Do More with Your Front Door: The Portal to the Guest Experience

How does this entrance make you feel? Image: Milkos / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Pause for a moment after reading this sentence to consider the entrance of your bar, nightclub or restaurant.

How much thought did you put into your entrance when you designed your venue? Did you put any thought into it beyond making sure it worked and made it clear it was the entryway into your business?

Now consider this quote from Homan Taghdiri, co-founder and managing partner of Invictus Hospitality: “What is nightlife about? Hospitality and creating the experience for the guest.”

How are your front door and the guest experience related? Your guests’ experiences begin and end with the front door. It makes the first and last impression on any guest who spends time inside your business.

So, do you think you put enough consideration into your entrance? Who have you chosen for your doorperson? Your host or hostess just on the other side of your front door?

As Michael Tipps said during an enlightening 2019 Nightclub & Bar Show panel titled “The Importance of Your Entrance: How to Run It & the Art of the Jedi,” operators spend massive amounts of time, money and other resources to open bars yet ignore the door. That goes not just for its design and the feeling it elicits but also the person standing next to or in front of it, and the people situated behind it.

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It should go without saying, but here it goes: at the minimum, a hospitality venue’s entrance should be clean and attractive. Taking an entryway’s level up a notch, it should tie in with the rest of the concept’s design. At the highest level, you should have created a portal that transports your guests to an experience. Regardless of the type of venue you operate, there must be a moment of arrival.

The experience you provide your guests is what counts the most, which is why your front door is so important. A guest doesn’t quite understand your concept? It doesn’t matter if their experience is fantastic. An experience is created when feelings are elicited from a guest. Lighting, sound, the mood in the room, the design of the environment… These all play a role in the guest experience, and so does the entrance.

Your door is the first domino to fall and it’s kicked off when your guest encounters your entryway. The rest of the dominos can either tumble smoothly or come up short—it’s up to you. Put thought into not only what guests see when they approach your bar but with whom they first interact. When at a nightclub, for instance, if a doorman is scowling and acting in an intimidating manner, why should a guest give that club their business? The experience has started off on the wrong foot.

Read this: Achieving a Healthy, Long-term Career in the Bar Business

Your guests step into your business in one of two moods: good or bad. As the Invictus Hospitality team pointed out during their panel, that mood affects their overall experience. If a person walks into your bar, nightclub or restaurant in a bad mood because of the entrance, they’re much more likely to be critical and nitpick every detail of your business. However, guests who are relaxed drink more, eat more, and are more forgiving of mistakes.

“The guest perception changes dramatically based on their experience from door,” explained Taghdiri.

To drive their point home, the Invictus Hospitality team started their panel off on the best possible footing. David Foss, Invictus Hospitality principal, consultant and incredible wine expert, positioned himself at the door and greeted every attendee of the informative session. The overall mood in the room was relaxed and attendees were engaged. A simple greeting yielded fantastic results, and the entrance wasn’t even impressive.

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“The door is the most important place in your business,” said Foss. Guests aren’t just paying for food and drink, they’re paying for the show you and your staff put on every day. Bars, as Tipps pointed out, really don’t make much sense as a business when looked at on paper. People can make food and drinks at in the comfort of their homes. These days, they really don’t need to leave their homes for food and beverage. What they’re really paying for is an experience and to be around others because, all introvert and misanthrope stereotypes aside, people need people.

So, consider your door. Consider the guest experience. What can you do today to improve both?

Interested in learning more from the Invictus Hospitality team? Contact them here.

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