Category Archives: Uncategorized

Tweet While You Eat? Some Restaurants are Encouraging Patrons to Get Involved

It’s considered rude to talk on your cell phone at the dinner table, but in an increasingly tech-savvy world and competitive dining industry, restaurants are breaking their own rules. Samantha Murphy of Tech News Daily explored some of the newest technology trends popping up in restaurants in her article, “Restaurants Offer iPads® & Tweets with Eats.” Some restaurants are looking for new ways to appeal to consumers and reach the largest audience possible – asking patrons to get more involved in the dining out experience by sharing their experience on social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and FourSquare, or ordering or viewing menus on tablet devices such as the iPad® is a new way to do that. We here at TAM® of Nevada really enjoyed this article and are interested to see if, and how, this technology will continue to grow, especially in the Las Vegas area. In fact, we encourage OUR students to connect with us on Twitter and tweet about their class experiences too!

Of course as with any new technology, iPad menus and ordering also run the risk of becoming a passing fad. For another opinion on this new movement, check our Michael Austin’s article for the Chicago Sun-Times, “Pour Man: iPad wine lists let your fingers do the ordering.” Do you think moving away from paper menus and into iPads is going to go the way of the Betamax, or is there a chance this will catch on and become mainstream? Only time will tell.

Have you seen these types of programs in use anywhere yet? What do you think about allowing customers to order off of iPads: great idea or doomed to fail once the first drink is spilled on a device?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized

Feel Like You’re Stuck in a Pressure Cooker? Managing Stress on the Job

The hospitality industry isn’t for the faint of heart. Staff members in bars, restaurants and casinos have fast-paced, high stress careers. Bartenders, servers and security personnel contend with long hours, demanding customers, high workloads and a requirement to remain cheerful and upbeat. Have patrons lined up at the bar for drinks? Do you get that sinking feeling when you see a group of 30 diners walking in the door right before closing? It’s no surprise that one might get stressed out on the job.

It can be hard to do your job with a smile when you’re being pulled in so many different directions. If you’re worried you might be headed to on the job burnout, it’s time to make some changes to how you handle stress. When the going gets tough, take a deep breath and try these tips.

Helpguide is an amazing resource for stress management information and support. They offer a multitude for tips on dealing with on-the-job stress which are helping to hospitality professionals including:

  1. Don’t over-commit yourself. If you find it hard to say no when you’re already over-extended, you might be setting yourself up for a very stressful night at work. Examine what tasks you need to complete, prioritize them, and eliminate any tasks that aren’t necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your supervisor and coworkers are a part of your team and want to see you succeed, and your guests leave happy. Just be sure to return the favor when you can if one of your coworkers is over-extended at some point too.
  2. Resist perfectionism. One wants to always do their best work, but no one is perfect. You will drop a glass or forget an order at some point. Nothing good will come from beating yourself up over it, just breathe and realize that these things happen. You can only do your best, and you’ll do great.
  3. Flip your negative thinking. Approaching your work with a glass half empty approach is never a good idea. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good in a difficult situation, but do your best to think positively.
  4. Find humor in a situation. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

For more tips on handling stress at work, you can refer to Helpguide’s website here. Sometimes you just need a minute to take deep breaths and center yourself. Taking a minute to get focused during a stressful shift is perfectly understandable. Managers and Supervisors must also be aware of the pressure their staff works under on a daily basis. Managers should refer to Nightclub & Bar’s article, “The High Cost of Bartender Turnover,” for information and ideas on keeping staff stress-free and motivated.

What tips do you have to stay calm and focused at work?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

2 Comments

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized

Are You Doing All You Can to Prevent Drunk Driving?

Every 30 minutes someone dies in an alcohol-related crash. And, did you know? Alcohol is a factor in 6% of all traffic crashes, and over 40% of all fatal crashes (National Safety Council). These are startling facts that one cannot simply ignore. Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous activities someone can engage in. It’s also 100% preventable.

An alcoholic beverage service professional has a legal and moral responsibility to serve alcohol responsibly, keep a close eye on imbibing patrons, and promote an alternative means of getting home if anyone appears too drunk to drive. One should make sure guests can make it home safely without injuring themselves or others.

Remember, drunk driving is always dangerous, and not just to the driver. Pedestrians, passengers and others on the road can all become victims. Recently in the early morning hours on April 28th, a woman was killed when she was hit by a suspected drunk driver on the Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas Sun). This is another terrible reminder of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Some people are able to ignore the facts. But remember, a victim of a drunk driver is someone’s sister, brother, mother, father, friend, coworker, etc. The Transport Accident Commission in Australia created an incredible PSA on the dangers of drunk driving which can be viewed here. This is a graphic video, but one of the most powerful PSAs we’ve ever seen at TAM® of Nevada. This video is certain to hit close to home for some, and sharing with others will help spread the message that drunk driving is never the answer.

There are a few things you can do to support and promote this message with your patrons.

  1. Complete your alcohol awareness course with TAM® of Nevada to learn about responsible beverage service. Course highlights include identifying false identification, clinical effects of alcohol, laws, rules and regulations, customer disturbances and service guidelines.
  2. Become familiar with sober driving services available in southern Nevada. Keep the number to a reliable cab company and any other sober driver services at your bar so that you can make the call whenever necessary. Companies like Designated Drivers, Inc. provide a responsible alternative to driving while impaired. A driver will be dispatched to take your patron home in their own vehicle, no worrying about retrieving their car after they sober up.
  3. If a group of guests is at your establishment and an individual within the group is becoming intoxicated, check with a sober member of their group to make sure that they have a plan to get the intoxicated individual home safely. If there is no designated driver assigned, offer to call a cab or sober driver service.
  4. Familiarize yourself with company policies when it comes to intoxicated patrons and suspected drunk drivers. Alert your manager or supervisor if you need to cut someone off, if you need them to intervene in the situation, or if you have any concerns about a guest’s safety.
  5. If you have a friend or family member that you worry may have a drinking problem, and may be at risk to drive drunk, do what you can to get them the help they need. Refer to our blog post “April is Alcohol Awareness Month” for tips on how to recognize a drinking problem, and how to help.

Drunk driving is a serious problem that can affect so many. What tips would you give someone else to help prevent intoxicated individuals from getting behind the wheel of a car?

Resources

Drunk Driving – National Safety Council

Woman, 28, accused of DUI after collision kills pedestrian on Las Vegas Strip – Las Vegas Sun

Designated Drivers, Inc.

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

2 Comments

Filed under Alcohol Awareness, Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized

Set the Tone and Increase Your Earnings with Positive Body Language

As a server or bartender, you’re often the first, and last, staff member a customer encounters. Your interactions will set the tone for the evening so you want to greet your customers warmly, and leave them reflecting on a positive experience once they head for the door. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a solid one. Professionalism and competence are very important, but so is projecting a great attitude and body language.

It’s important to remember that good food, drinks and a great ambiance are not the only components to a great night out. Have you ever had poor service or a standoffish server? Experiences like this can play huge into your overall impression of an establishment. On the flipside, a positive attitude and a smile can go a long way toward making patrons feel relaxed and welcome. Not only will you put your guests into a good frame of mind, projecting a positive attitude and body language will help YOU to relax and enjoy your job as well. And, as an added bonus, positive body language and professionalism set the tone for an enjoyable evening and can net you greater tips. Here are a few easy body language dos and don’ts for hospitality workers:

  1. Smile. A smile is the first social cue your guests will pick up on, and can immediately set the tone for a positive interaction. A genuine smile conveys friendliness and a can-do attitude.
  2. Don’t cross your arms or slouch. Crossing your arms over your chest tells your customer that you’re bored, bothered or closed to them. The same thing goes for hosts and other hospitality staff, slouching over the host stand with your arms crossed is NOT the first sight your customers should see when they walk in the door; you’re showing them that you’re not having a good time and would rather be someplace else. Stand up straight and make a great impression.
  3. Pay attention and remain engaged. When taking a guest’s order, make sure you’re turned to face them and pay attention. Restaurants and bars can be loud and busy at times, but don’t get distracted and turn your gaze elsewhere. A guest wants to feel like they have your attention and an interested expression or nod to confirm you’ve heard their order is all it takes.

For even more tips on positive and negative body language, you can refer to Hcareers.com’s article, “Increase Your Tips: Professionalism and Body Language Will Earn You More Than Praise.” You can also review Hospitality Job Site’s blog post, “Hospitality 101 – The Smile and Body Language,” for even more insight into body languages cues for hospitality professionals.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. What tips would you give someone to improve on their body language?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

5 Comments

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized

The Return of Four Loko – Even Without Caffeine, Still Popular with Teens

The ban on caffeinated alcoholic beverages, also called alcopop, was one of the biggest stories in the beverage service and sales industry in 2010. Popular beverages such as Four Loko were called dangerous, a binge in a can, and worse. Last November the Food and Drug Administration declared alcoholic energy drinks to be a public health concern. The FDA concluded that caffeine added to malt alcoholic beverages was an unsafe food additive (U.S. Food and Drug Administration).

What made the combination so dangerous? The FDA raised concerns that caffeine additives may have masked some of the effects consumers typically rely on to determine their level of intoxication. In fact, drinkers who consume alcohol mixed with energy drinks are 3 times more likely to binge drink than drinkers who do not report mixing alcohol with energy drinks (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). All of this was alarming enough to get these drinks pulled off of shelves, but also concerning was their popularity with teens and young adults.

Four Loko was, and continues to be, extremely popular with teens. A single can of Four Loko came in at 23.5 ounces, contained 12% alcohol, and also contained unsafe additives caffeine, taurine, and guarana. Four Loko came in much larger, and more potent, than a can of beer. In fact, concerns were raised that these drinks were marketed to appeal directly to teens (Marin Institute).

Several months later, Four Loko is back on shelves, without the caffeinated punch. The drinks have been reformulated and no longer contain additives like caffeine, but they still come in 23.5 ounce containers with 12% alcohol by volume (Omaha World-Herald). Teens may not realize they are consuming as much alcohol as they are until they are well on their way to unsafe intoxication. Four Loko still comes in fruity, teen-friendly flavors like fruit punch and watermelon. It also continues to be the drink of choice for many young people around the country (Bar Business Magazine).

What can you do as a beverage service professional to keep teens safe?

  1. Make sure that ‘alcopops’ such as Four Loko sold off-premises are displayed in areas dedicated to alcoholic beverages, not in the soft drink section. Many of these drinks can be easily confused for non-alcoholic energy drinks, and it just makes it easier on everyone involved to keep them separate.
  2. Always card anyone who appears to be under the age of 30. Retailers and off-site sales professionals should be diligent about checking IDs to make sure teenagers are not trying to purchase liquor with fake or borrowed identification.
  3. For more ways to help curb teens’ access to alcohol, read our blog post, “Teen Drinking is a Dangerous Business,” and refer to We Don’t Serve Teens’ suggestions.

What policies have you instituted at your organization to deter teen drinking?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

1 Comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized

Wine Tasting with Your Groceries? Whole Foods Invites Customers to Sample the Selection

Alcohol awareness training isn’t just for bartenders and servers in Nevada. Grocery and convenience store clerks and cashiers in Clark and Washoe Counties are also required to obtain their TAM® Cards (Nevada Revised Statutes). Off-premises liquor sales account for a major chunk of sales in Nevada, and employees of these establishments need to be just as familiar with the Techniques of Alcohol Management® as those who are serving drinks to bar patrons. Given this, Nevada off-premises professionals are already in a great position to support a move to bring bars into one of its upscale grocers… if Whole Foods brings this new feature to its Nevada locations! That’s right, the upscale grocer known for organic and locally sourced items is looking to expand its offerings in an effort to entice customers to stay longer, enjoy the selection of goods, and boost sales of beer and wine.

According to an article by Bruce Horovitz in USA Today titled, “Whole Foods Tests Bars Selling Craft Beer and Local Wine in its Stores,” Whole Foods has made the decision to open bars in about a dozen of their locations across the country serving craft beer and local wine. If the response from thirsty shoppers is positive, chances are good that even more locations across the country will start offering this service. While Whole Foods isn’t trying to compete with traditional bars, it’s clear they think this service will appeal to their niche market.

What do you think about this surprising move by Whole Foods? Do you think grocers are inviting trouble by allowing their shoppers to linger in the store over a glass of wine? According to spokeswoman Kate Lowery, Whole Foods certainly isn’t worried about a rowdy crowd. They’ll be checking I.D. when necessary and monitoring guests, just like any other bar. Kudos to Whole Foods for exploring this new bartending market! Read more of Bruce Horovitz’ article here.

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

1 Comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized

Can’t Make It To An Alcohol Awareness Class? TAM® of Nevada Offers Online Training!

Classroom training isn’t for everyone. If you have a busy schedule, or just prefer to learn in the privacy of your own home, you may want to consider the option of taking your alcohol awareness training in an online environment. Let’s be honest, you can’t beat the option of completing your training at home in your pajamas!

Some other alcohol awareness providers have made claims that TAM ® of Nevada only offers classroom training. In reality, TAM ® of Nevada works to make training convenient to all learners, onsite AND online. There are many benefits to online learning that are worth considering:

1. Learn at your own pace. By taking your TAM® course online, you’ll have the option to move through lessons as fast or slow as you like. Additionally, you’ll have the option to pause your training and come back to it at a later date and time.

2. Learn any time, day or night. Not everyone has time in their busy lives to head to a training center and complete 4 hours of training during the day. With our online course, you can work through lessons when it’s convenient for you; morning, noon, or night.

3. You have the option to review information and refresh your memory about what’s covered in the course prior to your exam. Nevada’s Commission on Postsecondary Education requires that all participants in alcohol awareness training take an in-person proctored exam to pick up their TAM® Card. After completing your online course, you’ll need to come to our training center at one of our scheduled exam times to take your test. There’s no need to call and schedule a class, just drop in during one of our sessions when you’re ready for your test.

4. For a limited time, you can obtain your alcohol awareness training online for only $19.95. TAM® of Nevada is offering a discount price on our online course; you’ll save $15 over our classroom training if you choose this option.

Students respond that they find our online course to be engaging, easy to follow and an excellent option for busy service professionals. If you’re curious just how our classroom training works, you can demo the course on our website here. If you’d like to learn more about requirements to obtain your Drink Card in Nevada, you can read more in our blog post, “Call It What You May … But There’s Only One TAM Card!

What have your experiences with online learning been like? We love to hear feedback from our students!

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

1 Comment

Filed under Alcohol Education Cards, Requirements, Uncategorized

Teen Drinking is a Dangerous Business

Each year, approximately 5,000 young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1,600 as a result of homicides, 300 from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drowning (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism). These numbers are alarming, and service professionals should be diligent about ensuring that they are checking IDs and using their alcohol awareness training to avoid contributing to the problem.

Some adults are comfortable allowing their teenagers to drink at home, the thought process often being, “if my teenager is going to imbibe, I’d rather they do it at home under my supervision, and I don’t have to worry about them getting behind the wheel of a car or harming themselves”. Teenage drinking is dangerous, regardless of where it occurs, or who is supervising. Teens can develop dangerous drinking habits, and supervising adults should be diligent about promoting alcohol awareness and age appropriate life choices. Additionally, teens are more likely to binge drink than their adult counterparts. According to the National Society on Drug Use and Health, 72% of 18- to 20-year-old drinkers reported heavy drinking in the past month. (NSDUH).

Also alarming, a new study led by researchers at Indiana University, and summarized by CNN, shows teen problem drinking is not a phase, and could be a predictor of alcohol dependence in adulthood.

It only takes a minute to check an ID and prevent a minor from entering a bar and buying a drink, but what about off-site sales and service? Gas stations, grocery stores and liquor stores are all places that teens turn to in order to purchase liquor, and staffers at those establishments should take steps to ensure they are doing all they can to prevent illegal sales.

Service professionals must be aware of the facts and dangers of teenage drinking. These service professionals are required to obtain alcohol awareness training, and will learn valuable real-world information for dealing with these types of situations in their TAM® training. Off-site premises workers don’t necessarily know that if they sell beer and liquor to a legal adult, the adult won’t provide that liquor to teenagers, but using your best judgment and following store procedures will help to keep things safe and legal.

The national campaign We Don’t Serve Teens makes excellent and common-sense suggestions for helping to curb teenage drinking from off-site sales, “Create and maintain sales and service policies that every staffer should follow.” (We Don’t Serve Teens). Everyone involved in sales should be aware of store policies regarding acceptable forms of ID, when and how to refuse a sale, etc.

Retailers and off-site sales professionals should be diligent about checking IDs as well to make sure teenagers are not trying to purchase liquor with fake or borrowed identification. To learn more about recognizing a fake or borrowed ID, refer to our blog post, “Are Minors Using Fake IDs and Sneaking Past You?” Most establishments also have a guidebook, like the I.D. Checking Guide, for validating various forms of identification. Ask your manager if you have a guide like this in your establishment and refer to it if needed. The I.D. Checking Guide can be purchased from TAM® here.

Taking steps to stop teen drinking is everyone’s job. Parents, teens, workers, communities and others all have to work to make a difference. For more ways to help curb teens’ access to alcohol, refer to We Don’t Serve Teens’ suggestions.

What are some tricks that you’ve seen used by fake ID holders? How else do you think service workers can help curb teen drinking?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

3 Comments

Filed under Alcohol Sales, ID Checking, Uncategorized

Promote Nevada as a Safe Vacation Spot!

Nevada in general and Las Vegas in particular has something for everyone. People come to town for sight-seeing, family vacations, bachelor parties and weddings, shows, gambling and more. We’ve all heard the saying “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” but let’s not keep it all a secret; let’s show everyone that Las Vegas is a safe and exciting place to spend their time.

By promoting and practicing safe alcohol service, you can help do your part to ensure that newcomers to Vegas can have a blast, but make it around town and back home without harming themselves or others. Hopefully, they’ll return home to tell their friends what a great time they had! By sharing what the great state of Nevada has to offer, you can not only impress your guests and help them to enjoy a memorable experience, but hopefully they’ll spread the word, and that benefits everyone in the long run.

Here are a few things you can do to help promote Nevada and increase interest in our state:

  1. Always practice safe alcohol sales and service. The lessons you learn in your TAM® course will help you to serve responsibly. A well-educated server is familiar with alcohol’s effects on the body and can recognize the dangerous signs of over-intoxication. Watch how much you are serving and how often. You can help to cut down on the number of over-intoxicated individuals who ruin the atmosphere for others, or potentially harm themselves. Also, call a cab for any inebriated drivers on your premises. Keeping them off the road helps keep us all safe.
  2. Have a working knowledge of what is going on in and around town. Refer to our blog postings “Where’s the Party,” and, “Share the Vegas Inside Scoop For Bigger Tips,” for information on how to impress your guests and introduce them to all of the fine things going on around town. Helping to steer vacationers towards sights and attractions that are fun, appealing and safe is a great way to share all that the state has to offer. The Nevada Commission on Tourism’s website also has a wealth of helpful information and resources.
  3. Don’t be afraid to share your opinion and tips on less well-traveled spots. Having a basic knowledge of tourist attractions to share with newcomers is imperative, but many guests will also appreciate your insider knowledge about where locals like the hang out, off the beaten path sites to visit, etc.

How do you promote Nevada and Las Vegas among your hospitality guests?

Resources

Nevada Commission on Tourism – The official Nevada Travel and Tourism Website

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized

Think Green – St. Patty’s Day Comes to Town

It only comes once a year, but on March 17th, everyone gets to be Irish. In reality, Saint Patrick himself was actually British! (National Geographic). Saint Patrick’s Day may have started off as a quaint religious celebration in Ireland, but it’s become a festive occasion all around the world, including right here in Nevada. Green beer will be flowing from taps all over town, and many service professionals will be seriously busy on one of the biggest sales nights of the year for bars and pubs.

It doesn’t matter if you’ll be hard at work on Thursday, or celebrating with the crowds, there will be something for everyone. Be sure to spread the world to your patrons; in addition to hoping for the luck o’ the Irish at the casinos, they will appreciate the information you can give them on all of the exciting celebrations around town. You can check out the extensive list of events happenings in Las Vegas here, courtesy of Vegas.com’s blog.

If you haven’t made plans for the day, it will be business as usual at TAM® of Nevada’s Training Center, so feel free to stop in at 9:00am or 2:00pm if you need to take your alcohol awareness course. Remember that your TAM® training can help everyone get their Green on safely and still have a great time.

How are you planning to celebrate? If you’re working, is your establishment doing anything special for the day?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Uncategorized