Tag Archives: servers

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

Service Excellence: Best Practices for Hospitality Professionals

Bartenders and servers have a tough job. They must juggle customer satisfaction and safety with fast-paced service, heavy lifting, and hot kitchens… and do it all with smiles on their faces. Given the rigors of the job, a great hospitality worker can be a rare and welcome find.

What can one do to make sure they are putting their best foot forward? Robert Plotkin of Nightclub & Bar Magazine laid out some of the cardinal rules of superior bar service in his recent article, “The 10 Commandments of Excellent Service.” We here at TAM of Nevada agree with all of these points on what makes for excellent bar service. Like we stated in our blog post, “Set the Tone and Increase Your Earnings with Positive Body Language,” making an excellent martini will only get you so far. A positive attitude, an ability to multitask, and friendly, welcoming attitude are all must-have qualities in a top-notch hospitality professional. You can read the full article here, and here are a couple more tips that we’d add to the list:

  1. Know the menu. Familiarize yourself with both your regular menu, as well as any specials for the day, happy hour deals, etc. Guests with dietary restrictions may have questions about ingredients or preparation, and if you can correctly and quickly answer those questions without heading to the kitchen to confer with the chef, all the better. Guests will also appreciate your tips and suggestions on what’s best if they’re deciding between a few options.
  2. Check in on your guests, and listen to their feedback. Dropping off a drink or meal and disappearing only to return once they’ve finished is bad form. Check back to make sure your guests are happy, and when you ask, “How’s everything?” listen to the answer. If something isn’t right, do what you can to fix it.

Hiring managers at bars, casinos and restaurants are looking for well-rounded staff members who are willing to go the extra mile to ensure guest satisfaction. Making small changes to your routine to make sure you’re treating each guest like they are appreciated and welcome is the first step toward becoming a first-rate team member in the eyes of your manager. What insider tips would you give someone looking to excel the in hospitality industry?

Resources

The 10 Commandments of Excellent Service – Nightclub & Bar

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

1 Comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales

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

Cheers! Tracing the History of Classic Cocktails

People have been mixing drinks to suit their tastes for centuries. In fact, many of the most popular and well known drinks requested by bar patrons today were first created by bartenders decades ago. Ever wonder about the history behind these classic cocktails? Being able to explain the origin of a mixed drink makes for great conversation with your patrons. The origin of many popular cocktails remains elusive, often with multiple sources claiming credit. Others can be traced back to a particular mixologist or bar. While several cocktails have more stories about their origins than ingredients in the actual drink, here are a few we can help pinpoint for you:

  1. Long Island Iced Tea – The history of the Long Island Iced Tea is easy to trace back to, you guessed it, Long Island! This drink was first whipped up by bartender Robert “Rosebud” Butt at the Oak Beach Inn in the mid-1970s (Chow, Wikipedia).
  2. Piña Colada – The official drink of Puerto Rico, made famous by Rupert Holmes’ song “Escape” (more commonly known as the ‘Piña Colada Song’), and most likely created by one of two individuals who claim credit (Chow). Depending on which account you believe, the tropical cocktail was either created by Ramon Monchito Marrero Pérez in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton, or across town by Don Ramón Portas Migot in 1963. You can read the Puerto Rico Herald’s article, “A Caribbean Tale of Two Piña Coladas,” and decide for yourself.
  3. The Mojito – This drink is popular once again, and while the exact origin can’t be confirmed, all are in agreement that its origin can be traced to Cuba, and may have first showed up around 400 years ago (Chow, Wikipedia, Bacardi). The mojito may have been popular in Cuba for many years, but perhaps its most famous fan was writer Ernest Hemingway who helped make the drink, and the Cuban bar La Bodeguita del Medio, popular among the masses.

The origin of some cocktails has become the stuff of tall tales and legends, but it certainly makes for good material to debate. What is your favorite classic drink recipe?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales

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

Patrons Behaving Badly – Avoiding Trouble and Disturbances at Your Establishment

Ask any seasoned security professional, and they’ll tell you they’ve seen some patrons behaving very badly at some point in their career. Donna Hood Crecca for Nightclub & Bar highlights this fact in her article, “Do the Right Thing.” This article focuses on security policies and procedures in place during a January incident at Temple Nightclub in San Francisco that resulted in a fatality and other injuries. A patron was knocked out and later died after a fight inside of the club; a second man was also injured, and another fight outside the club left two others stabbed with broken bottles.

What makes this unfortunate incident worth noting is that security procedures were in place and considered by police to have been more than adequate on the night in question. Club management examined and further enhanced these procedures after the tragic evening.

While these types of incidents are rare, news like this serves as a reminder. Do you have adequate policies in place to avoid trouble and disturbances at your establishment? Remember, bartenders and servers need to be concerned not only with the behavior or state of their direct customer, but how they can effect or interact with others around them. Guests are coming to your restaurant or bar to have a good time and enjoy themselves, no one wants to be harassed or otherwise made uncomfortable.

You can learn more about managing problem patrons from seasoned industry professionals with real-world experience by taking the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) ® course offered by TAM® of Nevada. Here are some quick tips for hospitality workers to use:

  1. It’s easier to stop a fight before it starts.
  2. Keep an eye on your guests.
  3. Always understand and follow company policies and procedures.

You can read more about who you can legally refuse to serve or ask to leave in our blog, “Who Can You Legally Refuse to Serve or Ask to Leave? Know Your Rights!

What are some of your house policies about guest safety and handling disturbances at your establishment?

Resources

Do The Right Thing – Nightclub & Bar

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales, Security

Are Your Safe Beverage Service Policies Working? If Not, It Could Cost You

A recent news story regarding the accidental service of an alcoholic beverage to a minor is making waves, and it serves to remind us exactly why alcohol awareness education is so important. A toddler was recently served an alcohol-infused margarita mix in place of apple juice at an Applebee’s restaurant in Michigan, possibly the result of a mislabeled bottle at the bar. You can read the full story on The Detroit News’ website here.

New procedures have been put in place by the company to prevent this type of mistake from happening again, but the damage has already been done. The parents are suing, and there is a monstrous wave of bad publicity for the Applebee’s franchise. Luckily, the child who consumed the beverage and began behaving strangely is OK, but he did register a .10 BAC, more than the legal limit of intoxication for an adult driver. Worth noting and also alarming is that this is the fourth such related incident reported since 2006 for Applebee’s. This is why staff training and alcohol awareness education is so important. There are legal, ethical and moral obligations to keep patrons, of all ages, safe.

Policy changes put into place by Applebee’s include only using apple juice from single-serve containers and retraining staff on beverage pouring policies and procedures. You can read Applebee’s response regarding the event and more about their new procedures here.

As a reminder to all hospitality workers, there are a few common-sense solutions that everyone can use to make sure that patrons are receiving what they ordered, and are being served safely and responsibly.

  1. Store alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages separately, and make sure containers are labeled properly so that bartenders and servers are aware of the contents. A pitcher may look like it contains juice or something else recognizable, but if you aren’t 100% sure of the contents, do not serve it.
  2. Double check that your guests are being served exactly what they ordered. If you deliver beverages to your guests, aside from visually inspecting the glass to make sure that they are receiving their correct beverage choice, you can repeat the beverage name to the patron upon delivery to confirm with them that they are receiving exactly what they ordered. If another staff member delivers beverages to your patrons for you, swing by to make sure the order is correct and they are happy with their beverage.
  3. Always card your guests if they appear to be under 30. Hospitality workers need to be concerned not only with incorrect orders and beverages, but also underage patrons who are trying to illegally obtain alcoholic beverages. 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.

To learn more about safe beverage service, take the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) ® course offered by TAM® of Nevada. Do you think this incident could have been prevented? What types of procedures does your establishment have in place to prevent these types of accidents from happening?

Resources

Toddler’s Alcoholic Drink Prompts Changes at Applebee’s – The Detroit News

Applebee’s Corporate Statement on Incident in Madison Heights, MI – Applebee’s

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Sales

Are Your Happy Hour Deals Falling Flat? New Ideas to Boost Your Bar Sales

It’s a problem common to many restaurants and bars; after a stellar opening and a few months in the limelight, sales start to fall flat. There are many reasons why establishments can see a sales dip – increased competition, shifting tastes and attitudes of patrons, tired selections and décor, etc. Deborah Harris of Bar Business Magazine recently tackled this very problem in the article, “When Sales Grow Stale – Innovate!

TAM ® of Nevada agrees wholeheartedly with her advice to start thinking outside of the box to reinvigorate sales, motivate staff and get customers talking about your bar again. You can read the full article here. Some of our favorite suggestions included:

Mixology is becoming increasingly popular, and lots of patrons want to feel like bartending aficionados. Offer guidance, but let customers get involved in their drink selection. Offer a selection of glasses, liquors, and mixes, and let them mix and match their order to create something that suits their taste.

Try a tasting table or spirits sampler. Let your guests pick and choose from a selection of spirits to sample, and provide logoed tasting card. This way they can take down notes on which drinks they enjoyed, and they’ll have a reminder that it was your establishment they enjoyed it at.

Sometimes it’s tough to break old habits and get out of a rut, but hard work and creative thinking can pay off big for your business. What types of sales strategies or deals have you implemented with success?

Resources

When Sales Grow Stale – Innovate! – Bar Business Magazine

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

3 Comments

Filed under Alcohol Sales

Anatomy of a TAM Card® – Find Out If You Are At Risk by Not Having An Official TAM® Card

Often imitated, never duplicated, TAM® of Nevada has been the sole provider of official TAM® Cards to the Las Vegas community for over 25 years. There are several providers of credible and effective alcohol awareness training and drink cards, but TAM® of Nevada is the only authorized provider of the official TAM® card. Also, more employers recommend TAM® of Nevada for their employees’ alcohol education than any other provider. Wonder why? You can learn more about what sets TAM® of Nevada apart and makes our training unique here.

Make sure whatever training program you choose is approved by the Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education, and be wary of any company other than TAM® of Nevada that promises to sell you a TAM® Card. All training is not created equal, and working with a fake alcohol awareness card can land you, and your employer, in serious trouble. If you already have your TAM Card®, it is easy to check to make sure you’ve received a legitimate drink card and training program. Check out the sample TAM® Card shown here, and make sure yours has the same or similar look. Look for each of the following identifying characteristics which can be found on every card:

  1. TAM® name and registered trademark. Your card should have ‘TAM®’ written across the top in the title with the registered trademark symbol.
  2. Official TAM® logo. Look to the bottom left corner of your card, underneath your photo, and make sure you see the TAM® logo.
  3. Unique Control Number. On the front of your card, you should see a chain of numbers which begin after the letters OE. A different control number is issued to each TAM® Card holder, and is unique to you. Older TAM® cards may have “LVMPD#” followed by a chain of numbers.
  4. Signature on back of card. The back of your card should have the official TAM® logo along with a pre-printed signature.

If you are concerned that your current card may be invalid, or if you’d like to register for an alcohol awareness course, you can reach TAM® of Nevada here. Remember, alcohol education is mandatory for almost all service professionals in Southern Nevada, and you can learn more about alcohol awareness education requirements by reading our blog, “Call It What You May … But There’s Only One TAM Card!

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Education Cards, Renewal, Requirements

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

We here at TAM® of Nevada like to promote alcohol awareness and responsible drinking year round. However, we’re happy to help spread the message that April is Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. This is an opportunity to raise awareness of alcohol abuse and encourage people to make healthy, safe life choices.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to health problems, including alcohol poisoning, hangovers, and an increased risk of heart disease. 3 in 10 adults drink at levels that put them at risk for alcoholism, liver disease, and other problems, and nearly 18 million Americans have alcoholism or related problems (NIAAA). These are “sobering” numbers that heighten the role that servers and sellers have in protecting their communities.

This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, TAM® of Nevada encourages you to take this time to educate yourself about the dangers of alcohol abuse. Good judgment and knowledge of the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) ® are crucial qualities in a service professional; and Alcohol Awareness Month is an opportunity for you to showcase your training.

Alcohol abuse is a dangerous problem. This month, reflect on your own habits and those of your patrons. Do you recognize the signs of alcohol abuse and binge drinking in yourself or others? You can learn more about the dangers of alcoholism in hospitality workers by reading our blog ‘Warning – Hospitality Workers May Be at Risk for Alcohol Abuse,” and learn more about spotting binge drinkers by reading out blog, “Beware of Binge Drinkers.”

If you recognize a drinking problem in yourself, a loved one, or a customer, it is time to take action by making changes in your life, or making suggestions to others on ways to get help. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has published a helpful guide titled, “How to Cut Down on Your Drinking,” to help you form an action plan to tackle the problem. Some of their tips to cut down include:

  1. Avoid temptation at home. By keeping little or no alcohol around at home, you won’t be tempted to overindulge.
  2. Learn how to say no. It may not be easy to be around other people who are drinking without imbibing yourself, but learning how to politely, but firmly say no can be empowering. You should let people know you’re trying to cut back or quit, and stay away from anyone who pushes you to drink.
  3. Keep busy with other activities. Find a hobby or activity that you enjoy and focus your energy on staying active doing something that doesn’t involve drinking.

Finally, remember one should never be afraid to ask for the help they need. One can ask for help from a friend, family member or doctor if necessary. How will you promote safe choices and alcohol awareness this month?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Leave a comment

Filed under Alcohol Awareness, Alcohol Education Cards