Filthy Strumpet. Stroppy Cow.

It’s really quite amazing what people choose to stick to the back window of their cars.

Leaving aside the Bundy ute phenomenon for a minute (“I’d rather be passed out in a puddle of me own spew at the Chunderdoo B&S Ball”) which probably deserves its own thesis, increasingly it’s the chicks who are emblazoning their cars with some bold, personalised statements.

After you’ve replaced the wing mirrors of your fuchsia Excel with Hello Kitty add-ons, and adorned your seats with hot-pink Playboy covers, you really must rebrand your back window with something suitably understated like, I dunno, Crazy Bitch on Heat. Sure enough, Crazy Bitch lives up to her name and can be seen fanging it down a highway near you, texting her mates with one hand, puffing on a PJ with the other and retouching her lippie with… hang on, I’m not sure how she does that — all the while, the best in ’90s cheapskate Korean automotive technology is screaming for mercy like a 6000rpm Smurf choir.

I’m not entirely sure how many Brainless Bints or Raunchy Cowgirls we have reading this right now but it does demonstrate a need — a peculiarity of the human condition, a primeval desire — to stand out from the crowd; to be an individual… even if that individual is a 24-carat maroon, as Bugs might put it.

venue sees this play out every day in the world of hotels and hospitality. Why? That’s easy. We’re all doing our level best to make an impression.

One thing’s for sure, we’re ‘visual’ creatures and the look of a venue often provides the first impression. And rightly so. I challenge you to browse through the pages of this magazine and make an assumption about the tastiness of the croque monsieur or the efficiency of the POS system. Yet, you won’t be able to stop yourself from making remarks such as “ooo, love the pendant lighting”, or “eurgh, how could they have used that wallpaper?”

Saying that, venue is always at pains to point out that the design and architecture is just one (albeit important) part of the mix. The aesthetics can bring new patrons in off the street but very often it’ll be the crap acoustics or sound system that’ll ensure they won’t ever come back. Similarly, the architectural lighting design can easily make or break a night-time venue.

What’s harder to enshrine in your venue’s mission statement is how you come across to patrons. And invariably it’s your staff that most effectively carries the torch of your identity. Matt ‘Smooth Operator’ Mullins touched on this last issue when he discussed some hiring strategies. I especially like Matt’s sign-off about retaining the right people: “it’s knowing who you are and what you believe in, and instilling that culture in your staff and — through them — in your venue”. It’s very telling stuff. Hiring is super important; finding the right people with the right disposition is critical; and yet how you manage those individuals is arguably the most important aspect of all — shaping the team to be a team rather than a disparate, rag-tag posse of talented individuals.

Without leadership, without management, you’re far more likely to have staff slapping on the proverbial ‘Stroppy Cow’ sticker.

Individuality, initiative, self-sufficiency… all great things, but without a shared vision your staff will be sending your customers, at best, mixed messages and, at worst, attitude that will send them packing forever.

Which puts all those days planning for that new carpet or new air-conditioning into perspective, doesn’t it?

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