The hookah lounge is a unique environment where oil barons and drunken college students sit together as neighbors to listen to music, drink alcohol, eat food with their hands, and, of course, smoke hookah. The smoke den is definitely unlike most other nights on the down due to the setting it creates and the lack of commitment it demands from its patrons.
It is, however, very easy to ruin this environment with a few simple mistake that all hookah lounge managers should avoid.
Food at Hookah Lounges
Food is an optional component of any hookah lounge (see food, drinks, and hookahs), but it is dependent on the size of the bar and the airflow in the room. Whether the menu provides pita and hummus or a triple-bacon cheeseburger, it’s essential that it not be served in an enclosed area to the degree that the smoke floating around the room leaves deposits on the food. This may seem like a subtle difference, but I assure you that it is very possible to taste that strawberry kiwi tobacco on any cucumber sandwich and it is very unpleasant.
Music at Hookah Lounges
Oftentimes if I am taking the time to go to a hookah bar it’s because I’m familiar with a band that will be playing at the venue. Hookah bars typically have some kind of music on, and most will do, but nothing compares to live music. If you are going to be playing loud music in any fashion, it’s crucial that smokers be capable of avoiding the sound in favor of conversation. Too many times have I been to a bar or restaurant only to find out that the band performing couldn’t keep a beat and were still somehow made in charge of all sound moving throughout the room. Here’s a tip; if the lounge is too small to have at least ten tables then you sshouldn’tbe playing live music.
Hookah and Shisha Prices
A hookah lounge should charge per bowl, hose, or table. Time is a stressful metric to be weighing money with. You don’t want your patrons being nervous that they should leave earlier in order to be charged less. Make sure your prices make sense and age by your audience. If you primarily get high school and college aged customers then you should be pricing your hookah lounge experience accordingly. Typically hookah lounges are a low-maintenance business, which is why low prices and frequent customers should be the consistent goal; it’s the only way for a business like this to survive.
Hookahs at Hookah Lounges
The main event of the night will always be good conversation and flavored tobacco. A hookah lounge owner needs to make sure he has a decent variety at all times. One of the biggest bottlenecks of the “normal” hookah smoking experience is a lack of variety in flavor. Build up a good supply of hookahs and tobacco and you can guarantee yourself a steady stream of hookah purists.
As you build and expand try to utilize different colors and shapes of pipe. People will become accustomed to using one and as they become more comfortable in your lounge they will become the basis for your business.
These are just a few areas to look out for. There are plenty more mistakes to e had, but so long as you avoid these you open yourself up to much greater possibility of success.