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How to Run a Nightclub

Find out how to stand out from other nightclubs in this competitive industry.

As alcohol prices surge and drivers become increasingly wary of being over the limit, more Canadians are choosing to drink at home. However, nightclub entrepreneurs can still succeed by hosting events, creating a dynamic environment and building a clear concept for your club.


Over the last five years, alcohol consumption has been stagnant, partly due to evolving social attitudes towards drinking with people prioritising health and wellbeing. Per capita alcohol consumption is forecast at an annual rate 0.2% partly due to stricter pricing regulations.


The bar and nightclub industry are facing fierce competition from cafes, restaurants and wine bars that offer extensive drink menus in a more relaxed setting. There are approximately 5,030 bars and nightclubs in Canada, however, that figure is steadily decreasing.


If you’re spending a lot of money booking big-name DJs, you need to make sure you promote these events well and sell enough tickets to cover your expenses. You should have a clear understanding of your clientele and book talent that will appeal to this demographic.

If you’re in a tourist area, try to appeal to travellers without alienating local clubgoers. Put on dance events or themed parties to attract a diverse crowd and encourage more customers. Hiring a marketing director to handle your PR and advertising could help boost your revenue.


Make sure you price your cover charge fairly for your events; you need to cover your costs and time, but don’t price your entry fee too high and put-off patrons. Promote your events on social media to boost online ticket sales; offer group discounts incentives to increase sales.


Recruiting, training and keeping an efficient team is no mean feat; you should trust your manager to report back to you with any issues and be able to train new employees. Many entrepreneurs try to manage everything themselves, but this is not a sustainable work ethic.

Offer incentives to make your staff feel valued, such as a 10% bonus on their quarterly salary if they attend every shift on time. You should also schedule regular meetings to gauge whether you staff are happy at work and ask for their feedback on operational procedures.

There are roughly 41,200 employees working in the bar and nightclub sector; this figure is dropping as annual growth and revenue decline. If your employees enjoy working at your club, they’re likely to rave about it to potential customers creating word-of-mouth advertising. 


The concept of your nightclub should be clear from the name, branding and décor. If you’re running a Motown and disco haven, you need to make this apparent from the name of your club. Alternatively, if your club is a techno rave den, make sure your interior fits this genre.

You need to strike the right balance between having a clear club identity without deterring potential customers. Find out who your competitors are and offer a USP that will make your club stand out; for example, a rooftop garden, great value cocktails or salsa nights.


Be clear about the main principals your nightclub was founded on so that, when you trial a new concept, it fits in with your business ethos.


The location of your nightclub is a factor you can’t change; try to embrace the location you’re in rather than struggle with it. If you’re in a central spot and benefit from a high footfall, you may be paying much higher business rates than if you’re situated on the outskirts of a city.

If your club is in a remote area, you need to spend more time and money promoting events. You should consider booking renowned DJs so clubgoers have a reason to spend time and money travelling to your nightclub. Make sure your budgets are in line with turnover figures.

The location of your premises will also determine what licensing laws, permits and restrictions you must abide as a club operator. It’s important to follow all regulations set out by the local authorities and promote responsible drinking and travel safety after lock out.

Krystena Griffin

About the author

Krystena Griffin writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.


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