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What makes Leonardo DiCaprio, Drake and Rihanna want to turn up at your club? If anyone can answer this question it’s Luca Maggiora. I caught us with the founder of Luxx, Project, Toy Room, Scandal and Charlie to find out more.
Philip Salter: What inspired you to move from banking to becoming an entrepreneur – and why nightclubs?
Luca Maggiora: Since I was young, I always wanted to have my own business. Nightclubs was my hobby on the side of my banking job as a credit analyst for Intesa Sanpaolo Bank.
Banking was great for me because it gave me a mindset of strategy and deadlines, but I found I had a talent in the hospitality industry by organising events and bringing them to nightclubs in West London. When my nightlife work was making more money for me than banking, I quit banking to set up my first boutique West End club called Luxx which specialised in EDM and house music DJ’s.
Salter: What is your trick of getting famous people into your clubs? And to what extent does this convince others to come?
Maggiora: There is no trick to getting celebrities in a club. My goal is to create a cool place where anyone will have an amazing time with great service in a secure safe environment. If our famous guests have confidence that our team will look after them and treat them like a king or queen, they will come back; often giving feedback to their famous friends who will follow.
Salter: What differences do you see between entrepreneurship in Italy vs. the UK?
Maggiora: There are big differences. The government bureaucracy in Italy is the reason why it is almost impossible for young entrepreneurs to open a business without huge taxes and navigating complex regulations. In the UK, it literally takes a few minutes going online to open a limited business.
Salter: What are the main differences – advantages and disadvantages – between opening and running a nightclub and a restaurant?
Maggiora: The advantage of having a nightclub over a restaurant is the financial return can be much quicker with a club if it’s going well. The opportunity for return on investment is much higher as the business thrives on alcohol sales, big bottle sales and minimum table spends. On the other hand, it is extremely difficult to create a strong nightclub brand as there is a limited audience of people you need to attract with your new idea.
A nightclub’s shelf life is also generally very short lived as you need to keep a place “cool” for a rotating group of international jetsetters who get bored very quickly. The breadth of opportunity for restaurant concepts are huge though and the growing attraction to food concepts, the success of chefs as brands and the demand and desire for high quality food isn’t abating.
Salter: What business advice would you give to your younger self?
Maggiora: I would tell my younger self not to rush, look around, think things through, simplify your life, and do one thing extremely well. Also, don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone for something you truly and deeply believe in.
Salter: How do you think London’s nightlife scene will develop over the next 5 or 10 years? And what are your ambitions?
Maggiora: The people going clubbing right now are a younger generation than 10 years ago. The great thing is nightlife will never die as people will always want to go out and party. I expect the partying trend will be for people to want to go to bars and members bars more than clubs though.
My ambition for the next 10 years for my business is to keep growing, focusing on restaurants and boutique hotels. I want to keep my main business strong which is West End clubs.
May 17, 2019 at 06:42AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs