Opening Checklists for Nightclubs

So it begins, another night On The Rope. You’ve parked your car, made the long walk to the venue, and clocked-in. Now what? Well, if you work in a relatively organized establishment, you should a have a list of duties or a checklist to follow.

Oh, you don’t?

I guess it is time to have another little paperwork discussion. Remember, while paperwork can be a burden, it can also cover your behind and make you that you do everything you need to, in the correct order. And if you have a list for the end of the night, you should probably have one for the beginning.

So let’s tackle the opening (figuratively, not literally) and see if we can’t organize ourselves just a bit. First off, knowing Who is staffed When is immensely helpful when putting together your opening list. A running count of how many Staffers you have on hand to do work is always key to quick, easy organization. Now that you know who comes in when, let’s get cracking.

Here are some possible items for your Opening Checklist:

  1. Front Door – What does your Door Staff need when they arrive and what will they need as the night progresses? Stanchions, ropes, carpet, clipboards, count clickers? These are for sure items that should be prepped and placed ASAP. Think about what else you and your Staffers use up front and put it on the list. And don’t forget the little things…like water
  2. Front Door Prep – Now that you have your gear, how and when do you set it up? Do you need to re-configure your rope or your entrance? Do some sweeping? Figure out the best time and order for you and your Staff to get the door ready. And check the items off the list as you go.
  3. Interior – The Bar Staff has to prep their bars. You have to prep your Interior. Trashcans? Go-go dancer Platforms? VIP Stanchions? What do you need and where does it go? Have you done a sweep of the restrooms to make sure they are set? Put it on the list
  4. Exterior РDo you have a bar with Patios or exterior VIP Seating? Exterior restrooms or  Porta-Potties? Platforms to watch the crowd? Put it on the list.
  5. Equipment – Does everyone get a radio and flashlight? Who gets ID books? Put it on the list.
  6. Management – Have you met with Management to discuss your VIP schedule/special events/staffing? You should and it should be on the list.

Some people find that lists are redundant. And depending on the size of your venue, you may not need a very extensive list. But I guarantee that if you have a checklist – regardless of venue size or staff responsibilities – nothing will be missed.

Until next time…

Nightly Reports

The night is winding down, the last of the Patrons has walked (or wobbled) out the door, the Bar Staff is cleaning up…time to go home, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, it is time to confront our good friend the Paperwork Monster once again! But fear not, this encounter should be quick, easy, and ultimately, helpful.

The Nightly Report is like a report card for your Security Staff. It includes notes on any Incidents, your hourly door count, equipment breakage, and any and all other “events” that may have occurred between opening and closing. Ultimately, it is a great way of keeping track of what is going on in the bar, in paperwork form.

Any written format will work (template or freehand document), but every Nightly Report should contain the following:

DAY & DATE – How else are you going to know when the report was filed?

MANAGER & H.O.S. Names – This is important as a quick reference should you need to gather information for an Incident Report.

WEATHER – Another quick reference should you wonder why there was no crowd in your bar (i.e. “-25 degrees and snowing”).

INCIDENTS – This is NOT the same as an Incident Report! It is a note to remind the H.O.S./Manager/Zone Leads to double check that they have completed all of the night’s Incident Reports. It is also helpful as a notation for the number of Incidents that took place (i.e. 5 fights) This grouped with a weather note (95 degrees and hot) can sometimes help you to figure out why there where so many incidents.

EQUIPMENT BREAKAGE – Write down anything that broke or was broken (by Patrons or Staff). This can include walkie-talkies, tables, sinks, etc.

HOURLY DOOR COUNT – Every establishment should know it’s capacity. This is usually tracked through the use of clickers or ID Scanners. If you are using clickers, an hourly Door Count can help you track your rushes, dead times, and the overall ebb and flow of Patrons. When used in conjunction with Weather and Notes, it can paint a picture of why the night was slow, busy, or so-so. If your club is using ID Scanners, they should give you an hourly breakdown! If not, buy another scanner.

NOTES – Pretty straightforward. Jot down anything from the vibe of the crowd and the attitude of the Staff, to who was missing from the work shift. Another part of the paper trail should you have Incidents or need to discipline a Staffer.

END OF NIGHT CHECKLIST – When does the music get turned off? Who takes out the garbage? Who clears the stanchions? Not surprisingly, many of these things are “overlooked” by Staff at the end of the night. This checklist will ensure that everything is done. If there is a closing job responsibility for Security Staff, put it on the list.

SIGNATURES – The list needs to be signed by acting H.O.S. and Manager once everything is said and done. Nothing like a little accountability to keep people honest.

While some find the Nightly Report redundant, it is always nice to have an extra piece of paper to back you up in case of Incidents, equipment breakage, or Staffing issues. Create a Nightly Report that conforms to the needs of your club, you might be surprised at the amount of information you glean from it.

’til next time…..