Usually when we think of women in nightclubs, we think of body glitter, Cosmopolitans and that awkward dance circle in the center of the floor that forms when Beyonce’s ‘Single Ladies’ comes on (what is that, by the way?). Jayne Coffee is in a nightclub most nights but she’s nothing like the stereotypical “club girl”. She’s actually in charge of running one of the hottest and longest running clubs in the ATL right now, Tongue & Groove.
As the tatted up, bad-ass Director of Operations at Tongue & Groove, does more in a day than most and does it all to ensure that the nightlife of Atlanta never stops. This isn't a typical career path for a woman and I was intrigued to see what it takes to help make a nightclub successful. I had the chance to chat with Jayne about managing an ATL hotspot, how it feels to work in a male dominated industry and what it’s like to spend your work days up in the club.
Jasmin Martin: First thing’s first. Explain the name “Tongue & Groove”.
Jayne Coffee: It’s a nod to the wood flooring used on a dance floor.
JM: Okay, now that we cleared that up, I’d love to know what it’s like to have a 9 am to 5 pm in a place that typically operates from 9 pm to 5 am. What are your day-to-day responsibilities with the club?
JC: I work directly with all department managers on a daily basis to ensure an exciting experience for our customers. I’m also responsible for driving sales and controlling costs.
JM: Creating an exciting club experience is a crucial part of nightclubs and some clubs don’t do the best job of trying to meet their customer’s needs and consequently, they go out of business.Tongue & Groove has been around for 20 years. What’s the club’s secret to all these years of happy party people?
JC: We put a major focus on ‘southern hospitality’. We create relationships and try to ‘touch’ every guest. We try to be ‘inclusive’ and not ‘exclusive’. We want everyone to feel like a VIP. We go out of our way to make every customer feel special and create lasting memories. We are also constantly evolving and staying at the forefront of trends. Tongue & Groove now is very different than Tongue & Groove 20 years ago.
JM: Speaking of T&G then and now, the club is coming up on their 20 year anniversary, which is practically unheard of in the hospitality industry (Congrats!). What will the club do to celebrate?
JC: We’re filming a documentary titled 20 Years Behind The Velvet Rope and we will debut the trailer the night of our anniversary party November 13th. This will be one birthday party that you won’t want to miss!
JM: The nightlife/hospitality industry is typically a male dominated arena. As the director of operations, have you ever experienced sexism in the workplace? Do you think people don’t take you as seriously because you’re a woman?
JC: I have worked very hard to create a good reputation for myself and earn respect in the industry. Hard work and a great work ethic goes far when trying to establish a name in a male dominated industry. That being said, I firmly believe that a lot of times men are hired on their potential and women are hired on their accomplishments.
JM: Atlanta is known for it’s over-the-top nightlife. In 20 years of operation, I’m sure some big names have walked through the doors. Who can you name? Any regulars?
JC: Mick Jagger, Janet Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Justin Bieber, Kidd Rock, P Diddy, Jamie Foxx, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez. People who regularly attend the club are locals like Charles Barkley, Dallas Austin, Chipper Jones, Dan Uggla, Freddy Freeman, Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Jonathan Massaquoi.
JM: If could give one piece of advice to young women aspiring to work in nightlife, what would you tell them?
JC: Go for it! In my opinion, the hospitality industry is one of the best businesses to be in!