How to start a Mobile Bar Business: A complete guide

Are you keen to run your own bar but put off by the high cost of renting premises? Running your own mobile bar business could be the perfect compromise.

A mobile bar combines the popularity of mobile catering with the flair of a bar and can be a very profitable hospitality business.

This guide contains everything you need to know about starting a mobile bar business. We’ll share the advantages and disadvantages of running a mobile bar business, the legal requirements you need to satisfy, and how online training courses for food businesses make staff training simple.

What is a mobile bar business?

A mobile bar business is a unique kind of hospitality business, offering delicious drinks to a wide range of clientele in a fully mobile bar.

As well as weddings and private parties, some other opportunities include:

     Organised events: Food festivals, music festivals, fairs

     Seasonal events: Summer balls, Oktoberfest, Christmas markets

     Private functions: Weddings, graduation celebrations

The drinks you serve and your pricing strategy will influence your target audience, so consider these carefully. Establishing a clear brand identity will also help your business stand out.

Benefits of starting a mobile bar business

Mobile bar businesses are popular with people who want to avoid the need to rent expensive bar premises. There are several other advantages of running a mobile bar business:

No experience required

You don’t need any specific bartending qualifications to start a mobile business. However, specific licensing qualifications are mandatory, and other training courses could give you a competitive edge.

For example, you could invest in mixologist training and open a mobile cocktail bar or set up a mobile gin bar to tap into the drink’s recent popularity.

High profit margins

If you source your products carefully, the markup on drinks can be substantial.

Variety and flexibility

You can choose which events you attend, which areas you will travel to and which hours to work.

High demand

The mobile bar business is booming, offering numerous opportunities to grow your business.

Downsides of running a mobile bar business

When considering starting a mobile bar service, it’s also essential to weigh up the potential downsides.

Potential for difficult situations

Operating a mobile bar business means you’re likely to have to deal with intoxicated customers, which can sometimes be challenging.

Initial cash flow needs

Although you won’t have to finance an expensive permanent location, mobile bar services still incur setup expenses, stock costs and pitch fees, which can soon add up.

Seasonal Fluctuations

If you mainly run your bar at weddings and festivals, business can boom in summer and wane in winter. Festive events like Christmas fairs and markets can help to even out the fluctuations.

Setting up a mobile bar business: Costs to consider

Proper planning can significantly reduce financial risk and set you on the path to success. Take time to assemble a detailed mobile bar business plan that outlines your offerings, target market, financial projections and more.

While starting a mobile bar service can be more cost-effective than opening a traditional establishment, there are still some costs involved:

Pitch fees

These vary between events, but events with higher pitch fees also tend to bring in higher revenue.

Legal Requirements

You must obtain a BIIAB Level 2 Award or CIEH Level 2 Award before applying for the relevant mobile bar licences to sell alcohol. You may also need a street trading licence, and your local authority will set the fee for this.

You must also register your business with your local authority 28 days before trading and register with HMRC as self-employed or a limited company.

Insurance cover

A mobile bar business must hold Employer’s Liability, Public Liability and Equipment Insurance. You will also need insurance cover for any vehicles you use to transport equipment to events.

Running costs

Your running costs could include electricity, gas, and internet and phone bills.


You should expect to spend up to 10% of your revenue on marketing your business.

Equipment costs

Your equipment list will vary based on the type of mobile bar business you start. You may be able to keep the cost down by buying second-hand or renting some equipment.

Your essential equipment list will probably include:

     A vehicle or stall

     Fridge and freezer for storing drinks and ingredients

     Cleaning equipment

     Drink-making tools: Cocktail shakers, blenders, corkscrews

     Drinkware: Glasses, cups

     Electrical equipment: Lighting, cash register

     Display items: Display boards, wine racks

Training courses for a mobile bar business

Although you don’t need any particular bartending qualifications to start a mobile bar business, learning the art of mixing, pouring and serving drinks can only be an advantage.

You must also obtain a DBS check and pass the BIIAB Level 2 Award or CIEH Level 2 Award before applying for your Personal Licence to sell alcohol. These qualifications will introduce you to responsible alcohol sales and more.

Many other courses can be useful for mobile bar owners, including HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) training, which is mandatory for UK food and drink businesses.

How will you find the time to fit training around everything else you need to do when starting a mobile bar business?

Caredemy’s online training courses for food businesses make it easy to complete the necessary training courses at a time that suits you. Online study also removes the need to travel to a training centre or book overnight accommodation.

Suitable training courses for a mobile bar business include:

     Food Hygiene Training

     Data Protection and GDPR

     Fire Safety Awareness

You can study Caredemy food training courses online or download the high-quality course materials to study offline. You’ll also receive access to your personal Caredemy Learner Management system, making it easy to track your progress through the course.

And you can contact our expert Student Support team for queries on your course or advice on planning your next online food training course.

Starting a mobile bar business is an exciting venture that blends passion with profit. With hard work, commitment and the information in this guide, you’ll soon be toasting your success! 

Similar Posts