Lap dance club chains springing up in the UK

Currently several single clubs across the country are up for sale and I can see consolidation of the industry taking place with the stronger operators taking over some of the less successful local clubs and building up chains with a national presence and reputation. That is certainly what has happened in North America

To date overseas intervention has been limited to US chain Spearmint Rhino which peaked at 8 clubs {with others in the pipeline} in 2002 but since has closed 2 outlets and seems to be in decline. Spearmint still however has the physically largest club in the UK {Birmingham Extreme} and probably still the busiest {Tottenham Court Rd, London}.

The largest pure UK chain is For Your Eyes Only which currently has 6 clubs open with licenses for 3 more to open in the next few months. FYEO opened the first purpose club in 1997 and expanded rapidly until problems with the quoted parent SFI Plc in 2002 stalled this process. In 2004 the group became part of the North East based Ladhar Ltd and since then expansion has resumed at quite a pace.

UK’s largest chain is FYEO which hopes to have 10 clubs open by the end of 2005
The largest London operator is Secrets which opened it’s first club in Hammersmith in 1999 and it’s most recent 5th near St Katherine’s Dock in 2004. It has however not ventured outside the capital yet. The largest chain outside London is Leeds based Purple Door which has just announced plans to open a 4th club in Carlisle, it is part of a larger pub/club group and is also still looking to open further outlets.

The established operators opening up have several advantages to complete newcomers. New single clubs opening often have trouble recruiting enough girls particularly in the early days of operation when established local rivals will try to squeeze them out { “ if you work there you will never work here again “}. The problems of handling a self employed and very mobile workforce who are the main attraction of the business are normally new to them though they often have conventional hospitality experience.

Also in my experience few brand new clubs do enough to promote themselves in the early days expecting people to just turn up via word of mouth. The rapid expansion of the number of clubs in the last few years means that a strip bar is never going to be unique to the area

Most of the managers who opened clubs in the late 90s when competition was scarce will tell you that they made major mistakes then which in the current much more competitive environment you would just not get away with now. A chain on the other hand already has a pool of girls, experienced management, and a well established promotions budget which makes the whole process easier.

On the other hand the increasing number of chains has vastly increased the numbers of experienced managers who are then often tempted to try to run their own club. A number of UK clubs are now owned by ex Spearmint or FYEO personnel.

Current UK club chains.

For Your Eyes Only {9} 23 City Road London,, Bournemouth, Newcastle ,  Southampton*, Cardiff.

Spearmint Rhino {5} Tottenham Court Rd London, Leicester, Bournemouth, Birmingham Hagley Rd, , Sheffield,

Secrets {5} Hammersmith, Holborn, Euston, Cork. Covent Garden London.

Purple Door {4} Leeds, Doncaster, Hull, Carlisle*

Blue Leopard {3} Leeds {2}, Liverpool

Private Eyes {3}, Dundee, Aberdeen, 7th Heaven Glasgow

Diamond Dolls {3}, Glasgow, Hooters plus Daddy O’s Showbar in Edinburgh

Aphrodite’s {2} Liverpool, Blackpool

La Salsa {2} Huddersfield, Halifax

Browns/Griffin {2} Hackney Rd, Clerkenwell Rd London

Angels {2} LiverpoolPeterborough

Pussycats/Top Totty {2} Brighton

Wildcat {2} Wakefield, Harrogate

Honeypot (2} Reading, Maidenhead

Stringfellow’s {2} SohoCovent Garden

Di Resta family {2} Bottoms Up, Fantasy Palace Edinburgh

ST1 Platinum{2} Stoke

Tyke 18/2/2005

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Author: Saxon is covering the European Striptease industry with monthly updates on or famous London Gossip, Interviews with industry people, articles and news from the world of striptease. We also offer a Striptalk forum, Industry Directory with Stripclubs and Agents and a Job board for the Striptease industry in Europe.