The answer to this question varies greatly from venue to venue and person to person. And we wanted to better understand what it takes obtain and keep the “WOW factor” and your business profitable. Therefore, we reached out to several of the 2014 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show speakers to get their thoughts on what their WOW factor is and the challenges they faced on making their dream a reality.
Bungalow Bar, Rockaway, NJ
Dan Tubridy, Partner
As it related to Bungalow Bar our WOW factor would be our beautiful view of Jamaica Bay overlooking the NYC skyline and JFK airport. The sun setting over the water gives an unbelievable orange glow to the sky and it is truly remarkable. Couple the view with great food and exciting, trendsetting cocktails and people get to feel like they are on vacation every time they step foot into the Bungalow Bar.
There are several factors it took for me to accomplish my dream; the fear of failing was a huge motivator to put in the long hours necessary for our businesses to succeed and the willingness to sacrifice my personnel life for the business. Being willing to adapt to changes and trends in the industry on the fly has helped. Listening to my key employees, hiring the right people, learning from my mistakes and trusting my gut have all helped succeed in achieving my dream.
My hospitality group now owns and operates Bungalow Bar in queens, Good Co. in Williamsburg Brooklyn, and Park Avenue Tavern, Parker & Quinn, Refinery Rooftop, Libation, Winnie's Tea Room and Saloon all located in Manhattan. We employ over 200 people and are truly blessed do be doing a job we truly love.
Ocean’s 234, Deerfield Beach, FL
Tom Mirisola, General Manager
Our WOW factors lie in the small details that we deliver time and time again. In today’s age of technology and computers The WOW customer service starts when a guest calls our restaurant. Through Open Table, our reservation management software, we keep detailed guest records of as many returning guests as possible, the info we retain can be dates of anniversaries, birthdays, favorite dishes, drinks, specials or wine preferences. With information like this available to our team, it’s easy to blow away a guest by wishing them a happy birthday or asking if they would like to have their favorite bottle of Cabernet waiting at their table when they arrive. No opportunity should be missed to show each guest that they are just that, a special guest.
Another practice that has served us well is hand written thank you or apology notes. Now obviously this cannot be done for every guest, however, for special events or for just that one table that had a wonderful, or on the flip side, less than stellar experience, a hand written note from either the server or a manager is a practice that has created many loyal and repeat guests and turned around others who may have never given us a second chance.
An additional area where we have received great feedback is when a guest has an allergy or other food related issue. We always have a manager deliver the meal to the guest personally; this allows the guest to understand that we take their health seriously and are willing to go out of our way to accommodate their specific needs.
These are only some of the policies we have in place to constantly deliver an over the top dining experience.
Ryan Saari, Director
Oregon Public House
The WOW factor is our model. As the nation’s first nonprofit pub, we have defined ourselves not your average pub. We have no owner, no shareholders, no investors. This is a community public house, that’s truly owned by the community. That makes all the difference.
Patience, persistence and a hard working team. We decided to open debt free, and that delayed us almost 3 years in opening. A totally crazy and unorthodox way to do it, but it helped build into the organization a sense of camaraderie and ownership at all levels.
Soon to Open St. Louis Venue
Brian Taylor, General Manager
Our venue is positioned to be the première destination location in St. Louis. The internal pressure to create a venue to communicate our brand serves as our driving goal to provide quality experiences for our guests. The WOW factor of our venue will be our collective dedication to offering hospitality beyond 101 service standards. Our basket of hospitality offerings encourages a passion for excellence, the ability to remove egos from the formula while delivering WOW service to guests. Average venues often fall within the trappings of under appreciating the value of professionalism among those they empower to serve as the representatives to communicate the venues brand. Lastly, WOW service starts with treating employees with respect and valuing their input.
Our dream is unique because we have already established a presence in St. Louis with the promotional buzz of our arrival. The main factors to elevate our brand to the next level starts with creating a blue print and connecting with the lifeline of our venue; an in-depth period researching the dynamics of the market valuing local knowledge and cultural narratives of our guests. Our blue print includes recruiting personalities that value and embraces the needs of our guests and unpacking the historical standards expected from nightclubs in St. Louis. The competition is not between venues but should be the race to deliver WOW service to the most important individuals in our business “OUR GUESTS”. “
While all venues have their differences, there are always certain things that are constant in terms of running a successful business: hospitality and teamwork. When asked about their WOW factor or what it took to accomplish their goals, any effective manager will give variations of the same answer, a good staff and a friendly disposition. While it is important to find different ways to set yourself apart from other venues, a hardworking, cohesive team will set you apart by way of hospitality.