Ending private clubs has done little for sales
February 9, 2010
Since last July, businesses serving alcohol have not had to require private club memberships from clients. Unfortunately, that hasn’t changed much.
Steve Curtis, a bartender at O’Shucks, said the change has made it easier to attract passersby on Main Street into the business. Previously, employees would stand outside and try to draw people in. But before they could sell them a drink, they had to sell them on a $5 membership. Now, a simple ID check gets people in.
"It was a hassle and it drove away business," he said. "It’s been a lot easier to generate business.
Joey Rusconi, manager at the Wasatch Brew Pub, said they were able to apply for a dining club license and allow families with children to sit anywhere in the building. That has allowed them to serve more people and make more money on food.
And many guests enjoy a drink with their meal, so sales of liquor are up as well.
But others say that aside from eliminating the inconvenience for clients, little has changed in the last seven months.
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John Burdick, a managing partner at Maxwell’s East Coast Eatery at Kimball Junction, said it’s had no effect on liquor sales. They’ve always had a setup conducive to families and they didn’t often lose customers because of the law.
Mike Wong, owner of The Sidecar, said out-of-state visitors appreciate the change, but he’s still a club for people over age 21.
"It doesn’t equate to more sales," he explained.
Andrew Morrison at the Bangkok Thai on Main said they’ve kept their Club Monsoon a 21-and-over restricted area. They occasionally had to turn away a customer who was staying at the hotel in the building or wandered in from the street wanting a drink and refused to buy a membership. But those people were rare so the impact on sales has been negligible.
"It hasn’t affected us much," he said.