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Opening a Liquor Store

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Posts

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Esh wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Seems like they could eliminate the problem with a state ID lookup with a barcode or something. I guess that's not as fun as putting liquor stores and bars out of business though.

    Barcodes can be photocopied. That and the equipment to install in every bar/restaurant/store would be prohibitively expensive.

    Of course, but you wouldn't just have a dummy terminal that went "xyz is valid" You'd recite the info the bar code is linked too, with a picture. Oops Youngguy McGee doesn't appear to be John Smith Sr the Third.

    I find it hard to believe most bars don't have some point of sale system somewhere. We're talking $400 investment here. Hope your business won't go bust on that, considering you can write it off.

    bowen on
  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Figgy wrote: »
    I'm sure there is an official list of acceptable identification. It's not a matter of a store accidentally accepting the wrong piece of ID out of a possible thirty. Here, there is a very specific set of IDs you're allowed to accept. And if someone comes with a passable fake (or their older sister's), you're not going to go out of business for accepting it. But if you accept something completely off-the-wall or don't even ask, you're in trouble.

    You're in trouble no matter what, and the more times you do it, the more trouble you get into until they eventually shut you down. Here in Oregon, three strikes, and they yank your ability to serve alcohol in the state.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    bowen wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Seems like they could eliminate the problem with a state ID lookup with a barcode or something. I guess that's not as fun as putting liquor stores and bars out of business though.

    Barcodes can be photocopied. That and the equipment to install in every bar/restaurant/store would be prohibitively expensive.

    Of course, but you wouldn't just have a dummy terminal that went "xyz is valid" You'd recite the info the bar code is linked too, with a picture. Oops Youngguy McGee doesn't appear to be John Smith Sr the Third.

    I find it hard to believe most bars don't have some point of sale system somewhere. We're talking $400 investment here. Hope your business won't go bust on that, considering you can write it off.

    A POS system is completely separate from some sort of ID scanning system. They're totally different animals. Also, POS's cost thousands upon thousands of dollars for licensing fees and equipment. I know, I can program several of them and have helped open several restaurants when the owners purchased them and had me trained to set them up.

    There are small, relatively inexpensive machines that validate an ID as real (handheld), but they have no imaging at all. It just beeps and says "Ok!".

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Yes I understand a POS system is different than a computer or ID scanning system. You misunderstand that it is brain dead simple to have a system to verify IDs with a barcode and relatively cheap to boot, assuming internet/phone line. It would solve your "temp ID is on sheet of paper" problem immediately.

    If you can afford a POS, and I'm glad you know how to set them up this is good for you, then your business should be able to afford a system (if a state had such a system in place) to verify IDs.

    I was supposing that it would solve all the issues and I'm surprised it isn't common place now. But alas, here we are again, arguing because you work in the industry.

    bowen on
  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012 Infracted
    bowen wrote: »
    Yes I understand a POS system is different than a computer or ID scanning system. You misunderstand that it is brain dead simple to have a system to verify IDs with a barcode and relatively cheap to boot, assuming internet/phone line. It would solve your "temp ID is on sheet of paper" problem immediately.

    If you can afford a POS, and I'm glad you know how to set them up this is good for you, then your business should be able to afford a system (if a state had such a system in place) to verify IDs.

    I was supposing that it would solve all the issues and I'm surprised it isn't common place now. But alas, here we are again, arguing because you work in the industry.

    I just told you that those systems exist, but they don't show you the picture of the person. And again, here you are arguing about something you have absolutely no experience with. It doesn't exist no matter how much you think it should.

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    You added that in after the fact, or at least it wasn't there when I saw it. And yes, I was talking about a completely different thing.
    Of course, but you wouldn't just have a dummy terminal that went "xyz is valid" You'd recite the info the bar code is linked too, with a picture. Oops Youngguy McGee doesn't appear to be John Smith Sr the Third.

    Dummy terminals are dumb, and not at all what I was talking about.

  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    OP, the first thing you should do before you start anything else is find out your license costs for your state, county, and municipality (depending on where you live, you can have costs to keep your license at all three). Depending on the state, even for vendors with no service, this can be many tens of thousands of dollars. Or not very much at all. It all varies greatly.

    The other thing you will need to check is how much inventory your state/county/municipality requires you keep in stock. Some places require you keep 20 to 30k worth of inventory in the store at all time, with specific ratios of wine, beer, spirits, and foodstuffs. Other places have no requirements whatsoever.

    Really, you shouldn't consider anything like locations or business plans until you know what is required for the license. It can shut down your plans immediately if you don' have the capital to start, so best to find out sooner rather than later.

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  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    I just moved out of Baltimore City last year, and I have a friend who is an urban planner. I can put you in touch if you'd like to talk to him about zoning stuff. He's more involved in water management, but he's pretty familiar with all kinds of weird zoning/land use/neighborhood stuff. I'm helping him move into a house down there this weekend, so I can bring it up.

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  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    Thanks Enc, the initial investment is really what i'm looking to nail down, so i can build off of that for the business plan.

    Eggy once i get a hold of a realtor and get some possibilities i can check on the zoning. thanks for all the helpful advice everyone!

  • SimpsoniaSimpsonia Registered User regular
    I realize you're still in the exploratory phase right now, but get yourself to a business attorney asap. You're going to want to have a legal entity set up and existing before you start placing offers, or signing those real estate contracts. That can take time.

    Also ignore partnerships, they only exist for attorneys to argue that two people have a statutory partnership in court when things go wrong and people start shouting that there were no deals or contracts in place. It only costs a couple hundred dollars to set up a corporation (which you can elect to be taxed as an S-Corp, most people get confused between S corp and C Corp, all Corps are the same in the eyes of the secretary of state), or an LLC/LLP. Do not set up an LLC by yourself, you need to have an operating agreement prepared by an attorney.

    Disclaimer: I am an attorney, I am not your attorney, nor am I licensed in Maryland, this is not legal advice.

  • DeShadowCDeShadowC Registered User regular
    Esh wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Yes I understand a POS system is different than a computer or ID scanning system. You misunderstand that it is brain dead simple to have a system to verify IDs with a barcode and relatively cheap to boot, assuming internet/phone line. It would solve your "temp ID is on sheet of paper" problem immediately.

    If you can afford a POS, and I'm glad you know how to set them up this is good for you, then your business should be able to afford a system (if a state had such a system in place) to verify IDs.

    I was supposing that it would solve all the issues and I'm surprised it isn't common place now. But alas, here we are again, arguing because you work in the industry.

    I just told you that those systems exist, but they don't show you the picture of the person. And again, here you are arguing about something you have absolutely no experience with. It doesn't exist no matter how much you think it should.

    They exist in Florida. The back of the IDs have a magnetic strip, like a credit card, that you slide through the reader. Then on the hand held system pops the DL picture, which you can compare to the card in hand, and the person, as well as the DoB and expiration.

  • AriviaArivia Registered User
    edited April 2012
    Figgy wrote: »
    I'm sure there is an official list of acceptable identification. It's not a matter of a store accidentally accepting the wrong piece of ID out of a possible thirty. Here, there is a very specific set of IDs you're allowed to accept. And if someone comes with a passable fake (or their older sister's), you're not going to go out of business for accepting it. But if you accept something completely off-the-wall or don't even ask, you're in trouble.

    Regulations aren't there to punish or trick the license holders. They're there to deter underage drinking. Just ask for ID and only accept the approved forms, and you'll be fine. I think, in general, IDs are getting harder and harder to fake well. We used to just paint a little number over the date on our IDs when I was in high school, and that worked every time. Now, there's so many security features it's insane.

    EDL.jpg

    -Birthdate is worked into two places on the ID and also into the actual DL#.
    -Birthday and picture is part of a hologram on the bottom right.
    -Entire card is overlaid in a holographic design so scratching shows easily
    etc.etc.

    Not everything is sunshine and roses in Ontario, though. This is also legal ID :

    derp.jpg

    And yes, it is as bad as it looks. They blanked out the birth-date, but other then that there is no additional security/confirmation/anything.

    Arivia on
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  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    DeShadowC wrote: »
    Esh wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    Yes I understand a POS system is different than a computer or ID scanning system. You misunderstand that it is brain dead simple to have a system to verify IDs with a barcode and relatively cheap to boot, assuming internet/phone line. It would solve your "temp ID is on sheet of paper" problem immediately.

    If you can afford a POS, and I'm glad you know how to set them up this is good for you, then your business should be able to afford a system (if a state had such a system in place) to verify IDs.

    I was supposing that it would solve all the issues and I'm surprised it isn't common place now. But alas, here we are again, arguing because you work in the industry.

    I just told you that those systems exist, but they don't show you the picture of the person. And again, here you are arguing about something you have absolutely no experience with. It doesn't exist no matter how much you think it should.

    They exist in Florida. The back of the IDs have a magnetic strip, like a credit card, that you slide through the reader. Then on the hand held system pops the DL picture, which you can compare to the card in hand, and the person, as well as the DoB and expiration.

    Have you handled one of these devices? I know there are handheld systems that read the information on the strip which is simply numerical/text data, but pictures aren't stored on there nor have I seen a handheld devices wirelessly hooked up to a state/federal database which can display a photo. My Google-Fu isn't pulling anything up about such a machine. Do you have a link? I'd be very curious to see one and be proved wrong.

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • BurtletoyBurtletoy Registered User regular
    p sure you aren't supposed to actually check the photo even if you are doing it by hand.

    Or at least that is what Meijer told us during our orientation in Michigan.


    Also; you are not allowed to check the IDs of people that are with the person buying alcohol, as long as there was no money visibly changing hands and the person not buying the alcohol didn't hand the alcohol to the person 21+ while they were in line. So maybe this just means Michigan has stupid ID check laws.

  • mtsmts Registered User regular
    edited April 2012
    that depends on the state. i was visiting family in oregon and they carded the person i was with i want to say and in cali, they can refuse the sale if you have underagers with you

    mts on
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  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    mts wrote: »
    that depends on the state. i was visiting family in oregon and they carded the person i was with i want to say and in cali, they can refuse the sale if you have underagers with you

    Technically, any store can do anything they please in regards to this unless they're actively discriminating on some sort of basis (sex, ethnicity, blah blah blah).

    Also, I don't understand "aren't supposed to check the photo". That's either thing one or two you do after or before checking the DoB. Checking the expiration date is the third thing.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • DarkPrimusDarkPrimus Registered User regular
    Burtletoy wrote: »
    p sure you aren't supposed to actually check the photo even if you are doing it by hand.

    Or at least that is what Meijer told us during our orientation in Michigan.


    Also; you are not allowed to check the IDs of people that are with the person buying alcohol, as long as there was no money visibly changing hands and the person not buying the alcohol didn't hand the alcohol to the person 21+ while they were in line. So maybe this just means Michigan has stupid ID check laws.

    I was at a store once checking out where a customer was refused service because he turned to the guy with him and asked him what sort of smokes he wanted, but when asked, the guy could not provide an ID himself. They got extremely upset for being refused service because the guy wasn't the one buying the cigarettes, see?

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  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    I got refused alcohol because my girlfriend didn't have her ID with her at the time.

    So I went down the street and she stayed in the car. Sure stopped me.jpg

  • EncEnc FloridaRegistered User regular
    edited April 2012
    Esh wrote: »
    mts wrote: »
    that depends on the state. i was visiting family in oregon and they carded the person i was with i want to say and in cali, they can refuse the sale if you have underagers with you

    Technically, any store can do anything they please in regards to this unless they're actively discriminating on some sort of basis (sex, ethnicity, blah blah blah).

    Also, I don't understand "aren't supposed to check the photo". That's either thing one or two you do after or before checking the DoB. Checking the expiration date is the third thing.

    In Florida, vendors are required to check all licenses of those purchasing alcohol. The entire group (technically) including children and infants, though enforcement there is pretty light. Lack of ID of any of age to presumably drink is grounds for refusal of sale. There is an online database that connects you to an image of the license, image included, using the magnetic strop but access and the equipment is pretty expensive so most don't use it.

    Vendors are required to check the photo against the person in Florida, and in pretty much every other state I've visited as an adult.

    A recent trend is to data entry/carbon paper all ID info and attach it to the vendor's copy of the receipt, logging all the info down to have a record of each sale to watch for repeated invalid license numbers. Some companies even keep "flagged" data so when they put in the number it comes back as an invalid license on their internal system, effectively imitating the state system for customers they have sold to before at their locations.

    There's lots of way to enforce, though none of this is particularly relevant to the OP if he cannot get funding to start the company.

    Enc on
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  • DarkewolfeDarkewolfe Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    I got refused alcohol because my girlfriend didn't have her ID with her at the time.

    So I went down the street and she stayed in the car. Sure stopped me.jpg

    The thing is, most places don't care about STOPPING you from doing any underage drinking. They care only about STOPPING any investigations from fining them.

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  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    I got refused alcohol because my girlfriend didn't have her ID with her at the time.

    So I went down the street and she stayed in the car. Sure stopped me.jpg

    The thing is, most places don't care about STOPPING you from doing any underage drinking. They care only about STOPPING any investigations from fining them.

    Exactly.

    We had one of those scanners, and i think about 45-50% of people's ID's wouldn't scan anyways. all it really prevents is people doctoring their ID's, which i wouldn't imagine is a big problem, considering how complex MD id's are.

  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    Arivia wrote: »
    Figgy wrote: »
    I'm sure there is an official list of acceptable identification. It's not a matter of a store accidentally accepting the wrong piece of ID out of a possible thirty. Here, there is a very specific set of IDs you're allowed to accept. And if someone comes with a passable fake (or their older sister's), you're not going to go out of business for accepting it. But if you accept something completely off-the-wall or don't even ask, you're in trouble.

    Regulations aren't there to punish or trick the license holders. They're there to deter underage drinking. Just ask for ID and only accept the approved forms, and you'll be fine. I think, in general, IDs are getting harder and harder to fake well. We used to just paint a little number over the date on our IDs when I was in high school, and that worked every time. Now, there's so many security features it's insane.

    EDL.jpg

    -Birthdate is worked into two places on the ID and also into the actual DL#.
    -Birthday and picture is part of a hologram on the bottom right.
    -Entire card is overlaid in a holographic design so scratching shows easily
    etc.etc.

    Not everything is sunshine and roses in Ontario, though. This is also legal ID :

    derp.jpg

    And yes, it is as bad as it looks. They blanked out the birth-date, but other then that there is no additional security/confirmation/anything.

    Actually, it is exceptionally difficult to obtain a BYID, there are heavy restrictions, and every LCBO in Ontario can swipe the magnetic strip on it in their register.

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  • RendRend Registered User regular
    Darkewolfe wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    I got refused alcohol because my girlfriend didn't have her ID with her at the time.

    So I went down the street and she stayed in the car. Sure stopped me.jpg

    The thing is, most places don't care about STOPPING you from doing any underage drinking. They care only about STOPPING any investigations from fining them.

    Liability is the second most important concern there.
    The first being John Law and his penchant for fire.

  • jedikuonjijedikuonji Registered User regular
    edited May 2012
    Something I haven't seen asked so far is: How much do you know about alcohol?

    I chose the place I shop at because it's staffed by people with extensive knowledge about alcohol. They are incredible when it comes to recommendations be it beer, wine, or liquor. The staff can describe the differences between brands in any of the product they carry. The owner considers this the reason he's managed to stay in business in a town cluttered with liquor stores (Big 10 college town). I certainly haven't come across any other stores that can even come close to their least knowledgeable employee. Plus they can roll with weird requests. I once walked in and asked for a good video game wine; I felt like their suggestion nailed it.

    jedikuonji on
  • The EnderThe Ender Registered User regular
    I'm not sure of the particulars with liquor stores, but a few golden rules for setting-up any B&M operation:

    - Talk to your local chamber of commerce to see if they can hook you up with a professional who can help you draft a business plan & budget.

    - Make sure you have enough initial capital. This article is aimed at people who want to open a gaming store, but the same core rules should apply to nearly any retail business.

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  • Dr. FrenchensteinDr. Frenchenstein Registered User regular
    jedikuonji wrote: »
    Something I haven't seen asked so far is: How much do you know about alcohol?

    I chose the place I shop at because it's staffed by people with extensive knowledge about alcohol. They are incredible when it comes to recommendations be it beer, wine, or liquor. The staff can describe the differences between brands in any of the product they carry. The owner considers this the reason he's managed to stay in business in a town cluttered with liquor stores (Big 10 college town). I certainly haven't come across any other stores that can even come close to their least knowledgeable employee. Plus they can roll with weird requests. I once walked in and asked for a good video game wine; I felt like their suggestion nailed it.

    I know some, but i'd definitely try and learn more. I'd want the place to be focused on beer, but we'd be full service.

  • azith28azith28 Registered User regular
    However, a nerd forum seems a strange place to ask for business advice. To get a business loan you will need more know-how than anyone here can give you.

    I think we have been offended.
    Businessmen are geeks and nerds too ya know. We arent all sysadmins and game programmers :P


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