View Full Version : opening a pool hall

10-18-2006, 11:09 PM
I am interested in opening a pool hall unfortunately I am not able to serve alcohol. Will this hinder my business or can I still have success. suggestions please

10-19-2006, 02:33 AM
Hmmmmm.thats a tough one-I think it depends on your area and how many strictly POOL ENTHUSIASTS you have-I personnally do not drink when I play,but I do get hungry /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif,so,serving some kind of food may be an option!
Good luck!

Rich R.
10-19-2006, 02:42 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote aacesfull:</font><hr> I am interested in opening a pool hall unfortunately I am not able to serve alcohol. Will this hinder my business or can I still have success. suggestions please <hr /></blockquote>
There is a pool hall in my area that does not serve alcohol and the food selection is minimal. However, they seem to be fairly successful.
I think the key is, they have excellent equiment and they keep it in great shape. The place is extremely clean and they keep the music low. This place is very attractive to both hard core players and families alike. They also sponsor many regional tournament events as well as in house leagues, including a straight pool league.
I only wish this place was a little closer to me, so I could play there more often.
You can have a successful pool hall, without alcohol, if you do it right.

10-19-2006, 06:20 AM
I think it can be done. I think you need to keep a good schedual of Leauges, Pool Instruction, and tournaments. You can't just open your doors and expect the cash to start rolling in.

Rich R.
10-19-2006, 08:17 AM
I just thought I would add that a very large part of making this work would be to find a good location, in a decent area, that still has a reasonable rent. This may be one of the hardest things to accomplish, when trying to get started.

10-19-2006, 09:02 AM
I've been working on my business plan for a new place for the past couple of months and have had many an idea come my way. As I look at several different layouts of rooms from local and neighboring states, the main concern for me is traffic area. A lot of the rooms I've looked at have very poor traffic management. The tables are economically spread out for the footage that they're in but you need to walk by several tables to get to the back table in some instances. Me being a player, I find this annoying.

I've also been to these same rooms when they were having upper level league tournaments and it was a mad house. Too many people trying to squeeze into a small area to watch their team. I haven't found a solution for this yet, but I'm still working on it.

As for the non-alcohol part. The place I used to go to was literally a pool hall. They had roughly 25 9' tables and 3 billiard tables. They had Brunswick's (about 10) in the front for the players and Gandy's in the back (about 12-15) for the teenagers and bangers. The owners were Korean and very well liked by most everybody. They served cold sandwiches and microwaveable food (ie. hot dogs, noodle bowls) and had a deep fat frier for fries and wings and such. The place itself was kept up fairly well. It had the sense of an old pool room. A place I felt real comfortable playing in. The equipment was well kept on the Brunswick's and billiard tables. Decent house sticks. The balls were cleaned on a regular basis and the felt was brushed daily on all tables. The owners always greeted you with a smile or a story.

I'm not sure what the "it" factor was with the place, but it worked well with me.

Hope this helps.

Rob /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

10-19-2006, 11:35 AM
One popular business model for a pool hall is:
40% table rentals
30% alcohol/beverages
30% food
It's not set in stone however...at one pool hall we "gave" away the table rentals...3 hrs for $10....and did a bang up business at the bar
Another successful pool hall served no alcohol, but had a waiting list for the tables.
Serving food is labor intensive, but keeps the customers in the room even if you don't make the nice margins. Food costs should never exceed 30% of the sale price.
Table rentals gross ....the rough formula we worked out was 5 hrs per day @ prime rates X the # 0f tables.
A day time monthly membership added about 10% to that total...discounted daytime rates about another 15%. In states that allow "slots" machines....that can be profitable, even the game machines generate a nice revenue.
Problem with not serving alcohol.....I'd guess that would keep about 50% of your potential customers from frequenting your place.
I'd never open a pool hall, without an alcohol permit....but then I'd never open a poolhall anyway....not when there is a better investment...like betting on the Greyhounds at the dog track ( always get some $$ down on the dog that relieves himself on the track, just before the race)
We have one room owner here that could give you much better advice then this.

10-23-2006, 10:41 AM
I would suggest having enough seating. In Robert Byrne's book He says that he would have a reading area with comfortable seats to read pool mags or instructional material. I think that's a Great idea. Since alchol is out maybe a Coffee bar with the latte's and coffee drinks, hot and cold. They get four or Five bucks a drink on those pluse tips. One other thing that come to mind is lighting, good track lighting for the tables is very much appreacieted.

10-27-2006, 05:51 PM
If there was "one" item more important than location, I would say it is square footage and allot of tables is the most important factor. One needs to walk into an enviornment, not a room with 10 tables, you should not be able to see the whole room with a quick glance, and if your small when the 10 or so customers leave...your room looks always empty, and thats not good for a place people want to hang at.

10-29-2006, 07:55 PM
Things I would do if I owned a pool hall:

A copy of the BCA rule book on a chain every 20 feet.

Elevated bar in the middle for spectators.

Firm rule: If you're not the current shooter, stay at least one cue length from the table.

People giving unsolicited advice will be ejected.

People who say "Let me show you how it's done, little filly" will be ejected roughly. Twice. The jerks who say "You can't take that shot, Motherflogger!": Ditto.

Cue lockers. Ask the K9 cops to run Rover past them once or twice a year, on a busy night, so they don't become drug lockers.

Anyone who plays the same song 18 times in one night will be ejected. Based on an actual experience.

A back room, by invitation only. For quiet, mellow regulars who get along even if they don't care for each other.

If a player approaches a patron and asks for a game, and the patron says "No thank you, I just want to practice", that's that. Conversation terminated.

Picture this: You walk up to the coatrack, grab the chain that sits at hand level, and pull it up the sleeve while removing your coat. You lock the chain to the fitting on the hanger. Now you don't have to worry about your leather jacket.

Motorcycle parking with a security camera, monitors all around the room.

Pool tables chained to the floor. So macho heroes can't pick them up.

10-30-2006, 08:51 AM
That would be like in them Walgreen commercials...a perfect world.

11-02-2006, 01:12 PM
I've got to agree with Carol NYC. The first thing you've got to do is carry out a market study (it can be informal) and find out if you've got sufficient serious pool players in your area to make the business worthwhile. Then, you've got to take every feasible measure to make it a real "player's room". Brunswick or Diamond tables, a billiard table (if there are billiard enthusiasts in your area, excellent table lighting, a pro shop, billiard publications for sale and perusal, a nice decor--the works. In order to compensate for the lack of alcohol you've got to make it a place where all the players want to play. I've seen it done in a couple of places and it worked quite well.

11-03-2006, 08:14 AM
A business plan is a lot more than just making out a couple of lists. I didn't learn properly how to do one until I was working on my MSIT degree.

Pool rooms without liquor or food, are put into the category lots of times, as being a kid's place, and serious players don't want to put up with kid's immaturity and antics.

Good inhouse leagues and tournaemnts though are a draw. Having a pro shop and instruction available is good.

Many 'shoestring' pool room operations fail, unless they happen to be in small cities where entertainment is hard to find.

If you're going to do it, give it your 'best' shot, and not just halfway..... Meaning if you are going to have to get a loan in the first place, get enough to do it RIGHT to begin with.

11-04-2006, 09:13 AM
I am not sure that Alcohol is a necessary factor. Saw an earlier post of 30%, but I don't see that being the case. Sure, if you were able to serve beer and wine, your profits may go up 30%, but I don't believe you will have 30% less customers.

The Main thing you want to ask yourself, is what will be the theme of your Pooll Room? Will it be there for the serious enthusiast, with the incoming of the local kids on a Friday and Saturday Nights playing Teenie-Bop Music on the Jukebox, OR, will it be for the Teens, with the occassional scattered talented player to come in and play while the Teenie-boppers play their music?

Do you see the routine here? No matter what, you are going to have a good influx of the Teens, and they can't drink alcolhol. Kids like to go to pool halls, even if thye are not serious. It is a place for them to hang out without getting into serious trouble. And now and then, one of those little Brats picks up the game, and becomes one of the aforementioned somewhat serious player, and that will be thier home.

Alcohol-not needed, and with that in mind, and marketing build around it, will be successful.

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