Nightclub Archives | Sparkler City

Getting Your First Bar Funded

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When most people decide to open their first bar or nightclub, they do it because it has been a long time dream. The sad reality is that it takes a lot of money to start a bar from scratch, and most entrepreneurs won’t have all of the capital that it takes right off the bat. That means you will need to court perspective investors and get them onboard with your concept which will be a blend of salesmanship and compromise. If you are like many entrepreneurs, this will be your first business that you start of any kind, so it can be tough to navigate the waters. Here are some basic steps that you’ll want to take before you start pitching your bar concept to investors.

Brand and Concept

The very first step that you’ll need to take is to have a viable and well thought out concept. Just approaching an investor with the dream of owning a bar will never do, so you need to work out some of the details. Come up with a name and a concept before you ever start crunching the numbers, and even come up with some logo and marketing material concepts. Chances are you’ll need to work with the investors to alter your original concept, but you can check out a project portfolio website like Behance to get some general ideas on paper before you start working through the details. Some people feel that logo design is putting the horse before the cart, but I think it’s just prudent planning.

Business Plan

Creating a high quality business plan, also called a prospectus, is another essential step to complete before approaching potential investors. You are going to need all of the detailed information included such as operating costs, building costs, and what you expect to draw from the local market based on heavy research and demographics. This is a difficult feat for most rookies, so you should hire a professional consulting firm to help you get it right. You’ll also need to figure out how the business arrangement will work over time. For instance, if the investors gave $100,000, you could do a 75/25 split of revenues in favor of the investors until they have earned $115,000, and then change it to a 25/75 split in your favor until the business is gone or sold. This is called a share flip and will probably need to be tweaked based on your investors risk comfort.

Pitching Your Bar

You could have the best concept in the world with a great business plan to show how it will be profitable, but if you flub the pitch you won’t go anywhere. There are plenty of great webinars and websites out there to coach you on pitching your business, so make sure you educate and prepare yourself before you setup any meetings. You can also tap a consulting firm to help you with this process, but that will add to the out of pocket expenses you incur just to get the bar or nightclub off the ground.

Overall, it’s important to remember that even though it was your concept originally, bringing investors onboard means sharing your vision and making compromises. It’s a trade-off that many first time bar owners simply must make if they don’t have a huge supply of capital on hand to do it alone. Remember, your goal is to get your first bar or nightclub off the ground, so focus on making your dream come true the second time around or after you have the funds to buy out the original investors.

Summer at a Bar

Enjoying a Profitable Summer at your Bar

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With summer upon us, putting together a game plan to maximize your revenues is vital for your bar or nightclub to have a profitable season. Potential customers are eager to enjoy their summer, so if you offer them what they want you can make huge profits in just a few short months. On the flipside, if you don’t entice your customer base, they will be just as content to stay home and drink in their backyard with friends. The key is to offer them something at your bar or nightclub that they can’t get anywhere else in town, and there are a few simple ways to accomplish that.

Get Your Staff Ready

Before you even consider trying to pull in more customers over the summer, you need to make sure your staff is set and ready to go. That means making sure you have enough bartenders and servers hired to accommodate any demand that may arise, as well as making sure that bar staff is properly trained. If you can have a complete staff of pros who know exactly what they are supposed to, your guests will stay longer and keep coming back to your bar which will lead to massively higher profits.

Plan Summertime Events

Events are the lifeblood to any successful summer marketing program for a bar or nightclub, so this is where much of your attention needs to be devoted in the months leading up to summer. You’re going to want to book a great variety of bands and come up with themed party nights such as beach attire or even a toga party. Make sure you book the most popular local bands in your area as soon as possible because they will get snatched up quickly for summer show. If you create events that are entertaining and make your customers feel like it is an exclusive experience, you can expect to see large profits follow.

Marketing

No matter how great your summertime event strategy is, it will be all for not if you can’t market it properly. You need to do all of the standard methods such as social media, your website, and even radio ads if you’re in a large enough market, but never underestimate the power of in-house marketing. By putting table tents of your next event on every table and having large banners boasting upcoming parties or bands, you will directly market to your best demographic of all: people who already want to come to your bar or nightclub.

Summer can be the most profitable season for a bar or nightclub, but if can also lead to a completely empty venue if you don’t know how to attract customers. It all starts with having a well-trained and competent staff that is ready to work, and everything else stems from there. Once you have a great staff in place, you can focus on putting together summertime entertainment and marketing it so your bar or nightclub packs out each night. If you can conquer those three factors, you can easily have a very profitable summer at your venue.

Bottle Service

Determining Table and Bottle Pricing in your Club

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Originally when nightclubs first became trendy, the only costs were for drinks and possibly a cover charge to get in the door. Over the last few decades, club owners have found all sorts of new ways to generate revenue such as bottle service, VIP seating, and more. When you’re pricing out a cocktail, the formula is really straight forward. You figure out the cost of the ingredients, add on your target margin, and you come up with a final price. However, determining table and bottle pricing can be a little trickier since it is skewed based on the demand of your limited seating areas and the “cool factor” of buying bottle service. Fortunately, there is a pretty simple way to figure it out if you know what you’re doing.

Bottle Service

There are two main ways nightclubs handle bottle service. Option one is used if there are plenty of table in the club and groups can simply order a bottle with mixers for their table to enjoy. Option two, the more popular option, involves having a limited number of tables available that are exclusively for groups who are buying bottle service.

To put it bluntly, a table for bottle service is worth whatever people are willing to pay. It’s always good to start off with a base price at the beginning of the night, such as 1 bottle for $300 or 2 bottles for $600, and then slowly increase the price as tables begin to fill up. It’s not uncommon for a nightclub to charge twice what the initial going rate for bottle service by the end of the night if the club is very busy. Just remember that it is completely supply and demand, so if the group wants bottle service they will pay what you ask.

Table Pricing

Some venues like to offer tables to VIP customers as a way of showing their status. Usually, this requires an additional purchase of a VIP package when they arrive at the club. Similar to bottle service, the cost of a table can fluctuate based on demand. However, it is usually much more affordable to be seated in the VIP area compared to getting a table with bottle service. You should also keep them separated so the bottle service customers are considered the top echelon while the VIP customers are a close second.

Advanced Booking Fees

Sometimes large groups want to reserve a section of your nightclub for an event such as a birthday party or a bachelor party. This can mean big business, but it can also hinder your regular business model because of the amount of space they will take up in your venue. For this “hassle”, you should charge an advanced booking fee. Typically, the industry standard is somewhere between 25% and 50% of the normal cover charge per person in the group. This should also be non-refundable in case the group decides to cancel unexpectedly so you aren’t out the labor and materials costs for preparing for their arrival.

Though pricing out VIP packages and bottle service requires some flexibility and a keen business sense, with a little practice it is fairly straight forward. Just remember that you’re selling an experience and that demand should guide you while you’re determining table and bottle pricing in your club.

Bartenders Replaced by Machines

Will Machines and Software Replace Bartenders?

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These days, it seems like there is an app for pretty much everything. Machines and software have changed the way we do almost everything in our day to day lives, and there are constantly new innovations shaping the way we interact with the world around us. Fortunately, much of the service industry has remained unaffected by these sweeping changes, and that includes the bar and nightclub industry. However, there have already been some changes throughout the industry that are pointing in the direction of removing human interaction, and that spells trouble for many people who are employed in this field.

Now, I don’t want to start a panic because this is very early in the process and likely won’t be a reality for many years, if not decades, but understanding that there is a clock on all of our jobs is important to help you prepare for your future. The fact of the matter is that all jobs will likely be replaced by machines and software at some point, and bartenders and servers at bars and nightclubs are no exception. Here is how it all shakes down in the upcoming decades.

Replacing Servers

The die has been cast already for servers being replaced by machines and software, and you can find evidence of it at many of the most popular chain restaurants. It actually started in the fast food industry with the ability to order online before you get to the store, but now places like Jack in the Box have kiosks in their dining rooms that allow you to order through a machine rather than talk directly to a cashier. Though this replaces jobs, the sad truth is that it is actually more reliable and accurate than telling your order to another human to enter into their software. You can also see tablets on the tables at restaurants like Applebee’s and Chili’s where you can place your orders and print your check. You still have a server to physically bring your food and drinks out to you, but your interaction with them is otherwise eradicated.

Replacing Bartenders

Replacing bartenders with machines and software is a little further out sue to the personable nature of the job, but you can see the appeal. Imagine ordering your drinks from a tablet right from your barstool and a machine mixing your beverage precisely every time you order. No longer would you need to hope your bartender knows how to make an old fashioned properly because the machine will be programmed to do it perfectly every single time. They already have self-serve tap beer systems that allow patrons to pour their own beers, so taking this next leap is not too far-fetched.

In summary, there are many aspects of serving and bartending that you can expect to be replaced by technology over the next few years and decades. However, eliminating people altogether from the bar and nightclub industry won’t happen for quite a long time. Sure, you can have machines make your drinks and you can replace ordering and paying with software, but you will still need servers to deliver food to the table and bartenders to bring the drinks to thirsty customers sitting on their barstools.

Halloween at a Bar or Nightclub

Preparing Your Venue for Halloween

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With Halloween just around the corner, many bar and nightclub owners know that they need to start planning accordingly. Halloween is historically one of the biggest nights of the year for bar and nightclub business, but you won’t see a penny if you don’t have a great entertainment package planned. Also, there are other implications if you don’t bring in a great crowd on Halloween, and those implications can echo through the rest of the holiday season.

As most of you know, fall marks the beginning of busy season at most bars and nightclubs. With the weather outside changing and getting colder, people are fleeing their backyard parties of summertime and opting to belly up at their favorite watering hole. To capture recurring customers for the busy fall and early winter seasons, you need to pack your venue on Halloween. Here’s what you need to know.

Decorate

Decorating your bar or nightclub for Halloween is very important to create a fun experience for your customers. However, you don’t want it to look and feel like a haunted attraction, so make sure you’re choosing wisely. Put a few pumpkin and ghost decorations scattered throughout the venue to make it look festive, but try not to overdo it. Also, make sure you have something visible from the street so people passing by can see the decorations to. Lastly, don’t decorate your bar until around halfway through October because any earlier would be overkill.

Events

Entertainment is crucial to bringing in crowds on Halloween, so make sure you have a great program put in place ahead of time. Remember to book a band or DJ in advance because the best ones will book up fast as Halloween approaches. Also, you simply must have a costume contest to encourage your customers to dress up. Lastly, don’t forget the drink specials! Make some “creepy” variations of classic cocktails and offer at least one pumpkin ale to keep your customers in the mood to spend money and party.

Advertise

Lastly, you need to advertise your Halloween party proudly and loudly. Make a huge banner to put out in front of your bar or nightclub. Take to social media and make sure everyone possible sees the details of your Halloween extravaganza. You could have the greatest party put together in the entire world, but not a single customer will show up if they have no idea it’s happening. If you have any room at all left in your advertising budget for the year, now would be a good time to start using it.

By preparing your bar or nightclub for the busy fall and winter months using Halloween as your springboard, you can have a profitable and exciting holiday season. Just remember to decorate your venue, offer great entertainment and drink specials, and advertise to the hilt, and all the work you do preparing your venue for Halloween will pay off with huge dividends.

Shipping Container Nightclub

Pop-Up Shipping Container Nightclub

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Whether you’re having a huge going away party or you need a stellar bar for your wedding reception, finding a way to pull it off has been quite a challenge – until now! When I first saw this interesting invention, I didn’t know if I should laugh hysterically or give the creators a round of applause. After much research and some careful thought, I decided on the latter because of how many uses you can find for a pop-up nightclub and how portable they really are.

The concept is quite simple; a truck shows up at a pre-disclosed location and drops off a few large rectangular boxes that resemble shipping or storage containers. With a little bit of work and the help of some ingenious design, the containers stack and open up into an extravagant nightclub that will leave your guests astounded. We aren’t talking about a tiny bar like flipping open a shutter on the side of a shipping container and bellying up to a counter; this shipping container nightclub opens up to a two (or three) story wonderland that is truly fit for a king.

On the first floor, there is a large bar area that allows for each of your guests to have an authentic nightclub bar experience. On the second floor, there is another bar or DJ booth as wells as a large area that can be used as a dance floor or as an observation deck depending on what your intended use happens to be. The second floor deck also works great as a place for your wedding ceremony; provided of course that you don’t have way too many guests for them to all fit comfortably.

There are a few companies offering shipping container nightclubs for rental in the United States, but the problem with each of the companies is the same. Shipping container nightclubs aren’t cheap to manufacture, and usually they need to send along a specialist to orchestrate the setup of the mobile nightclub for safety reasons. On top of that, most of the providers like to send along their own bartenders and wait staff to ensure their mobile nightclub is being looked after properly. This means that pop-up shipping container nightclubs are quite expensive to rent, have limited availability because of their popularity and scarcity, and are only available in certain market regions.

With all of these stipulations, limitations, and the incredible expense involved, you might be wondering if renting out a mobile nightclub made from shipping containers for your wedding or other type of party is even worth the hassle. In my humble opinion, if you have the resources and access to one of these beauties, a pop-up shipping container nightclub will provide an amazing “wow” factor at your event and I can guarantee that you won’t be disappointed with how luxurious your experience will be. I was very impressed when I finally got to step foot on one of these mobile nightclubs in person at a wedding recently, and it was definitely all it’s cracked up to be.

At the end of the day, only you can determine if renting one for your event is right for you. But take note that one thing is for certain; you and your guests will never forget your experience if you rent a pop-up shipping container nightclub for an evening or weekend of fun.

Summer Trends for Bars and Nightclubs

Summer Trends for Bars and Nightclubs

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Summer is historically not the best time of year for sales at a bar or nightclub because there is too much to do outdoors. Many people would rather sit around a fire in their backyard with inexpensive beer that they purchased at a liquor store and enjoy the beautiful weather than belly up to an indoor bar for expensive cocktails. Additionally, many people travel during the summer months which means that on any given weekend the pool of available patrons is much smaller than other times of the year. However, with careful marketing and the proper choice of activities, you can still pack your bar with plenty of customers that are ready to pay for a great experience. Here are some summer trends for bars and nightclubs that will help you keep your venue in the red until the much more lucrative fall and winter months arrive.

Summer Music Shows

With so many fun things that people can do at home on a budget, you need to really come up with enticing forms of entertainment that can’t be duplicated outside of a bar or nightclub. For dance and nightclubs that are staying with the latest trends, make sure you’re bringing in the best DJs and EDM (electronic dance music) performers possible. For neighborhood bars, try to bring in the best known cover bands in your area to draw in as much of the available crowd as possible.

Fun Summer Cocktails

You should constantly be evolving your selection of delicious cocktails at any bar or nightclub, and this is particularly true right now with such a strong emphasis on mixology. For a summertime treat that your guests will love, you should create some delicious cocktails that are refreshing after a hot day of work in the backyard based around fruit drinks like lemonade or pomegranate. You can also put these types of drinks on special to revive sales for cocktails such as long island iced teas or Lynchburg lemonades.

Utilize Outdoor Spaces

To make your venue more enticing, consider making use of whatever outdoor spaces you have available such as a patio. If your permit allows, you should setup a temporary service station outside so your customers can buy drinks right there and people passing by can see that there’s a lot of outdoor activity at your bar. This isn’t one of the newest marketing trends around, but it’s highly effective.

Themed Events

Themed events are another great way to bring in more business during the summer and are one of the hottest trends currently. Consider having a “beach party” event, a weekend dedicated to Caribbean cocktails and cuisine, or anything else people associate with a tropical adventure. Most people don’t get to experience these things on a daily basis, so it can be a great way to offer your customers a mini vacation right in their own town or city.

Increase Your Marketing Efforts

Whenever there are less people to attract to your bar or nightclub, the first thing you should do is make sure everyone knows what you’re offering. However you happen to advertise, you should consider ramping up those marketing efforts for your bar or nightclub to bring as many people into the venue as possible.

By offering great events and activities at your venue, you can keep your business profitable during the down summer months. Just make sure to cater to customers using the best summer trends for bars and nightclubs and people will be lining up around the block for a really great time.

The Right Clientele

Bringing in the Right Clientele

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Depending on the area you serve and the theme of your bar or nightclub, catering to your chosen clientele is very important to be successful. If you fail to reach your intended audience, you’re venue is likely to close in a very short period of time. Additionally, all of the advertising dollars that you spend will go to waste which will only make the matter worse. By knowing who you want to target and how to properly go about it, you can bring in the right clientele to your bar or nightclub and thrive for many years to come.

Staff

Most bar owners completely overlook the importance of staffing when it comes to catering to a specific demographic. For instance, if you’re targeting a younger crowd that will bring in a lot of energy to your establishment, having a slow bartender that is in their 50’s is probably not what they’re looking for in a club. Instead, you should hire a younger staff that will add to the energy of your club so that your key demographic will feel like they’re in the right place.

Promotions and Events

Another key to bringing in large crowds of your preferred clientele is gearing your promotions and events towards that specific demographic. Again, if you’re after a younger crowd, consider bringing in DJs and playing dance music rather than relying on a jukebox or classic rock radio stations. A band that covers music from the 70s won’t appeal to a younger clientele, but having a DJ that plays the latest club music will create an environment that is desirable to your core audience.

Venue Décor

Creating the look and feel of a vibrant club is also important if you want to attract younger patrons. Dark wood interior and a musty “dive bar” feel is perfect for people in their 30s and 40s, but you need something more modern and chic to bring in that bar goers that are in their twenties. Choose a modern color scheme and flattering lighting in order to make your bar or nightclub the perfect experience from the moment your patrons walk through the door.

Advertising

How and where you advertise to your clientele will also play a very large role in who walks through your door. If you’re putting ads in the local newspaper, you’re going to attract a much older crowd. If you’re targeting your customers via social media and search advertising, you’re more likely to reach your preferred clientele. Best of all, when you advertise digitally, you can literally choose who sees you ads and who doesn’t. This not only allows you to target a specific demographic of clientele, but it will save you money compared to using the “shotgun” approach since you won’t be paying for a bunch of ad views for people who won’t be interested in your brand.

Online Ticketing

5 Tools Every Club Needs to Maximize Revenues

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Whether you operate a nightclub, a bar, or an event center, each of those business models can improve their profitability greatly by implementing the right systems and tools. When everything is put in place correctly and you have the right tools at your disposal to operate your business, you can build a more loyal customer base and watch your profits rise. Here are 5 tools that every club needs to maximize their revenues.

A CRM System (Customer Relationship Management)

Though taking the “Cheers” approach and knowing everyone’s name that frequents your bar is a great way to get things started, this approach isn’t really practical unless you run a corner dive in a very small town. By implementing a CRM system, you can get an instant snapshot of how often a particular patron comes to your club, how much they spend, and what they like to drink. This can help your bartenders to upsell a customer drinks and food that are specifically catered to their taste.

Advanced Ticketing

If you have bands or other types of entertainment at your bar or nightclub, and most of you do, then you should absolutely be offering advanced ticket sales. It’s 2015 so this should be common sense, but there are still plenty of bars that require you to purchase tickets at the door. This is like a pizza joint not accepting online orders; it’s just plain business suicide.

Reservation Management Systems

The days of using a pen and paper to keep track of your table reservations should be considered a thing of the past. Your customers want to be able to reserve a table online and cancel it online if their plans change. Also, you can have each reservation assigned to a specific table and have availability disappear when you’re booked up to avoid any conflicts with your reservation process.

General Admission Tracker

Most club owners fixate on their VIP and promotion sales because they use that as a tool to see how busy their club was on a particular night. However, if you’re doing this at the expense of tracking your general admissions, you’re making a huge mistake. You absolutely need to know how many people came and went from your club each night and how many were males and females. This will allow you to better target your promotions and also better understand your target audience.

An Analytics System

We all know that data is important to get a pulse on how your venue is doing, but the trouble is that gathering the best types of data can seem to be a daunting task. This can lead to owners and their manager making poor decisions blindly instead of leveraging their data to make more profits. By implementing a great analytics system, you’ll be able to see a snapshot of your customers, servers, and bartenders while also being able to dig deep into the numbers to find trends and problem areas that you need to address.

Though there’s more to being successful than just implementing a few tools, they can certainly help you get the big picture of what’s happening in your nightclub, bar, or event center and make better choices. By using these 5 tools to maximize your revenues, your club can continue to increase its revenue stream for years to come.

Hot Dogs on the Grill

Ways to Capitalize on 4th of July Partiers

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When you own a bar or nightclub, you need to look at every single event or holiday as an opportunity to make money. Whenever there is a major holiday, there will be no shortage of people who want to head out to celebrate with copious amounts of food and alcohol. This is partially because people want to celebrate the holiday, but mostly it is because they get a day off of work. For this reason, the night before any major holiday is very busy at bars; and the 4th of July is no exception.

Though most people think about lighting up the grill in their backyard and having a few cold ones from a twelve pack in their fridge rather than going to the bar on the 4th of July, there will still be plenty of people partying; especially the night before. Additionally, there are some things you can do to make your bar or nightclub more enticing to people who would otherwise stay at home, and this can drum up even more business on Independence Day. Here are some ways to capitalize on the 4th of July partiers in your neighborhood.

Grill Food

One of the easiest, and tastiest, ways to bring in a crowd is to have them smell your bar from a mile away; literally. The nose is a very powerful tool for persuasion, so make sure you use it to your full benefit. By grilling food for your customers, you can give them that “backyard” experience and also send out a “calling card” in the form of delicious smells for blocks in every direction. You can either choose to sell various items off of your grill or you could do something cheap like hot dogs and just give them away; the choice is really yours.

Have Fireworks

Fireworks and the 4th of July go together, and using that to your advantage is always a great idea. Your customers have probably already found a local fireworks show to watch on the 4th of July, but having some outside your bar or nightclub on the 3rd can be a great attention grabber. Just make sure you pull the right permits or hire a professional company to handle the fireworks show for you otherwise you can have some trouble on your hands if something goes wrong.

Join a Bar Crawl

Though it may seem counter-intuitive to join a bar crawl with your competing bars, it can actually be a great way to get business for everyone. Bar crawls are a great way to get people who would otherwise want to stay at home on the 3rd of July to head out to hit the bar strip because they are focused on the event rather than sitting on a barstool. Customers will move from bar to bar buying a drink or two until they’ve completed the entire circuit. Hopefully you can manage to be the last bar on the trip, but it is still worth it even if you’re not and you can still capitalize on the 4th of July partiers that want to have a drink poured by a professional bartender.

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