How to Give Guests the VIP Treatment
RBars, restaurants, and nightclubs are now selling vodka bottles for as low as $500. Customers are eager to buy this vodka at a 2 000% discount. Why? Because that ordinary vodka comes with the hospitality industry’s most extraordinary luxury: bottle service.
You ever considered bringing your family? Bottle service (also known as “table service”) to your bar, restaurant or club? Read on to find all the answers to “what is bottle service” and whether or not you should offer it.
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What exactly is bottle service? The 3 P’s.
Here’s the elevator pitch: It’s a way for guests to “own” an area of a bar for the night, and be treated like royalty. This is what goes into the experience…
Bottle service included in the package
It begins with a reservation—and a commitment. For a table reservation or seating, the guests must either make a commitment to spend a certain amount or buy a bottle for a high price. In some clubs, this can be anywhere from 500% up to 5,000%. A head count is often required at the venue.
A true bottle service involves a large bottle of liquor—often vodka or tequila—and includes a cart or tray of mixers like club soda, ginger ale, cola, cranberry juice, limes, and lemons. Red Bull, an energy drink, is also very popular. Some places are trying to differentiate themselves by using creative mix-ups such as fresh-squeezed juices of blood orange or pomegranate. Many venues have a bartender/waiter assigned to every table. These staff members are available 24/7. Mix beveragesYou can also bring additional bottles, if necessary.
In metro areas with a big clubbing scene, like Vegas and Miami, it’s not uncommon to see five-figure minimums for the most desirable tables on weekends. For a minimum of 10 persons, the average spend would be $500 to $1500. If you offer bottle service, definitely require a deposit that can be credited towards the table’s minimum spend.
If you’re just getting started with bottle service, you may not be able to afford assigning one staff member to each table. That’s why many venues use Tablets with touchscreen. With just a few clicks patrons can place orders directly to the kitchen or bar. The tablets also allow guests to play interactive trivia or arcade games which makes it even more fun.
Presenting: Make a Scene!
What’s bottle service if it doesn’t command attention? (Spoiler alert: it’s not really bottle service). It’s the way the bottle is presented that makes it all the more appealing. You could display it on a tray or as a parade. A clear acrylic serving tray that shines through special LED lights in the bottle or around it is the latest fashion. Staff members or a DJ may be asked to announce special occasions or play requested songs.
Private: (sort of)
Yes, there are perks to flying first class, such as priority boarding, privacy and spacious seats. VIP ServiceFlight attendants. Some people admit that they enjoy the jealous looks from passengers en route to economy seats. Same goes for the bottle service. Participants have exclusive access to the private area but it is visible to all patrons.
Bottle service is considered a status symbol. You should ensure your patrons can see the banquettes and sofas from the outside of the venue if you offer it. A velvet rope or something as elegant and simple as it is can be used to designate VIP sections.
Many venues have several sections for bottle service with tiered pricing, based on their best location. The best seating is located closest to any stage or DJ booth at your venue.
So…should you offer bottle service?
There’s a misconception that bottle service is for wealthy twenty-somethings into hard partying. That’s just not true. For example, table service is big with business people who want to woo clients and close deals by treating them to a premium evening…even on a weeknight. This service is popular with people who want to go out on a date. It offers conveniences such as a place to put their bags and coats, catch up with old friends and to relax.
Doing it for the ‘gram: how bottle service can make your venue an “It” location
If you’re looking to up your “it” factor, bottle service is a great option. Remember, it’s all about status. When they order bottle service, customers love taking pictures and videos, as well as bragging about their experiences on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. It’s a wonderful opportunity. Promote your restaurant via InstagramYou can also encourage other people to request the same VIP treatment.
PBR? Patron? Yes.
You don’t need to run a nightclub on the Vegas strip to offer bottle service. More casual venues are taking advantage of this trend. Consider offering a typical bar menu complete with chicken wings, nachos and cans of PBR…right alongside bottle service offerings like Patron Tequila.
Ultimately, it can’t hurt to offer bottle service. Give your guests the chance to indulge. Bring in a sofa or two, throw down a nice rug, and let guests reserve the area with a set minimum that’s approachable (like $150-$250). Cheers to giving bottle service a try at your business…
Do you want to improve your nightclub or bar? Reach out to one our hospitality specialists and learn how Small Biz Sense’s Restaurant POS can help.