Monday, June 19, 2006


Posts are forthcoming, but it's been a busy weekend and I'm in dire need of some sleep, so I'll take the easy way out and answer some email:

I work at a bar in Houston and I believe our bouncing staff is too small. Given that each venue has it's unique qualities, what is a good general ratio of bouncers/patrons? I can provide more information about the venue if necessary, but I just want a number to give to my boss, as I think we're truly understaffed (tonight, our ratio was 1:125 or so)
Thank you!

Dave, I've worked in both extremes, and I'd much rather be overstaffed. I've done bar bouncing with one other guy in a place that could hold a few hundred, and it's not something I'd prefer to do again. Being outmanned is unnecessarily dangerous. When you're overstaffed, the pressure's taken off. Guys get breaks. The same people don't have to take the lead in every fight situation. And as you've probably figured out, you don't want to work someplace where all you can see are customers, and the nearest bouncer is in some other room.

I'd say you're doing well if you have a minimum of twenty bouncers per thousand patrons. Your bar's ratio indicates to me that you're severely understaffed. Of course, a lot depends on the clientele and the layout of the place -- here in New York, many clubs have several different "rooms" -- but I wouldn't feel secure with anything less than twenty-per-thousand. In fact, if I were staffing a bar, I'd want more if I could get the money for them.

Look at it this way...

Let's say you have a staff of twelve bouncers for a crowd of a thousand, and a four-on-four fight breaks out. The twelve of you get everyone outside, but you're having some trouble keeping the combatants from continuing to go after each other. Then, in the middle of all this, another call comes in for another fight. What happens then?

Unless your staff is really, really good, you're pretty much fucked. Now you'll probably have to call the police, and the whole thing turns into a big clusterfuck that could've been avoided had management forked over another $1000 or so for seven or eight more bouncers.

Hope this helps.