In a message for the adult nightclub industry that comes directly from the man himself, award-winning club owner Dino Palmiotto of Exposé in San Diego outlines his secrets for success and offers advice to the industry at large as it transitions into a new era.

Interview and story by Dino Palmiotto

(NOTE: This story appears in the November 2023 issue of ED Magazine.)


an Diego was never a city that was on the map among adult nightclub entertainment venue owners, but it is now. There are several factors that culminated in Dino Palmiotto’s establishment of Expose’ as one of the finest gentlemen’s clubs in the country, and the premier entertainment club in San Diego.

“The way I lead my staff is outside of industry norms,” says Palmiotto. “A foundation of six years of Marine Corps leadership training and the determination to win created a success story that allows me to impart a little of what I’ve learned about our industry.

“It’s not just another platitude to say business owners should articulate the mission, care about your people, be transparent in your communication, give your people the resources they need and be a worthy example as an ethical leader,” Palmiotto adds. “These traits are still the foundation upon which businesses succeed or fail. But beyond these basic tenets there are other elements entertainment club owners must consider.”

Autumn Knights on stage at Expose´

Here, in his own words, Palmiotto outlines his business plan for success in the adult nightclub industry, a plan which boasts enhanced customer service, club visuals that pack a “wow” factor, new technology including kiosks and robots and being an owner who “leads from the front.” 

Understand the industry

Knowing every facet of this business is critical. The job of an “operator” is very different from just running a club as an owner. With over 25 years’ experience in this business, starting from ground zero, we functioned as an owner and operator.

Post-COVID, the industry survived with those club owners savvy enough to know what they are doing. Those who failed probably don’t understand what led to their demise. There is no longer any latitude to just skate by and expect a positive result.

Natasha Nova on stage at Expose´

Understand customer desires

The customers who frequent Expose’ are as diverse as each of their individual desires, and you can never assume their needs and wants will be the ones you want or expect. You must try to fulfill the desires of all your customers.

Phoenix Phires on stage at Expose´

Customers come to your establishment seeking:

    1. Iconic, diverse entertainers, on stage, performing to the expectation of every customer.
    2. To feel comfortable and welcome in your establishment.
    3. To be able to sit down with an attractive entertainer who would not give them the time of day outside the club.

Understand the type of clientele you want

Just as important as understanding what your customers want is determining the kind of customer you want.

“I’ve learned that my optimum client is one guy over age 30 versus 10 to 20 guys under age 30. Not only do youngsters fill the seats that would be taken by older gentlemen, but kids usually lack the spending power or maturity to make them a client I want regularly returning to my club.”


– Dino Palmiotto

For example, I’ve learned that my optimum client is one guy over age 30 versus 10 to 20 guys under age 30. Not only do youngsters fill the seats that would be taken by older gentlemen, but kids usually lack the spending power or maturity to make them a client I want regularly returning to my club. Older, mature clientele who are the right customers reduce the potential for several problems. Less people, less problems. Expose’ is geared up for the experience of the customer.

Business agility

Your business strategy must always be in a proactive, “agile” state that will allow you to adapt and evolve when a tactical reset is indicated. A successful business will constantly seek to implement changes that promote growth and innovation. This is imperative in the club entertainment industry where expanding the variety of services or features offered and enhancing the ambiance will enrich customer experience. A savvy business owner will recognize current market realities and adapt to retain customers and entice a new clientele.

“I’ve had the pleasure to know and work with Dino over a number of decades, and he’s the type of client lawyers crave: someone who is proactive, and who won’t sit idly by when the government tries to lie about the industry in an effort to enact laws designed to kill the clubs. He’ll bring the fight to the enemy. His support over the years is something I truly appreciate.”


– Brad Shafer, leading industry attorney

Ignoring opportunities to improve will lead to the decline and avoidable death of your venture. Most club owners have tunnel vision. They are complacent, and riding out the wave they think they’re on seems much easier than doing whatever is necessary to achieve a better result. But this approach will ultimately leave you so far behind your competitors that you either financially or physically cannot afford to later do what it takes to catch up. Your business will ultimately decline to the point of inevitable collapse.

The club “robot”

Making it your goal every day to learn something new can dramatically produce positive changes in how you operate. This practice creates additional opportunities to improve the quality of your entertainers and staff, enhancing overall customer experience.

Seek greater efficiency

One of the easiest ways to improve operational efficiency is to leverage technology and automation. While there should never be a “set it and forget it” mindset with technology, reliable automation can eliminate human errors and increase efficiency.

Labor shortages are real and will continue to increase. In overcoming this challenge, consider how the introduction of kiosks will revolutionize certain aspects of industries.  You’re going to see these types of applied technology more and more in service, security and support industries, so find out how this can modernize your business to make it as cost effective as possible.

Client spending and retention

The housing crash of 2008 led to a severe economic recession that impacted millions of Americans. Followed by COVID-19 in 2020, a declining economy and job insecurity, many people are wanting an escape. To meet this need, I created Expose’ as a high-end environment focused on making men and women feel welcome and relaxed.

But how do you know if you have happy, satisfied customers? Do you create relationships with them? Do you know their names and welcome them? Do you know their spending habits? Do they see you as an owner or an operator?

“Family, friends, integrity, and business savvy unparalleled. I consider it a privilege to call Dino my friend.” 


– Harry Mohney, Founder of the Deja Vu club chain

How do clients perceive your club? Do they see it as the typical “seedy” sex joint with all the negative societal connotations typically attached to adult clubs? Or do they see your establishment as a high-class gentlemen’s club lounge? 

How are you marketing your club now in relation to how you would like to be marketing your club?

Do you look at key performance indicators, especially sales, revenue, cash flow and profits? Where do you see the industry going?

With external economic stressors foremost in my mind, I wanted to focus on improvements I could make that would justify enhanced client spending and guarantee client retention. Without going into specific details of how I accomplished this, the strategy for renovating Expose’ included considering all the questions and factors I’ve discussed above. Ultimately, I determined I wanted to be a “lounge,” with all the comforts, conveniences and customer service that term entails.

I installed the highest quality stage, sound and lighting equipment of any club in San Diego. Our VIP Room is the best in town, with top-quality leather furniture built to provide maximum comfort. The Sinstro Cigar Lounge offers our customers over $100,000 in varieties of exclusive cigar brands from the finest tobaccos available around the globe, as well as manufacturing our own Expose’ cigar brand.

The humidor

Another enhancement might be for clubs to bring in featured performers to help draw crowds and generate income. These can be other burlesque, comedians, aerialists, musicians or other types of entertainers.

Robots are also on the agenda for Expose’. We have a robot waitress, a robot guide in our store next door, and a security robot to monitor the parking lot. Expose’ continues to adopt new technologies that will ensure we stay ahead of our competition.

Be the owner that leads from the front, who creates a sense of family in their business because your staff sees you in the trenches with them. In all things, be proactive versus reactive by looking far enough ahead to be able to see the big picture. Make sure your business practices allow your club to pivot on a dime when you need to make changes or improvements.

One of my favorite quotes was by Ben Franklin, who said, “If you want to lead, you must first learn to follow.” Those words of wisdom are especially true in business. Sharing what works and what doesn’t is a critical factor in ensuring we can all be successful by following a reliable path to achieve success.

Some say feature entertainment at adult nightclubs is a thing of the past. The success of Expose’ is proof that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Safeguarding the health and prosperity of the club entertainment industry is an imperative that unites all of us as club owners.  We share the common goal of capitalizing on opportunities that help us take our businesses where we want and need them to go.

We’re optimistic about the future of this industry with the feature stars of today and tomorrow. I would like to thank everyone that voted for Expose’.  We are very proud to once again be the recipient of the ED’s “Feature Club of the Year Award” for 2023.

Dino Palmiotto is the owner of a number of successful businesses based throughout the U.S. and has over 25 years’ experience in the club entertainment industry. For more information on Expose´ please visit

EXPO deal 1