Picture if you will, the world as we once knew it is a thing of the past. A new age has dawned, the age of “the virus”. Everywhere you go, you are required to check in with your mobile devices, venues that used to be able to accommodate 200 sweaty, dancing bodies have had their seating capacity slashed in half due to social distancing rules and regulations.
What once would sound crazy if you said it out loud is now, unfortunately, a reality. As Thailand starts to ease up on social distancing, you can almost guarantee that some things will remain in place for a good, long while. What will the larger Gogo bars and discos on Walking Street do now? Most of these venues do not make their money on any single customer, no matter how big of a spender he is. The goal of these places is to get as many people as possible in the door and spending money, so what are they going to do when they aren’t allowed to let as many people in?
I can honestly see Thailand establishments switching to the western style “cover charges” after this. If you want to go drink in their establishment, you will have to pay an entrance fee in order to do so. This is really the only way that any of these places that require massive volumes of people will make any money from here on out, especially when you cannot determine how fast someone will drink their drinks and get out so that another customer can come in. How many of us have been in bars where customers sit there and sip on one draft beer for an hour? Those days are gone now. The businesses will have no more time to deal with cheap charlies necking a beer and taking up the spot of another customer who may buy a bottle and mixers.
I doubt that it will happen in your normal beer bars on the 6, as most of them get a decent turnover of guys that pop round for a 30 minute “shower” and then head out again. Customers are not frequenting these places to socialize and mingle. They have something in mind, they get that something that was in their mind out of their mind and they move on. You can almost guarantee that any places who’s customer base is a “mix and mingle” clientele will have some sort of a fee for entry.
Another way to get more butts in seats for these bigger places would be to institute a drink minimum for their customers. They will make no money at all if people sit around taking forever to have a drink. Don’t be surprised to start seeing a requirement that you purchase a drink every 30 minutes or an hour. It is a great way to get rid of you if you don’t have any intention of spending money.
The question is, if bars and gogos instituted some sort of entrance fee or door charge, would you still go? It is the norm in many western countries and nobody really thinks about it when they visit a bar, you just have your cash ready so that you can go out and have a good time. It will piss a few people off if they decide to do it the way I suspect they will but ultimately the business has to do whatever it can do to ensure it’s survival. If that means that they lose a few customers but have a greater customer turnover and make more money overall, so be it.