Maintaining Control With Effective Security

Effective security could be a game changer for the overall success of your Venue. Your security could not only make or break your customer experience but your liability as well.  The goal is to keep your staff and customers safe, secure while making your customers happy. Here are three things to keep in mind when looking at your security efforts.

Maintain Control & Limit Liability
Regardless if you have a licensed Security Company or an in-house security team, you must maintain control. Management must be on top of the security team to secure the fort. Management should strategically place each guard in the correct position.  For example, if you were a baseball team, would you have two first basemen and two shortstops but only one outfielder? Of course not, you would have one player at each position. You need to have specific positions, for each guard.

You need to have at least one guard at the entrance, one at the exit, two roaming, one on top of the speaker with a bird’s eye view, one in VIP and one in the parking lot. You want to avoid security guards stationed in the same locations. Under no circumstances let a promoter, promotions team or any independent company control your security. This could potentially put your liquor license at risk with underage drinkers, back door entrances, side deals and VIP scams. You want your security guards to have the interest of the venue front of mind, not the promoter. It is also wise to work with licensed and bonded security companies as they can limit your chance of an insurance policy increase.

Hiring the Right Guards & Handling Problems
It all starts with who you hire. Did you do background checks? How about a drug tests?  Experience is important in this line of work. With age you develop the experience to handle situations and work more effectively. How about physical appearance and language? When a problem arises do your guards handle the situation properly?   It’s always good to have a good mix of negotiators and enforcers.  

A negotiator, can sell ice to an Eskimo and can negotiate peace between two people who are about to fight. For example a negotiator might say, "Guys come on, we are here for the girls and drinks, shake hands, this round is on me". The enforcer is there if the negotiating tactics don't work. The enforcer will be able to handle situations that require physical strength. Also, keep in mind your location; you should hire those who are most similar to your clientele. For example, if your venue does a Latin night on Fridays, it would be beneficial to have guards that speak Spanish.  Once you have your team of guards, the training on how to handle each and every situation is crucial. It is always better to talk things out than to fight.

Personality has Customers Coming Back
Your security guards are more than security. They are part of the overall customer experience.  Polite, well dressed guards will give your customers an overall good vibe about your venue. An extra smile goes a long way. Above and beyond helpful service and directions are huge! Keep in mind we are in the hospitality business! Your guards and entire staff should be hospitable. With so many social networking avenues out there, the small things do matter. You could get good reviews for one of your security guards being polite and expediting patrons or diffusing a hostile situation.  It can go the other way as well, if one of your security guards are rude or tips off a customer. 

Everything starts at the top. Ownership needs to properly fund the security budget to have the proper amount of guards per shift. Management needs to have the insight to hire and train guards on proper systems and behavior. Pay attention to detail and keep in mind everything matters and there's always someone watching!



Re: Maintaining Control With Effective Security
by: IvanDocHoliday
April 26, 2013

you got the basics but incorrect on a couple of points..allow me.
1) Management should NEVER run security..they should HIRE a 'Cooler'/Security Chief to oversee the venues security function. He or she should have the same authority as an Assistant manager & be included in all upper management meeting and decisions.
2)When hiring security safe ratio is 1 bouncer for every 50 patrons..this never includes the cooler.
Always at least 2 at the ID check is easier to keep trouble out than to put trouble out.
3) your better to have a GOOD 'Negotiator' that is 6'4" - 240lbs..then to have one that is 5'4" - 150lbs. always try to hire an equal balance of size & brains. If shit goes south..its nice to have the extra horsepower on the floor. Yes it is better to keep it verbal than go physical..but sometimes its not our call.

But your article overall is not to bad Brian. Well done. Doc

Re: Maintaining Control With Effective Security
by: sec_consultant
June 24, 2013

Good start with this information.

Regardless of whether there is an outside company or in-house security, management is ultimately responsible for their actions. Sure sometimes bad people do bad things and neither the employer or client could control that. However, well documented procedures and protocols are the responsibility of management to create in collaboration with the contractor. Make sure the 6'4" guard wasn't previously assigned to the public library and has no clue what to expect in a club environment.

Staffing of 1 to 50 is somewhat of an urban legend. I always use the example of a club showing an MMA title fight. Is 1 to 50 really the absolute number that is appropriate? Probably not. Staffing is venue-dictated. Don't do the math just to do that math.

Have a plan. Document the plan. Train to the plan.
Patrick Murphy