Nightclubs can be extremely profitable businesses. However, like numerous new businesses, many don't survive their first year. The size, success, city and price points of a nightclub all determine the salary of the nightclub owner, which can vary a great deal. Also, what a nightclub earns is not the same as the salary the owner decides to take. A smart owner will put much of the earnings back into the club, at least during the first several years of business.
Nightclub owners run the operations of their nightclub, from ordering alcohol to deciding on menus to booking music acts. They are also responsible for hiring staff and ensuring the safety of their employees and patrons, and ensuring all liquor laws are followed. Many nightclub owners act as the club's manager, and some owners hire a separate manager.
Nightclub managers usually work full-time. Days are often spent addressing the administrative needs of the position and nights are spent supervising the nightclub during open hours. Schedules are irregular and long hours are common.
If you purchase a club or open one yourself, no formal education is required because you are the boss. However, it is useful if you have a bachelor's degree in hospitality management or business. A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) would be even better. Any past business knowledge that you have will be useful. Previous work as a nightclub or restaurant manager will be helpful as will any management positions in the hospitality industry.
Based on a 3,000 square-foot space, a nightclub's daily earnings could be anywhere from $1,500 upwards to $10,000 per night, with the average being somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,200.
This means that an average bar makes between $25,000 and $30,000 a week, assuming average-priced drinks of $8, average main dishes of $13 and average appetizers of $6. Most money made by a nightclub comes from alcohol sales, and bars can make between a 200 to 400 percent margin on drinks served, which can mean a healthy profit for the owner.
According to calculations by Investopedia, the monthly costs to run a bar, on average, is $20,000. The monthly revenue, after paying for staff, entertainment, rent, alcohol and food, is $25,000, which means a profit of $5,000.
In the United States, the bars and nightclubs industry has experienced steady growth over the five years to 2018. Revenue was a bit more volatile during the first two-and-a-half years due to shaky consumer confidence which caused more people to drink at home. In an attempt to respond to this volatility in growth, bar and nightclub operators have diversified into new concepts such as wine bars, cocktail lounges and brewpubs in order to attract new demographics.
Job Growth Trend
Bars will likely never go out of fashion which makes growth in the industry steady. Even during Prohibition, secret bars abounded. In 2015, there were 63,862 bars, taverns and nightclubs in the United States. A well-run nightclub or bar in a great location can bring in a healthy revenue stream. However, the industry can be tricky and fickle and you'll need strong business acumen combined with the determination to work long hours if you want to be successful.
- Nightclub Biz: How much money can a nightclub make?
- Study.com: How to Become a Nightclub Manager: Education and Career Summary
- Investopedia: Economics of Owning a Bar
- Statista.com: Number of establishments in the bars, taverns and nightclubs industry in the United States from 2003 to 2017
- IBIS World: Bars & Nightclubs - US Market Research Report