How To: Succeed for the Next 20 Years
Next Thursday, November 13th, Buckhead’s Tongue & Groove Nightclub will be celebrating two decades of success – that’s right two decades! As Atlanta’s longest running nightclub and lounge, it has earned a reputation for delivering a world class nightlife experience and has hosted and entertained a slew of A-list celebrities and world-class musicians and DJs.
Since opening its doors in 1994, the original owners, Michael Krohngold and Scott Strumlauf, have successfully managed to turn Tongue & Groove into a mainstay. To honor their 20 years of success, guests, dressed in their finest red carpet glamour, can expect an anniversary celebration of epic proportions, featuring music by DJs From Mars, live entertainment, and a red carpet entrance.
Their success comes from the hands-on operational approach by Krohngold and Strumlauf, who serve as the ying and yang of the business, and focus respectively on top-line/bottom line and front-of-the-house/back-of-the-house. They promote a corporate culture that perpetuates loyalty and longevity with the management and staff. “We have managers that have been with us 14 years, and a bartender who has been pouring since day one - 20 years,” says Krohngold.
“Daily communication is of the utmost importance to successful operations,” says Strumlauf. “Nightly manager logs are emailed to all pertinent parties, group texts, and weekly manager and promoter meetings keep everyone abreast of the ever-changing environment.” All managers, door hosts, and VIP hostesses wear radios with earpieces to provide constant contact throughout the course of the night, so decisions on the fly can be readily made.
Tongue & Groove likes to think of their staff in terms of a team mentality. Astute ownership will make key hires for specialty management areas in operations, marketing, events, beverage, and VIP relations. The rest of the team is composed of industry veterans and hot young rookies. “They must possess a majority of a variety of qualifications that include attitude, experience, appearance, intelligence, personality, potential, problem solving ability, and social media presence, in no particular order, notes Krohngold. “We've always been known for our talent.”
Over the years, Constant reinvention and adaptation with regards to the physical facility, music formats, technology, marketing techniques via social media, door policy, and cocktail service have all contributed to their continued success.
Tongue & Groove underwent two major redesigns, first to stay fresh in appearance, and the second time to address the growing bottle service trend with more designated table sections. The club was displaced by developers after 13 years in July of 2007. “It would take more than a wrecking ball to keep us down,” affirmed Strumlauf. The club reopened in Lindbergh City Center still in Buckhead 9 months later. “In the more than six years at our second location, we've maintained and renovated, built a space-age DJ booth with new sound and lights, and are currently redoing the upstairs VIP mezzanine with new modern leather sofas, and a redesigned bar.”
Two decades is a long time for any type of business to remain viable, but it’s virtually unheard of in the nightclub world. In an industry measured in moments, T&G has broken the cardinal rule by not only keeping their doors open for two decades, but remaining “liked” by skeptical locals, not just on Facebook.