How To Run a Nightclub pt1 – Door Staff & Clientel

I’ve noticed nightclubs making the same mistakes over and over again. In these posts I’ll try to explain some common mistakes that have closed down thousands of venues across the world and have stopped good venues becomeing great.

Door Staff – You door policy should NOT be set by your Door Staff. Door staff should be their to maintain order and above all should be their to facilitate the customer. It should be their job to greet each customer, have a brief chat with them to make sure they arent too drunk and make them feel that they will be safe in the premises under their supervision. They don’t need to be “hard” or “scary”, the best security i’ve encountered are so friendly that when they go to break up a distrubance – it stops automatically and they apologies for cause them problems. They do this because both side consider the security personell their friends (who are on their side) after their brief chat at the door.

So how then, you ask, do you ensure you get the clientel you want? First off before you open decide who your clientel is. Write it down in your mission statement and don’t be vague. “Don’t say 18 -45 years old who like to drink lots” instead Niche as much as possible. For example “23 -27 year olds, young professionals, who like X music, wear designer clothes, etc…”. You need to do this because your going to choose your clientel not let the clientel choose you.

Once you can visually imagine your A-typical customer, investingate what they want from a venue and a nightout. Again be specific. Do they want comfy booths, designer Beds to lounge on, bar stools, to stand and leave a drink on a table. What do they drink? Should you serve pints? Don’t just assume you have to! What does each brand of drink say about the customer? If your catering to a student market maybe you should serve Cheap larger in jugs. If your catering to models maybe a large range of Champagne and fresh strawberries. If you want health concious females then maybe a freshly squeezed cocktail bar. Are they price concious of the price of drinks? Set your price to suit your market. Always have a good value option and i’d recommend charging above odds on alco-pops – people who drink these aren’t price concious and tend to be young.

Make your music policy specific. Don’t go down the road of playing “a bit of everything”, that’s what every other venue is doing. The problem with doing this is that your customers will never be loyal, they have no reason to be! If your the only venue where they can find a specific atmosphere and music then you can be sure you’ll develop a regular loyal clientel.

Being a DJ myself this is likely to sound biased; but i’ve experienced managers taking over a nightclub trying to reduce costs because they think they’re paying to much for a DJ and going from 1000 people a saturday night to less than 50 within 4 weeks. Never skimp on DJ’s, a top of the range DJ is worth 100 times what you pay for them and a cheap one costs you 1000 times what you save, in customers that will never come back. Look the only way a club will succeed is if the experience they have in the venue makes them want to come back and bring friends… Don’t think of a DJ as just entertainment, their your marketing (word of mouth) and they create your atmosphere – hence dictate your clientel. Whats equally important is what a DJ DOESN’T PLAY , saying NO to requests means that your club is saying were not somewhere for everyone – were special. Otherwise you’ll end up unpleasing your target market to keep happy some group you don’t really want in your venue and who probably won’t come back anyway because the venue isn’t designed to cater for them!

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