College is a time to experiment. Booze, drugs, promiscuity, Chaco sandals, and liberal arts political film classes. You don’t really know who you are as a person until you dabble in something that will prove to be entirely regrettable. Well, the same goes for business. For every good idea, there are probably 250 bad ones that will haunt you for the rest of your life.
Opening a bar is probably the most cliche half-baked college idea. Mark Cuban opened a bar in Bloomington with a few college friends, and that worked out well for him. But for most, thank goodness, the idea never advances out of the heavily intoxicated phase.
“I’m over this bar.”
That’s how it started. A table full of fraternity brothers staring frat retirement and graduation in the face. Rather than acknowledging that we were borderline out of place for being at a bar frequented by freshmen with fake IDs, we put the blame on the tavern.
“We know what’s cool. There’s no reason we couldn’t run a badass bar. This town needs new blood.”
Oh, to be a young, naive narcissist again. Despite having a combined zero years of experience in the service industry, we legitimately thought that we could show up in the San Marcos bar scene and dominate.
“Why isn’t there a bar called ‘The Frat House’? We’re the only ones that really get frat humor. That would crush.”
This really happened. We’d somehow acquire the funds to build a lavish SEC-style fraternity house in the middle of a city with multiple building restrictions, furnish it with composites, paddles, and every other frat staple, and take over the bar scene overnight. Terrible. Just the worst. For years, this has been a punchline amongst our group of friends. A group that includes real humans that have had real success in the world of business. But we weren’t alone.
No, whether you want to admit it or not, you or someone you know have also had this truly shitty business idea. Not just opening a bar, but opening a bar called The Frat House. On multiple occasions, I’ve told this story only to hear, “Yeah, I had a buddy that wanted to do that.” It floors me, but it also comforts me to know that there are others out there capable of cooking up such a poor idea.
Could this possibly work? Sure. A little internet search shows me that there is at least one bar out there called The Frat House, although I have no clue what level of success its had. And yes, it’s a LGBT club which isn’t exactly the direction we were planning on going with our’s, but I refuse to hate on the hustle. But a bar that creates a “fratty atmosphere” for college kids? Why would anyone think that would work? Wouldn’t college aged greeks just continue partying in their real fraternity houses for that kind of experience? Yeah, that’s not a question we asked.
To be fair, this was like 2007 and the frat thing wasn’t mainstream yet. We recognized the trend early, but our youthful exuberance led us in a very questionable direction. But you learn from your mistakes.
Share your terrible business idea with us. firstname.lastname@example.org Maybe we’ll have some fun with it..
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