I remember attending a meeting at the command centre of the Nana Plaza in Bangkok. Glen, the head honcho of this large go-go bar group said to us, “We’re not a mom and pop store.” Now, being a Brit, this was the first time I heard this expression. It was explained to me that in the backwater towns in America, these were small shops run by an old couple, or alternatively, it was a similar small family business. It is an expression that ‘feels’ as old as the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia!
You probably do not consider your business, as a mom and pop store and rightly so, because it’s an insult to your accomplishments. But, it might surprise you to know that some of the most successful businesses in the world, started out that way. Just look at those young punks playing around in a garage. I bet some people thought, while everybody else is partying, boozing and shagging, “What the hell are these losers doing?” Thankfully, this bunch of ‘losers’ stuck at it because it became the catalyst for Microsoft and Apple. Don’t ever forget that from small acorns mighty oak trees grow!
Hey guys, what would most of us be doing right now without Microsoft and Apple? You must be on your computer or mobile phone in order to read this right now. They have my ultimate respect, as pioneers of such an enormous technological triumph. I take my iHat off to them.
While attending a Monthly Staff Meeting at Angelwitch Go-Go Bar in Nana Plaza, I stood up and said to a sea of Thai faces, “We are ‘kropkrua’ (family) and we should never forget this.” The bar owner Pim immediately jumped in and went on to remind the staff of deep-rooted Thai family values. Making everybody think and feel like a family is essential to the success of many businesses in Thailand. This is why the ‘mom and pop store’ saying has another meaning in terms of the Thai way of running a bar business.
The tradition of the Monthly Staff Meeting in bars is rather old-fashioned now, but it was an ideal way to communicate with your ‘family’ or team. The great big carrot on the stick is that they are paid their salary. The bar bosses could relay any important news and even throw a party. I remember at Pretty Lady and Angelwitch, they gave the staff food and drink, even training them in better customer care methods. Pim went so far as to teach dance moves to her Angelwitch go-go dancers and Showgirls. It was an all-in-one multi-purpose meeting. The downside is that many bargirls have the attention span of a goldfish. But, in their defence, some of these meetings went on for hours and they seemed more like conferences.
I recall Kip, the general manager of the Nana Group saying, “I have called this meeting to tell you there will be no more meetings.” Well, that cracked me up, what a great one-liner!
The creator of the Angelwitch concept Matt started out in a small bar called Tony’s in Soi Cowboy. The fact is an establishment such as Tony’s Bar was indeed a mom and pop store, compared to the multimillion-baht go-go bars. The likes of Bacarra and the Rainbow Bars were on a very different level. The difference between Tony’s Bar and Angelwitch Bar (besides the obvious) in terms of the bar biz is like comparing a mom and pop store and a large supermarket. However, many of the same principles and operating systems, applied to both bars, even though the scale was so vastly different.
Being an old-fashioned and traditional guy myself, I wish some of those mom and pop family values, were still around today. Modernisation in today’s society and business is inevitable but it is not always for the better.
Date Mate – Let’s get ready to rumble! Le Pub located in Soi Diamond Alleyway, Walking Street, Pattaya is showing the Big Fight Live this Sunday morning, with doors opening at 10:00 AM. Your lovely host at Le Pub Mister Egg serves the coldest drinks on Walking Street and there is a Full Snack Menu available. Enjoy!
Daves Raves – BIG thanks go out to all you guys in America (1), Thailand (2), Great Britain (3) and Australia (4). You are my biggest fans according to Google Analytics. Cheers!
Dave The Rave is a unique Thailand Nightlife Guru with vast professional experience in Bangkok nightlife since 1999. Dave is still closely connected to Thailand’s nightlife and his blog remains popular worldwide.