Tips And Tricks
Wondering what you can do to help make your venue more welcoming and comfortable for women? We polled women across the country to ask them what they wanted to see most in a place that they find safe, and here's what we found. As always, feel free to reach out if you have questions!
Things we saw as one of the top three answers from almost everyone we polled.
You may have been able to guess this one, but the first thing we see affect a score drastically is the flirty staff. Your staff are the first impression many people get of the management choices, and the general attitude your venue has to the outside world. Help train your staff on the VERY important difference between respectful flirting, and too much. We understand for a lot of people flirting is how they make a living (we get it, if you flirt you often get tipped better) but make sure it doesn't cross a line. This is the comment we got from roughly 98% of the people that took the survey so it's an important one. Air on the side of less flirting, and you may actually see your clientele increase.
Ignoring the women
It may sound stupid, but one comment that kept coming up from everyone I talked to was very simple: look us in the eye when you take our order, and don't always look to the men we are with when you ask questions. We know what we are talking about, especially when it comes to ordering decisions we are making for ourselves. Respect us, and we will have more respect for you.
This answer was probable the one that we got most in varying words or examples. The general consensus is this: don't mock the choices we make when ordering, and don't assume we don't understand what we are talking about. Think our beer choices are strange? It's probably not because we don't know what the beer is, and is more that we just have different preferences. Think our order is complicated and overly strange, that's for us to decide as the paying customer - not for you to criticize or make jokes of. Make sure your staff is aware that the way you react to our ordering makes a huge difference to the overall attitude towards a venue.
In almost universal agreement, one of the biggest problems women felt many venues had is the way their patrons treat other guests. Inappropriate use of pet names by other patrons, inappropriate touching from drunk patrons, and general obnoxious actions by patrons are a huge turn off. WHAT YOU CAN DO: everyone who gave this response did add this as well, 'if management steps in to calm the situation, it's not nearly as bad'. Take that to heart: it's not the patrons and their rudeness that affects us, it's the way management steps in that makes the difference. See a patron getting hassled? Step in. See a set of clients getting into a fight that's affecting surrounding tables? Step in. It's a simple action, but it makes all the difference for us to know we are safe and supported by the management team. More importantly: it helps women know that if something happens, you've got our back.
These are the things that were not said by everyone, but we still think are important. These are smaller changes that will help make a big difference
All Male staff
We walk in to a place and the first thing we notice: the staff. They seat us, they serve us, they are the defining factor in how good our experience is. If you want women to feel comfortable, make sure we are surrounded by other women. If your staff is composed of all men, we will notice. It's not enough to stop us from coming back (usually) but it does make a huge difference in our overall comfort level. If you do have an all or mostly male staff make sure you check out the first point on this page and make sure they are properly trained.
Cleanliness (especially bathrooms)
On thing we saw come up a few times was the general cleanliness, especially of the bathrooms. We know it's a terrible trope that women travel in packs to the bathroom and hang out in there for a while, but there may be some truth to it. Often we do go with someone to the bathrooms, and often the lines mean we spend a lot of time in there. Want to help do something quick and easy to encourage our happiness? Make sure you keep it clean. It'll take an employee 10 minutes to make sure it's stocked with TP, and the floors are clean; and it'll make a huge difference to your patrons.
If You support something, show it
Support the LGBT community? Throw up a Civil rights equal sign, or a rainbow flag during pride month. Support women? If there's a women's march in your city, put up a poster for it. With social media being as prevalent as it is now, it's very easy for you to show outward support for the causes you care about. One thing our top scoreres have in common is that all of them have visibly shown they support communities that support women. It may sound simple, but it's something easy to do that can help you feel safer for everyone that comes through your doors. You're setting a precedent that your venue supports us, and that will help earn you our support in return.
I know, it can be hard for this one to change. If you're a venue in a small space - we respect there's only so much you can do. However, recognize that the way your venue is set up plays a HUGE roll in how comfortable your female clientele will be. If the space is all overlapping, and there's encouragement of people consistently coming in to one's personal space, it makes it more difficult to be enjoyed. Example: if your bar encourages others to stand and lean over those sitting, and welcome themselves into your space, it is much more difficult to feel safe with someone consistently entering your personal bubble. Try encouraging people to have a dedicated space to order, and encourage those standing to make sure they aren't invading the space of those sitting.