Securing The VIP Experience

VIP LineVIP’s spend money and owners love money.  Sometimes they love a VIP’s money so much, rules are bent and VIP’s get away with activities that are not normally allow from general patrons.  After all, they are VIP’s right?

Bending rules can have significant implications if an issue was to arise. Three of the most common liability issues that can arise and cost a venue more than the VIP is worth are:

  1. Fights with neighboring VIPs or other patrons. I worked on two civil liability cases where a bottle was used as a weapon and over $300,000 was paid out by the venue to injured innocent bystanders after a VIP fight.
  2. Overconsumption from self-serving VIPs. Servers working VIP tables don’t always see when a glass is empty and VIPs will pour their own drinks. There have been cases where beverage control officials issued administrative citations for allowing the overconsumption of alcohol to take place. In these cases each bar paid out $4,000 in fines and $10,000 in attorney’s fees.
  3. VIPs leaving and operating a vehicle under the influence. It is easy for a cop to locate the venue a patron last visited (everything from stamps to wristbands give it away) and the venue can be held liable, costing thousands of dollars.

So, what can you do to protect your venue, your staff and your patrons?

First, VIP employees must understand what the VIP experience is. This must include a simple VIP Code of Conduct that all VIP employees memorize.  VIPs should also understand that if rules are broken, the VIP or their guest(s) may be asked to leave without being given a refund.

Next, it’s important to understand that bouncers are more than just security guards.  They are a host, a concierge, a problem solver while also being a security guard.  They help the server create the best VIP experience possible and in turn are helping create a safer club or bar environment.  The security guard and server should work together to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all parties. Your security guards should understand the venue policies and have the ability to proactively solve problems without having to run to the manager. 

Instead, the security guard has the overall protection of the bar or club foremost in their mind as they monitor the VIP group.  They know when to call for assistance, when to suggest a cab and when to offer a non-alcohol drink.

Finally, it is important to note that proper staffing is required to avoid potential liability issues. I recommend adding a security host for every VIP group (or at least one per every two). I understand that labor costs will rise however this increased cost can be a real moneymaker and a huge cost saver by combating liability issues and providing a better VIP experience.