Doormen or security staff are commonly referred to in the nightclub or bar industry as “bouncers”. The typical image is a tall tough-guy with a cold demeanor. The bouncer allows in who they want and kicks out anyone causing trouble.
This image is grossly marked and it is often plain wrong. To be successful, modern-day bouncers have to be more than just good muscle. They are a valuable member of your front house team, ensuring the safety of your staff and guests. If your bar or nightclub is thinking about the use of on-site security here’s what you have to know before hiring.
What Does a Bouncer Do?
There is a certain different job that club security usually performs. These duties depend on the size of the place, the number of patrons, the extent of alcohol served, and the resulting security risks.
Bouncer of the Doorman
One of the major jobs of a bouncer is to act as a doorman. This job’s target is to mitigate a threat before it impacts patrons and co-workers.
He will be doing the following:
· Check ID’s to make sure everyone is of legal age.
· Disallow entry for those already intoxicated or acting strangely.
· Keep out those who do not follow the club or bar’s dress code.
· Make sure that patrons are paying the cover charge.
· Check for and confiscate arms and drugs before they make it inside.
· Observe in and out foot traffic.
· Patrol the area outside the nightclub for threats.
Floor security staff works inside the club ensuring that circumstances inside do not escalate. Floor security safeguards patrons and co-workers from threatening and unruly guests.
Their primary tasks include:
· Ensuring contraband is not in anybody’s possession.
· Assisting bartenders to avoid over-serving guests.
· De-escalating confrontations between patrons.
· Asking unwanted guests to leave.
· Physically removing guests who refuse to go.
· Assisting drunk patrons find secure transportation home.
· Contacting local law authority when necessary.
At certain times, in more casual or smaller venues bouncers are also needed to help with front and back of house duties like collecting used drink containers, cleaning the table, changing kegs, and bartending.
Do you Need Bouncers?
If you are thinking that if you need a bouncer or a security team, evaluate your premises’ potential for violent confrontations. Would your business avail benefit from having trained personnel to deal with these circumstances? Remember, it is not necessarily the number of violent incidents that need a bouncer but the kind of risks present to patrons and employees.
The majority of security duties are the non-violent, non-confrontational authority of the house rules. It is possible that duties like checking ID’s and asking over-served guests to leave can be managed by existing staff members, like the bartenders or managers.
But if the location is prone to fights, huge crowds, the presence of drugs and arms it might be asking too much of a typical service industry worker to step in and handle these types of situations. The visible presence of a bouncer or security team can also be enough to discourage things from getting beyond control.
Things Bouncers are Allowed to do in a Situation
While the laws differ from state to state, bouncers must follow a strict code of conduct while on duty and dealing with customers.
Bouncers are not given special privileges when it comes to the use of physical force.
· They can request a patron to leave.
· They can call the legal authorities such as the police.
· They can physically remove people from the premises but cannot use unwanted force.
· They can hit a patron-only when threatened, using adequate force in self-defense.
Bear in mind that your bar or nightclub can be sued if a bouncer initiates violence, injures a visitor, or performs illegal activities. Lawsuits for injuries caused by bouncers are not an unknown commodity and can be expensive to your business, even if you are found not to be at fault.
Qualifications of a Bouncer
Since nightclubs and bars are private property, in most jurisdictions, there are no particular qualifications needed to be a bouncer. As stated above, they are not given any special rights or privileges to counter patrons.
However, while hiring security personnel for your bar or nightclub, there are specific useful qualifications that you must consider.
Pre- Requisite Formal Qualifications
License: Each state’s needs for security guards is different. However, in some states, one may need to have the necessary license to work.
Training: Before hiring bouncers, they must have some experience and training to deal with unruly crowds or individuals effectively. Part of it is to receive training in adequate use of force and CPR/first responder training.
Clean Criminal Background Check: Professional bouncers are responsible for the security of your patrons. A clean criminal history makes sure that the people you hire for club security do not have issues with violence, assault, substance abuse, and theft. All of these qualities will create problems for your business.
Negotiation Skills: Keeping a cool head is very important for a bouncer. Belligerent individuals are inclined to try to provoke bouncers. But in the age of smartphone cameras and technologies, all eyes are watching. And ultimately, the club will be seen as responsible for your bouncer’s actions. Hire bouncers who can talk to unruly people to de-escalate a situation before it gets out of control.
Physical Strength: No one can deny that physical strength is an advantage for a bouncer. The ability to effectively break up fights or prevent a threatening person keeps patrons and employees safe, including security staff. Physically strong security guards are a deterrent to possible troublemakers without having to escalate an altercation.
Sobriety: Club security employees are responsible for everyone’s safety. This needs bouncers to be of sound mind and body. Drug and alcohol use on the job restricts motor and thinking ability. Keeping drugs out of your club will be quite difficult if your security personnel is abusing illegal substances themselves.
Observation Skills: It is important for your bouncers to always be on the lookout. Situational awareness is critical, like the ability to step in before a heated conversation comes to blows and assisting the bartenders to know who has been over-served. This will go a long, way in keeping your club safe.
Can a Bouncer Change the Image of your Nightclub or Bar?
Certain bar owners may be worried that the presence of bouncers will make their club seem unfriendly or uninviting. This is a probable outcome if security is highly visible and proactive. However, there are ways you can take to mitigate this concern.
Security can be of plain-clothes and help with other bar duties. Collecting empty bottles and glasses, and wiping down tables lets bouncers remain “undercover” while maintaining a presence throughout the vicinity, in close proximity to guests.
On the other hand, if your bar has had an ongoing issue with violent or unruly guests, the introduction of a visible security presence can both avoid more volatile circumstances and make average patrons feel safe.
Eventually, how visible and proactive you need your security team to be is a decision that should be made in the best interest of the comfort of your club’s visitors.
Bouncers do a number of duties in a bar or club, from checking ID’s and preventing fights, to assisting with front-of-house. Whether you require bouncers is a question of maintaining safety for your visitors and other staff members. Bouncers never have special rights in the eyes of the law. However, dedicated, professional security bouncers trained to deal with violent or unruly guests can be very beneficial in high-risk environments.
When evaluating potential bouncers to join your bar’s security team ensure they are right for the job.
This article has been written by Mr. Atul Mahajan, Director of Miraz Securitas Pvt Ltd which is India’s leading bouncer and security guard services provider of nightclubs, bars, hotels, and restaurants.