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Qualities of a Top-Notch Service Professional – How to Project A Positive Image and Attitude

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 great one. Professionalism and competence are very important, but so is projecting a positive image and attitude. There are a few simple steps you can take to boost your image and set the tone for a positive evening.

  1. Reflect a neat and clean appearance. Your company may have a dress code, or you may be required to wear a uniform, so always follow company procedure. Additionally, a hospitality professional should remember to keep fingernails clean and trimmed if they are handling food and beverages, and keep long hair pulled back or styled. By projecting an air of professionalism, it makes both you, and your company, look great.
  2. Maintain an engaged and positive attitude when waiting on guests. By remaining focused and attentive, your guest will pick up on your can-do attitude. Take it a step further by providing suggestions and answering any questions from the guest. They will appreciate your tips and suggestions on what’s best if they’re deciding between a few options.
  3. Remember to check in on your guests. 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. If you notice a guest with a half-full drink, ask if they would like another. Just remember to serve responsibly, never over-serve a guest.
  4. Be mindful of your body language. Service with a smile goes a long way towards putting your guests at ease. For additional easy body language do’s and don’ts for hospitality workers, read our blog post, “Set the Tone and Increase Your Earnings with Positive Body Language.”

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 hospitality professional. Additionally, providing stellar customer service is likely to net you greater tips and also impress your manager or supervisor. What other tips would you give someone looking to excel the in hospitality industry?

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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A Reminder about the Dangers of Mixing Energy Drinks and Alcohol

In recent years energy drinks, or flavored beverages which contain stimulants such as caffeine, have become increasingly popular among consumers. In fact, energy drinks such as Red Bull® and Monster® are very popular among teens and young adults in particular. In moderation such beverages may not be unsafe, but overconsumption or mixing energy drinks with alcohol can be very dangerous.

From 2005 to 2009 (the latest year for which figures are available), there was a sharp increase in the number of emergency departments visits associated with the use of non-alcoholic energy drinks – from 1,128 visits in 2005 to 13,114 visits in 2009. Additionally, about 44% of these ER visits involved energy drink consumption combined with the use of other substances such as alcohol, pharmaceuticals or illicit drugs (SAMHSA). More recently stories have surfaced regarding 5 deaths, including that of a 14 year-old California teen, which may be tied to consumption of Monster Energy Drinks, and the FDA is investigating (USA Today).

This news should serve as a reminder to service professionals and consumers alike that it can be a risky behavior to mix caffeinated energy drinks with alcohol. In fact, the FDA has raised concerns that caffeine additives may mask some of the effects consumers typically rely on to determine their level of intoxication. 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 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Servers and sellers of alcohol beverages are taking note. If your establishment currently serves energy drinks mixed with alcohol, you may want to consider removing these items from your menu. Additionally, as always guests should be monitored closely for responsible consumption. No one should be over served. Complete your alcohol awareness course with TAM® of Nevada in order to learn more about responsible beverage service and the effects of alcohol on the body.

Resources

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Zagat Mixology Survey Reveals Industry Trends and What’s Popular in Cocktail Culture

Bartenders and establishment owners sometimes wish they had a window into the minds of their patrons. What do customers really want? How can we best serve our bar patrons while increasing profits? Well now you may just be able to find the answers.

Zagat, a leading guide for restaurants, service professionals and diners alike, has just released their first Mixology Survey Results after polling 1,000 imbibers about everything from their favorite spirits to pricing, wait times, and consumption habits. What better way to get a look at just what potential customers are buzzing about!

Survey results revealed several interesting points including:

  • 54% of survey respondents indicated that $15 is the most they will pay for a drink. Another 20% listed anything over $20 per cocktail as too expensive.
  • Good news for bartenders, the majority of customers are generous with their tipping habits. The average tip amount on bar tabs works out to be about 18.9%.
  • Regarding favorite spirits, answers are different among men and women. 46% of males said that whiskey is their favorite spirit compared to 22% of females. When it comes to vodka though, 36% of women say that’s their beverage of choice, compared with 17% of males.
  • The battle for the most popular cocktail was neck and neck. The martini and the Manhattan tied for first place with 12% each. In a close third place was the old fashioned, with 11% of the vote, and the gin and tonic and margarita were number four and number five, respectively.

Industry professionals can use the survey results to generate ideas on how cater to their patrons. And remember, responsible beverage service is a necessary component to an excellent dining experience. TAM of Nevada’s knowledgeable instructors can teach your employees how to serve responsibly, and offer real-world insight into providing all-around excellent customer service. To review the full survey results, visit the Zagat blog. What do you think of survey results, do they mirror trends that you see in your own establishment?

Sources

Mixology Survey Results Are Live! – Zagat

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Brush Up On Your Bartending Skills – Inspiration from Las Vegas’ Best Flair Bartenders

Flair bartenderThere are a lot of things that go into a great bartender: a winning personality, an attention to detail, and a dedication to the legal and moral responsibilities that come with serving alcoholic beverages. Think you might be right for the job? Why not get a leg up on the competition with additional skills and techniques to set you apart from the competition?

If you can flip bottles, juggle cocktail shakers, and serve up excellent drinks with a smile, you may be a great candidate for becoming a flair bartender. Additionally, flair bartenders can do pretty well for themselves, especially if they can entertain while serving. Flair bartenders will draw in more customers, making more money for the bar, and themselves.

Flair bartenders are known for using bar tools and liquor bottles as props to entertain while they are mixing drinks. It can be quite a sight to see someone juggling liquor bottles, mixing drinks behind their backs, carefully setting fire to mixed drinks, and more. Las Vegas is home to some of the best flair bartenders in the country, and boasts several bars and clubs that showcase their talents. If you’re considering a career as a flair bartender, Las Vegas is the place to be. Make sure to check out Las Vegas Weekly’s article, “From glass-juggling to bottle-throwing, the best flair bars in Las Vegas,” for a feature on some of the city’s most impressive and popular flair bars.

So you’re ready to become a flair bartender? TAM® of Nevada has some tips on how you can get started:

Obtain your TAM® Card. All hospitality professionals in Washoe and Clark Counties are required to obtain their alcohol education card prior to working at a location where they’ll be selling or serving alcoholic beverages. The Techniques of Alcohol Management® course will satisfy state training requirements and will give you the skills and knowledge you need to serve responsibly.

Get educated on bartending techniques. Flair bartending requires a solid working knowledge of bartending skills, plus lots of practice, practice, practice! Before you start juggling liquor bottles, it’s important to learn how to mix drinks, and build up your bartending know-how of tips and techniques. It won’t matter how well you can entertain if you don’t know how to make a martini.

Practice makes perfect. Every day at work you’ll have the chance to handle bottles and shakers, so practice spinning shakers in your hand and doing simple tricks when you have some downtime. Starting with the basics and working your way up to more difficult tricks, you’ll begin to feel comfortable with your props and impress your guests at the same time. You can also watch plenty of flair training videos online for tips and tricks to learning basic flair bartending moves. A great resource is TAM of Nevada’s YouTube channel; we’re always adding our favorite flair bartending videos and tutorials.

Our most important advice of all of all: Remember to have fun! What is the best advice you would give to someone looking to start a career as a flair bartender?

Resources

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Announcing Our Quarterly Customer Satisfaction Survey Winner – Have You Entered Our Drawing Yet?

TAM® of Nevada has been happy to serve the Las Vegas community for over 25 years, and we are always happy to hear from our customers about their experiences with our alcohol awareness training program. If you’ve completed your alcohol awareness training with us in the past, you know that at the conclusion of the course we invite students to complete a short survey about their experience with TAM® of Nevada. And, as a token of thanks for their participation, we enter survey respondents into a drawing for a $100 Amazon.com gift card prize.

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of our students for their survey comments and feedback. We’d also like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tami S., the most recent winner of our quarterly drawing. If you’ve recently completed your TAM Card course and haven’t yet completed the customer satisfaction survey, we invite you to visit us on Facebook to access the survey and submit your responses. While you are there, write on our Wall! Let us know your favorite part of the training, what you learned, or ask us any questions you might have.

Thinking about obtaining your TAM® Card at TAM® of Nevada? Rest assured our students have provided us with overwhelmingly positive feedback regarding their course experiences. Here are some survey responses from our customers:

  • I thought it was great. I’ve lived in California and Oregon and we have nothing that relates to this. Keep up the good work.
  • It was nice having any questions answered right on the spot. Instructors were very friendly and helpful. I passed on my first try. Thank you TAM :)
  • This was my first time attending this class. It was very informative. I hope to see you again when I renew my TAM card. Keep up the good work.
  • Instructor Ken made this class fun to take and informative. I learned a lot and got 100% on the test. Ken made it fun & simple to understand and prep for the test.

Thank you again to all of our TAM® students and customers for your patronage and helpful responses. Remember to visit us on Facebook and keep the conversation going.

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Las Vegas Teens Learn About the Dangers of Drinking and Driving

Late last week, local Las Vegas Legacy High School juniors and seniors learned a tough lesson about the dangers of driving while impaired. With the Every Fifteen Minutes program, participants were guided through a unique and powerful 2-day event complete with student and parent involvement, mock obituaries being read about participating students, and even a chance to tour what looked like an active fatal accident scene involving friends and peers.

By giving teens a close-up look at the real and tragic consequences of driving while impaired, there is hope that students will take the lessons to heart and make safe choices for themselves in the future. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department has partnered with the Clark County and Las Vegas Fire Departments, University Medical Center, Clark County Coroner’s Office, Mercy Air, Ambulance services, Palm Mortuary and a host of sponsors to create this unique learning experience for Clark County teens.

Teens often have feelings of invincibility about dangerous choices and feel like nothing bad could possibly happen to them. By launching an interactive program to demonstrate the dangers of what could happen to them and other teens like them, it drives the point home. To learn more about the Every Fifteen Minutes program and activities, visit the LVMP website.

The program’s name was derived from the fact that in the early 1990’s, every fifteen minutes, someone in the United States died in an alcohol-related traffic collision. The NHTSA now estimates that the number of fatal alcohol-related collisions is lower. Now, approximately every 51 minutes, someone dies in a drunk-driving related traffic collision. As a TAM® Card holder or hospitality worker, are you doing all you can to help bring the number of drunk-driving related accidents even lower?

Remember to remain vigilant:

  • Display signage in your store or bar announcing that purchasers of alcohol will be carded.
  • Report any suspicious behavior or activity among patrons to your supervisor or manager.
  • Keep up-to-date with your TAM® training.
  • ALWAYS check identification carefully, especially for anyone who appears to be under the age of 30.

What you do think about the Every Fifteen Minutes program? What policies have you instituted at your business to help deter teen drinking?

Resources

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Serving Alcoholic Beverages in a Limo or Party Bus? TAM Cards are required.

Tourists and locals alike often rely on chauffeurs to transport them in limousines, sedans, and party buses for a variety of events and special occasions. Even if limo drivers and transportation companies cannot sell alcoholic beverages, in many cases passengers are permitted to bring their own drinks, and drivers will be responsible for carefully monitoring passengers. In the regular course of business, drivers may find themselves pouring glasses of champagne or other alcoholic beverages for passengers on airport pickups, nightclub crawls, chartered tours of the Las Vegas strip, wedding and bachelor parties, and more. If you work in a position where you may serve alcoholic beverages to passengers, you are required by Nevada state law to complete alcohol awareness training and obtain a TAM® Card.

Party buses and limousines are often times equipped with neon and strobe lights, televisions, and surround sound, all of which contribute to a fun and exciting atmosphere. Passengers are in a celebratory mood, and limo drivers have the responsibility of not only safely transporting them to their final destinations, but also making sure they are not over-served or otherwise behaving inappropriately. The recent death of a party bus passenger in New York serves as a reminder that safety is of the utmost importance and that drivers must remain vigilant (Las Vegas Sun). Always follow company policies and procedures when it comes to guest safety and make sure your passengers are aware of any necessary rules and safety regulations.

You can make sure that your passengers are having an enjoyable time, are served responsibly, and remain respectful of the vehicle and others. To learn more about safe beverage service, take the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM)® course offered by TAM® of Nevada.

Have you worked as a chauffeur in Las Vegas? What advice would you give to others for keeping passengers safe?

Resources

Teen’s Death on Party Bus Serves as a Warning – Las Vegas Sun

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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