We had some issues with the site so this is a repost of the article that was getting so many hits. Brian has since updated and clarified some things. Excellent read here, folks! Thank you to former PANDA-turned-manager Brian Parselli of Spearmint Rhino in Lexington, KY!
SUCCESSFUL CLUB MANAGEMENT
by Brian Parselli
FORGET THE SOCIAL MEDIA, GOOGLE SEO, OUTSIDE PROMOTIONS,
HAVE YOU LOOKED INSIDE YOUR CLUB LATELY?
Many times, adult night clubs suffering from failing business and poor numbers have one thing in common. In many cases, management loves to blame it on “low advertising budget”, or “poor social media management” and several other reasons can be given as to what’s happening outside your club. While these can certainly help or hurt your club, many times the problem lies RIGHT INSIDE THE 4 WALLS OF THE ESTABLISHMENT.
Let’s steal a page from Hospitality Management 101.
It is called the 2 – 20 Rule. This states that generally when any guest has a satisfactory experience, they will tell an average of 2 people about their experience at your club; and will most likely return to your club on occasion. Now, of course there is the other part of the rule, A guest that has a negative/unsatisfactory experience will go out of their way to speak of the experience to an average of 20 people. These are also the same guests who will leave negative Yelp or Google reviews. This can really hurt the reputation of your club.
Did you know? It only takes 4-7 minutes from the time the guest enters your club to form an initial opinion of your club. Their experience begins at the moment of walking through the door!
Managers, ask yourself: Did the guest get greeted? Did the guest get seated? How fast was the first drink order taken? Approximately how long did the first entertainer introduce herself to your guest? Did a staff member make that happen?
Here are some fundamentals that should always be considered in your club operations:
Greeting: Let’s start when the guest walks in the door. Do you have a greeter? If not, then who greets them?
Greeting is so essential; first, it makes the guest feel welcome. If you have a large club, this is crucial. Have you ever watched a guest walk into a large club without someone there to greet them? They look lost most of the time. It can be very intimidating to a first time guest.
Of course if there is no greeter then certainly there is no one to seat the guest, which brings me to my next point.
Seating: as important as the greeting is, seating is as equally important if not more. Again, when most guests are not seated when walking in, they are very likely to find the most remote, out-of-the action seat they can find. Again, the large club intimidation factor sets in; they may just not feel welcome.
The advantages of seating your guests are immense. Teach your staff to use “Suggestive Seating” this is a technique used by the staff to essentially stop the guest(s) in their tracks as they are walking in. Literally stop them. This gives the guest the perception that the individual who is seating them has taken charge and is much more likely to follow that person to a seat. Many times, if the greeter does not actually stop and get the guest’s attention, they may be more apprehensive to be seated by someone.
Always fill up the seats around the stages first. This enables the DJ to build momentum rapidly and create the party atmosphere earlier. Clubs can look dead when your guests are scattered all around. If they are concentrated in one area, such as the stage areas, the atmosphere in the room is completely different.
Taking the Guest on a Tour- If you go to a new restaurant, how do you know what the restaurant has to offer? A menu right? Same applies to an adult night club. If a guest has never been to your venue before, how will they know what you have to offer? The answer is: they won’t unless you show them a “menu”. This falls back to the greeter. Finding out if a guest is a first time guest is essential, at that point, the greeter should be informing a VIP host or floor host to show the guest around the club. You always want the guest to know as much information as possible. Many clubs have many options, some topless and nude, different levels of privacy, segregated sections specifically for VIP guests. This way when the guest finds that entertainer he likes (hopefully one of your staff members has assisted in that), he knows his options and prices already so that he not misled into areas that may not fit his budget.
So, I just talked about two of the most important aspects of making your guest welcome. Now, with just those simple rules, how much of an impact will those make to the guest? Very little if the remainder of the guest’s experience is not equal to or greater than the initial greet and seat.
Where am I going with this? Your staff of course.
Do you have The Right People in the Right Positions?
Do you have the right person in every position of your staff? What exactly is the right person for the right job?
It is so easy for management to overlook this one simple aspect that could be destroying your guest relations. The staff will make or break you, sometimes in a week or sometimes it happens over time as your staff continues to not enjoy their job, offer poor service and make the guest feel very unwelcome.
Staff plays the largest role in the entire experience for the guest. They can create regular guests with great service, or they can destroy any potentially regular from ever coming back to the club with poor service.
With all the competition out there, it takes great management and even a greater staff to be “the best club in town” or to perhaps even compete with the top clubs in your city.
Evaluating your staff, bringing the WOW factor to the guest
A staff member who likes their job will have a great personality and good conversation skills. These traits are equal to a dancer on stage.
Those who bring the wow factor to the guest experience will:
Exceed the guest’s expectations: This is what will separate your club from the competition, that one staff member who cares about their job, about the guest and has fun while doing so.
Pay Attention to Detail: Every Aspect of the Guest’s experience counts. A good staff member will be aware of everything happening on the floor. From a server straightening a simple lamp shade or wiping up a condensation ring on the table, to the floor host observing the guest’s reaction to different entertainers that are walking by as he searches for the perfect girl.
Each Guest Each Visit: Whether it is their first time, if they are already a regular guest, or if they are with a bachelor party and may not come back until the next big event. EVERY guest should receive the same great service.
Sales, Sales, Sales: Without a doubt, the most important aspect of a great employee in an adult nightclub. EVERY POSITION in an adult nightclub is a Sales position. And if you don’t have salespeople in those positions, you are losing money. Great sales go hand in hand with great hospitality. Any staff member, no matter what role they have, should be able to sell anything the club has to offer. Specifically, the entertainers. Matching entertainer and guest is essential and the ability to pick the right entertainer for the right guest takes skill, experience and great sales ability.
Training your staff to be great sales people is also a difficult task; it all starts with the knowledge of the management.
Successful sales and service result from confidence, which can only be developed through knowledge and confidence in relation to the proper service techniques.
Far too often staff is NOT trained properly which leads to a rotating door of subpar employees getting fired or quitting. It is management’s duty to acquire the knowledge and training themselves first so that they can pass it on to staff..
Product Knowledge: Product knowledge is a must. Educate your staff on everything. All staff should know: Drink Prices, Dance Prices, Entertainer names and products you offer, ie: drinks, cigars, champagne, wine, liquors.
These are a few of the many aspects that can improve your sales. But it starts with having the right people in the right positions. If you have those types of people, you need to always make sure they are well compensated. If you haven’t figured it out yet. Owners, Mangers alike -YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Pay your staff; make sure that all who are of value know it. It is the Owners job to make the managers rich, and the manager’s job to make the staff rich.
Key Positions in your club:
DJs– as the center of your club they can create a great party, or break your entire night. The club is the orchestra and the DJ is the conductor. Don’t underestimate what a good DJ can do for you. They should be running a SHOW not a shift. If you have a DJ who can get on your stage and host a customer participation giveaway or get the crowd roaring over your sound system, you better be prepared and should certainly want to pay them what they are worth.
VIP or Champagne hosts – The premier position in most clubs. If you have these people who can pick up their phone, make a call and have a whale come in to make the staff’s night on a slow summer night, seek out and find the money in your club. Establish great relationships with the guest, and mainly; keep your girls busy in your rooms all night, then those people are worth their weight in gold.
Bartenders & Servers – the bread and butter of your operation. Your liquor sales should always be your major money maker. Skilled bartenders and servers will boost your sales at an incredible rate. If you have bartenders who are not only skilled, but can put on a SHOW, like a flair show for example, (yes it does work in the adult industry, this is the WOW factor I keep referring to) pay them more on the hour or give them a commission. Whatever it takes to keep them. And keep in mind, Servers, next to entertainers have the hardest jobs in an adult night club, good servers should be appreciated and compensated by getting the prime shifts, find the one that stands out and make them a lead server.
If you do not have skilled bartenders and servers, then you are losing incredible amounts of money. If you want to give one of your former entertainers a bartending job, great, but then you had better be prepared to pay for some bartending school and hope you have an exceptional bartender to train her properly, otherwise, you may as well just take thousands out of your safe and burn it because of the money you lost with an inexperienced bartender who could ring a fraction of the sales as an experienced one.
Floor Hosts– The most unnoticed position at times. The guys who maintain security of the girls, the club and the patrons. The ideal floor host should be exceeding expectations, things like escorting girls off one stage to another, or just simply putting him in situations where he can assist the entertainers throughout the night. You always want your floor hosts and entertainers having great relationships. Those 30 seconds of conversation between floor host and entertainer creates trust, which gives the entertainer a sense of security and will also encourage entertainers to tip the hosts more. Too many hosts miss opportunities like that. If you already have a host like that, promote him and get him training the rest. If these guys aren’t selling for you, they are dead weight.
Too many quality people out there looking for jobs. Managers, don’t get comfortable with mediocrity. If they are not excelling at their job then they are not right for the position.
Managers – The glue to keep it all together. Until you have managed an adult night club, you could not ever have the appreciation for the job.
It requires patience, tolerance, and sometimes endurance beyond all measure. Good management will motivate staff, which motivates sales. Good management works as a team to achieve goals. Good management deserves to be paid equally for their hard work. I have seen good management leave a club and devastate it within months. Do not pay your management based on girl counts, or make them rely on any type of tip incentives for their salary. Anything related to that could lead to corruption or a conflict of interest for a manager plus, it can take the motivation right out of them. Think about it. Paying per girl means that if a manager has to fire a girl for illegal activities, he just took a pay cut, same for relying on tips from girls (or any type of tip). Tips can lead to the management focusing on the generation of those tips vs. the sales in the club.
Whichever owner decided to pay their manager by these methods, they probably didn’t realize the negative impact this type of pay structure could have. Want to keep your managers producing? Pay your managers on sales, percentages of champagne rooms, dances, cover charge, bottle service sales.. These revenue centers will keep your managers motivated to keep sales up and keep the staff motivated equally
In my 19 years I have seen this industry go through such versatile changes. However, one thing is always clear to me. Great Staff, Great management who are paid appropriately, appreciated from time to time, and given credit when its due will always put their job first, will always bring the Wow factor to the guest experience, and will keep your club on top!
Special thanks to: Michael J. Peters, Dean Reardon, Randy Beasley, Jim St John, Albert Bortz, Drayton Nay and many other of my mentors whom passed on their knowledge to preserve and maintain the professionalism of the Adult Industry.