Fights present major problems for bars and nightclubs. They open the establishment up to lawsuits and liability, they make current customers feel unsafe and less likely to return, they increase the likelihood of police involvement, and they draw lots of negative attention to your establishment. No one wants to go to a bar where fights break out often and patrons/employees are in constant risk of injury.
Yet even with so many negative consequences of fights, few bars and nightclubs train their bouncers and in-house guards to take proactive measures to stop and prevent fights before they occur. Instead they simply wait until the fight starts and react. Unfortunately at this point, the damage has already been done. However this doesn’t have to be the case. Follow these steps and you can start to increase the safety for everyone in your establishment.
- Monitor the Room and Identify Potential Problems: Although it may seem obvious, it is shocking how often bouncers and in-house guards do not monitor or react to patron behavior. All too often, once someone has been let inside, no one pays attention to them until something happens. Instead, effective bouncers, doormen, and in-house guards constantly monitor customers and identify customers who are becomingly increasingly intoxicated, aggressive, or violent. As soon as a bouncer spots a potential problem patron, they should make their presence known to the patron and communicate the potential problem in a calm and cool voice. If the patron reacts poorly, they should be removed to prevent the likelihood of a fight or altercation. Additionally when possible, bouncers should mitigate the potential for a problem to arise by controlling space, separating patrons when needed, and constantly looking and listening for signs of a potential fight.
- Communicate with Bartenders and Servers: It is shocking how often a fight breaks out in a bar and a server or bartender says something like, “I could see that coming from a mile away.” Servers and bartenders constantly interact with customers and many times can more quickly identify a potential fight or altercation. However since stopping this is their “specific job” many times they keep their mouths shut and assume the bouncer or doorman will take care of it. Making sure your entire staff is informing your security staff of potential fights is an effective way to lessen the number of fights that actually happen.
- Team Work: Whenever you identify that a fight might occur or you notice a situation escalating between two or more patrons, it’s immediately time to bring in some help. You should never approach a potential fight without bringing another bouncer or staff member with you. Have each employee talk individually to the involved patrons to assess the situation and determine if the patrons need to be removed. If you determine the patrons do need to be removed, make sure to remove the patrons at different times to prevent a fight from erupting on the street outside. In addition having two or more staff members speak to the patrons individually stops the fight from escalating if they disagree on details or what occurred.
In addition to training your bouncers, doormen, and in-house guards to prevent fights before they happen; it is also critical that you train them to report and document all incidents that occur including full names of the patrons, witness statement and phone numbers, as well as a detailed report of what occurred.