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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 10:32 am 
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Over the years, there has been posts about how to run a karaoke business with varying degrees of agreement and disagreement. But, If you owned a venue, what would YOU do, and how would you run it?

OK, first let me tell you that I have zero intentions or inclinations to own or run a bar. But, if I did, here are a few things I would want to do or see at my establishment.

1) Have a clean, organized venue with a layout and decor congruent to the concept I would have carefully planned for the targeted market. (in other words, do my homework)
2) Hire and train a staff that is friendly and efficient. And set and demand certain standards in cleanliness, consistent menu and drinks, and customer service.
3) Put in place a manager over general operations, manager over kitchen, manager over service staff. Have continuing training for all employees, new and old. Everyone would know what is expected of them from the very first day they are hired and would be let know what the consequences are for not adhering to rules.
4) I would not allow staff's "significant other-partner" on premises during the employee's shift. (unless it is an emergency of course) Failure to follow this rule would mean termination of employee.
5) No smoking at all during shifts for any employee, even on breaks.
6) Absolutely no drinking alcohol on the job!! It's the law here, and would mean instant termination.
7) Menu would be simple, yet would be only fresh made items. Nothing pre-made. Quality is the key.
8) Offer a variety of different entertainment options during the week/months. Karaoke would be one of them of course, but would not be on Fridays or Saturdays (most likely would be on Thursdays). Those two nights would be reserved for special events, such as bands, concerts, DJ club nights, comedians, etc.
9) Games such as pool, darts, Texas Holdem poker tournaments would be held during the early parts of the week,(Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays) Lot's of tv's for sporting events to be shown on a regular basis, but this would not be a sports club.
10) Bands could audition on "off nights" (Tuesday, Wednesdays) for the chance to book a regular Friday/Saturday gig. If possible, there could be up to 6-8 different bands playing on a rotating basis, but each would be expected to maintain certain levels of a following. If they drop below a certain level of attendance on a consistent basis, they would be replaced. (Anyone can have a bad night here and there, and those would be taken into consideration of course)
11) Make sure advertising is done with local radio, newspaper, flyers etc,, as well as a marquee for upcoming events. Signage would be very visible from the street.
12) Make sure that nobody leaves drunk, wanting to drive away. Offer taxi service.
13) Make sure employees have a safe work environment. Nobody leaves alone, and any customers who become belligerent or aggressive would be swiftly removed by management or staff. Everyone would have the empowerment to make those decisions.

Anything you would add or comment on?

Just wondering what you would do.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:19 am 
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I disagree with #4 and #5.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:23 am 
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Alan B wrote:
I disagree with #4 and #5.


In my opinion, having a distraction from your spouses or partner can have a negative effect on performance of the employee. It doesn't mean they are banned from the venue, just not during shifts. And smoking in my opinion is a dirty habit that nobody has the "right" to do. It's a choice, and my choice would be no smoking. I think a stinky, cigarette smelling individual is a way to turn off customers. Just my opinion tho.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 11:55 am 
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mrscott wrote:
Alan B wrote:
I disagree with #4 and #5.


In my opinion, having a distraction from your spouses or partner can have a negative effect on performance of the employee. It doesn't mean they are banned from the venue, just not during shifts. And smoking in my opinion is a dirty habit that nobody has the "right" to do. It's a choice, and my choice would be no smoking. I think a stinky, cigarette smelling individual is a way to turn off customers. Just my opinion tho.

I think spouses would be fine - but if it interfered with their work, then the spouse is no longer allowed to come in.

Smoking, to tell me I cannot smoke on a break (my time) go F yourself (lighting up as I type this) :lol: Are you going to tell customers they cannot smoke outside either? It may be a choice but a break is my time. Just make sure you stipulate you only hire non-smokers - may get a discriminatory issue with that though.

Staff - if it was going to be a karaoke bar or have karaoke nights, the staff hired needs to be completely karaoke friendly. Too many times i've worked in places where a bartender or server (or occasionally even the manager/owner) didn't like karaoke and would not serve those singers in a proficient manner causing almost certain failure for the karaoke.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:20 pm 
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Lonman wrote:
mrscott wrote:
Alan B wrote:
I disagree with #4 and #5.


In my opinion, having a distraction from your spouses or partner can have a negative effect on performance of the employee. It doesn't mean they are banned from the venue, just not during shifts. And smoking in my opinion is a dirty habit that nobody has the "right" to do. It's a choice, and my choice would be no smoking. I think a stinky, cigarette smelling individual is a way to turn off customers. Just my opinion tho.

I think spouses would be fine - but if it interfered with their work, then the spouse is no longer allowed to come in.

Smoking, to tell me I cannot smoke on a break (my time) go F yourself (lighting up as I type this) :lol: Are you going to tell customers they cannot smoke outside either? It may be a choice but a break is my time. Just make sure you stipulate you only hire non-smokers - may get a discriminatory issue with that though.

Staff - if it was going to be a karaoke bar or have karaoke nights, the staff hired needs to be completely karaoke friendly. Too many times i've worked in places where a bartender or server (or occasionally even the manager/owner) didn't like karaoke and would not serve those singers in a proficient manner causing almost certain failure for the karaoke.


I think prevention on the spouse/partner issue is much better than solving a problem later on. Not giving the spouse/partner a chance to interfere with the duties of the employee is better in the long run, rather than having to intervene or send someone home.

Smoking is not a natural act, and nobody has the "right" to say they do. It's simply a choice. In my little old humble opinion, I think that some smokers feel they can abuse that excuse way too often. I rarely see a non-smoker say "I need to step outside" every 30 minutes. Besides, even if you are on a "break", you are still on the clock. What you do outside that time is your business. As far as customers go,, smokers would be allowed to go outside to smoke in a provided area that is comfortable and clean as well. Smoking is not allowed at all in any buildings anymore (except homes) in Utah, that's the law. Again, this is just my opinion, and I would not argue otherwise.

I totally agree with the staff being karaoke "friendly". I have seen more times than I care to think about, when an employee has a bad attitude towards a singer, or a song, or karaoke in general, and adversely affect the vibe and success of a venue.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:55 pm 
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Drinking alcohol isn't a natural act either. It's a choice - that can and has destroyed lives, families.
But if smokers have an outside area, there is absolutely no reason a worker cannot go outside to that same area designated for smoking. And no they wouldn't get to take breaks when they wanted, I agree it would need to be scheduled or authorized.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:05 pm 
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Lonman wrote:
Drinking alcohol isn't a natural act either. It's a choice - that can and has destroyed lives, families.
But if smokers have an outside area, there is absolutely no reason a worker cannot go outside to that same area designated for smoking. And no they wouldn't get to take breaks when they wanted, I agree it would need to be scheduled or authorized.


That's what you would look for,, and what I said is what "I" would do. Just a difference of opinion. This isn't a smoking vs no-smoking topic. This is a "how would you operate a bar". If you choose to allow smoking, that's all good too. I would personally say no. If a person doesn't like the policy, they don't have to work there. Simple as that, nothing personal.

Something else I would do is get the community involved in some of local events. This might mean having a large(r) parking area so that events may be held outside on occasion. That would give people who normally would not enter a bar the chance to be possible future patrons.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:30 pm 
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It's just something you'd have to check your state laws - there are states that prohibit an employer from banning smoking on breaks. So again it may become a legal issue if you chose to disallow it from your employees on break.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:54 pm 
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Lonman wrote:
It's just something you'd have to check your state laws - there are states that prohibit an employer from banning smoking on breaks. So again it may become a legal issue if you chose to disallow it from your employees on break.


Which in Utah, by the way, is legal for the proprietor to prohibit smoking at all on premises. Although, that would also mean no smoking for the customers either. Utah also has no laws that say an employer must allow for smoke breaks, they just cannot discriminate against smokers during the hiring process.

Again tho,,, this is NOT a smoking topic.

If anyone has any other thoughts about running a bar and how you would do it, that is what I am asking for. I would like to see this viewed from the owner/manager perspective, rather not from a karaoke host perspective. But with that part in mind, I would also have a very good, high quality sound system set up in the bar for the KJ or DJ to use. They would just have to treat it properly. Yes, there would be conversations about that very subject between owner and host.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:59 pm 
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LOL!

your list in a fantasy world would be great. but your overhead would put you out of business in my neck of the woods! the cost to employ the number of staff to do what you want, entertainment, food & someone that can actually cook it, lights, beer & liquor, oh yeah and city/county/state licenses & taxes.

And then finding staff that would actually follow your rules.

employee's suck! and the younger generation don't want to work, they want to chat on their phones. I'm a surveillance manager in a Casino/Restaurant/Bowling Alley, and finding "good" employee's that actually want to work is almost impossible. we hire and fire at least 1 or more employee's a month. Either because of stealing from the till/not ringing in drinks or just not showing up for a shift. They all have their opinion on how "you" should run your business.

My previous job I worked for a vending outfit that supplies those dart boards/pool tables/electronic games you talked about. here we do dart leagues and pool leagues and those players play sunday - thursday 7pm to 10'ish and the hate having live music or karaoke while leagues are going on, they all think they shoot better with the loud jukebox playing instead of live music. kinda puts a cramp into week day evening events.

all in all I would never want to be an owner of any hospitality business of any kind!

I'm just going to stick to hosting karaoke and getting a weekly check without having to worry about anything else but my karaoke show!

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:30 pm 
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mightywiz wrote:
LOL!

your list in a fantasy world would be great. but your overhead would put you out of business in my neck of the woods! the cost to employ the number of staff to do what you want, entertainment, food & someone that can actually cook it, lights, beer & liquor, oh yeah and city/county/state licenses & taxes.

And then finding staff that would actually follow your rules.

employee's suck! and the younger generation don't want to work, they want to chat on their phones. I'm a surveillance manager in a Casino/Restaurant/Bowling Alley, and finding "good" employee's that actually want to work is almost impossible. we hire and fire at least 1 or more employee's a month. Either because of stealing from the till/not ringing in drinks or just not showing up for a shift. They all have their opinion on how "you" should run your business.

My previous job I worked for a vending outfit that supplies those dart boards/pool tables/electronic games you talked about. here we do dart leagues and pool leagues and those players play sunday - thursday 7pm to 10'ish and the hate having live music or karaoke while leagues are going on, they all think they shoot better with the loud jukebox playing instead of live music. kinda puts a cramp into week day evening events.

all in all I would never want to be an owner of any hospitality business of any kind!

I'm just going to stick to hosting karaoke and getting a weekly check without having to worry about anything else but my karaoke show!


You'll get no argument from me on any of those thoughts :) I agree that this is a "perfect" scenario. Finding good, qualified employees that are willing to do their jobs fully and cheerfully is like pulling hens teeth. If the gene pool were large enough to weed out the undesirable type of employees, that would definitely help the situation. Plus having a good market place to draw customers is huge as well. What I see all the time tho is, management that fails to give proper training and expect great things from unqualified help. That's a losing situation from the get go. I see owners who are their own worst enemy,,, like drinking more than anyone, or driving people away with negative personalities, or not offering the right goods or services for the area. I believe the best owner is one who sets up the employees to succeed for themselves and for the venue. You do this by setting a standard of excellence that customers will respond to by spending money.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:51 pm 
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I've had to deal with dart players before mainly because they were really close to the speakers more than anything else.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:40 pm 
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and living in a state that passed the marijuana laws (washington). the pickings for employee's really drops. If I drug tested my employee's today, I bet I would have to fire 80% of them.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:17 pm 
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mightywiz wrote:
and living in a state that passed the marijuana laws (washington). the pickings for employee's really drops. If I drug tested my employee's today, I bet I would have to fire 80% of them.


I don't smoke.. Not even cigarettes.. :shock:


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 12:16 pm 
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I actually do own a bar, and some of the suggestions are excellent. We have a substantial separate café (and the same menu is served in the bar), and the food is mostly made from scratch--hand-battered fish, homemade soups, sauces and salad dressings, etc.--but we augment that with 'bar snacks' in the bar, because 'store-bought' jalapeno poppers taste fine, if you buy the good ones, and some people want that type of food instead of our chef's fine steelhead dinner special or whatever.

As far as not letting employees smoke on the job, that's very tough to do. It would be great, because even smoking outside the scent lingers on the server. But as a practical matter if you rule out people who smoke (or even who smoke pot) you reduce your labor pool, and have to hire from what's left, and you end up with worse service, especially in a small community.

Having the 'significant other' hanging around can be a negative thing, but it's also situational. I have employee spouses and SOs who are good regular customers and karaoke regulars and I'd be foolish to make a broad rule, but if it turns into a distraction for them or for my guests they're going to hear about it.

But look at the alternative: Under your rule, a valued employee would start dating (or marry) a valued guest, and you'd have to tell them 'no' or get rid of one of them? And let's face it, you'd be getting rid of both of them, and maybe a lot of their friends. I understand the impulse, but it works better as 'something to watch' than as dogma or as a hard-and-fast rule.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 9:12 pm 
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CafeBar wrote:
I actually do own a bar, and some of the suggestions are excellent. We have a substantial separate café (and the same menu is served in the bar), and the food is mostly made from scratch--hand-battered fish, homemade soups, sauces and salad dressings, etc.--but we augment that with 'bar snacks' in the bar, because 'store-bought' jalapeno poppers taste fine, if you buy the good ones, and some people want that type of food instead of our chef's fine steelhead dinner special or whatever.

As far as not letting employees smoke on the job, that's very tough to do. It would be great, because even smoking outside the scent lingers on the server. But as a practical matter if you rule out people who smoke (or even who smoke pot) you reduce your labor pool, and have to hire from what's left, and you end up with worse service, especially in a small community.

Having the 'significant other' hanging around can be a negative thing, but it's also situational. I have employee spouses and SOs who are good regular customers and karaoke regulars and I'd be foolish to make a broad rule, but if it turns into a distraction for them or for my guests they're going to hear about it.

But look at the alternative: Under your rule, a valued employee would start dating (or marry) a valued guest, and you'd have to tell them 'no' or get rid of one of them? And let's face it, you'd be getting rid of both of them, and maybe a lot of their friends. I understand the impulse, but it works better as 'something to watch' than as dogma or as a hard-and-fast rule.


The smoking situation does not mean that I would limit the hiring process to only non-smoker, it only means that I would not allow smoking while on shift. Your comment about how the smell lingers is precisely why I would not want them to smoke while on duty, whether on break or not. In our area, there are far more non smoking people than smokers by a vast amount, even in the bars. In my opinion, it would make sense to try to draw the larger percentage of potential customers to the establishment, rather than the alternative. But it does not mean that the smokers would not be welcome, it just means I don't want the possible turn off of smokey smelling employees. Now, this is just my opinion from my own personal standpoint, it does not mean that I am certain I am right, it's only my own opinion.

The "no significant other" rule does not mean that the spouse/partner is not welcome in the venue,, just not while employee is on duty. If they employee meets a potential "mate" at the bar and they become a couple, they would have to know the rules beforehand and know what is to be expected. This is where I feel that bar owners fail. They fail in letting the staff know what is expected and the lack of training. Simply by having a line of communication between owners and staff usually solves most problems before they become out of control. But it has to be a true line of dialogue not just a "do what I say because I am the boss", the owner shouldn't become tyrannical. That attitude will poison the staff in a quick hurry.

I have seen way too often an employee who abuses the rules, and I know people will try to get away with anything they can when the boss is not there. Or they try to make their own rules on how they would run the business if they were in charge. I say to them, "when your name is the one signing the paychecks, then you can make the rules". If the owner has done his research and has a true business plan in place, the employees need to understand the eventual goals.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 24, 2016 11:38 pm 
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mrscott wrote:
The smoking situation does not mean that I would limit the hiring process to only non-smoker, it only means that I would not allow smoking while on shift. Your comment about how the smell lingers is precisely why I would not want them to smoke while on duty, whether on break or not.


OK then, I guess those Smokers who you have employed will probably smoke 5 minutes before their shift begins... SURE... the smell won't linger because they smoked before starting work (and they meet your restriction of not smoking any time within the range of their assigned shift too).

Not for nothing but, I am a non-smoker, and I have been to places where smoking is permitted. The odor stays on my clothes for days. So, regardless of your desired restriction, a person who smokes is still going to reek of it regardless of the time of day or time when he/she begins and finishes his/her shift.

I think it's time to take a more realistic view of this Mr. Scott.


Last edited by cueball on Fri Nov 25, 2016 3:03 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:15 am 
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People getting drunk and being stupid is a helluva lot worse than an employee who smokes. Personally, I find you're (mrscott) being anal about the smoking thing.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 6:40 am 
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Yeah, the smoking thing is a head-scratcher for me too. Clearly, you can't let employees abuse that privilege -- I've worked as service staff in establishments that don't set ANY rules for smokers, and even outside of the obvious lingering scent, it causes unnecessary confusion. (Smokers who turn to cigarettes more when stressed are liable to get overwhelmed and step out back when they're needed the most.) BUT it seems to me that unless you are willing to commit to hiring only non-smokers (a tenuous idea at best) you're setting yourself up for failure, particularly given how many smokers are in that industry. Personally, I'd set very clear ground rules -- perhaps we don't go outside without permission, or perhaps there's a set time for smoke breaks. I'm not sure I'd want to be employed by OR be a patron of a bar staffed by nicotine-addicted service staff denied a smoke break.

I see where you're going with significant others, for sure. And as a veteran of the industry, I've seen it cause problems. But I've also seen the significant others that become good patrons, that show up and are welcomed warmly by their partner's co-workers, that develop a good rapport with regulars at the bar... it seems a little foolhardy to risk that. Just like the smoking thing, it seems like something that very clear and firm ground rules should be laid out on -- if a partner of an employee causes any sort of disturbance, they're gone -- but one that it would be unfair to just outright prohibit.

See, my thought process is that this is not the type of place I'd enjoy working at. In my years of tending bar, I've much preferred working at places that don't keep me on a short leash -- and I've been successful that way, because I felt happy, and not treated like a child, and I enjoyed a certain camaraderie with my patrons as a result. It's difficult to be a fun, happy-go-lucky employee that people continue to want to visit when you've been demoralized by a boss that inherently doesn't trust you.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:16 am 
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Alan B wrote:
People getting drunk and being stupid is a helluva lot worse than an employee who smokes. Personally, I find you're (mrscott) being anal about the smoking thing.


First of all Alan, this is just my thoughts. I do NOT own a bar and have NO inclinations to do so. I am a NON smoker AND a NON drinker. I am just a guy who has seen what the effects of an employee has on business because they feel entitled to another cigarette, and then another, and then another. That isn't even fair at all to the non smokers and the rest of the staff that does not abuse the break time situation. It does not mean they cannot smoke. I do NOT look at people who smoke or drink any differently than I do those who do not. I love my smoker friends, I just don't love their smelly habit. I have habits too that are not healthy. Everyone has their own quirks and differences, that is life and I wouldn't have it any other way. My thought process here is to not let it become a problem from the very beginning. If someone does not like this particular rule, they simply would not have to apply for the job. Would that mean possibly not hiring a potential good employee? Yes it does. Does it mean that it's wrong? Nope, just my way of letting people know that wasting time on the clock is purely not acceptable.


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