EXPO 2022 | Aug 14-17 | Bally's Las Vegas

Vendor Relations Seminar

vendor relations 00006Club owners and operators order thousands of dollars of products and services for their club every month. But what are the keys to maximizing these relationships? Are you getting items for free, even getting money from your vendors? And how can you protect yourself and your club in the process? These are the subjects addressed by our “Vendor Relations” panel, which included Jordan Bass, co-owner of Babes clubs in New Orleans and New Jersey, David Boehm of Club Consultant Pro 2.0, and industry attorney Eric Bernstein.
Here, we’ve printed a selection of their seminar comments.

vendor relations 00140Jordan Bass

It’s our job to know all of our vendors personally. Can you text your vendors personally? Can you call them, do you know them on first-name basis? Take them out to lunch. You want to put real pressure on them? Take them all out together at the same time. We do that.
One vendor carries Grey Goose, one carries Absolut. Okay guys, what can you do for me? Now they’re in competition, right in front of you. Watch the show. Absolut said, we’ll give you a buy one case, get one case free. We took advantage of that. We also got promotional items. You should never be paying for straw holders, napkin holders, coasters, bar mats—ask for them. Some have their own printing company and will make them with your logo on it. You don’t know if you don’t ask.
There was a situation where we were solicited by a new tequila product. We met with the owner. Can you help us out? I put him on the spot. He gave us three cases. You’re never gonna know if you don’t ask—always ask. You want a build out? If they want to call it “xxx brand’s” vip section, why not? If they’re paying for it?!
We have a beer vendor that is paying for new beer tap systems, two free kegs for each line. I have to promote a beer special with those kegs, but it’s a win-win.
Ask vendors what they can do to help with your slow weeknights. Ask for event tickets that they have access to for giveaways, other door prizes, to help with those slow nights or slow times of the year.

vendor relations 00058David Boehm

I’m a vendor whore and I will use them against themselves. I have had them build out bars for me; Absolut vodka did that for me years ago, completely on their dime. If you use a brand like Red Bull, set up those accounts; they have kickback programs where you’ll receive quarterly checks (we get about $2,000). We have other helping to build bars for us right now.
I recently cut out a beer vendor because they wouldn’t have a sit down with me. This caused them to come right back and beg for our business back, and we let them back. It is absolutely possible to have your vendors help you with all of these things, and they pay for it.

thumb vendor relations 00202Eric Bernstein

How many of you authorize your people to sign contracts other than yourself? How many of you allow people to sign purchase orders, receipts, that the goods actually showed up? Do you have a policy about contracts?
Every club, every company, needs to have a policy or a practice on how people are to deal with vendors. food and beverage, construction, etc. You are responsible for the actions of your employees. They are standing in the stead of the owner; by doing that, you are stuck with what they do for you. In the absence of a policy in writing, do they know and you know what the rules of engagement are?
If you’ve had construction at your club, did it come in on budget and on time? For a construction project, who is authorizing the change orders, approval for more money invested and last-minute decisions?  Do you have some junior-level manager sitting there, shitting their pants, trying to figure out how to handle this? You’ve left them with this responsibility, but do they know how to handle a situation like this?
There is no such thing as an oral contract or a handshake agreement. You need to have your contracts, policies, purchase orders all of these things, in writing, or you set yourself up to serious legal exposure. Even something as simple as an email requiring a response from a vendor, make sure you date and time stamp it. And you should involve a lawyer in the drafting or review of these policies and contracts.

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