Monday, January 25, 2010

How not to do it (2) - This is NOT the opening party you're looking for

I mentioned a few days ago that new "French" nightclub Le Zazou had royally shot itself in the foot by running an horrendously bad vodka promotion (nasty cocktails, weak measures, bad service, watered-down and/or fake booze) during its 'soft opening' phase over Christmas and New Year.

It is staggering how much bad word-of-mouth these folks have managed to generate for themselves in a few short weeks. Honestly, I haven't heard anyone with a good word to say about the place. Even online bar reviewer Beijing Boyce, who'd cut them a lot of slack during his early visits, tweeted the other day that he'd finally lost patience with their bolshie 'service' and tiny pours. And his mate 8 Songs has just posted a pretty damning description of their first restaurant event, a wine tasting over the weekend.

The thing that really seems to have done them the most damage, though - more than the shoddy service, poisonous drinks, and erratic marketing efforts - was their "VIP Pre-Launch Party" a couple of Fridays ago.

I think they'd suffered a bit of a crisis of confidence about whether they were going to be able to entice many people out during the big freeze-up we suffered in the first week of January, and so had started giving out tickets to all and sundry (even I got one, and I am most emphatically not a VIP!).

I didn't bother to go, but a friend who did reported that it was a FRIGHTFUL event - hideously overcrowded (I heard differing reports on this point, but it has been suggested to me that they may have given up on ticketing for the "exclusive" event altogether, and just let in anyone who showed up), the staff completely overwhelmed, the drinks (if you could get one) as nasty as ever. And still no sign of the promised "French cabaret", barely an hour before the event was due to finish (although I'm told the throng was such that it probably would have been impossible to hear, or perhaps even to see any performers on the stage anyway).

Folks, really, you need to judge your numbers more carefully than that - you can have TOO MANY people for an event like that (and several people have told me you did), and it just spoils the whole thing. People whose only experience of Le Zazou so far has been that event, people who were chuffed about getting a "special ticket" to the opening night pre-party, are now the most vociferous critics of the place.

Honestly, it's like these folks aren't really attempting to set up a bar, but just to run a training course in How Not To.......

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