Approximately 1,100 cups have been stolen from Royal Sands Social Club since the Florida-themed bar that looks like a swimming pool opened in Navy Yard less than three months ago. This would be a huge nuisance—and expense—to most restaurateurs. But it’s totally fine with co-owner Fritz Brogan. In fact, he openly welcomes it.
“It’s something to remind you of a fun night out with your friends,” Brogan says. “We don’t do any advertising. So if someone can look back at this and want to come back to our properties, it’s 100-percent more impactful than a Facebook ad.”
The cups in question are white-and-teal polycarbonate and feature Royal Sands’ palm tree logo. Brogan says different sizes cost $2 to $4 a pop. While security is trained to make sure that people aren’t taking cups with alcohol, they won’t stop you from stuffing them in your purse or pocket.
Brogan first shared this klepto marketing scheme with Washingtonian when Royal Sands opened in December. “We’re planning for these to populate apartment kitchens all over Navy Yard,” he said. That’s led to the most DC thing ever: People now ask permission to steal.
“A lot of people ask first. They’re like, ‘I read on some blog that I can steal this?’ We’re like, ‘Yes, that’s fine,'” Brogan says. “People in DC are so law-abiding; they don’t want to get their [security] clearance yanked.”