Bar/Nightclub Managers and Owners
Thoughts for the Future
I decided to send out a few questions to all our bar and nightclub advertisers to find out their thoughts about the pandemic and the future. Three responded on time for our deadline, they were: Alex Amarosa (GM Scandals and Tropics), Michael Connell (Co-Owner of the Pub), and Matt Colunga (owner of Johnsons). We will update our website with more responses as they come in.
1) How are you and your staff holding up during the Quarantine?
Alex – I have been very fortunate, I have seen 60 of my 71 employees in the past month, both from Tropics Grille and Scandals Saloon. My staff has always been a family. There is not one person on staff in both places that I am not completely satisfied with. I am blessed to have a dynamite team. All are holding up pretty good. They’re always in fine spirits and laughing when I see them. Sure, they’re a little broke, stir crazy, sex hungry, and all are in dire need of a crowd, and audience. I have always felt and I teach my front of house staff that bartending and serving is like live improv theater. Every night it’s a different show, some the same, and some different characters. Improv is a must for front of house staff, which we have brimming over in both places.
Michael – Happy to report that our associates have all been able to remain healthy during this time. Additionally, our staff have supported each other & our management with them through weekly calls, texts, etc. We continued to support our associates through takeout food tips being pooled & several events where we offered free dinners with customer’s generous tips being shared with our associates. During the first two months of closure we were able to distribute just over $21,000 to our Pub associates.
Matt – It’s definitely challenging and we are very anxious to get back to work. We have done our best to pay our staff a portion of what they would be making so they can survive. We also meet with them every Friday and give them dinner to make sure everyone is doing ok…we are a family after all. A few of them have gotten unemployment but most of them have been doing odd jobs to tide them over. We have also taken this time to deep clean and freshen up the club.
2) When do you think the south Florida Bars and Nightclub will open?
Alex – I personally would not feel comfortable opening until the Fall, but I will see how the phases are planned out. I will also take notice of the community, the staff, and the patrons. If people are uncomfortable and not ready to go out, which we should all expect a good majority of those folks, then our establishments will be empty and no one will make any kind of living.
Michael – Sadly, can’t predict the time. Don’t have a crystal ball, but based on local and state government actions to date it likely could be that phase 2 follows within a month.
Matt – We are anxious to open but certainly want to be cautious in doing so especially for our older clientele…we are planning on taking temperatures of all staff and customers when we open and make sure we follow all CDC guidelines for mask wearing. We would be happy to open even at 50% capacity. We are hoping to open by June 15th since that will have given phase 1 three weeks before moving into phase 2.
3) What’s your thoughts for the bar and nightclub industry in the future?
Alex – Completely changed forever. I cannot see an old fashioned Sunday Tea Dance at Scandals until next year. The majority of my clientele are 50 and over, in both establishments. From speaking to many people, it seems to be a split decision on returning to the bars anytime soon. Half the crowd are afraid, vulnerable, and trepadatous. The other half will come as soon as the doors open. These people were also the same people that packed the bars on the very last day of business, 2 months ago. It will take several years to get back to where we once were, BUT WE WILL, if everyone abides by the rules.
Michael – That’s a very common question I’m asked often but a tough one to answer. The evident science indicates life changes as a new norm are essential and necessary for us all. We will adapt and strive to provide our community a safe and enjoyable place. For owners, the biggest business thought ever looming on our minds is Gloria Gaynor’s words, “I will survive.”
Matt – I believe that this is such an important industry especially in the gay community….these bars are the only social interaction many people have. I have spoken to numerous older customers that have been home alone for almost 3 months now, and even to our younger customers that are working from home and only get virtual interaction. People need this in person socialization and the majority of the bars on the drive become the only places people meet their friends and “family” in person. We are a social people and need that interaction.