Category Archives: Operations

5 Times You’ll Kick Yourself for Not Having Mobile POS

A good point of sale (POS) system is imperative to your nightclub’s operational success. Chances are, you spent a significant amount of time and energy picking out the right system and training your employees on how to use it. But what you probably didn’t consider – and what many owners often overlook – is the benefit of coupling a traditional POS system with a mobile POS system. I’ve seen first-hand how mobile POS could have improved a situation or saved the day. Here are 5 scenarios where you might find yourself at ease because you have a mobile POS system.

1. When there’s a large, inefficient line outside your door
The keyword here is inefficient. It’s great to have lines and give the impression you’re the hottest club around. Plus, you do need to filter who does and doesn’t come inside your door. But it’s not so great to be so inefficient that you slow down the speed of the night and make guests no longer excited about being at your venue. Having a traditional non-portable POS system at the host station can be a bottleneck that slows the whole process down. But a mobile POS system optimizes and monetizes your line by allowing you to collect money even before your guests walk through your doors.

2. When VIP servers are scrambling over each other to make a transaction at your POS station
It’s inefficient to have your servers waiting around the POS system so they can have access to add an item to a tab or run a transaction. With a mobile POS, all of your servers have access to the billing system at the same time on their own devices. They can add an item with a click of a button as they’re interacting with your guests and complete the transaction right at the table. And with mobile commerce growing 30 percent year-over year, your guests are accustomed to paying through this medium and enjoy the convenience of it. It’s a win-win for all involved.

3. When your traditional POS system crashes
Your system going down in the middle of a busy night is awful on a myriad of levels. While this is rare, I’ve seen it happen first-hand. Luckily, the venue had mobile POS to save the day. They were able to collect cover through the mobile system right at the door, and even charge drinks and bottle service through the system. The mobile POS system recognizes payments through cash, manual entry credit card, and by swiping credit cards, very much like traditional POS systems.

4. When you need to interact with clients on a personal level
Traditional POS systems don’t keep track of data on a personal level. Mobile POS does with an integrated customer relationship management (CRM) system. What’s more is it does so in real-time. This enables your servers to better interact with your clients and treat them with a customized experience.

5. When you want to see detailed analytics of your club’s performance
Most club owners look to their traditional POS system to provide critical data. While it’s true that most systems collect data, it’s oftentimes presented in convoluted ways. And few owners have the necessary time and resources to comb through the data points and make sense of it all. A mobile POS is more flexible when it comes to collecting data, especially when it’s integrated with a CRM system. You can better measure results and have access to tangible information about specific guests. You can also have a full view of how your servers, promoters, and club as a whole are performing. Here’s more information about what this type analysis can offer.

Whitney Johnson is the global director of marketing for BookBottles. Contact her at

Looking Beyond the New Year

The biggest night in nightlife is here. You have promotions going on, big-name events, and countless guests to appease. The planning, preparation, and execution is a whirlwind to say the least, and it’s only natural to want to take a breather the first few days of the year and get back on track. But the best thing you can do for yourself during this time is think big picture and set yourself up for success for the coming year.

The first step is to reflect on this past year and how your club performed. There will be areas that are great and need little to no improvement, and there will be others that aren’t so great and need a lot of work. Discover why the well-performing areas went the way they did and see if there’s anything to draw from it. Perhaps it’s a good system, a key employee, or a crucial tool that contributed to the success. If you can pinpoint it to something specific, you’ll likely be able to apply it to the areas that need work and create a good strategy for the year ahead.

If you’re having a hard time reflecting on the past year due to little or no data (trust us…you’re not alone), then you have direct insight on what your new strategy needs to be. In fact, the biggest trend in 2014 is big data and technology in the nightlife scene.

We know, technology is daunting, but it’s easier than you think, especially when you take it in small steps. It also can bridge the gap between operations and performance. With the right tool and provider, you’ll be able to discover:

  • Your club’s overall performance, such as total sales, number of VIP reservations, number of guests on the guestlist, and number and types of bottles sold. This can be showed on a to-date basis, or be broken out by day, month, and so on.
  • Which servers and promoters brings in the most reservations, makes the most tips, and closes the most sales through upselling, pre-selling or cross-selling.
  • Who your guests are – their name, contact information, top liquor purchases, money spent to-date, number of reservations, and average group size.

Without the use of technology, your venue won’t have access to this type of data. Not only does this help you better track performance, but it helps you increase customer experience to keep them coming back and spending money at your venue. And we can all agree that profitability is the key part of any New Year strategy.

So here’s to 2014, the year your venue will boost revenue, profitability, service and experience. All because of one simple concept: technology.

Whitney Johnson is the global director of marketing for BookBottles. Contact her at

How to Adopt Technology into Your Venue

We talk a lot about technology over here. After all, it’s our bread and butter. But we also understand that most aren’t techies like us, and new systems can often be overwhelming. This is why we recommend taking small steps that help you realize how technology can significantly increase efficiency, profitability, and security. Many venues see success with the small-step approach. Here’s how you can make that shift, too:

1. Define why you want to transition to technology

We can tell you a hundred reasons why you should, but it’s not going to mean anything if you don’t have a reason or objective of your own. Perhaps you want to increase the speed of the night, discover insights about your clients, understand how your club and employees are doing, or even generate more pre-sale revenue. All of this is possible with technology. The more you know about why you want to go down the route, the better technology partner you’ll find and the easier time you’ll have in getting staff buy-in.

2. Find the right partner

The best thing you can do is find a company who will act as a true partner in making your club more profitable. They should fully understand your club’s operations and strategies to provide the best solution to your needs. Also consider using a system that has multiple solutions on one platform. Not only does this reduce the number of vendors you have to work with on a daily basis, but also better integrates data about your club’s performance.

3. Start small

The reason technology, or any new system for that matter, seems overwhelming is because people think of it as one big overhaul rather than a series of small steps. Adopting technology is a marathon, not a race. Pick the technology solutions that you absolutely need today and blend it into your current operations. Once you get the hang of the new features you added, you’ll feel more comfortable about what technology can do for your venue and will be ready to add more necessary features.

4. Train staff

Get all staff members together who will be interacting with the new software. Having everyone in one place makes it easy for you to introduce the system, show them how it works, and answer any questions they may have. It may also be beneficial to bring in the company with whom you’re partnering to clarify any points or walk through the system. Do this every time a new wave of features is implemented in your venue, and always show continuous support. After all, if you don’t believe in the system, why should your employees? Support and training ensures your venue runs like a well-oiled machine and sees better results.

Whitney Johnson is the global director of marketing for BookBottles. Contact her at

Never Cut Expenses By Cutting Staff

There is a fine line between expense control and service deprivation. How many times have you found yourself in an amazing nightclub, filled with eye-catching decor, but waiting to get a drink for a half hour? Now, your once great impression has turned to a deep distaste.

As an owner or a manager, this is your worst nightmare. All the hard work put in to creating the party is undermined due to an understaffing issue. Take these steps to ensure you’re fully prepared.

  1. Watch your bars and tables.
  2. Adjust staffing to accommodate levels of business.
  3. Track trends, upcoming events, and major happenings that might spike levels.
  4. Add satellite bars if needed.
  5. When in doubt, overstaff. It is much easier to cut than call-in.

Guests should have a drink in their hands at all times. Staff accordingly to make sure this happens. While it may sound expensive to have adequate staff, it’s even more costly to understaff. Every second a guest is waiting for a drink is a dollar you’re not taking to the bank. And if they wait long enough, it may turn in to thousands.

John Wickes is an advisor for BookBottles.

Creating the Best Party

People aren’t coming to your club for your $500 bottle of vodka or your $13 drink; they’re coming for your party. Without a great party, you don’t have an audience. And without an audience, you don’t generate revenue.

Here are the top 4 things you need to have nailed down in order to host the best party:

Know your audience

The people you are throwing the party for should define your business model. This means you need to know your customers inside and out. It’s not enough to have a basic understanding of only demographics. You need to discover their idea of a good party, the music they like to hear, the alcohol the like to drink, and even the servers they prefer. Do your research and work with a partner who can offer these valuable insights.

Get the word out

Once you’ve defined your audience you can start to spread the word. It’s much easier to market and promote your party when you know exactly whom you’re trying to reach. The best strategy is to always keep your customers informed while maintaining a clear and consistent message in all your efforts. Use a multi-channel strategy to get the word out, such as text-message marketing, printed collateral, email updates, and social media. Just using one channel – such as posting a billboard – will not do. Diversify your efforts, track returns, and adjust focus based on results.

Turn your party into revenue

When it comes to a good party, it’s the experience – not the deal – that keeps them coming. It’s critical to understand what your customers will pay in return for a good party. Make sure you don’t sell yourself short and maximize your revenue when at all possible. People understand and have been programmed to pay top dollar for major events. Take note, not advantage, of these opportunities if you seek long-term success.

Maintain the party

The idea is to always keep your guests coming back for more. Treat everyone like VIPs, from the bottle buyer to the general admission guest. Keep them entertained by constantly surprising them with special events. Focus on service levels and make them feel appreciated. Your guests will not only continually come back, but they’ll also tell everyone they know.

At the end of the day, revenue is a byproduct of the value of your party. Make sure you first and foremost throw a good party, then be constantly aware of your guests, surprise them from time to time, and treat them with the service they deserve to keep them coming back.

John Wickes is an advisor for BookBottles.