new kava bar.

At a minimum, you’ll need:

  • Equipment to prepare your kava
  • A POS system or cash register
  • Comfortable seating
  • Low light (window shades, tinting, etc.)
  • Refrigerators and storage facilities for kava and other ingredients
  • Tables for customers to enjoy their beverages at

Keep in mind requirements like ADA compliance, fire safety, etc. For example:

  • Wheelchair access
  • Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers
  • Non-slip flooring
  • Emergency exits and signs
  • Adequate lighting

You want your space to be comfortable and efficient, but it must also create an inviting space by making your customers feel safe and ensuring accessibility to anyone who wants to enjoy your beverages.

Source Your Kava

Finally, on to the kava! You’ll want to research different kava vendors, attend industry events, and sample various products to find a reliable supplier that will keep your bar stocked with high-quality kava.

You also need to understand different kava strains and what affects their quality and flavor.

For example, where the kava is grown can affect its taste and effects, while the age of the plant can affect its overall quality.

Then, you’ll want to create a diverse kava menu. Some options include:

  • Traditional hot or cold kava
  • Kava blends
  • Flavored kava
  • Kava shots
  • Kava smoothies
  • Specific kava effect drinks (one for relaxation, one for focus, etc.)
  • Soft drinks and snacks infused with kava

Do you want your kava bar to stand out from the rest? Offer them irresistible kava products like our classic kratom and kava gummies!

Related: Kava Strains: A Breakdown

Train Your Staff & Management

Hiring for your new kava bar is one of the most difficult parts of the process — you want customer-focused employees, preferably with experience in the industry. Other than customer service and kava prep skills, they’ll need to understand emergency and safety procedures, upselling tactics, and the difference between kava strains.

An employee handbook should cover everything they need to know, from scheduling practices to your expectations from them.

In addition, an effective management plan is crucial to your business’s success; this means encouraging communication and collaboration between managers, supervisors, and other employees.

Market Your Business

Your kava bar’s marketing strategy should include various elements, including:

  • An online presence: Connect with customers (current and potential) on social media, create a website that shares educational kava content, and keep people up-to-date with your current events, promotions, etc.
  • Collaborate with other local businesses to create events and foster a sense of community: Co-host events, participate in festivals, hold fundraisers, etc.
  • Implement reward programs: Offer birthday discounts, stamp cards, coupons for newsletter subscribers, etc.
  • Host events: Attract new customers by hosting art night, live music, tournaments, open mic night, etc.

Strengthen Your Strategy

Once your kava bar gains traction, you’ll want to monitor your performance and ask for customer feedback. You can also ask your employees and management team for their suggestions on how to improve the business.

Stay in tune with market trends and changes in the kava world by offering new blends when they become available, creating seasonal specials, etc.

At this point, your goal should be continuous improvement of your operations and customer experience. Keep up with staff training and education, update your design and layout when needed, and don’t be afraid to purchase technology or equipment to offer higher-quality beverages and services to your customers.

Follow these nine steps on how to open a kava bar to prepare for the successful launch of your new business!

Related: Authentic Polynesian Kava Recipes

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