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Are you killing your customers?

October 7, 2013

It’s a fair question. Most businesses know that customers are their life blood and if they suspected that daily operations were slowly killing off customers it would be bad for business. What about music venues?

Here are a list of things that might lead to the demise of customers:

•Alcoholism
•Fried and fatty foods
•Smoking environment
•Sleep deprivation
•Possible parking lot brawls
•Affairs

This is not to say that a venue is responsible for any of the above behaviors. Nor is this any kind of statement about what constitutes fun for the patron – live music and blowing off steam tend to go hand in hand. But if your business environment lends itself to self-destructive customer behaviors and therefore eventual business demise, it might be worth a closer look, right?

What are the alternatives?
Liquor sales will always be the emphasis for most establishments, and that’s ok. But a venue can easily offer low calorie alternatives and even signature drinks that could come as a “virgin” version. Also consider that Denver could always use more venues for minors to play. A well thought out menu of shakes, health, sport or even energy drinks, and the like would be a great way to obtain sales from this crowd.

There are more and more diabetics on the street these days too. What if your kitchen was sensitive to this need? What if you even became known for serving healthy foods? Even fast food companies have seen the light of making these alternatives available. Plan it out right and you could probably make better margins while keeping customers cholesterol in check.

As for smoking – most bars and venues have already adapted well to accommodating these clients with large, heated outdoor spaces. And of course there is the “future of tomorrow” – Vuse, the world’s first e-cigarette with Smart technology (but please note that the Denver Original Music blog does not endorse Vuse).

Are your customers getting enough sleep? In the previous post we touched upon matinee shows – a good remedy for this. But the truth is, most venues would do well to can the music by 12:30AM. At many places, it’s kind of like going through the motions to stay open until 2. Your employees would probably benefit from an early close as well.

As for the potential parking lot brawls? Like mom always said: “Nothing good ever happens after 1AM.” Drunk and sleep-deprived people will do what they do. But maybe if you closed two hours earlier (and got the music running two hours earlier) you’d see a lot less of these.

Affairs? Yes, this is another way to kill a customer – not that you can do anything about it. But be mindful that beer goggles and groggy nights can lead a person astray. Divorce cuts income in half, and wah-lah – a lot less disposable income. Just sayin’…

ZombiesatbarThere’s no question that venues are struggling with many issues in these hard economic times. But it should be glaringly obvious that if your environment is in effect killing off customers, you need to at least think about other possibilities. Quite simply, when customers die, they usually don’t come back.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Graham Mueller permalink
    October 7, 2013 11:50 pm

    yes rock and roll in general will kill you

    • October 8, 2013 2:11 pm

      LOL! Thanks for your readership, Graham! Up for a Winter Solstice gig soon? 🙂

  2. Brice permalink
    October 10, 2013 3:28 am

    Hi Marc. How’s it hanging?

    Extramarital affairs are bad for business? I should make sure my customers get enough sleep? Alcoholism is bad for music venues huh? Alrighty then!

    Are you just making sure people are reading? Well I’m reading. I like your site!

    • October 10, 2013 1:50 pm

      Cheers, Brice! Yes, would you mind putting some pillows out on the bar at the Toad Tavern? LOL I know it’s a bit heavy handed to suggest venues might be killing off their customers, but I promise I’m not just going for shock value here. Just some things to consider, setting “sex, drugs and rock & roll” aside briefly.

      But I do remember that when you opened your kitchen, you had mentioned on the DMB that you were going to try serving up some healthy alternatives when possible. And I know keeping lettuce fresh is a bitch. So I appreciate the tightrope you walk as a venue owner and cheers to any efforts in that direction. Also, please let me know if you’d like to submit an Op Ed to be posted as a separate article here, or a point-counterpoint. Thanks for reading!

      • October 10, 2013 10:18 pm

        Op Ed piece huh? I’ll think about it. Oh man I tried healthy stuff and ran into problems. Like you said, lettuce goes bad. The Toad doesn’t sell enough food to really even keep healthy options on the menu because of spoilage and I found that most people didn’t order the healthy food…they ordered the unhealthy food. I also finally realized that I sell 90% of the food at certain shows. The shows where I sell most of the food are national blues acts and daytime matinee shows. So for instance, let’s say I have a blues show with a $20 ticket. I might sell 200 tickets which is great. So 200 people are competing for 100 or so seats so they come early and, as such, they will need to eat. IF doors open at 7:00 that means the waitstaff and bartenders get hit with 100+ food and drink orders pretty much right at 7:00. So that means the kitchen needs to pump out 100+ orders in let’s say 30 minutes (at the very latest) or people get pretty pissed. That’s one busy kitchen. and The Toad’s kitchen is small. SO I needed to come up with menu items that keep for a long time, are easy to prepare, and can be served fast. We finally settled on a bunch of appetizers, pizzas, and BBQ sandwiches. I hate to say it but I gave up on keeping much healthy food on the menu because, in this particular case, The Toad’s not a restaurant and even though I like healthy food not everyone else does.

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