Mobile Cocktail Trucks: Bartenders Make Big Money During the Pandemic

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As the pandemic rages on, many businesses are being given the green light to reopen. However, several bars and restaurant owners aren’t so lucky.

Governments know that when people drink, they have their guard down making them more likely to forego precautions to keep the virus from spreading. Therefore, when states began reopening and numbers started rising, many bars were forced to close again. 

While keeping bars closed helps keep the coronavirus under control, it also results in a lack of income for owners and their employees. So, what are they to do during these uncertain times? Many have decided to take their businesses mobile. That’s right, these businesses are serving drinks on the road.

Read on to find out about these business models and how you can find similar success and make some money being a mobile bartender!

What is the Mobile Bar Business Like?

One of the earliest mobile bars launched in April of 2020 in New South Wales. Stir & Shake, an event bartending and catering company was basically out of business due to the fact that no one was hosting events. 

The company decided to take their business on the road offering a drink delivery service. 

Customers could call up and say they needed a round of cocktails and Stir & Shake would head out to the location and make the drinks fresh in their truck, street style. Then their bow-tied servers would serve their customers with drinks on a tray to add a touch of class. 

According to customer reviews, people just can’t get enough. 

And Stir & Shake isn’t the only company getting on the mobile bar bandwagon. Several other companies are offering delivery services as well as an experience that makes for a party right in your own backyard. 

However, taking your business to a mobile format will require some effort. Companies must have a stylish look to make their delivery business more than alcohol delivery on wheels. 

Here are some things to consider: 

Branding: If you own an existing bar, you already have a customer base, but you will have to let people know that you are taking your business mobile. This will require some social media announcements and you also may choose to give out promotional material such as fliers and business cards to promote your new venture. 

You also may want to give your mobile bar and design that sets it apart. For instance, some business owners may design a mobile bar that looks like a vintage car while others will come up with something that has a tiki feel. These unique designs will get your mobile bar noticed and help you to attract new customers. 

Building and Renovations:  If you want to create and experience similar to what Stir and Shake provides, you will need to find a van, truck or bus that you can use for deliveries.  Then you must make renovations so you are able to serve make drinks inside the unit. This can come at a considerable expense. 

Décor and Equipment: Once your bar is built, you will want to get it looking its best. This will require paint, lighting, signage and other elements that will give your new business a unique vibe. 

You will also need to purchase equipment including mixers, shakers, measuring great, bottle toppers, containers, garnishes, and, of course, the liquor itself. Refrigeration units, blenders and other appliances will also need to be acquired. 

Permit and Insurance: If you choose to do deliveries, you will be legally protected under your existing business license. New states have loosened laws concerning alcohol delivery to keep bars and restaurants making money during this difficult time. 

Staff: Unless you are planning to operate your mobile bar yourself, you will need to hire a staff including drivers and bartenders. 

Other Options for Mobile Bars

You might also wonder if you can take your business out on the road to sell alcohol in open air spaces. Examples would be selling alcohol out of a bus or cart and traveling to various locations to serve thirsty patrons. 

For instance, there is a company called Perlick that makes carts that could, theoretically be perfect for this purpose. The bars range in size from 42” to 66” They come in a variety of models and designs. Their drainage storage and refrigeration boards allow them to be used both inside and outside. 

In addition, they also feature ice chests, insulated bottle wells, speed rails, storage areas and more. Think this is the perfect solution? Here are some things to consider. 

Most states won’t give bar owners a liquor license for a mobile bar which means they won’t be able to sell alcohol. States that do issue licenses often charge thousands of dollars and require that you stay in one static location meaning you can’t take advantage of your cart’s mobile features. 

Therefore, solutions like Perlick’s are better for bar owners who are looking to get into the event business or who want a bar that will move to various locations within their establishment. 

However, there is one way around this and that’s to work at private events. When you work at a private event, the person hosting the event supplies the alcohol. Therefore, a license is not required. 

The pandemic makes the mobile bartending option look very attractive. However, because permits are so difficult to get, you’re better off going the delivery route as opposed to getting a drink cart, unless you are looking to get into the event business post pandemic. Good luck keeping your business afloat during these difficult times. 

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