December 24, 2009
Mr. George Malouf
Palms Hotel & Casino
4321 West Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89103
RE: The Business Case for Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns
By now you’ve probably received a deluge of communication complaining in one way or another about discontinuing performances of Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns in the Gossy Room on Monday nights.
I’ve been a regular customer of the Palms since moving to Spring Valley in 2003. Last year my girl friend and I bought a home at Flamingo and Buffalo. We’re in the neighborhood for the long run. Jessica and I are music lovers and also enjoy many elements of the Palms on a regular basis: restaurants, movies, and the casino. We’ve even enjoyed a ‘staycation’ with you.
That being said, Monday night with Santa Fe is both the foundation and catalyst for our patronage. We’re in attendance about three out of four Monday’s, on average. We bring guests, both local and visitors, to hear Santa Fe, usually preceded by dinner at one of the restaurants.
Here’s my perspective: As an entrepreneur, a retired nightclub DJ, lover of live music, and spotter (that’s not an official job; just the way I’m wired.) The room probably loses money on Monday nights. It does not have to; and frankly, shouldn’t.
Over Santa Fe’s entire tenure, the staffing in the lounge has been almost non-existent (except for the period when Zowie Bowie was appearing on weekends). On many nights there have been no cocktail waitresses. Last Monday, there was one. Occasionally, there are two. Never three, which is what the activity really requires. Many patrons, such as ourselves, arrive early to socialize before the performance starts.
Would it surprise you to know that last Monday, like most Mondays, we were never approached by a (the) waitress to buy a cocktail? Not once.
This is a common occurrence. To get a drink, one must fight your way up to a crowded bar. People don’t sit at tables to swim upstream for one cocktail, let alone two. Then, you’re served a drink in a plastic glass. Really?
The door doesn’t need to be staffed to collect a cover, giving out drink tickets. All that’s required is sufficient cocktail service and a 2- drink minimum. The band does its job by attracting a full house (often SRO) every week, with virtually no marketing support from The Palms.
By being dedicated stellar musicians, and bringing in recognizable guest performers to create special excitement, Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns create a massive buzz for the hotel, and all its outlets. That word of mouth, and the band’s own email marketing, fuel a continuous flow of customers. Measuring the domino effect of their patronage may be hard to calculate.
I suggest, strongly, that in this business climate, more than ever, enjoying a spark plug such as Santa Fe & The Fat City Horns is more important than you may realize.
George, I know you have larger ‘big picture’ issues that are in the forefront. For example, the whole Lada Gaga campaign (sheer genius). It dwarfs any decisions about Monday night in the Gossy Room.
That being said, you have a Las Vegas treasure in your midst, and the entertainment and/or beverage departments don’t appear to understand how to capitalize on it, just by providing proper beverage service.
Monday nights with Santa Fe should/would generate a positive cash flow, if staffed adequately for the existing audiences. It really should be that easy.
I look to you to make the save. Though your schedule is busy, I would welcome a phone call from you or any member of your staff, should I be able to provide any additional insight.
Continued success to you in 2010.