Who Works The Front Door?

As the year comes to and end, I thought it would be a good idea to dive into the world of Nightclub Politics. Well, ok, to be honest, this post is actually the result of several conversations with disgruntled Doormen, but it does have to do with the dynamics of the Nightclub/Bar/Lounge setting.

First off, a note to all Bar Managers and Owners: You can manage your Nightclub/Bar/Lounge any way you see fit. After all, it is your Nightclub/Bar/Lounge.

Second, a note to all Bar Managers and Owners: You should occasionally listen to your Security Staff when it comes to how to run your Nightclub/Bar/Lounge.

In this instance I am referring “management” of the Front Door. Anyone with any experience in an adult entertainment venue (Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter! I mean Nightclubs/Bars/Lounges) knows that the Front Door is where all of the “action” is to be found. All the employees want to work there, you might have to “know someone” to get in, and being “The Man” (or Woman) on the Velvet Rope is seen as incredibly cool. The reality is far different, but we’ve discussed that in detail in a previous post.

What I am most interested in here is the problems that arise when too many people try to run the Front Door. In a perfect world, the Doorman, Door Ins, VIP Host, and Door Outs should be the only people in front of your establishment. Believe it or not, you hired them for a reason: to run your Front Door! They each have responsibilities and if they are doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, will guarantee you a night free from hassles, Law Enforcement visits, complaints, and incidents.

However, this is in the perfect world. We actually live in the imperfect world. This is the world where:

The Promoter stands out front and waves his “VIP guests” in, without checking their IDs or levels of intoxication. “But they’re fine, I promise.”

The Cocktail Waitress drags in two of her roommates, who don’t have their ID but “…are both over 21, I promise.”

The Barback begs you to let in his little brother, who doesn’t pass dress code, but is a good kid “…and won’t cause any trouble, I promise.”

The Owners show up with a guy who was 86’ed last night, “…but will behave tonight, I promise.”

Do we see the potential liabilities in these promises?

Oftentimes, the Bar Manager/Owner stands out front and oversees his/her Staff and overrides their decisions in the interest of “doing more business”. Is this wrong? Not necessarily. But it is in the best interest of anyone who owns or manages a nightclub/bar/lounge to listen to their Security Staff’s concerns. Do you always have to listen to what they say? No. But if your Head of Security is voicing concerns about you, the Owners, the Cocktail Waitress, the Barback, and the Promoter…you should probably pay some attention. If your Front Door Staff are being constantly overridden, by individuals who believe they have a say, possibly with the “go ahead” from Management, it is a problem. And a problem that could come back to bite you in the behind.

Does this mean that you as the Manager/Owner shouldn’t question your Staff on their decisions? Absolutely not. But allow them the leeway to make decisions as they see fit, as these decisions are generally in the best interest of your establishment. That being said, if your Front Door Staff are blowing it for everyone by allowing in minors, patrons who dont pass dress code, or their rowdy friends – by all means take charge. But standing in the doorway, double checking every ID, waving in every group of sorority girls, and questioning every ejection will not endear you to your staff. Promise.

It is of vital importance that the opinions of the Front Door Staff are heard, as objectively as possible. After all, it is in all of your best interests that the Front Door is regulated and controlled, with as few cooks in the mix as possible. Your front line  Staffers are the ones reducing your liabilities by not allowing in individuals who may cause you any number of problems. Observe them. Offer suggestions. And let them do their jobs. That’s why you hired them. Right? Besides which, 15 people working the Front Door is just plain crowded.

Until next time…

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