Counting the Costs of Anti-Social Behaviour
Troublemakers incur the anti-social real cost, affecting venues nationwide. Regardless of venue type, location, or target demographic, they disrupt others’ experiences.
A frustration for managers and owners is that 1% of customers typically cause 95% of incidents. Sometimes this ratio may be even more extreme. This small group can make patrons feel unsafe and damage the reputation of an establishment.
The true anti-social real cost is challenging to track, encompassing both evident expenses like property damage and concealed costs.
Cost #1: Increased Staff and Security Expenses
Anti-social behaviour must be handled by staff who could otherwise be dealing with more productive tasks. Venues may also need to hire more security staff to provide a quality of service that, without troublemakers, would be possible with a smaller team.
Research has shown that around 30% of alcohol-related violence in Australia occurs within bars and nightclubs.
This directly increases the cost and complexity of running a venue.
Cost #2: Reduced Repeat Patronage
Alcohol-related violence is, unfortunately, common in bars and nightclubs across Australia. In fact, 30% of all alcohol-related violence happens within bars and nightclubs.
The more unsafe a patron feels, the less likely they are to return. Venues rely on repeat patrons as the backbone of their business – so it’s vital to do as much as possible to encourage valued patrons to return.
It has been shown that reducing incidents of anti-social behaviour increases repeat patronage. Consequently the reverse is also true: anti-social incidents can, over time, damage a venue’s reputation. The prevalence of easily accessible online reviews also magnifies this effect.
Cost #3: Inefficient Queue Management
Aside from ID scanners, there are few effective ways to actively screen for unwanted people in queues. CCTV can be used to identify a person after an incident so that they can be banned in the future – but upholding the ban relies on staff being able to identify troublemakers who may use a different ID.
This is a difficult task and is prone to mistakes. Manual identification leads to less efficient queue management, increased stress for staff and fewer patrons entering per hour. Long queue times have also been linked to patron aggression.
Cost #4: Increased Staff Turnover
Staff turnover is another vital concern. Members of staff who are regularly subjected to anti-social incidents are likely to be more stressed. Reducing the number of troublemakers entering a venue can decrease staff anxiety and increase team happiness.
Cost #5: Police Involvement
Serious anti-social incidents can attract police attention. It’s important for police to be able to do their job, but cooperating with investigations is time-consuming and stressful for managers and staff.
Police across Australia are also cracking down on underage drinking, resulting in large fines for stores and venues that serve them.
Cost #6: Property Damage and Theft
Troublemakers pose a higher risk of damaging venue property. Without effective patron screening, the anti-social real cost includes substantial property repair expenses.
Is Hiring More Staff The Answer?
In an attempt to reduce incidents, some venues hire more staff or provide additional training. This can have a positive effect on anti-social behaviour – but is expensive and not the most efficient answer.
Staff can only act based on the information they have access to. It’s well established that troublemakers, once barred from a club or bar, simply move to the next one. While some venues collaborate and share lists of barred patrons, there is often a delay in communication.
Even if staff members are aware of a troublemaker, the person may use a secondary or fake ID to gain access without being detected. Once these people enter a venue, they know that they are likely to remain anonymous – giving them an additional incentive for anti-social behaviour.