Minimizing Nightclub Ejections

In my various travels through the world of Security work, I’ve found that there is an inevitable discussion that takes place at some point: How to handle ejections or removals of belligerent patrons/crowd members/clients? And while I find these chats constructive and informational, I usually walk away thinking, “Why are we never discussing how to deal with the problem BEFORE it becomes a problem?” In the real world, situations arise that are not cut and dry, black and white, or easily resolved with a catchphrase or witty retort. In the real world, there are more “Oh sh*t!” moments than there are “Ah-ha!” moments. So how do we reverse that equation in a Nightclub Environment where testosterone, pheromones, alcohol, intoxication, and loud music are thrown into the mix?

For starters, you need to be honest with yourself as a Bouncer, Head of Security, Manager, or Owner: YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PREVENT EVERY SINGLE POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS SITUATION FROM OCCURRING IN YOUR ESTABLISHMENT. Seriously. You will NOT catch every fight, slip, stumble, argument, or foul mood in your venue. What you can, however, attempt to do is lessen the chances of bad things happening.

1) MANAGE YOUR FRONT DOOR – This does not mean placing your Manager at the Front Door. What is does mean is controlling your traffic flow, making sure that Patrons know which line they need to use to enter the Establishment, minimizing crowds in front of your venue, scrutinizing Patrons who are entering for Dress Code and Intoxication, and making sure that your Front Door Staffers are personable and efficient. If people are content BEFORE entering your venue, they will stay that way 90% of the time.

Do you have:

  • Signage that indicates which Entrance/Line is which
  • A posted Dress Code
  • A sign indicating Cover Charge (if applicable)
  • An designated VIP host
  • A designated Staffer to walk the sidewalk and direct people to the correct line/clear crowds/answer questions/look for signs of intoxication

90% of eliminating trouble inside is dealing with it outside. Again, if people are happy outside, they will probably be happy inside (isn’t that all philosophical and stuff?)

2) MANAGE YOUR POSTS – Make sure that you and your Staff are where they are supposed to be, when they are supposed to be there. That means Staffers showing up on time and knowing their responsibilities once they get to their Posts. Does your Staff rotate through Posts? If so, does the rotation leave any gaps, or do you have someone on a Post until they are “tapped out” of the rotation? Are your Staffers actually working while at their Posts or are they texting/talking to Patrons/napping/not paying attention?

3) UTILIZE YOUR TOOL BOX – The Security Staff are not the only ones working a venue. Busboys, Cocktail Waitresses, Servers, Bartenders, Promoters, DJs. They are all present and all working at some time during the evening. You should be checking in with them as often as you check in with your team. The people on the floor are the ones that are in the mix and can tell you who is acting a fool, which VIP booth is being rude, or which annoying Patron is harassing the Staff.

So what do these three things have to do with minimizing ejections? When done in conjunction, the items listed above do one very simple thing: force you to pay attention to your job. What is your job? Reducing liability. Paying attention to what you are supposed to be doing will help you to catch the great majority of problems WELL BEFORE they occur.

The Dress Code issue that you catch at the Front Door will keep you from having to eject someone from inside the club after they’ve ordered drinks and are ready to have a good time. The Staffer watching the sidewalk can catch the overly-intoxicated group of gentlemen before they wait 30 minutes to get let in and are refused entry, thereby avoiding an ugly scene at the entrance. The Staffer not texting will be able to spot trouble brewing right in front of him/her, jump in to separate the arguing Patrons, and calm down the situation. Asking the Cocktail Waitress how her night is going will reveal that the table full of sorority girls is being harassed by a drunk older man.

Pay attention. Pay attention. PAY ATTENTION. The more you observe, the more information you take in. The more information you take in, the quicker you act. The quicker you act, the faster the resolution. The faster the resolution, the higher the happiness quotient for everyone involved. And who doesn’t want to be happy?

Until next time…

Getting A Promotion, Part 2

Contrary to popular belief – and the photograph above – promotions are not handed out on silver platters. Getting a promotion is a combination of skill set, training, attitude, and a number of often intangible factors. Bottom line: promotions and raises aren’t just handed out because employees feel they deserve them. Employees need to prove their value to any company, over time, and on a consistent basis.

TRAINING/CERTIFICATION/LICENSING

I discussed the value of learning everything there is to know about your position so that you have developed a solid skill set. But once you’ve learned “the basics”, what next? I am a huge proponent of constant training and education. There is no reason why you should not be working on improving your existing skills through training, re-training, and training others ALL THE TIME. This may mean searching out classes, courses, seminars, or even new reading materials. There is a wealth of information to be gleaned from a multitude of sources, ESPECIALLY in the field of Security. You should ALWAYS find ways to improve yourself, some that you might not consider “relevant” to your position: business classes, CPR classes, learning a foreign language, or even learning a new skill (bartending, anyone?). You never know what insights you may learn from doing something “outside” of your realm.

Along with those classes, certifications and licensing should NEVER be overlooked. Everything from chemical weapon sprays, to tasers, to exposed handguns, to batons, to EMT certifications…everything relevant to Security should be in your bag. Every state in the U.S. has some type of certification or licensing requirement to work in every field of Security. If you are reading this and aren’t licensed, you need to do it ASAP. Not only are you a huge liability to your company, but you are probably working illegally.

Another perk of licensing, training, and certification is that is shows your employer (or potential employer) that you are SERIOUS about what you do. It shows initiative, drive, and a genuine interest in your chosen field. If two resumes come across my desk, both with equal amounts of work experience, but only one has training and certifications…I’m probably going to go with the trained candidate.

SELF-EVALUATION

We have entered into an age of entitlement in many companies. Workers expect to be advanced merely due to the fact that they show up for work. Throughout your career, you need to evaluate what you are bringing to the table for you company. Oftentimes, your direct Supervisor will NOT tell you what you are doing right, because they are concerned that THEY are not doing things right. Take a long look at your strengths, weaknesses, skills (or lack of) and decide what YOU need to do in order to advance. Can you be self-critical?  You need to be in order to evolve as a person and as an employee.

As for moving up that ladder, which rung is the right one for you? Are you aiming directly for the top or are you content with moving in smaller steps? Can you justify a huge jump up the ladder? Have you considered what it actually means to make that jump? If you are wanting to move up and have the notion that a promotion means a little bit of responsibility for a lot more pay…think again. More often than not, that money means a lot more work and a lot more responsibility. Are you ready for that? Be honest with yourself. Many people discover – way too late – that making the move up was a big mistake.

Attitude and approach.

A strong work ethic.

A strong skill set.

A desire to learn new things.

The ability to take criticism and learn from it.

Training.

Certification.

Self evaluation.

Add these things to your list of “must do’s”. Only then can you begin to consider advancing in your career or asking for that promotion.

Until next time…