The scene used to play out as follows: A patron walks up to the velvet rope, gets past it, and once they walk inside they decide that they'd like to enhance their experience by indulging in bottle service.
That's right, rather than opting to be part of the crowd that's desperate to get the bartender's attention, they rather the drinks come to them and be poured for them by someone that's looking to ensure they have the time of their life.
While indulging in this type of experience used to just be an added service provided by the venue, now, it can either get you into the venue or not.
Oh, how the times have changed. Bottle service is no longer a premiere service printed on a menu with asterisks alongside of it, but a standard that nearly all nightlife venues must include as part of their business plans that serve as a distinctive point of revenue.
"Thanks to bottle service, the money clubs are generating is much higher than it used to be," says Yuval Eder, CEO at Indayo Group, a New York City-based marketing and hospitality firm that currently directs the food and beverage operations at Level R, a renowned 6,000 square-foot rooftop venue at the Empire Hotel in the city.
Known for catering to elite crowds in Manhattan, Indayo Group's experience with nightlife management services has a strong track record. Needless to say, they're certainly familiar with bottle service.
"Depending on the venue, bottle service can almost dictate entry," Eder adds. "Now, especially in the New York market, it's become a mandatory guideline."
For those looking to add the bottle service experience to their venue, Tal Goldfus, managing partner at Indayo Group, believes that one of the most important factors is to "know your market and niche."
"That will dictate a difference in pricing," Goldfus says. "It will determine the variety of products you want to carry, meaning if you're known for putting on a specific music format and creating a specific atmosphere, you'll want to offer products that cater to that specific crowd."
One thing to stay away from is not having enough of a particular bottle in store. The last thing one would want is to miss out on potential revenue.
"There are instances where key products run out and if a client is asking for that product, you're in trouble," Goldfus says.
While some venues may offer bottle packages, it really all depends on the venue, says Ilker Oguz, managing partner at Indayo.
"If you're an upscale venue you don't want to bend the price for anyone, whereas if you've been open for a while and the competitor has been getting an edge on you, it's time to get creative with your establishment."
The rule of thumb when it comes to implementing a successful bottle service program all comes back to knowing your venue and the patrons you want to cater to, says Goldfus.
"With bottle service being such a common option for club goers, and an option that's no longer solely reserved for top-notch rich people, you have to navigate your bottle service program to carefully suit your clients needs and expectations," he says.
Understanding the needs of your clients and shaping your bottle service program around their needs will undoubtedly go far in producing a successful outcome that has a positive effect on your business' revenue.