Key Electrowerkz takeaways
Electrowerkz has added a variety of events to become more inclusive.
Up to 65% of clubbers have adopted the tap-n-go experience using ChexPass - the digital claim ticket for Apple Wallet & Google Pay.
When ChexPass is used, check-ins are now dropping to 14 seconds per guest, improving check-in averages by 7 seconds and checkouts by 8!
Electrowerkz increased its cloakroom revenue ceiling by over 50% with faster counter throughput and new prices that reflect the modern experience.
I’m so excited to share my interview with Andrew Harris, the mastermind behind Electrowerkz. He’s brought the heart and soul to one of London's coolest nightclubs.
Electrowerkz is not your average London venue; it's a hidden gem that seamlessly blends the appearance of a warehouse with an unexpected oasis of hospitality. Andrew's story begins with his upbringing in the restaurant business and eventually leads him to the world of nightlife. The interview highlights the transformation of Electrowerkz into a haven for diversity and inclusivity, not only among the LGBTQ community but a home that welcomes us all. Andrew's passion for prioritizing the customer experience shines through every element of the nightclub, including how his customers venture through a unique cloakroom.
Our conversation also explores the success of Electrowerkz's signature event, Roast, where the cloakroom's efficiency was put to the test. Through humorous signage and wide adoption of ChexPass (Chexology’s digital wallet cloakroom ticket), Andrew and his team have achieved an impressive customer experience that truly puts the customer first.
“Then suddenly, these crazy Americans come along and go, “Hey! Look what we've got! We've got gadgets!” And I love gadgets.” ~ Andrew Harris
Andrew's candid advice for aspiring nightclub owners revolves around trust, listening to others, and always putting the customer at the center of the business. His dedication to Electrowerkz and its vibrant community is evident through his loyal following, the level of care put into each event, and his effortless imagination.
I hope you enjoy our talk!
The heart and soul of one of London's coolest nightclubs: Andrew Harris
Derek Pacque: I gotta get pumped, Andrew! Are you pumped for this interview? Are you excited?!
Andrew Harris: I’m British. We don't do that.
Derek: Thank you for allowing me to interview you and for sharing your story. I know you were hesitant at first, but I convinced you somehow.
Andrew: How could I say no after you flew to London to attend Roast? How could I say no after that?
Derek: What convinced you and your nightclub to adopt our sustainable cloakroom system?
Andrew: The cloakroom is not the most exciting part of the nightclub job, but it's quite important for the customer experience. And nothing's really changed in all the years I've been doing it. Paper tickets… Queuing… Lost tickets… It's all been the same.
Then suddenly, these crazy Americans come along and go, “Hey! Look what we've got! We've got gadgets!” And I love gadgets.
Not thinking much about it, I thought you'd turn up and be another boring sales pitch. I'd say no, but you won me over. It was all done to you, Derek. There was no sales pitch: your enthusiasm, your journey, and your story.
Andrew: Absolutely. That's what swung it.
Derek: I should say the same about you! You’ve nurtured a welcoming nightclub. You made me feel like I was being welcomed into your home. You shared your journey with me, and we bonded.
Andrew: That’s all thanks to my Mama. I still miss her every day. This lady was a powerhouse, short, and matriarchal. She loved as hard as she worked as an immigrant from Cyprus, building a life for her family. She loved to cook, and she was never happier than when her table was full of friends and family eating and laughing.
My mama taught me how to treat people, how to welcome them, and how to make them feel that they are the most special person in your life.
She loved me and supported me in everything I dreamed of when others didn’t; she was my rock when I knew I was “different” and made sure I knew it made no difference to the way she loved me.
Derek: Wow. She sounds like a very special woman. How did that leapfrog you into hospitality?
Andrew: I had no choice with hospitality. My parents were restaurateurs. So, the minute I fell out of the womb, I was serving tables, washing dishes, or cooking food. I had no choice. It was in the blood.
Fast forward 30 years, I opened my own restaurant and ran that for about 15 years. Then I sold it and moved to London, met the owner of one of London's top nightclubs, who asked me to help improve their customer experience.
Within six months, I was the Operations Manager there. So, I took my hospitality background into the nightclub world and learned that over the space of nine years.
Then COVID hit.
Through very weird and wonderful experiences, I ended up at Electrowerkz, meeting the previous owner, who had gone through bereavement and needed some help. I instantly fell in love with the venue. It was everything I'd ever dreamed of having. The rest is history. That was last year.
Derek: I spent two fun nights at Electrowerkz. You and your team have created a place for everyone to feel totally comfortable in their own skin. Can I hear how you put together such a diversity of events?
Andrew: Electroworkz was built around a night called Slime Light, created by Detti and Mack 37 years ago. Mack found this derelict building, this derelict warehouse, and squatted upstairs. They started a house squat party in their flat upstairs called Slime Light for all their goth punk alternative friends.
Slime Light became the world's biggest, longest-running alternative night, welcoming everyone who didn't fit in any other party or place in London. The dark. The weird. The wonderful. The creatives all came here night after night. So it's always had that spirit: a home for those who don't feel they have a home.
"So it's always had that spirit: a home for those who don't feel they have a home."
It was easy to carry on that spirit and just open it up to other communities. LGBTIQ+, the metal and punk people. We have Torture Garden, which is longest longest-running fetish night, which was the young queer creatives. So you've seen the range, and then you've been to Roast. So it was easy to build it here. I've dreamed of a home where people can feel safe. That’s the spirit of Electrowerkz. All within the law, of course.
Derek: And you feel it. Yeah, you feel it the moment you walk in.
Let's talk about Roast!
You invited me to London to see Roast, which must be one of your busier recurring events. You said that would be the night to see just how busy your cloakroom gets – and it was! The first thing that I saw was there was a line around the corner! Walk me through how you've created this.
Andrew: I can't take credit for it all. The dream was mine. I had this dream. I could never find a home for it. Walking into Electrowerkz, I knew this was the place. So I got a couple of other people, co-promoters and partners. Lorone and James, and my husband Elliot, with his support, we put it together. I try to bring the heart to the venue side of it. I think together, we've made a pretty good team.
Having been a clubber, having been on the other side, you don't always feel that the customer experience is the priority of the venue. And that's my top priority. Nothing else. They are valued. They've bought a ticket. For them to go to your event, that's special. Make them feel special. Give them the best you can from start to finish.
"Having been a clubber, having been on the other side, you don't always feel that the customer experience is the priority of the venue. And that's my top priority. Nothing else."
Derek: What does the modern customer experience look like for the cloakroom in London’s coolest nightclub?
Andrew: Well, it didn’t start out great. So if you make a mistake, own it. Fix it. And that's what we did, that's what Chexology's helped us do.
We had a problem one night with our cloakroom. It got so busy so quickly that we hadn't adapted the cloakroom space. We learned a very valuable lesson that people need space to get changed. There needs to be extra space to queue. Chexology helped us put all that together. Now, there's barely a queue for the cloakroom anymore or the coat check.
Derek: Who came up with the idea to create a little prep area for your Electrowerkz customers to change before entering the club? It’s brilliant.
Andrew: That was Elliot, my husband, who came up with that bit. We've both been clubbers, and we’ve found that you often have to squeeze onto a staircase or a tight space to get your coat off before you’re ready to go in. Elliot thought, “How about having a space for clubbers to get ready?”
"We had a problem one night with our cloakroom. It got so busy so quickly that we hadn't adapted the cloakroom space. We learned a very valuable lesson that people need space to get changed. There needs to be extra space to queue. Chexology helped us put all that together. Now, there's barely a queue for the cloakroom anymore or the coat check."
It’s a great idea to improve customer experience because how do you give them a little bit of breathing space before they jump in to enjoy their night? I need to take my coat off. I need to take my shirt off. I won't want to change. So you've got this space now where they can just relax, take a breath, gather their thoughts, pack their bags, then put this stuff away. It just makes clubbing in London a lot easier. So that's the thinking behind that situation.
Derek: I was looking at the cycle times of how many customers per minute your Electrowerkz team is handling at the cloakroom. Your team is processing 10 customers per minute at check-in and 10 customers per minute at checkout. These times are just crazy to me! That’s 14 seconds per customer! I think a big part of that is the fact that when people get to the counter, they're ready, thanks to all the signs you have up.
The other thing that Electrowerkz has widely adopted is ChexPass (Chexology’s digital wallet cloakroom ticket for Apple Wallet and Google Pay). Your customers really do take advantage of the fact that they can tap and go.
"Your team is processing 10 customers per minute at check-in and 10 customers per minute at checkout. These times are just crazy to me! That’s 14 seconds per customer!"
When I explained the cloakroom digital wallet concept to potential nightclubs, they were like, “That's cool, but how are we going to get people to use it?”
I tell them that we archive adoption through simple signage that includes QR codes as they approach the counter – which you have used. But you worked them and made them funny! Then I started seeing your venue’s numbers. There are nights where it's 65% of people check in with the ChexPass, and then 57% of people check out with the ChexPass (Apple Wallet and Google Pay). That’s insane!
Walk me through how you made your cloakroom so successful. How are you getting this level of adoption? Because it can’t just be you having fun with your cloakroom signs.
There are nights where it's 65% of people check in with the ChexPass, and then 57% of people check out with the ChexPass (Apple Wallet and Google Pay). That’s insane!
Andrew: Electrowerkz is quirky and fun. We're not shy about being funny. So, we translated what would be helpful and did it in our Electrowerkz way: Funny posters and training the staff.
But, like you said, there's a queue going down the road here at Electrowerkz. People are standing there for quite a while. They're looking around. They want something to read. So we put the posters there. That's where they're going to see them with an easy QR code that you gave us. Then, once they've got it on their phone, in their digital wallet, they're coming back week after week. It's there.
Here’s something else that’s interesting about ChexPass! I went to one of the other clubs you have in London, and they had it. I heard people saying, “Oh, it's what Electrowerkz has for when I give them my jacket. I've already got it in my digital wallet!” So I know people are already talking about Chexology while waiting in line.
Derek: That is so cool.
You told me once, “If this (Chexology) works for our Roast event, then you've won me over.”
So I flew in to visit you right before Roast, and there were 1,800 people waiting in a line that stretched around the block! Your event put Chexology to the test and stress-checked all its moving parts. And, at the end of the night, there were only five to seven people waiting at any given time. Otherwise, it was super smooth and had a fast-moving flow.
I know you have a board calendar of events welcome to everyone in the UK. What else do you have going on at Electrowerkz?
Andrew: You've seen the venue. It's huge. It's pretty much in the center of London, and it's quite a unique space. There are not many venues this large like this in the area. Clubbing is in its prime on Friday and Saturday, which leaves us five days of the week that we can fill with business. So we’ve got weddings. We’ve got business conferences, a comedy night, a jazz night, burlesque shows, we've got it all.
If they go on the Electrowerkz website, you’re going to see pictures that might not fit with what you want to do. So we've separated the brands. That was a wise move. It's really paying off. We're getting lots of inquiries from some big brands through our other website now. So yeah, it's an exciting future – busy, but exciting.
I couldn't do anything without my team. They make the dream possible. Yasmina runs the whole team, the guys in the office, the bar teams, everyone. It's a huge, crazy, dysfunctional family; that's the way I like it. That's how I work. I'm not corporate. If a toilet gets blocked, I'll stick my hand down and clean it. I don't expect anyone else to do it. That's the way it is here.
Derek: That's awesome. You’re so passionate about nightlife, and it shows. You really have carefully improved upon the customer experience.
Any words of wisdom for other wannabe nightclub owners?
Andrew: Trust your gut. Always trust your gut. Don't think you know everything. Listen to others. Get people that you trust around you. And put the customer first. Always. They're the center of everything in this business. If they're not the center of what you do, you're in the wrong business.
Derek: Sound advice, Andrew. The customer experience is all that matters in entertainment, and a lot of companies talk a big game but don’t actually evolve with their customers.
Thank you so much for allowing me to interview you. I really appreciate it, Andrew. I can't wait for the next event in London.
Andrew: Yeah! Thanks, Derek. And thank you for coming to Roast. You don't know how much that meant. You know, we joked about it, but I never dreamed that you would jump on a plane and come.
Derek: Anytime, Andrew. Anytime.
Experience Electrowerkz for yourself! Whether you're into dance, live music, or simply seeking a welcoming space to meet new people, Electrowerkz has something for everyone.
7 Torrens St, London EC1V 1NQ, United Kingdom
Electrowerkz websit: electrowerkz.co.uk
Electrowerkz phone: +44 20 3976 6669