Three industry veterans talk about putting all your hard work to action for the big night of the party—although maybe every night can be a big night.
The third aspect of creating and hosting a party or special event in your adult nightclub—and arguably just as important as all the others—is how do you execute the nuts and bolts of actually putting on that event? How do you make sure that this great event planned is a success, that it’s smooth and everything flows the way you want it to?
To address this topic at EXPO 2018, three industry veterans were called on to share their specific expertise with executing parties and special events at multiple venues. They included Bryant Emiliani, who is the regional manager for Kirkendoll Management, which owns and operates five gentlemen’s clubs in Louisiana and also licenses the Penthouse Club brand; Dean Reardon, who is the vice president of operations for the RCI/Rick’s Cabaret club chain; and Curtis Wise, the owner of the Bucks Cabaret chain of clubs, with locations in Texas and South Carolina.
For the sake of brevity, we have posted the questions posed by moderator Dave Manack, Associate Publisher for ED Publications, and select answers from the panelists.
MANACK: What is the first thing you do from a preparation and execution standpoint when a party or special event in your club has been announced?
WISE: Well, one of the first things that we do is obviously know what the budget that has been established for the party is. The second thing that we do in executing is we immediately start on our graphics.
REARDON: I think a few things, but making sure everybody has their checklist, planning your work and working your plan, making sure every manager knows what they’re supposed to do—whether this person’s handling decorations, this person’s handling staff, the talent, etc. I just think that’s important and that you’re micromanaging your checklist every day. I think there’s power in numbers, gotta make sure your staff is behind it. Also, be sure to take advantage of your vendors. We’re paying vendors every single month, 12-15 vendors. Make sure they’re coming out and supporting your club.
EMILIANI: Conveying your message to your staff, making sure that they understand what you want to do, the party you want to present, making sure they know what you’re going to be doing for that event, giving them the promo materials so that they can help promote that event because your staff is going to be your best promoters for that event.
MANACK: What are some of the things that most people wouldn’t think of but are really important to the execution of an event that you have to stay on top of?
REARDON: I think accountability. It’s important to manage every aspect so you have the employees, you have the vendors, you have ticket sales and you have the guests that are coming through your doors, and making sure every single day there is accountability in regard to the prepartion and execution of the event.
Whether it’s an event, a feature or whatever your event is, you can get your staff and customers excited when you’re pre-selling tickets. Plus there’s an incentive for them to sell the tickets. I don’t know what type of events we’re running, but from an owner’s perspective, a $3,500 budget is pretty good. If you sell eight tickets a day, you’ve made your budget before that event even started.
EMILIANI: I think including vendors, purveyors, even a charity if you can, in the event are all good ideas. They have their own client base you can tap into. You’re bringing somebody new to your club through their customer that would normally not come to your club.
MANACK: What are the tell-tale signs your club is ready for the party or special event?
EMILIANI: Go back to communicating with staff, talking to them, getting feedback from them, talking to customers, talking to entertainment and finding out is this the right choice? Is this something that is going to go well? Is this a good idea?
WISE: When I go by the different clubs, I will actually have, and have had, customers come up to me and ask me, “Are you coming to our ‘fill-in-the-blank’ party?” And I’m floored that I have a customer asking me specifically if I’m coming to the party that we’re throwing in one of our clubs. I know it’s working when we get those types of questions.
REARDON: I want to see the actual results. What’s the guest list? What are we doing? What’s the market? Where are you on that? Does everybody know about it? What’s the preparation? Where’s the checklist? Where’s your staff schedule? Do you have an extra bartender, an extra server? Where are you on all of these items?
MANACK: Could you point to an example where something went wrong? How did you fix it and what did you learn from it?
REARDON: I don’t think any event, anything that you guys do, anybody in this room, you know, if you’re giving it 110%, there’s no way you can fail. If you do nothing, you get nothing. You know what I mean? So if you’re doing a lot of different things, whatever, and you’re promoting or whatever, you’re always going to succeed.
wWISE: For example, you have an entertainer that was supposed to be there and she’s not there, got delayed in her travel plans, etc. In that situation we’ve done giveaways and drawings. You have a Plan B so you can keep the party going and so on and so forth. And then what we do afterwards is we do look back and we’ll discuss the event. It’s like, hey, we should have done that, we should’ve done something a little sooner in the night, we lost the crowd when we did this, etc. It’s an imperfect world that we have in our clubs, so a lot of times we have to shoot from the hip and just make it work.
MANACK: What are some of the things you talk about with your staff after an event that help you take those successes and help you build it into a bigger success?
WISE: You can’t have too many parties. There’s a big piece of pie out there and that piece of pie isn’t just your competitors, it’s the Hooters and Twin Peaks, the restaurant down the street, the neighborhood bar; and you’re trying to get business from all of those. So keep throwing your parties and keep promoting them and you’ll grow your market share.
REARDON: We’re looking for residual business. We want guests coming back, because it’s competitive out there—they have many choices when it comes to where they’re going to spend their entertainment dollars. So guest feedback is vital, showing they had a great time.