The post-mortem is in for what’s commonly referred to as “The Show,” and what’s officially known as the annual Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show, part of the International Hospitality Week, that was held last week for four days, March 1 though 4, in Las Vegas.
But The Show was definitely not dead – and nobody was spotted reading any last rites- especially great news in our sour, but always sweet Las Vegas economy. Thousands of bar and nightclub conventioneers, though, literally hoisted-elbow-to-elbow, packing the Las Vegas Convention Center to check out the large array of new bar products and equipment from around the country and, of course, taste scrumptious food samples and imbibe on out-of-this-world libations.
The good news is that Las Vegas represented the largest-volume of independent nightclubs, bars, and lounges in the United States for 2008. Bad economy or not, Las Vegas proved once again that successful bar and nightclub operations is an art and science revenue reality: Las Vegas is the home of 21 of the top 100 nightclubs and bars in the nation, drawing in a combined revenue from $360 million to $570 million in 2008. Further adding to the prestigious ranking, Las Vegas was home to 6 of the top 10 venues.
“Clearly, Las Vegas maintains its dominance as a nightclub destination,” says David Henkes, vice president of Technomic and leader of the firm’s adult beverage practice.
Such are the findings of the primary and secondary research study undertaken by Nightclub & Bar magazine and Chicago-based market research firm Technomic, Inc., who partnered together to develop the first revenue-based listing of top-producing independent nightclubs, bars and lounges in the nation.
The survey used to develop the Top 100 list showed that 60 percent of respondents experienced increases in total revenues in 2008; only 11 percent experienced sales decline and 29 percent reported no change from 2007.
On average, alcohol accounted for 71 percent of total revenues, with cocktails generating the lion’s share of drink sales – 52 percent – and beer and spirits contributing 38 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Food sales accounted for an average of seven percent of venue sales.
Henkes projects that nightclubs, bars and lounges will fare better than their casual dining colleagues in the face of the continued downward economic spiral. However, he cautioned that as unemployment rises and the recession continues to impact more and more consumers, the young adult demographic that favors these independent nightclubs, bars and lounges will likely curb their discretionary spending.
“To succeed in 2009, operators will need a clear value proposition: understand why people come to your venue and deliver an experience they can’t get elsewhere,” Henkes affirms. “In the best of times, it’s difficult to keep a hot club hot – many of these Top 100 clubs have done so continuously for years – but all bar operators will need to work smart to keep going and growing. Each individual concept needs to continuously reinvent itself to stay fresh for today’s customer, who is becoming more discerning in where they spend their entertainment dollars.”
To wet your whistle, here’s the ranking of Las Vegas venues from the nation’s Top 100 revenue 2008 listing : Tao Nightclub (1) – pictured in inset, Tryst (2), Pure (4), Jet (5), The Bank Nightclub (7), LAX (8), Body English (11), Moon Nightclub (12), ghostbar (13), Prive (17), Playboy Club (21), Drais After Hours (22), Christina Audigier (27), rumjungle (28), Studio 54 (29), Blush (31), Rain in the Desert (35), Stoney’s Rockin Country Bar (38), Krave Nightclub (44), Tabu Ultra Lounge (60), and Poetry Nightclub (79).
Bottom’s up- here’s hoping for a good bar and nightclub 2009 performance.