N America News April 2017

64 NORTH AMERICA NEWS / APRIL 2017 , Coyote Ugly Saloon is an entertainment based bar, withwomenwho sing, give dance routines or offer comedy shows. We spoke to the bar’s MarshaMahaffey to find out more about what they do and who they serve, following the company’s achievement inwinning theMost Innovative General Manager in Food & Beverage 2016 – Texas award. Raising the Bar The aim of the Coyote Ugly Saloon is to ensure that the customers having the worst day on their life, will enter the premises and have the best day in their life. Since the company started in 1993, further bars have opened in places such as New Orleans and further bars were franchised out. Marsha has been with the company for 12 years, and the company has signed up to open an additional 15 bars in Japan, and has recently opened up a bar in Dallas, Texas. Marsha takes us back to 12 years ago, when she was standing in a line with 400 girls, to audition for the president and owner of Coyote Ugly Saloon. She was personally picked out, from the 30 girls who made the cut, and Marsha says she was asked after four years in her current role to be promoted to the position of head bartender. After two months into her new role, she was promoted again to the position of assistant manager. However, when her general manager was let go, the question was who would fill their shoes? Marsha goes on to tell us more. “They were unsure if I had the experience to be the general manager, so they put us both in a competition and after two months the position of general manager was offered to me. About three years later, I was asked to go to a bar in Nashville, Tennessee for a bar that was starting to fill, but by this time I had started my own entertainment classes. I put down my own training system, to help the girls entertain and make money for the bar. “At that point, I took the talents and all I had learned as a general manager to a bar that was failing, after which it increased its takings by 30%. I started travelling to many more locations to give my entertainment classes, so my bar in San Antonio, Texas has been number one in the company for many years now. “I’ve always been a hard worker and have earned the title ‘Employee of the Month’. I was very good at my job and found it was always a challenge, which was something that did me a lot of good. However, when I started to teach entertainment, this to me was a turning point in my life, and girls would come to me who had perhaps been mistreated by their boyfriends or husbands. They had a lot going on emotionally, and I saw a change in the girls’ confidence as I was teaching them. They were becoming more independent, and at least 70% of them are okay now that they are on their own.” Marsha then moves on to tell us about her own staff in more detail. Marsha likes to promote a family atmosphere at Coyote Ugly Saloon, and says it is vital that they all get along with each other. Marsha looks for individuality when seeking new staff, and would not be looking to employ the same kind of girl at all times, because that would be very boring for the customer. In short, Coyote Ugly Saloon likes the customer to get a good and different experience every time they visit. While Marsha pushes the girls very hard, after that have worked hard they can come to her house for dinner, so the company is certainly very family orientated and she feels that people will work harder for you if you respect them. Another challenge, is introducing new things into the bar, but it is always worth bearing in mind that each state in the US is different and so are the inhabitants who live there. The challenge is to teach the girls to adjust to the different types of people that come through the door, whether that be locals, tourists or those from further afield. “My biggest achievement is when I was at a point where I was the only female in the bar, and in my opinion, you have to work that much harder to keep up with the men. I had to challenge myself to be on their level, to get the same respect as them. I like to compete with them, and in addition, I have the flexibility to do different things in the industry. My approach is to run things as though I am the owner. Many of the things I have created for the company eight years ago, are still used in many of the bars. Marsha then adds that if the customers appear to be bored and are considering moving on to another bar, Coyote Ugly Saloon like to introduce the ‘wow factor’. Doing something ‘off the wall’ at this point ensures that all eyes are engaged back on to what is going on, which will ensure the customers drink for longer and ultimately spend more money. For example, they may get somebody to sing or do an interactive game with the customers. “Doing something personal with the customer gives a more welcoming feel, such as mentioning their jersey or their favourite football team. I teach the girls how to DJ the songs and also new styles of dancing that I have created, which brings interest to the eye. I do drills on their facial expressions and train girls to dance on the bar, and it is entertainments such as these that keep the customers interested. “When we were making about $400 a week, I put a room upstairs to use, and decided to make it a full bar. We turned it into a full bar and a private party room and added a DJ, which was a good push on the company’s sales. We went on to make about $15,000 each month which was hugely different amount from the $400 we were making. It is currently being renovated. Marsha then goes on to outline her hopes and plans for the future of Coyote Ugly Saloon, and indeed her own professional role as a part of that, and her desire to set up her own company. BEW16012

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