It’s the weekend and hanging out with your friends at a nightclub seems like the best way to end a long stressful work week. As you arrive, you have to wait in long lines until you reach the door to get greeted with a one word response “ID”. He looks at it, looks back at you, and then hands it back pointing at the direction you should walk to enter the club. Inside the club, everywhere you look all you see are the big guys with black suits and earpieces displaying a badass, bad attitude look. They easily bump into people not caring to apologize or even give a half smile once in a while. The moment you are not behaving these guards are ready to pick you up and throw you right out through the nearest exit.
In most nightclubs and bars, security guards feel the urge to portray toughness in order to get respect from the guests. This is a common misconception because guards that display this kind of behavior only make guests feel uncomfortable and uneasy in an environment that should be welcoming. Instead of getting respect, a tough and rude guard will only make guests react in a defensive, aggressive manner.
There are several important qualities that security guards should have upon hiring. A security guard must be “tough”, but not just physically, but emotionally. They must be able to tolerate any inappropriate comment that can be offensive to their race, gender, ethnicity, and sexuality. Intoxicated guests will insult guards, but they must be able to handle themselves in an appropriate manner regardless of the circumstance. An effective communicator is another important quality guards must have in order to be capable in resolving conflicts. Lastly, they must be respectful, kind, loyal, and most importantly FUN. They are hosts in a party environment so a smile once in awhile will go a long way.
In this nightlife scene, security guards are there for safety, protection, and order. They are not responsible for telling guests how to act or behave because they are not their legal guardians. Nightclubs charge a cover fee to enter their facility and sell drinks to guest until they are intoxicated Usually, circumstances like multiple bars and VIP bottle service, causes guests to over drink because of the easy access to drinks and the guests do not know their drinking limits . Unfortunately, as soon as a guest stumbles or spills a drink, security guards are ready to remove the guest from the club. This does not make any sense. Guests want to be treated nicely and kindly from the moment they enter the club until the lights are up and the night is over. Guards should act more like hosts. If a guest is intoxicated, a guard should offer Guests water or coffee to help them sober up. Instead, guards will remove them from the club and leave them outside. For an intoxicated guest, particularly women, this is a liability to the venue. Many rape cases occur because guards are simply removing them from the club and not inquiring who they are with and trying to get them home safe.
The attitude of a typical guard in a nightclub needs to change. They should all be told to smile and enjoy their job while they are working the door or floor. Guards usually have minimal interaction with guests and being more social would improve the atmosphere. Greeting guest with their full name as they enter the venue is not difficult (they have the ID) and guests will feel welcomed. This change of behavior from the always acting “tough” guard to an “approachable” guard will make guests feel comfortable and will reduce confrontations.
As a nightlife manager I consistently meet with the security staff to make sure they are fulfilling their nightlife duties. Usually, I will grab the biggest guy within the staff and ask him, “Are you strong? Do you know how to fight? Are you a tough beast?” They usually respond with a “yes”, so my response is “great, I am glad you are on our team to provide the security we need, but our guests do not need to know this unless the situation needs it”. “Smile, have fun, be a great host, and keep everyone safe” are my words of wisdom to my security staff.
A nightclub is the best solution to relieve a week’s worth of stress and have some fun. Despite the common behavior most guards display, guests still continue to choose the nightclub scene. Nightclubs and bars that are able to implement a change of behavior in their security staff will be more prosperous and safe. A change of behavior is needed because security guards are nightlife hosts.
Written by: Louis Pelliccia
Edited by: Elmer Flores