Director of Operations Joe Bee and Managing Partner Randy Beasley explain how the legendary Rachel’s of West Palm Beach is updating its design and approach to meet the modern market.
(Note: This story appears in the March 2023 issue of ED Magazine)
Since 1998, Rachel’s has been known as a total gentlemen’s club, a magnanimous 15,000-square-foot building where a man could enjoy fine food and the attention of the most beautiful female entertainers. And according to Joe Bee (originally from NYC), Rachel’s Director of Operations, while Rachel’s will always maintain what it’s most famous for, aging gracefully requires a bit of maintenance.
Bee explains that Rachel’s current owner Billy Bullard (proprietor of clubs and restaurants across South Florida, including Thee Dollhouse Tampa and Cheetah Sarasota), consultant Keith Johnson (who likewise maintains several other businesses), as well as General Manager Ashley Mcguire (originally from Las Vegas), are taking the opportunity to remodel the building, boost the management, and even to update Rachel’s Steakhouse menu.
Like most gentlemen’s clubs when Rachel’s first opened, female guests weren’t invited inside unless escorted. Among the winds of change at Rachel’s, Bee shares that the present owners have embraced a more female-friendly model, and the results are evidently in favor, especially as women are now included amongst the increased management staff.
“I currently have five females on my team,” says Bee. “They tend to understand entertainers better than male employees, especially if they’ve had experience entertaining, and you can’t put a price tag on experience. And our female managers dress the part of sexy but sophisticated businesswomen. I feel our high-end customers appreciate the distinction between our beautiful entertainers and our professional staff.”
Bee is pleased to offer a career path to women at such an established location because he expects that this new opportunity is inviting the best candidates from across the country to come and work at Rachel’s.
“I want to attract males and females that have the competitive drive to do the job to Rachel’s standards,” Bee explains.
“Our staff and entertainers understand that every guest on the floor matters. Especially in Palm Beach, you never know who the millionaire is. The guy that you thought might not get in because of the dress code could have more money in his pocket than anybody in the building.” – Joe Bee
Attracting all kinds of club-goers
Having worked with other clubs in the area, Bee perceives that Rachel’s historically has offered something no competition could, namely, “Great steak, well-trained service and the most beautiful women from all over the world,” he notes.
It’s the gorgeous, attentive and professional women who are continuing to attract gentlemen of every kind, which Bee believes reinforces the need for quality hospitality with an emphasis on the individual.
“Our staff and entertainers understand that every guest on the floor matters,” he esteems. “Especially in Palm Beach, you never know who the millionaire is. The guy that you thought might not get in because of the dress code could have more money in his pocket than anybody in the building.”
West Palm Beach (and by extension, South Florida) is one of the top markets for adult nightclubs in the country, which Bee attributes to the laws which allow for full liquor, nudity and a late-night license. Because West Palm Beach is such a tourist destination, Rachel’s goes out of its way to cater to guests who live in the area year-long, and have been coming back year-after-year, by offering loyalty dinners monthly.
“Whether you’re a VIP or a regular, we invite you to a three-course dinner monthly,” welcomes Bee. Valuing locals and frequent customers, Bee believes, has been “the key to Rachel’s great success in Palm Beach County.”
Finding the right beat
While music has always been indispensable to entertainment at Rachel’s, the refresh has included the relocation of a larger DJ booth to the first floor, as well as the addition of a fifth stage and five video walls to maximize the DJ experience. According to Bee, a visit from owner of E11EVEN, Dennis DeGori, influenced especially the new music choices.
“Our dear friend Dennis DeGori was visiting Rachel’s for dinner when he noticed the lackluster energy of our tired old music format,” says Bee. “Dennis is someone I admire very much, so incorporating his advice based on his expertise and experience owning and operating some of the most successful adult venues in the nation is as important to me as his compliment.”
Rachel’s Head DJ Andrew Jones was up for the challenge: he moved to an “open format” style that continuously mixes all types of music. In addition, the featuring of guest DJs of local and national acclaim three to four times a week informs the resident DJs of what is relevant in nightclubs today nationwide.
According to Bee, guest DJs always come on after 9:30 pm after most of the older clientele have already gone home. Because they have wide customer demographics, it’s this shift from daytime entertainment to adult nightclub which Bee believes welcomes warmly guests of ages everywhere from 21 to 75, 14 hours a day, every day.
Although major construction can be expected come spring 2023, Bee reports that they have no plans on closing the establishment as a whole, only small sections of the grand building at a time.
“Rachel’s already had a great reputation, but now it’s reinforced with an update on modeling,” informs Bee.
Bee describes the recent renovations, which are still in progress, as “already noticeable from anywhere you are in the club. Rachel’s is more modern, but simultaneously more classy and elegant. We didn’t want to become so modern that the club loses its comfort appeal” clarifies Bee. “In lighting and atmosphere, we’re going more with warm earthy colors, such as tans and bronzes, instead of reds or golds—meaning that the lighting, when needed, will make you feel like you’re in a nightclub, but at the earlier times of the day, it’ll feel more like a five-star hotel or restaurant.”
Among renovations already completed, Bee reports that they’ve replaced tables as well as every chair in the building with more comfortable options which match the new color palette. The new chairs tote a hefty price tag, he shares, adding that “the higher-end guests noticed the increased comfort right away.”
The inimitable legend, Randy Beasley
Randy Beasley is the Managing Partner of Rachel’s, and he was instrumental in acquiring the renowned nightclub from its original owners. As Beasley tells the story, he hooked up with Billy Bullard in 2000, and they bought both Rachel’s West Palm as well as its sister club, Rachel’s Orlando (commonly known as the Rachel’s by the airport), together in 2004.
A protégé of Michael J. Peter (for more information on Michael J. Peter, read his Founders Interview with Don Waitt on page 12 of this issue) with four decades in the business and an ED Hall of Fame induction under his belt, Beasley is truly an industry legend. As Bee notes, Beasley has a plethora of incredible stories; and from those stories, Bee says that he’s learned to distinguish between what the business was and where it’s going. He adds that from working alongside Beasley directly, he’s developed a bit more grace with people.
“Randy’s not a stay-home owner,” says Bee. “He’s out there, elbow to elbow with everybody, and he gets it. Of everything I’ve learned from Beasley, I think the most important thing is that it’s okay to be understanding to everyone, whether it’s your staff, your guests or your entertainers. If you’re in it for the long haul, you have to understand that ‘the bottom line’ is not always about how much money you made in that night.”
“For me, the most important commodity in our building is firstly, the entertainers, then the staff, and then the guests,” says Beasley. “And those three components are everything.”
Menu expands at Rachel’s Steakhouse
Rachel’s Steakhouse has maintained a great reputation for their food, which Bee attributes to the integrity with which their club assigns to fine dining. “A lot of adult clubs might offer food, but not a dinner, and Rachel’s considers fine dining to be essential to its experience,” Bee says.
“I believe everybody likes to eat, or at least has to eat everyday,” he continues. “And once guests come in, they’ll stay for entertainment. As long as I can get people in the door and leave it up to a trained staff to give them good hospitality, then there’s a good chance that they’re going to come back.”
“Any anniversary is good, but 25, that’s a big one. It shows that the vision the founders began with was built to last. To this day, nothing around competes with it. With our renovations and the continued growth of our already strong team, I’m confident that Rachel’s West Palm will continue to run strong for at least another 25 years.” – Joe Bee
Bee thanks Raul Ortiz, Rachel’s executive chef of over a decade, for his hard work in maintaining the reputation of Rachel’s Steakhouse. He also recognizes the work of Ortiz’s now-partner, Dave Demos, formally from the Meat Market of Palm Beach. Bee says that Ortiz and Demos have been a big help in updating their current menu, which includes the addition of tuna tartare and a charcuterie board, as well as three Wagyu steaks (which enjoy specials on every Wagyu Wednesday). On Tuesdays, there are five taco options to look forward to.
“Nationally speaking, everybody knows about ‘Taco Tuesday’,” Bee explains. “But why go to your taco place when you can come to Rachel’s and get a bottle of Don Julio as well?”
They’ve also increased the lighter dinner options to make the otherwise “heavy,” old-school steakhouse “more comfortable for women,” he adds, noting, “Rachel’s isn’t a gentleman’s club, it’s a premier adult entertainment complex.”
Rachel’s big birthday
An acclaimed name with countless contributors to its legacy, the stories which come out of Rachel’s are never-ending. In celebration of its 25 years, Bee suggests that this will be more than a simple anniversary event.
“Any anniversary is good, but 25, that’s a big one,” Bee says. “It shows that the vision the founders began with was built to last. To this day, nothing around competes with it. With our renovations and the continued growth of our already strong team, I’m confident that Rachel’s West Palm will continue to run strong for at least another 25 years.”
A quarter century is certainly a milestone to celebrate, which Beasley likewise attributes to the continued hiring of entertainers and staff as well as staying ahead of marketing to new audiences. But in true Randy Beasley style, he’s not afraid to express his confidence in the future of Rachel’s, adding, “We’re planning to stay here forever.”
- club/model photography by Alfonso Moreno of MAD Creativity Glamour Photo
For more information, please call (561) 616-9600, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit RachelsPalmBeach.com.