This month we had the pleasure to interview Charlie Elek, Managing Director at Lucky Voice. They’ve recently opened their fifth location we wanted to sit down with Charlie to discuss the past, present and future of the karaoke chain, Lucky Voice.
- Tell us about Lucky Voice. What sparked your interest in the market?
Our first Lucky Voice venue opened in 2005, after one of our co-founders, Martha Lane Fox, went to Japan and after a 24-hour karaoke marathon, she knew she had to bring the concept to the UK. There was very little private room karaoke in the UK, only pub karaoke, which most people didn’t enjoy because it’s singing in front of strangers. What we wanted to create was all about singing in a comfortable environment with friends or family, with it not mattering if you were actually good at singing. It was all about having a great time and creating memorable experiences. We combined this with high-quality cocktails in beautifully designed venues. We have been developing this concept ever since and the demand for what we offer only continues to grow.
- You’ve recently opened your fifth venue. How did you know the time was right to do this?
The success of our London venues has really surged over the last 2-3 years and we were having to turn so many groups away because we were full, so we knew the demand was there in force. It’s also something our wonderful customers have been demanding for years and we were excited about how we could make this the best Lucky Voice yet, using everything we’ve learnt over the years. We and more importantly our customers are delighted with the result.
- What made you choose to open it in Holborn?
People understand more what private room karaoke is and we are seeing more of these venues opening around the world. The quality of the software, drinks and food isn’t generally of a high standard though. These are all key parts of our offering and we remain at the top of the market and of course strive to keep improving. We also work with a lot of licensing partners around the world, having recently expanded further in Australia with FunLab. We often see karaoke slotting into a range of concepts, and recently its been added to a lot to a lot of dining experiences. In South Africa we worked with Saigon Suzy to work karaoke into their offering, and in London we partnered with Jidori to add a karaoke element to their private dining space. Bao have also recently opened their third site in Borough Market which also has a karaoke room. This idea is about providing people with a full spectrum of activities on a night out. Something we’re also focusing on through expanding the food offering in our recently opened Holborn venue.
- What direction do karaoke bars seem to be going in?
We were looking for a central London location with great transport links, in one of London’s corporate hubs, so this site really fitted the bill. We get a lot of work parties and events in our other venues, so wanted to be in an area where we could proactively sell our space to all the neighbouring businesses. Midtown is also an exciting area that is on the up and we wanted to be a part of that.
- What sets Lucky Voice apart from other bars of its kind?
Lucky Voice Holborn gives you the opportunity to have your own private party within our wonderful venue. We can cater for all group sizes and needs. We have a great late license (4am Fri-Sat, 3am rest of week) and we get brilliant DJs in, so we become the area’s late-night party venue. We’ve really improved our food offering, so customers now have so many options for their night out. They can come down for after-work drinks and food, a memorable karaoke session or a dance with friends. With the new menu, we’re seeing our customers stay longer in the venue, rather than leaving to find somewhere to eat. We also have a really strong corporate offering, from team-building events to bespoke full venue hire parties.
- As Lucky Voice expands, have you encountered any challenges? If so, how have you overcome these?
Communicating to people in the local area that we do more than just karaoke. It’s a key part of our offering but we also have a fantastic bar space with high-end drinks and food. It’s all about getting customers down to the venue for the first time. Once we get them down for that first time, we know they’ll keep coming back.