How to buy a bar or restaurant in spain

Buying a bar or restaurant in Spain is not as simple as it seems and there are numerous legalities to take care of.

It’s important to get it right from the start. There are many problems that can arise and these can be easily avoided if you know what to look out for.


Whether you’re looking for traditional cuisine, a fusion experience or an exclusive Michelin-starred dining experience, Spain’s booming foodie culture offers something to satisfy every palate. The country has a vast range of restaurants and is split into three different restaurant classifications: casual, semi-formal and formal.

Throughout the day, Spanish people tend to go to cafes for coffee and pastries in the mornings, enjoy menus-del-dia (meal-time snacks) between lunch and dinner and have drinks later in the evenings. At breakfast they will usually have a cafe solo or café cortado, which is the equivalent of a cappuccino.

At lunch time, Spaniards will normally have a few pinchos (small dishes) and some drinks. At dinner they will again have a few pinchos, but this time they will also have one or more dishes from the menu.

Tapas bars are another way that Spanish people like to sample the local cuisine and these can be found in most towns and cities across Spain. These are great places to sample the local food and drink, as they offer free snacks along with your drinks.

The best way to get started with Spanish eating and drinking is to have a few drinks at lunch time in a bar or tavern and then continue with your tapas when you have finished your first round. You can then move on to a different bar and try another round.

As well as the standard draught beers and wines, many restaurants have a wide selection of sherries, so you can sip on the finest Spanish wines and sherry. Sherry is a staple in Spain, so it’s important to know your preferred brands and to order them with your tapas.

Madrid is the capital of eating and drinking in Spain and it has a huge variety of restaurants from Madrilenian favourites like roast suckling pig and cocido madrileno stew to modern eateries serving up fusions that will have you hooked. Renowned chef David Munoz’s Diverxo, for example, is always busy and highly upscale, but a multi-course meal here is well worth the wait and the price.


There are many different licensing requirements that you need to be aware of if you plan on opening a bar or restaurant in Spain. Every municipality has their own rules and requirements, so it’s important to check with your local town or city hall (ayuntamiento) before you get started on any licenses.

Alcohol Laws

The legal drinking age in Spain is 18 years, but there are some exceptions. Some places serve beer and wine to minors as long as the drink is bought by an adult, but this is rare.

Unless you live in Spain, or are planning to spend a lot of time there, it’s advisable to buy your own alcoholic beverages. This way, you can avoid paying excessive taxes on the products and make sure that the quality is as good as it can be.

Spanish Beer

Beer is very popular in Spain and a common way to drink it is at a cerveceria, which is a bar that specialises in beer. These usually have several different brands on tap and a range of bottled beers.

If you’re planning on selling alcoholic drinks, you’ll need to obtain an alcohol license from your local town or city hall (ayuntamiento). Once you have your license, you’ll be allowed to sell alcohol at your bar.

You’ll also need to have a Food Handler’s Certificate (called a carnet de manipulador de alimentos) for each member of your staff who is likely to handle food. This can be done easily online and requires a short course.

Service Standards

In Spain, service standards are often quite high. You’ll find that the waiters will be coming around more frequently than in other countries, and they’ll often ask you if you want anything else. If you’re not used to this, it can be confusing at first.

The best thing to do is to choose a place that’s known for excellent service. If you’re unsure, do a little research and check out reviews before you make any decisions.

You can also visit any local police station to get the latest information on the local alcohol laws. Some towns have a very strict alcohol policy and you’ll want to know these before you start your business here.


To run a bar or restaurant in Spain, you need to have staff who speak the language. Spanish-speaking employees can help you communicate with clients, and they can also teach English-speaking staff important kitchen slang and restaurant phrases.

The number of workers needed for a restaurant or bar depends on the size of the establishment and the type of food served. Typically, you’ll need at least one bartender to handle alcoholic beverages. In addition, you’ll need a chef who can make dishes like paella, fish, and pasta.

If you’re not sure how to find the right staff for your restaurant, you can ask other restaurants in your area about their hiring practices. You can also contact your local chamber of commerce for tips on hiring and retaining the best workers for your business.

Generally, most Spanish bars have a small number of servers who are the owners or family members. This creates a friendly, communal atmosphere and makes it easier for customers to get a feel for the people behind the bar.

You can also offer a variety of drinks and snacks at your bar, such as tapas and raciones (large plates meant to be shared). Many bars will also serve granizado or horchata, two popular soft drinks that are popular with both locals and tourists in Spain.

In addition to providing food and drinks, you can also provide entertainment for your guests. Having a live band, DJ, or other entertainer will draw people in and increase the overall vibe of your restaurant.

Another option is to hire a bilingual teacher to lead Spanish language classes for your staff. This will ensure that your team is speaking the same language, which can help to build a stronger work culture.

If you’re unable to hire a language teacher, try to create an inclusive environment where your staff can learn together through a language exchange. This can be a fun way for your English-speaking and Spanish-speaking employees to learn from each other while building comradery in the kitchen.

Running a bar or restaurant in Spain can be a demanding job, especially if you’re not fluent in the language. Nevertheless, if you’re willing to invest in training your staff and making accommodations for them, you can build a strong and lasting business.


Buying a bar or restaurant in Spain can be a great way to get into the Spanish business world, but it can also be an expensive option. While the country offers some of the cheapest living costs in the European Union, you’ll have to pay a lot of fees and taxes that may add up quickly.

One of the first things to consider when looking for a new business in Spain is whether you want to buy an existing establishment or start from scratch. The latter is a more risky option as it can take longer to obtain licenses, contracts for employees and permits. However, it’s often much more cost-effective to renovate an existing establishment rather than build a new one.

Another cost to consider is the price of equipment for your bar or restaurant. This includes things like a POS system and all the hardware and software needed to run it.

Purchasing a POS system is a great investment, as it can streamline your bar’s operation and help you manage expenses. You’ll want to spend about $5,000 to purchase the system and its components, including screens, computers and tablets.

You’ll also need to buy a bar cash register and some other bar supplies, such as ice buckets. It’s also important to invest in advertising, as consumers spend a ton of time on their phones scrolling through social media.

There are a number of different ways to increase your bar’s visibility online, but organic marketing is one of the most effective options. Create accounts on social media with relevant hashtags and interact with local bars and their followers. This will drive traffic to your bar and boost profits.

If you’re buying an existing bar, it’s crucial to make sure it has a customer base and a reputation for good service. This will help you attract customers who are likely to return and recommend the place to others.

Running a bar in Spain can be a tough business and the competition is high. So before you decide to purchase a bar, make sure you understand all the potential issues that can arise and be prepared for them.