In some working scenarios the doorman or bouncer may be in charge of collecting the cover charge before patrons enter the premises.
In these situations it is important that you take the responsibility seriously. Above all, you need to be consistent in the way that you deal with customers before they enter the pub or club. If you charge one customer a certain fee, it can cause problems if another pays differently.
Regulars and/or Members
To further complicate things is the issue of regulars or members. Here the door supervisor team should have in place a separate queuing system. This will avoid issues where some customers walk in for free, while others have to pay the top entry price.
As a doorman, you do not want to spend valuable time explaining to patrons why one person is paying one fee and them another. If the customer is fuelled with alcohol, this can be a recipe for trouble to start. Your job is to manage the door and in this case collect the cover charge, you do not want to be dealing with drunken customer satisfaction queries.
Large Parties Asking for a Discount
If a large party of customers come together and one of them steps forward suggesting a discount rate due to the collective group, weigh the possibility up carefully.
It may be that your working establishment does not allow such concessions. In this case you can explain the rules and that is the end of the conversation.
If however, you are in a position to offer a potential discount, try to ascertain the type of group and whether there could be any potential problems. A stag doo might be great for takings at the bar, but will it put other patrons off?
If the party has arrived early enough, this may help bolster takings while the club would normally be quiet. Use your common sense when making the call.
But I know the Owner…
If you are new to the job, try to work out who the regulars are and who gets that special treatment. Getting this right early on will certainly give you brownie points with the rest of the team and will stop any undue complications from the bolshie best friends of the club owner. If you are not sure, discreetly ask a colleague – you also want to avoid being conned by quick talking idiots that might just know the owners name without ever having met them.
Working the doors – Cover Charges and Why they exist
Although working the doors when cover charge is involved can be a pain, it does after all help pay your wage and should be treated seriously. The two main reasons for an establishment having a cover charge are:
1. An Additional Revenue Stream
As we have stated, the cover charge helps pay your wage. It also helps cover the cost of an entertainment licence or after hours drinking licences. These type of places most often have a cover charge.
Any instance that you decide to let slip your duties as a doorman collecting cover charges, you are indirectly stealing from your employer. (Say your good mate has turned up and wants free entry, or an attractive girl in the queue gets preferential treatment – both moves are very unprofessional from a door supervisors perspective. However they do obviously happen all the time).
2. Deterring A Bad Crowd
Having a cover charge in place can often keep out potential trouble makers. If a group has paid good money to get into a place, this can sometimes persuade them not to start trouble in the first place. They would prefer not to be kicked out. A really expensive cover charge to a top end establishment is unlikely to attract trouble makers at all.
However, there are always exceptions to this. Alcohol can make even the most unassuming individual become problematic under the right circumstances.
Cover Charges – The Bottom Line
Although many establishments have dedicated staff that see to cover charges, every now and then you may find your self as a door supervisor being in charge of it.
Know the policies of your work place, and if you are given discretionary powers use them wisely, there is nothing more infuriating to a customer than a seemingly subjective door policy, where the staff makes things up as they go along. Consistency and common sense are key.