Coat Check: To Charge or Not to Charge?

Winter is coming. For nightclub owners this means finding the space and staff to run a coat check service. Some nightclubs view this as an additional source of revenue, but is it really worth it?

Customers entering your venue from the bitter cold are confronted with cover charge, immediately followed by an additional coat check charge. Is this really the best experience for your customers? One owner we talked to thinks otherwise. Devon McKenzie owner and operator of Night School in Waterloo, Ontario has always offered free coat check. According to McKenzie,

“The additional income we get from coat check isn’t worth hassling my customers for a few extra dollars. We want them to have an enjoyable experience so they keep coming back.”

It’s often so cold in Waterloo that not wearing a coat isn’t even an option. Customers feel penalized for having to pay an additional cost just to keep warm. It’s not the mindset you want them in when they head up to the bar to buy their first drink.

Tipping at coat check is still accepted, and is easily comparable to typical forced fees. So before you start charging for coat check, think about the impact it’s going to have on your customers. Chances are the money they spend on coat check was going to get spent in your venue anyway, so why not leave them with a positive experience?