Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Know Your Business

I just started a new contract with another group of owners who think that they know how to run a nightclub.
This means that I have too take up a lot of time re-working their concept, staff, advertising and philosophy.

I go out ... A LOT.
But I don't go out to have fun so much as I'm always on the look out for new talent.
The bartender who can attract women, doesn't steal, works hard and provides good service,
The cocktail waitress who can work a crowd, get orders out quickly and correctly while providing good service,
The door guy who can end a problem before it starts, who shows up on time and can provide professional service to sometimes angry customers,
The DJ who plays what the crowd wants to hear not just what he/she wants to hear...
I'm always looking.

Club owners always assume that they are in the wrong business.
"Why should people come here?", I always ask first.
"We have a nice decor", some say.
"But if people want to look at art they'll go to a museum or gallery", I reply.
"We have cheap drinks. We make our money on people buying drinks.", is also a common answer.
"If people just want a drink it's cheaper for them to just buy a bottle and sit at home and get drunk.", I tell them.
"A strong and good one-hitta'-quitta' $8 drink will bring more return business than will a weak $4 drink, It's not the actual cost but the perceived value that matters most.", I continue.
"We have a good DJ.", some say.
"If people just want to hear music they can just watch YouTube to listen to their favorites in the order they prefer... for free.", I say.
"Look, a good DJ is like a good actor - you don't notice it. But a bad DJ is like a bad actor - each can make the experience unbearable.", I continue.

So, people don't go to clubs for the music, for the decor, or for the drinks.
What does get people to come back and bring more people?
People like to feel as though they are special and that cover charge and the cost of each drink affords them that privilege for the three to five hours one spends in a night club.
The best employees know how to make this happen.
The best employees can create an addictive environment - an environment which allows small people to be the big shot.
Good nightclub workers are good hosts.
They may be the best at what they do but the patron should still be made to feel as though he/she is the most important person in the building.
The best workers are able to put aside their egos in order to do the job.

People get addicted to the status associated with being the big man/big woman at the club and they will pay to get that high even if they have to spend their rent money to do it.
This is where VIP cards and free drinks come in.
The people who get these perks boast of them and come back in order to do so - and those who don't enjoy these perks come back to work their way up to becoming a member of the 'in group'.

In all honesty - the situation is laughable.
Who cares about such things if ones kids can't get his needs met?
But like those addicted to narcotics, the call of a rented status is just too strong and they will feel as though they missed something if they fail to come back on a good night.
They will look for the same high they got when they first felt special.
I still don't enjoy working at nightclubs but the pay and bonuses are just too good to pass up.
I can't wait for the days when I will once again be able to go out without having to be on the lookout for the perfect employee for the perfect place.
I can't wait until going out fails to be work.


DF said...

Hey it's just a low cost fantasy. Most people are willing to spend 20 bucks to be surrounded by people who they can impress just by holding a drink. Also, everyone is a willing participant in the 20 dollar fantasy. So when you have that team working properly you probably get cats who will spend 40 to stand out. This one upmanship continues until people actually believe the fantasy is real. Every man in a 20 mile distance is willing to pay just to just sit in the parking lot of such a place.

That's the magic that clubs provide. A low cost fantasy that could turn into Vegas.

Reggie said...

The service is what keeps people going back to a certain restaurant, club or other business. Some people just don't see that it's the little things that mean so much to the public. It's the little things that keep us coming back.