You’ve probably seen a hookah. Most children who grew up in the United States have almost certainly seen a hookah. But, like most people, you have likely forgotten what one looks like and what they’re used for. Think back. Remember the tale of a girl named Alice who apparently stranded in a strange, imaginative world. Perched atop a giant mushroom, and smoking what appears to be a strange musical instrument, the caterpillar asks Alice a quite memorable question– “Who are YOU?” The musical instrument isn’t actually a musical instrument at all. It is, in fact, a hookah and this hookah-smoking caterpillar is the way most children get their first glimpse of this curiously strange smoking device.
When Lewis Carroll wrote the story of Alice in 1865, hookahs had been in existence and in use for many centuries. Though never really common in European countries, the hookah was and is still highly popular in Eastern cultures such as Egypt and India. So, how can it be that this mysterious thing known as hookah has never seen its day in Europe or, in more recent times, the United States? Austin Wildlife Removal
Before, cigars have been the’gourmet cigarette’ for those wanting to break from the conventional, cigarette-smoking mold. Crafted from higher-grade tobaccos and hand-rolled in exotic lands, cigars have become a true contender to the additive-infused smokes of modern day. Cigars have become so popular, actually, that they’ve cropped up an entire industry that’s based around their presence. Along with cigar shops, cigar bars have shown that smoking-tailored establishments can be equally socially-acceptable and huge profit centers for their owners. It is society’s acceptance of the cigar bar which makes hookah bars and hookah cafes a chance!
There is not any doubt that the tobacco industry has seen better days and, from the aftermath of the Big Tobacco lawsuits, it’s a wonder that these companies are still around. Did you know that there are over 600 legally-allowed additives that tobacco companies can increase their cigarettes? That’s an awesome cocktail of compounds that cigarette smokers are putting in their bodies every time they decide to light up! In contrast, today’s hookah tobacco, commonly called shisha (pronounced: shee-shuh), is comprised only of a handful of natural ingredients. These ingredients are usually tobacco, all-natural glycerin or honey, sugar and natural flavorings. That’s 596 additives short of what might be in a normal, run-of-the-pack cigarette! It is facts like these that bring most people to believe that hookah smoking is a less-harmful alternative to smoking cigarettes. Unfortunately, no major study was performed to evaluate the health effects of smoking hookah. Thus, we’ll have to await a definitive answer to that question.
When the Turkish invented the hookah centuries ago, they did so with one goal in mind. Up to that time, tobacco had been smoked in pipes that are reminiscent of American Indian peace pipes. When smoking from these pipes, the smoke was at a temperature very near the burning tobacco itself. Someone came up with the idea of filtering the smoke through water to cool the smoke to an enjoyable temperature. The simplicity of this hookah made it an instant hit and has been a major reason hookahs are still prevalent in so many Eastern cultures. Though not originally planned when the hookah was invented, the water that the smoke passes through actually acts as a natural filter that helps filter tar and other impurities generated when tobacco is smoked. Several years after the hookah was invented, someone would accidentally drop their tobacco to a molasses, thus paving the way for modern hookah shisha. It was the addition of molasses, now substituted by organic glycerin, which slowed the rate at which the tobacco burned and actually made it possible to heat the tobacco as opposed to burning it. Heating tobacco results in greater flavor potential and lowers the amount of nicotine that is released while smoking.
The hookahs of now, while being modernized and updated, have stayed true to their founder’s initial goal. Traditionally made from glass and brass, hookahs are now being produced of materials like acrylic, steel and crystal. Also, the once hand-crafted artwork has transformed into a full-blown industry that’s selling record numbers of hookahs. Hookah shisha has come of age, also. Production of hookah shisha is at an all-time large and major manufacturers are creating an increasing number of flavors to be consumed by customers worldwide. Flavors include everything from fruity apples and oranges to regional favorites like bubble gum and vanilla. The precise combination of ingredients has also yielded a cigarette with taste that lasts longer. In actuality, 1 person can smoke can smoke a bowl of tobacco for nearly an hour without needing to alter the tobacco.
A few of entrepreneurs have recognized the potential of the hookah and have begun to open bars and cafes that are specifically-tailored toward the leasing and sales of hookahs. In just a short time period, they’ve proven that there’s some serious money to be made in the hookah service industry for those willing to venture into seemingly unchartered lands. For most locations, no more than 10 to 15 hookahs per 1,000 square feet of customer seating area is sufficient and will virtually guarantee there are enough hookahs to go around. When purchased in larger lots, the price of every hookah can run anywhere from $20 to $80 bucks and some wholesalers will even provide the hookahs for free if the bar or cafe agrees to buy their hookah tobacco from the corporation. Of course, the rental plan is completely up to the business owner and usually comprises just one bowl of hookah shisha to smoke. Lower-priced refills of hookah tobacco encourage clients to stick around and socialize in the intimate environment. Most clients don’t smoke independently, opting rather for groups of 3 to 4 people. This will decrease the longevity of each bowl of tobacco and increase the number of refills purchased by each group.
Before you can start renting hookahs, you must first check with local, state and federal governments to make certain you won’t be breaking any laws or regulations. For many areas, a tobacco sales tax permit or license is all that is required to begin renting hookahs. Of course, this is supplemental to the normal state sales tax permit or license. You will also have to check local zoning requirements and determine the best location for your bar or cafe. There are several wholesalers available to receive your cafe or pub up and running in the shortest amount of time possible. It’s recommended that you opt for customer service and support over pennies saved, since it’s often tricky to find companies that are in-tune with the American way of doing business.
Besides hookahs, you’ll have to choose between a pub or cafe concept. Cafes are generally easier to open and require a minimal amount of additional capital. The most significant expenditure will be the espresso machine and this will run anywhere from $2,000 to $14,000 depending upon the brand, model and, when used, the age of the machine. If you plan the cafe route, it is recommended that you pick up a copy of”Start and Run a Coffee Bar” (Matzen & Harrison, Self Counsel Press 2002). Although not hookah-oriented, it is filled with the ins-and-outs of running a cafe and what is required to operate all of the a variety of cafe machines. If you want to open a hookah bar that serves alcoholic beverages, it’s definitely recommended that you open near a university or college campus. This will give you a steady stream of fresh, fresh bodies which will save your bar from going stale with the natives. The hookah bar concept, when coupled with college cities, has proven to be the most successful and rewarding hookah business ventures. There are, of course, caveats to opening a bar of any type. You will have to cut through significantly more’red tape’ but the payoff must definitely be worth the time and energy. Hookah bars are among the fastest growing concepts for college cities and offer a fresh, new atmosphere for 20-somethings to hang out.
As you can see, hookahs have edged their way into the European and American way of life. The cigar bars of yesteryear have paved the way for a unique opportunity for the entrepreneurs of today. Hookah cafes and hookah bars stand to make millions by providing the people with something that they have been on the lookout for and haven’t been able to find in the countless other cafes and bars. Oh, and who knows?