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Nightclub Confidential

Dean’s Dos & Don’ts

June 25, 2009 By: Donna Hood Crecca


After 20 years running bars and nightclubs, Pacha NYC president Eddie Dean claims he’s “never worked harder in my life!” Sitting on a panel moderated by nightclub brokerage impresario Alex Picken during the New York Bar Show (June 15), Dean outlined his advice for operators looking to beat the odds in the current environment. Among his pearls of wisdom:

  1. Inspect and Check. Nightly pre-opening inspections and checklists are necessary to ensure complete compliance with all regulations and avoid fines or worse. “Inspectors from seven or eight agencies could pop in at any time. Make sure you have the right scoops in your ice bins, the right signage up about alcohol and pregnancy,” he warned. “Spot check your managers. Stay on top of everything with checklists. Do everything by the book.”
  2. Be Involved. “In this environment, absentee ownership is not a good way to go.”
  3. Maintain Insurance. “Everyone’s looking to cut costs, but there’s one place you never slice. Don’t chintz on insurance. People today will sue for anything!”
  4. Continue to Market. Smart operators get more bang for their marketing buck right now, “because no one else is marketing. Media is hurting these days; we’re spending the same on our marketing budget but getting more mileage because others aren’t marketing so we’re getting deals.”
  5. Offer Value. “Create an entry level for everyone,” Dean advised. “Give them a reason to come into your club — something free before a certain time, two-for-one bottle service, whatever. People want to come out, but you have to offer the customer something to get them to come to your place, and that something’s got to be value.”
  6. Text Often. Text marketing is good, but only as good as you make it, according to Dean. “Be creative, so they open it and read the text, and be sure it’s opt in. Follow the rules and be creative. We spend a good amount of time and money to make sure texting is effective for Pacha.”
  7. Work Your Web Site. Take the time to keep it fresh and make sure your keywords and other search elements are effective so people can find you and will stay on the site when they get there.
  8. Finally, Be Nice! “It doesn’t cost a penny to be nice to the customer — smile, greet them, be polite, treat them well. That will make them want to come to you now, and when things turn around [economically] they’ll remember you were nice and come back and spend more. A smile is the cheapest form of marketing!”

 


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