Every year brings new innovations to the hookah industry and re-enforces long known truths. We want to provide a quick list of ideas that can increase revenue, efficiency and the appeal of your hookah lounge. Some tips involve new equipment, others are ways to save your employees time and hassle, and yet others are new products that might just make you a few extra bucks! If any of these have worked or not worked for you, we would love to hear your stories of success or failure. Share the hookah knowledge and become a true hookah master! Here we go in no particular order:
Hookah Charcoals - Tips from the Pros for better flavor with less hassle
Quick Light vs. Natural Coals
There are 2 basic strategies for coals, quick lighting coals and natural coals. There are advantages to both, depending on your set up, volume and ventilation. Quick light coals are used by many places because of their on-demand convenience and easy to light coating. All you need is a cigarette lighter and coal tray. A couple examples of this are bars, and some patios where the ability to use a single coil burner is not an option. There are a lot of quick light brands on the market, but so many of them are designed for incense and repackaged with hookahs on the box. BEWARE OF CHEAP QUICKLIGHTS! There are a few reliable brands when it comes to quick lighting coals Ignite, Three Kings, Starbuzz QL, and more so if you think you are saving a buck with that generic brand, you may be doing your customers a big disservice and potentially negatively impact your business in the long run.
Natural coals are the best way to serve up hookahs. Hookah customers are more informed than ever before and you have probably already heard feedback from the hookah snob who sneers at the meer mention of quick lights. Natural coals last longer and generally have a cleaner, odorless heat that gives your customers fresher flavor. Every lounge should have a couple electric coal heaters in a well ventilated area to keep enough coals on the fire to maintain a busy lounge full of hookahs. Coco Nara were one of, if not the first all natural Coconut Charcoal on the market. At one time they were the leaders in the charcoal game but we have received mixed feedback as of late. Thankfully there are some new leaders in the coconut charcoal field. With CocoBrico and Titanium leading the way. These coals will not only give your customers a better experience over quicklight coals, they will also save you and your business a lot of money buying in the bulk lounge cases that are available.
Wind covers are an absolute must because they will reduce your labor and coal costs dramatically while offering your customers better smoke and thicker clouds. First, the wind cover acts as a heat shield that traps hot air around your hookah bowl. This keeps your bowls at the optimal temperature for big clouds with less coal. You're customers will need fewer coal refills, and your employees will spend less time tinkering with your customers hookahs to keep them smoking. You might need to adjust your coal positioning at first to find the optimal set up based on the coals of your preference, but from there on out you will spend less money per bowl on supplies and labor. Secondly, the wind cover will trap a lot of the dust and ash in the ash tray, which will keep your lounge cleaner. That means less time closing down at night, and a cleaner environment for your customers, again its a win/win!
If you want to take your lounge to the next level, we highly recommend the Kaloud Lotus. The Lotus is a wind cover and bowl screen combined! It traps in even more heat than a wind cover, so your coals last even longer. You virtually never have to rotate the coals, because the Lotus distributes the heat evenly as air passes through and cooks the shisha. The Lotus takes about 4-5 minutes to heat up, so let your customers know what to expect, but the resulting smoke is so thick and the flavors are so clean, it's well worth the wait! Pair it up with the Kaloud Vitria Bowl 2.0 for the best Hookah experience possible.
Want to have a lasting impact on your customers? Look no further than the only part of your business they will actually touch and hold. Choosing a high quality heavy duty hose will give your customers the direct feeling of the high quality Hookah experience you provide. There's nothing worse than paying $20 for a hookah and being handed a dirty, flimsy hose. When I opened my Hookah lounge a few years back, we put a lot of emphasis on the entire hookah experience. The thing that was most mentioned by our customers was the quality of the hoses we used. We opted for Aluminum D-Hose, but now there are a great number of high quality silicone hoses, like the Mya Frosted Silicone Hose, D-Hose 2.0, Driod Silicone Hose, and more. Do yourself, and your customers a favor and upgrade today!
3 Simple Add-ons for Higher Profits per Hookah
Ice, Ice Baby
Offering a base water addition for a few extra dollars is the easiest way to boost your ticket size a few dollars with almost no effort. Ice is the easiest and most popular upsell. You can sell ice in the base for an extra $2-$5 per hookah and it add pennies to your cost. It's even easier to equip your hookahs with washable hoses with the removable tip so you upsell the use of the Mystique Ice Tip. Keep some in the freezer and pop them on the hose for a quick $5 upgrade. Now you can even get the Deezer Silicone Freeze Hose where you can just unscrew and freeze the handle any time!
Fresh Fruit For Fast Cash
Fruit juice is another great addition. Grab a gallon of orange juice, Sunny D or Cranberry Juice and pour a healthy splash in the base. A $3 Gallon can net you an extra $20 by the end of the night. If you want to step up your game, and really impress, keep some cut fruit in the fridge and add some fruit to the water as well, so they get a visual reinforcement of the fruity flavor. Just make sure you give these hookahs a good rinse after each use to keep them clean!
Making shisha bowls out of apples, oranges or pineapples is another great way to add value to your hookah sessions. These add-ons take a little more time to do, but a little prep work goes a long way. These bowls are also contagious. Once you send out a fresh fruit bowl with 1 hookah, other smokers are going to want one too! Making them is easy. Simply hollow out a space for the shisha, cut a hole on the bottom that will fit on the hookah stem. Some people will put a foil liner on the bottom of the bowl to hold in the shisha as well as the top to hold the coals. The visual effect is great and the flavor is great too. The better you make it look, the more you can charge. We have seen elaborate fruit bowls go for $75 in a party setting.
Personal Hoses - A NuHose for Everyone
Mouth tips are so yesterday! Why not offer each customer their own hose with each session. We have bulk pricing on the NuHose, a new hygenic option that can give each customer their own hose. We have bulk pricing on NuHose Hookah Hose at only $1.50 each. Ask your customers if they would prefer a brand new hose without any flavor ghosting for $5. Let them know that they can keep the hose when they are finished if they want to. BAM! You just put an extra $3.50 in your pocket and your customer got a clean, pure flavor experience without any cooties or and you didn't waste any of your mouthtips!
Custom Flavor Names and Mixes
Exclusivity is the name of the game here! Keep these flavors in an unmarked box so your customers don't know the exact flavor or mix. We recommend finding a great flavor that is lesser known to make a delicious custom mix. Give it an outrageous name and give it top billing on your menu. It's our little secret that its the same tobacco as all the others, but you can mark it up $5 as a "Premium Blend." For example, that can of plain strawberry that just isn't moving fast enough, just became "Bomb-Atomic Berry Blaster" after you add a pinch of blueberry, and mint. We hear from lounge owners nationwide that repeat business from their secret mixes keeps customers loyal, because customers can't get the flavor anywhere else. Just make sure the blend is awesome, it doesn't work if no one likes your special blend.
Quality Matters - Don't Cheap Out
Hookah is readily available to people in every situation. Whether in one of the many lounges across the world, or in the comfort of their own home, they have options. You've spent your hard earned investment, time, and hard work on opening your lounge, when it comes to the hookahs themselves, this is not the time to cheap out. You don't have to necessarily buy the brand name Khalil Mamoon Hookahs as there are many brands and hookahs on the market up to par if not better in some ways at a reasonable price point. If you want to be able to maximize your hookah revenue, you need to have set ups that demand the price.