A Phoenix in AustinApril 14, 2011 By: Jeffrey Yarbrough
“We were hit by the perfect storm,” Bill Thompson, general manager and partner of Dallas Nightclub in Austin, Texas, says.
The nightclub, which opened in 1980, enjoyed a loyal customer following for almost 30 years; now, the club is facing its biggest challenges.
The nightclub suffered after the introduction of Austin’s Smoking in Public Places Ordinance, which prohibits smoking in most public and work places. Located outside of the city’s limits, Dallas’ competitors did not have to deal with complications caused by the new law. Also during this time, drunk drivers often were naming Dallas Nightclub as their last stop when pulled over by the police. As business began to dwindle, the nightclub was forced to close its doors in 2008.
It did not stay that way for long. The nightclub managed to re-obtain its liquor license in 2009 and worked closely with the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission (TABC) to tackle drunk-driving concerns. “We attended TABC meetings — we don’t want to be working against the police,” Thompson explains. In addition to employing a shuttle service for its patrons, the nightclub hired a taxi service and raised prices on some of its drinks.
With business strong once again and safe operations at the forefront for staff, Thompson credits the nightclub’s renewed success to employee training. “Your employees need to make your customers feel special, and with TABC training, they can also be the first line of defense against drunk driving,” Thompson says.
That training, as well as catering to a range of club tastes, helped Dallas rise from the ashes and prove that even the worst scenarios can be overcome.