‘A drink doesn’t pay my rent…’
In the ‘Champagne system’ it does.
The majority of clubs in continental Europe work on this model. If you are not familiar with this then it can take a few learning curves to maximise earnings. However, there are a few basic things you can do ensure that you don’t end up on the floor or being put to bed by the other girls and waking up in a flood of hazy regret the next day.
How the Champagne system works
Most clubs outside Europe operate on a system, whereby you get paid for lap dances or private shows and tips. You pay the house a set fee or a percentage. The rest is up to you to get guys into the booths for some naked time. The Champagne system still requires you to get those private shows. However, it also allows you to boost your money by getting a percentage (normally around 10-20%) on bottle sales and ladies drinks.
This can be a very lucrative system as the customer is continuously paying for your time. Even if they just buy you a glass, they are doing this at a serious premium. You make a cut of this, you are getting paid to chat and sell the dances. Never wasting your time. They don’t buy you a drink, then you don’t talk and just wait for the next guy who walks in who will. When a customer buys a VIP, sell a bottle to bring with you. You can sometimes double your money in the same amount of time it took to sell the dance. Upselling is absolutely key to really bring in the big bucks.
You do not need to be a sommelier but a sound knowledge of the main Champagne houses is beneficial. That way you know what you are selling. This inevitably comes with the territory after a while. Before you know it, you prefer a LP rosé to a Bollinger and a Cristal to an Ace of Spades.
When you start at any new venue, familiarise yourself with the prices. Most will have a menu available and use this as a prompt for the clients. If you are dealing with a group of guys and girls, then it is very easy to move into bottles immediately to share and work together. If the client is solo then you need to take a different approach. Introduce yourself, break the ice a little and within 5-10 minutes you need to be steering the conversation towards drinks. Don’t waste too much time as, of course, this is money.
Try and start big. Always suggest the bottles first and work your way down, however, don’t be too pushy. If they are really not keen, be open to just starting out with a glass. You can always upgrade later if they need to relax a little. Losing the client by being too overwhelming and putting them off straight away is definitely not in your interest. Spend the time on the first drink wisely. Be your most charming and make them want to continue to spend time with you and so buy more drinks. If they have just started with a glass, pace yourself to match their speed and so, come the next round of drinks, suggesting a bottle to share makes sense.
Once they buy a bottle you can then relax more into enjoying the time with them and making sure that they are happy. On successive bottles always up sell. The drunker they are the better of an idea it becomes to splurge!
Keeping your cool
The client getting a little merrier is a good thing, you getting paralytic, not so much. Pacing yourself is so important so you can keep a hold of yourself and more importantly, stay safe and healthy. Switching drinks, making sure you keep topped up with water, and if the customer is really going for broke on the bottle front, bringing in a friend means that you can maintain stamina and keep the money coming through that night and the next. Bleary eyed with a hangover is not a good look and you don’t want to miss out on consecutive nights because you had one good customer and couldn’t maintain some self control.
Get rid of the Champagne as much as possible. Tip it in the Champagne bucket or anywhere appropriate when he is not looking, make regular ‘powder room’ trips and switch glasses. This is a lot easier if you have a partner to share the bottle with as one can distract whilst you do this, but it is still easy to do when you are working on your own. Red bull and lemonade or iced tea are very good substitutes and are virtually indistinguishable under the club lights and mean that you keep the alcohol levels low. Keep in communication with the bartender so you can make the switches at every opportunity and throw it down the sink or, especially on a quiet night, give glasses to other girls to make their night a little easier. The quicker the Champagne goes, the quicker you can get another bottle and another commission.
If a customer really doesn’t care about his spending, it is often wise to bring in a friend. Yes, you share the commission on the bottle, but it means that you have another person to help get rid of the goods and makes life a lot easier on dealing with the customer. You do not want to get him wasted and unable to spend more, ending a great night prematurely.
Nothing is more important than your health
These kinds of contracts require you to make sure that you maintain your health outside of work. Eating and sleeping properly mean you don’t burn out really quickly. Have a solid meal before a shift with starch to mop up any alcohol and fats such a dairy, avocado or oily fish, to line the stomach and prevent the drink being absorbed by your system too quickly. Bring something to eat with you to work to make sure you can keep topped up whilst drinking; bananas are great, as the potassium within them replenishes your body and they don’t bloat you. Finally, keep well hydrated with isotonic drinks and take multivitamins. Good health is always more important than any amount of money and these little things all help.
I am a UK based, owner of an international stripper recruitment agency called Showgirls International. I have over 10 years club experience worldwide. When I think I have seen it all, something proves me wrong and that is what keeps me on my toes and fascinated with the industry!