New Orleans-based hospitality management company, Kirkendoll Management, announced the purchase of the licenses of all 12 Penthouse Club locations across the globe for an undisclosed sum. The news became official on March 30.
The transaction capped nearly seven months of negotiations between the two parties, who started talks in August 2016. "We have been a Penthouse licensee since 2005 and experienced firsthand the power of the brand," says Leigh Wright, director of brand strategy for Kirkendoll Management.
"In our first four years as The Penthouse Club New Orleans, we went from the number three club in the market to the number one (club). The new licensing agreement has been made as the overall Penthouse brand prepares for a rapid expansion in many verticals including media production, alcohol, and clothing. Kirkendoll Management is excited for the opportunity to immediately enter a broader reach both nationally and internationally."
After becoming the new Licensor, Kirkendoll formed Penthouse Clubs Worldwide, which will offer current and future licensees technology, marketing, and operational support. Previously, Kirkendoll Management’s operations were limited to the southern United States, but that is no longer the case with The Penthouse Clubs’ international presence.
"As we gain experience and insight into different markets, we will take a much more global approach to the way we conduct business, analyze opportunities, and grow our Restaurant and Nightclub Divisions," Wright says. "Now with four international Penthouse Club licensees and growing, Kirkendoll will become well-versed in managing and operating hospitality venues across the world."
In the press release at the time of the acquisition, founder and CEO John Kirkendoll said, "Kirkendoll’s core value system revolves around a quality customer experience that is committed to excellence, and now we can translate this across the world. The Penthouse Club is about to enter an unprecedented period of growth, and we will be the driving force behind it."
Part of that growth will be reflected in how Kirkendoll approaches its Penthouse Club licensed clubs moving forward. Wright points out how the traditional gentlemen’s club landscape is changing and shifting away from the conventional table dance model designed for single guys to a "much broader customer base and is more like a modern nightclub with great music and dancing. We see this as the club of the future, and plan to position the Penthouse Club brand as the premiere gentlemen’s club brand worldwide." Currently, Penthouse Club licenses venues in the United State, France, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. While that number will certainly increase under Kirkendoll Management’s stewardship, Wright says the company will be "very selective in terms of whom we choose to be Licensees and where the clubs will be located. Only outstanding operators and select markets will be right for this premiere brand, and we will ensure that every club we sign on will add further value to the Penthouse name."