Wow, this was probably the toughest of all of the topics requested and I decided to go ahead and just do it for the reader who asked me. I seriously was not going to write about this because I didn’t want to upset my corporate advertisers on Dream and Hustle and ruin our non-offensive assimilated image. Well, I decided anyway to go ahead and cover this topic because I think discuss Black strip clubs is a serious topic that is long overdue.
The reason why it is important for us in the Black community to talk about the strip club model is because no one talked about it on a serious level before. Because no one talk about strip clubs in our community on a serious level, then the business model will obviously have flaws, problems and inefficiencies. Then what happens is a poorly managed Black strip club can bring negative elements and ruin people lives and take down the community. So we are about to get serious here and have a real discussion on Black strip clubs and how to improve the model.
How Black Strip Clubs Are Setup
First of all, we need to separate the type of Black strip clubs out there. The first one and the one we are not going to talk about is “adult entertainment” and this is a whole another level. These are Black strip clubs where the women are entertaining and exotic looking doing everything from swinging on trapeze, eating fire, yoga stuff, swing on a pole using only her hair extensions and other kind of crazy stuff. Only a few places in the country get down like that and we are not talking that caliber in this article.
The majority of Black strip clubs are situated in extremely seedy areas filled with crime elements and opportunities to become a victim. The building is usually painted with an ugly unattractive color scheme and neon lights or some other tacky signage. You go inside and it smells like, well it kinda of smell like a bunch of butt naked Black women are walking around. Then you have a bar that look like something out of a 1970s malt liquor commercial, a bunch of seats scattered around, a few tables and then you got the centerpiece dance stage with a pole for the performer.
Some Black strip clubs serve fried food and strippers be asking you to buy them some chicken tenders and fries with a little bowl of coleslaw when you are there to get dances from them, not feed them. Then you notice none of the brothas sitting in the club want to give up any money to the dancers and the ugly strippers are walking around harassing you asking if you want a dance. Then you got a server coming around asking if you want some drinks like she want you to crash your Range Rover and get a DUI. Then you go take a piss and they got some guy in the bathroom selling you mints as if the stripper on the main floor cares if your breath stinks.
So overall at the Black strip club, you see cats at the bar buying drinks, the strippers acting like this is a nightclub hanging out and cliquing up and not making any money. Maybe one or two cats throwing money around and the truth is, these strippers are lying their ass off telling you they making real money stripping. The truth is, they are barely making any money because the Black strip club does not have a strong revenue model that encourage maximum revenue generation at all time. This is what I noticed when I did my field research with my reading glasses on and writing in my notepad at a strip club here in Atlanta.
The Current Issues with Black Strips Clubs
Parking Safety. The parking for strip clubs are dangerous or expensive and it is easy to be a victim in these areas. Many of you cats do not realize how easy it is to rob someone in plain sight where they can flash a gun and demand money and you cannot see anything. But you have to wonder if this even get reported to the police because the strip club don’t want that kind of news out there and some patrons will be ashamed to claim they been robbed visiting a strip club.
Ugly Exterior. I do not know for the life of me why a Black strip club has to look ugly on the outside or have the seedy appearance. Is there a city/county law saying strip clubs have to be ugly and seedy looking? This is a bigger problem when it comes to entertainment in the hood, your business exterior will attract the kind of people you project your business to be, which is the next issue.
Unsavory Characters. Black strip clubs tend to attract cats who look like they doing dirt or attract broke losers and old horny men. They tend to be disrespectful to the strippers dancing who are there to make money to pay their bills and do work and have to put up with that crap. In addition, real cats with money don’t want to hang about these kind of characters and end up going to the “gentlemen club” several miles away in the suburbs. Don’t buy the hype – these wannabee rappers and their stack of bills do not compare to the “gentlemen club” where one cats drop 5-figures on one Russian or African chick paying off her family immigration debts .
Trifling Ghetto Sistas. While the “gentlemen club” learned decades ago to import poor chicks from East Europe, Latin America and Philippines, Black strip clubs get Shaynay from around the way to shake her ghetto booty in the club. She is a loud-mouth, she like hanging with her broke friends she grew up with or went to school with instead of working the floor and she like to get into ghetto fights with other strippers all the time. She has no social skills to extract the maximum amount of money from a patron and just make a scene all the time.
Pay Per Song. I know this is the standard but this is probably the dumbest revenue model I heard of next to pay-per-use Laundromats. Again, a dancer only have a limited number of songs that night to dance for and let’s pray she make some tips. This is what you call a salary cap and the revenue potentials in a Black strip club is limited and they pray someone comes in and throw money around but that is rare, especially in this current economy.
No Partitions or Privacy. The VIP rooms are reserved for ultimate privacy but the truth is, who wants to be all in the open with a stripper grinding on him for everybody else to see? This discourage some cats from spending more money engaging with the stripper and this open seating design is probably another revenue inefficiency that need to be improved.
Trying to Be a Sports Bar or Pool Hall. Now this is the dumbest thing I ever seen in a Black strip club and why these type of strip clubs with swimming pools and all that other crap get shut down and go broke fast. If a patron is playing pool then that means he is not buying drinks or paying for dances – who thought of this crap? And let me not get started with those silly countertop video games and sports on the TV screen – this is distractions and will not make a patron spend money but make them spend less money!
Proposed Solutions for Black Strip Clubs
In order for African-Americans to improve our business, our hustles and grow our empires, we have to learn to look at success patterns worldwide and extract what works and apply it to what we are doing. To be honest, we are going to go right back to Japan and I recommend everybody involved in the Black strip club game watch the following video that is on Netflix called “The Great Happiness Space”:
This is an excellent documentary and one of my favorite documentaries because the main character breaks down the business and the technique he use to make him successful for the host club he operates. What I love the most about this documentary is they learned to move away from selling sex to selling happiness – that is what I think we should use as the platform for a better Black strip club model.
What I concluded is the Black strip club is based on a utility model where there is a pay-per-dance for the length of a song as a unit and there are tips for dancers on the pole. This is a limited revenue model and I suspect the profit margins are not even that great after all is said in done because of the utility model. In Japan for the host club, that business model is not based on utility and appear more profitable. The host club business model is based on providing an hourly service of just hostess entertainment and provide additional service and bottle service for multiple revenue streams.
What I recommend for a Black strip club is to drop most of the utility revenue model and consider using the service model like a host club out in Japan. The reason why is the whole lesson of the video I recommended – sell the strip club patrons an experience and do not let them see themselves as some kind of horny dude. Instead, provide the service of offering them a great experience and cater to that experience. Now here is my recommendations:
Transition Happy Hour to Hostess Hour. During the after-work hours from 4pm to 9pm, use the hostess model to accommodate the working class in transition from work to home. Maybe a married brotha want to sit down and talk to a fine stripper chick for an hour before going home and seeing his battle axe for a wife, eat some heated up stuff out the freezer, watch some TV and have lame sex before going to bed and start the routine over again. Provide 30-minute to hourly hang-out and talk with a stripper and if the stripper smart, she can turn him into a customer who keep coming around and provide bottle service.
Clean Up the Exterior Design. It is absolutely no reason whatsoever for a strip club to look all crazy like a cobbled-up oversize shack with neon lights and that is ridiculous! Use glass fronts with wall shields, use better lighting and make the place feel welcoming. A strip club do not need to be dark and seedy and but the lights can be dimmed enough to at least have some ambiance. This is a serious problem with Black strip clubs.
Enclose the Parking Lot. Make the parking lot safer by being attended with a tower structure and have fencing around. You will be surprised at the number of people who turn away from a Black strip club if they do not feel safe in the parking lot and this type of loss opportunity is not being measured. I believe once people see the parking lot is more serious, then they will be more likely to patronage the club.
Establish Partitions. Instead of having a bunch of chairs scattered about, create 3-sided partitions for people to have better privacy. This is not the same as a 4-sided VIP room as the 3-sided partition can face the main stage and allow patrons to have to see other cats in the club because that is not what they are there for. The privacy is also good for the strippers to have a conversation and perform dances without some broke hater on the other side staring down creating discomfort.
Remove Pay-Per-Song Revenue Model. This is probably the most ignorant and revenue-limiting aspect of the Black strip club. This is a very bad linear revenue model that focus on the start of a song and end of a song and that means only a limited number of songs are played for the night and the stripper have a max salary cap as a result. Instead, a stripper can use a stop watch/timer on her wrist that goes off when the time is up. So that means she can just do 4 minute intervals and when the timer goes off, he can decide to continue and she resets. The stripper can do this regardless if the song goes off or start playing and this allow more revenue generation instead of waiting on the next song to play.
Do You Really Need Music? Maybe I’m stupid or something but I don’t get it – why does a strip club need music? This ain’t Saturday Night Fever or an episode of You Think You Can Dance! See, these are the messed up rules cats do in their business and don’t think. Okay, music for the pole dancing but in reality, you can use ethereal music for that. But no offense, but the best dances are without any music and it seems like forever instead of a song that is a very long time. I’m just saying a dude ain’t there to dance and most thick chicks in the Black strip club can’t dance like a Zumba class but they may still be wanted by the brothas so the music thing – I would drop that aspect and focus on just grinding and winding.
Import Chicks Brothas Want. Who said brothas just want big booty ghetto chicks at the Black strip club? Why can’t we brothas get with Brazilian, Columbian, Asian, Dominican and African chicks who are now American citizens? I’m just saying is a club manager need to stop dictating what a patron want and start bringing in what a brotha want to see and deal with. This is a problem with businesses trying to focus on a “Black identity” instead of focusing on providing what the customer wants.
Target Women as Customers. Dudes be in the club broke and act like they want something for free. Most women will pay another sista who is dancing and sympathize with her plight. Remove the dirty dude element and make the club cater to women just as well as quality men. Try to get the ex-convicts and drug dealers out of the club as they are no good and they work on a cash basis anyway. At some point, you going to have to change the strip club operation to something other than cash in the next few years.
In the 21st century, personal privacy is a thing of the past thanks to connected technology. Black strip clubs still have the mentality they can be low-key and not implement technology. This is absolutely crazy due to the fact most people do not carry cash and the privacy thing – these strippers are posting up their own pics all over social networks and videos so they ain’t exactly anonymous. So Black strip clubs need to go their bar, drink their strongest whiskey straight up and realize they need to implement technology and use it to their advantage.
I would “gamify” the Black strip club experience to let a brotha order the kind of stripper chick he wants or he with his cats and they ordering their chicks via a tablet. It can be a $59 Android tablet that you give to patrons for $5 rental and will pay for itself after 20 uses. Cats can order the by the body type or the stage name or the “special talent” of the dancer. They can also check availability of the dancers and put on the waiting list for a dancer. This actually benefit dancers by being in demand and have constant work if they are in demand, not chat it up with other cats.
And think about it, with the tablet data a strip club manager can see what kind of chick is in demand by the patrons and the Black strip club can start recruiting the right strippers who are in demand and learn to boot out those who are not in the demand taking up space. But it puts the patrons in control which is what cats want to do in the 21st century.
Now, I’m not an expert in this stuff – what would you do or suggest to improve the Black strip club experience or improve the revenue model?