Category Archives: Operations

The Biggest Opportunity You’re Missing

It’s a story that’s too often told, but it’s arguably the most important story there is. Because it often becomes the difference between life and death of a nightlife venue.

This past weekend, I was invited to a product launch party that was hosted at a third-party cider venue. The place was packed. I’m talking bursting at the seams packed. And they only had 2 bartenders working.

It took over 30 minutes to get our first round of drinks, so I just paid for everyone in my group to ease the burdens of the bartender needing to do multiple transactions. Then it took another 25 minutes to get our second round. At this point, we’ve spent nearly an hour of our time just waiting to get a drink, so we left to go drink somewhere else. We supported the launch like we wanted to, but staying here wasn’t worth our time anymore.

The largest e-commerce retailers spend millions of dollars a year to understand their customers. The nightlife industry has yet to change its mindset that it’s beneficial to have the same solutions that thriving e-commerce companies use, which is available to them at a monthly price that’s less than my one tab. Why are we so stuck in our old ways?

Aside from the issue of being grossly understaffed, there’s a bigger issue at hand for the venue: they have no data to improve. Think about it, the largest e-commerce retailers spend millions of dollars a year to understand their customers’ habits so well that they’re predicting what they’re going to buy next. Amazon alone spent nearly $19 billion in 2019 on their marketing efforts and they achieved 20% net revenue growth.

But we as a nightlife industry have yet to change our mindset that it’s beneficial to have solutions that e-commerce has to experience that level of growth. At the end of the night, this venue is going to look at their POS reports and use it as a guide for how they performed that day, and it’ll tell them a very inaccurate story. They have no idea how many people were inside their venue, which is a huge issue. Here’s why:

  • I paid for all of my friends’ drinks. Their POS has no idea that my friends even existed. It’ll show them the number of transactions that were made, but it won’t show them the number of people that were there.


  • If they knew how many guests were there, they’d know the average amount each guest spent, often known as average cost per transaction (CPT). My tab was $160 total on two rounds of drinks for my group of 10. Their POS is just going to show 1 transaction for $160. But in reality, the average CPT is $8. That’s a huge difference between a CPT of $160 and a CPT of $8. They’re going to operate their business believing every guest spends $160, when in reality, the average spend across all guests is $8.


  • While their labor to sales ratio may look favorable, they would have likely made thousands more dollars if they would have been staffed adequately. A couple extra bartenders would have reduced the wait time for people getting drinks, resulting in more drinks in people’s hands, resulting in more money. But because they don’t know how many people there were, they’re bound to make the same staffing decision for a future launch party looking at incomplete POS reports to guide their decision.

But why does this matter?

It matters because this is the type of information that needs to guide decisions to continue to grow and build their business. And because this was a launch party for a different company, I’d estimate 80% of the people that were there had never been to that venue before. And statistics say that 70% are unlikely to come back on their own. Now add in the terrible experience of waiting an hour to get drinks, and that percentage likely increases.

But what’s worse is because they weren’t tracking who came, they have no log of who was there to be able to reach these people again. Do you think Amazon grew to be an $87 billion company by not knowing who’s on their site and not understanding what drives their sales?

I’ve spent over a decade working alongside venue owners and I know firsthand that many are putting their life savings into their venue. I know they want it to succeed. They aren’t looking to throw all their money into a business that’s going to die in the average 18-month timespan. But I also know that most aren’t thinking about how to grow year after year. They tell me they’re “surviving.” They run without insight, hoping people walk through their doors when they open. They aren’t investing in systems that allow them to experience continuous growth.

The Missed Opportunity

Had this venue been using the Vemos ID scanner at the door, they would have had the exact number of people that attended their venue that day. They also would have the names, gender, age, and geographic location of all of those attendees in their dashboard. And had they connected their POS to their Vemos dashboard, they would have the exact CPT readily displayed to them. They’d know which guests made the transaction and what they purchased. They’d be able to define the type of customers that have the biggest impact on their bottom line, and have a strategy to go out and attract more of those types of customers. They’d know who was a new vs. returning guest, and would have been able to get some of those new guests back in the door.

This system is what allows a nightlife venue to operate within an e-commerce model at a monthly cost that’s less than my tab. It’s not hard. It’s not expensive. But it can make the difference between surviving and thriving.

Finally. A venue management app that’s both powerful and simple.

We at Vēmos are excited to unveil our latest Venue Management app — a project that’s been in the works for months with a critical focus on user experience.

We knew the nightlife industry needed a solution that was robust enough to manage an entire venue from one app, but simple enough that venues didn’t need to worry about more training, all at a price point that made sense. So we set out to achieve this.

And now that product is available.

Introducing the first truly comprehensive solution to manage your entire venue, starting at just $50/month. Reservation management? Check. Guestlist management? Check. Events & Ticketing. Check & check. You can even collect walk-up cover charges at the door with cash, credit, Apple Pay or Google Pay. And yes, you can do all of this by simply toggling between Reservations, Guestlist and General Admission screens to accommodate every guest.


We truly built this with the user in mind. Simplicity on the surface to get up and running as quickly as possible. Complexity behind the scenes so you’re presented with information when you need it most.


Let’s take a deeper look.

VIP Reservation Management

Easily manage all your tables in one view, allow staff to sell available tables, and even take table deposits to reduce no-shows. See full guest details to provide a personalized experience as soon as they arrive. Track table spend and party size so you can make smarter decisions in the future about what type of VIP guests have the biggest impact on your business.


Guestlist Management

Never flip through another piece of paper again. Your guestlist is now digital and always up-to-date. Whether guests are added from promoters, ticket sales, your website, or staff, it all funnels instantly to one place, making check-in a breeze. Plus, all checkins tie back to guest profiles, so you always know what types of guests to attract to keep your nights busy.


Cover Charge Management

Like a POS for your door, the Vēmos GA screen gives you true accountability at your door. Add as many entrance types (aka cover price based on promotions) as you want. All users are automatically added as referrers. Now you can collect cover payment from every walk-up guest, know who’s getting in for free or at a discount, and track which promoters are bringing them in for easy payouts.


Events & Ticketing

Create, manage, and sell tickets to your events, and get paid from your sales as soon as a ticket is purchased. All pre-sale tickets will automatically appear in your guestlist with ticket details displayed. Easily handle walkup sales with Cover Charge Mangement, so all tickets are accounted for no matter when they were purchased. Uncover what marketing efforts reach the best guests, which ticket types drive the highest bar sales, and when you can expect to sell out based on historic trends.


Guest Profiles

All your guest details in your pocket. See each guest’s unique profile from their last visit to what they’ve spent at your venue. Read notes from your staff, and see how to connect with them all at your fingertips. Have a recurring guestlist guest that spends a lot at the bar? Upgrade them to a VIP table next time and make their next experience unforgettable.


Insight Only Vēmos Can Give You

Other systems only track your VIP guests. With Vēmos, you get rich insight on all your guests so you can make smart decisions that drive profitability. Connect ID Scan with your POS to track individual guest spend, and unlock even deeper insights about every guest that walks through your door so you can continue to maximize your revenue.

4 Reasons to Have a Digital Guestlist

Pen and paper is one of the biggest cause for mistakes in our industry. I’ve seen venues not let in high profile guests who would have spent thousands inside the door all because one person didn’t know who they were. I’ve seen guest list lines get bottlenecked as the host sifts through pages to try to find the name that was written down. I’ve also seen people who were told they were on the list get turned away because they weren’t added before the list got printed.

None of these things should happen anymore, and it’s costing your venue thousands of dollars as a result.

That’s why it’s time to retire the old pen & paper guest list and upgrade to a digital system that’ll bring in even more revenue opportunities. Here are 4 main benefits from a digital guest list.

1. Increase Efficiency 

You’re able to streamline your guest list line when you have a digital, centralized list. Plus, it’s a lot easier for your staff to handle. All they have to do is either scan the guests’ QR code or search for their name, mark them as arrived, and then they’re on to the next guest. No more sifting through pages of paper. Now guests are inside and spending more money at the bar to drive up your bar sales.

2. Collect Guest Information

With pen and paper, it was next to impossible to collect and track your guest list information. Even if you kept that piece of paper, did you ever look back at it to understand the data? Now you’re able to with ease. A digital system keeps track of your guest list status automatically so you don’t have to cross-reference your list at the end of the night. Plus, you’ll know exactly how many people checked in and which promoter, staff member, or marketing campaign brought them in the first place.

3. Understand Guest Habits

Most guest lists do the mere task of checking people in. The best ones are those that sync with other areas of your venue to present wholistic, individual guest data. This then allows you to better understand who your guests are from a demographic level, but also what their habits and preferences are. What types of beverages do they order? How much do they spend once inside your venue? Do they only come on big event nights; Friday nights; every weekend night? These answers help you to give each guest a more personal experience, allows you to better market to them to keep them coming back, and even gives you the power to upsell them once they arrive. This is the type of activity that grows your club’s revenue while improving their experience — a win-win for all.

4. Get Staff on Same Page

With a digital system, each staff member can have their own login and add guests as they come in. These guests appear on your list in real-time, so there’s never that awkward moment of someone thinking they were on when they never got added. Plus, this removes the need for staff to email or text in their list to make sure their guests get added — they have the ability of doing it themselves and knowing that their guests got on. It’s smoother and has less room for error.


Pen and paper can’t provide anything to you other than simply crossing off names when guests arrive. Retire paper guest lists, move over to a digital guest list, and see the benefits it has on your club’s performance.

How one bartender increased tips by 186% after a failed sting

No bartender wants to serve a minor, but mistakes happen. And that’s what happened to Sarah Upton, a bartender at Texarkana 67 Speedway. An innocent math error caused her to fail a sting and get slapped with a $500 fine. It was a simple human mistake we’ve all experienced at one time or another, and it was one she knew she never wanted to make again.

That’s when she turned to Vēmos.


“Before I found Vēmos, I was a constant nervous wreck,” Sarah informed us. “My lines would get backed up all the way down the field. It took me forever to pinprick every ID. I felt like I needed to get people through, but was so nervous that I was going to miss something on the ID. Which I did, and got busted for it.”


After getting slapped with a fine, Sarah started researching a solution that would make sure she didn’t get caught in this situation again. What originally started as a search for a simple age verification system turned into a bigger opportunity than she could have imagined. Several ID Scan companies appeared in her search results, but Vēmos was the one that stuck out the most. “The V was like Victory – there it is! That’s it! It had everything I was looking for and more.”

Sarah downloaded the app, and went right to work. “There were no obstacles to get started. I popped open the app, started scanning, and it never failed me. It’s very precise. It beeps if there’s an under age guest. It beeps if there’s someone with an expired license. You don’t have to take the time to nit pick a license. You just stick it under the camera and boom! It’s done. My night was so much smoother as a result.”

But how much smoother? That was the question we knew we needed to get more insight on, so we dug in further to get an example.

“I used it that first Friday night, and I was so relaxed,” Sarah continued. “The app is so quick. I didn’t get behind in checking IDs. By the time intermission came around, I already had everyone’s ID checked, I’d stamp their hand if they’ve already been checked once, and it just worked out perfect! I didn’t have a great big line like I usually did. This process was so much quicker to get them served, get them out of the way, and get them back to their entertainment. When they’re standing in my line, they’re not getting the entertainment they came to see.”

Experience is something we talk a lot about here at Vēmos, so we wanted to understand how having a smoother process impacted guest experience. We inquired if not standing in a slow line changed how her customers interacted with her.

“Yes it did!” Sarah immediately replied. “Everyone was so friendly and complimented how smooth the line was and how quick and precise the app was. I spent more time interacting with the guests because I wasn’t so stressed about picking apart the ID. I even caught numerous expired licenses because of the app, and was able to tell the guest. They didn’t even know it was expired and thanked me — they thanked me even though I didn’t serve them because their ID was expired! Oh, and by the way, I made the best tips I ever made out there!”

Now that’s something worth diving into. After discussing her average tips prior to this night, then compared to what she received, we discovered she more than doubled. In fact, it was an increase of 186%. Was it because there were more people? Was it a busier night than usual? Turns out, no. It was a similar attendance to previous nights, many of whom were repeat guests. So why the sudden and drastic increase?

“I think it’s because they knew I was being very friendly. They weren’t spending their night standing in my line. It was so much quicker. I was able to talk to everyone. Nobody was mad that I had to scan their ID. I just explained to them that it’s a process we started and that if they come out here they have to have their ID scanned. And they would respond saying that I’m just doing my job and covering my bases. Everyone was really friendly with it.”

Those are the intangibles that come along with equipping yourself with the tools that allow you to do your job better. For Sarah, what started as a failed sting ended up with faster operations, happier guests, and increased tips. And of course eliminating her risk of getting busted again.

“I will never work without this app again. I will quit my job if I don’t have this app. There’s no reason why you should get a citation. If this app is used right, there’s no way you can get in trouble. No way. If you scan every ID that comes through —I don’t care if they look like they’re 100 years old —you can’t get caught. It’s too precise.”

9 Tips for your New Year’s Eve Party

New Year’s Eve is the biggest event of the year, but it’s also the most competitive. That’s why it’s important to get a head start and get your event planned out so you can have a successful and profitable night.

Follow these 9 tips to ensure a successful New Year’s Eve party.

1. Publish Your Event Now

You need an event page, and you need it to be launched now. This gives you time to market your event and attract customers so they can start making their plans around your party. It’s important to have a section of your website or a specific landing page dedicated to your event. Simply having a sentence description on a third-party ticketing company’s website isn’t going to cut it. People want to know the vibe of your party, understand why they should attend, and get a gage at what they can expect by attending. Plus, having your own page allows for greater SEO opportunities, allowing guests to find out about your event in search results.

It’s also important to make sure customers can buy tickets directly on your website and aren’t redirected to a third-party. Redirects oftentimes lead to cart abandonment, and you can lose out on that customer’s data. Work with a ticketing company that’s built for nightlife events and integrates with your site for the best experience and to collect the most data.

2. Do an Exclusive Pre-Launch

Experience is everything, and it’s what drives your customers to be loyal. Your customers are looking for a personalized experience, especially those that attend on the regular. Consider doing a pre-launch with the customers who have come to your venue throughout the year with an exclusive release before launching your tickets to the public. Reach out to them either via text or email and give them preferential treatment on tables and tickets. This is going to make a big impression on your most loyal customers, and it’s going to drive them to plan their night out with their friends at your event.

3. Use Your Data

Data matters more than you realize. It’s what allows you to understand what does and doesn’t work to set you up for success. Use last year’s data to understand which channels brought in the most guests, and replicate that. If you don’t have access to last year’s data, get a provider like Vēmos that allows you to access all of your information in one central spot.

One of the most important pieces of data you’ll want to track is your marketing channels. You need to track where your customers are finding you and why they’re choosing your event over others. To do this, assign specific links to each channel and staff member. Then, use those links on your various channels (i.e. a different link for Facebook, Twitter, third-party media, digital ads, etc). Also make sure your staff is using their personal link when hey promote your event so they get credit. The results will inform you of what you should and shouldn’t be spending your time and money on.

4. Leverage Marketing Channels

Once your tickets are set up and your trackable links are in order, it’s time to start promoting. Here are a few things for you to consider:

  • Set up your social channels to be in line with your event by updating your images and post cadence
  • Add an events section on your Facebook page that gives full information about your NYE event, and integrate your ticketing page into your Facebook fan page for people to buy tickets directly through social
  • Consider contests or ticket giveaways to build engagement and interaction
  • Run Facebook ads to target a specific segmented audience
  • Get your promoters engaged and turn them into a mobile box office
  • Leverage partnerships with third-party outlets, such as your booked entertainment, sponsors, key social influencers, and media outlets. Partner with them and have them promote your event on your behalf

When you get your marketing channels to work together, you’ll have a bigger audience reach and a higher likelihood of selling out before your event happens.

5. Incentivize Guests to Purchase Tickets Early

Encourage people to pre-purchase their tickets by creating supply and demand. Showing them your price will increase as the event gets closer creates demand for the few supply of early bird tickets. You can set your tickets to increase price by the week, day or even hour leading up to your event. You can also set your tickets to increase by quantity after x amount of tickets are sold. This encourages people to buy early and have time to share their plans with others. Plus, when guests pre-buy their tickets, you’re generating revenue before the night of your event.

6. Strategize Lines the Night-Of

Line strategy is important for the night of your event. Create a different line for a different type of customer, such as a line for your pre-sale customer, a line for customers paying at the door, and a line for your VIP table customers. This is another way to encourage pre-sale and allows your staff handling pre-sale checkin to only focus on that task and increase line speed. On the other hand, it allows your staff selling tickets at the door to only handle that task, aiding in long waits for door sales. The more organized your lines are, the faster your speed of night will be, the happier your customers will be, and the faster they’re through your door to spend money on drinks.

7. Don’t Lose Site of VIP Table Guests

Your VIP guests are important, and you want to make sure they’re not getting lost in the shuffle of general admission purchases. Set up your door to handle tables through a different entrance and check-in process. That way, your highest spenders are getting exclusive treatment right off the bat. Also make sure your staff knows to keep an eye on how many people are sitting at each table. During a hectic night, it’s easy to overlook a party of 10 actually brought 20 people with them. And as a result, you just lost out on payment for 10 extra people. That’s one of the easiest way venues lose money on New Year’s Eve and other big event nights. Having a separate entrance and a reservation system that ties to your events/ticketing system will help alleviate this issue.

8. Train Your Staff

Operations are a huge component for an enjoyable night. Get all your staff up and running on the same system and strategy, and work out any kinks beforehand. Make sure your promoters have their links to sell tickets and are able to sell on mobile devices while on-the-go. Also make sure your door staff are on the same page for a door process and are ready to scan guests in as they arrive, sell tickets to those who need them, or escort VIP guests to their table. All the small details matter, and it’s what leaves a lasting impression.

9. Set Up Safety and Compliance Procedures

It’s easy to lose sight of safety and compliance when preparing for the busiest night of the year. Yet, New Year’s Eve is typically the night where people over consume, which accounts for the highest amount of emergency room visits. Work with your bartenders to make sure they know when to stop serving overly intoxicated guests. Have a door process in place to check IDs and ensure you’re not serving minors. It may no the the fun part of New Year’s Eve, but it’s important to mitigate your liability on this busy night.


Cheers to your successful New Year’s Eve event and hosting a fun party for your guests to ring in 2020.