Where’s the Party? How to Benefit From Favorite Celebrity Hangouts in Vegas

New York may be the city that never sleeps, but Las Vegas is the city that keeps bringing people back. This town has always been a hot spot for those looking to get away from the daily grind and live it up, and those people keep coming back for more. It’s not just the Average Joe’s that appreciate a trip to Sin City, celebrities and public figures are also frequenting our town. The popular saying goes, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” and those who live their lives in the public eye can’t help but be seduced by the idea of getting off the grid for a few days. However, in a world of Twitter, Facebook and smart phones, that isn’t always possible. Not only can we read about where these famous players like to hang out, if you’re lucky enough to work at an establishment that’s frequented by a fan favorite, you can bet that more guests will come pouring in if that news becomes common knowledge.

The publicity and press a club or bar gains when an A-lister is photographed having a good time in their establishment is invaluable. Look at the recent example of the cast of Glee partying at the Bank Nightclub at the Bellagio for Naya Rivera’s birthday. (Las Vegas Sun). Pictures of the event showed up in magazines and in gossip blogs all over the country, and the name Bank Nightclub will remain in the minds of those heading to Vegas in the next couple of months.

As we mentioned in our blog post, “Share the Vegas Inside Scoop for Bigger Tips,” one way to capitalize on this type of knowledge if you work in a bar or restaurant is to share with your guests about which celebrities are in town, and where they will be partying. Use social media to stay close to the latest celebrity news. ClubPlanet wrote an article titled, “The A-List Hangouts: The Top Celebrity Hotspots in Las Vegas” sharing some of the most popular celebrity hangouts in town.

Much the same, your guests will appreciate knowledge about any celebrity shows going on around town. One example would be Nick Cannon announcing he’ll be performing stand-up comedy at the Palms, which was recently reported on Vegas.com’s blog. Long-time favorites and well known performers who appeal to a wide audience, such as Celine Dion, are also worth keeping tabs on. She is, after all, preparing to return to Caesar’s Palace for performances beginning in March. (CelineDion.com). A working knowledge of who is performing where, and how to obtain tickets, can be a valuable tool for a service professional.

Have you recently been star struck by seeing anyone famous in Vegas? How do you stay on top of all of the latest news about who is in town, and where they’ll be?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Love Is in the Air! Are You Ready for Your Valentine’s Day Guests?

Ask any seasoned restaurant professional and they will tell you Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest restaurant nights of the year (with Mother’s Day, New Year’s Eve and the day before Thanksgiving rounding out the contenders). Valentine’s Day (February 14th) is right around the corner, and you can expect to see bars, restaurants and hotels looking to capitalize on the holiday by stretching the festivities out through the weekend and through the holiday.

If you’re planning to work on this most important date-night, it presents a great opportunity to make a king’s ransom in tip money, and wow your guests at the same time. Your guests are already guaranteed to be in a happy, celebratory mood as soon as they sit down, you can help elevate their night-out even further with some extra attention and a few simple suggestions to make it extra special.

First, why not suggest a romantic or Valentine’s-Day themed cocktail to start out with? For a classy, traditional drink to celebrate the occasion, you can always recommend a good bottle of champagne or a classic martini. Make sure to be knowledgeable about different champagnes you have on hand, this is one of the most popular celebratory drinks, and knowing the nuances of which bottles you have available demonstrates your knowledge and capability as a bartender or server. If you’d like to recommend a fun, fruity cocktail, here are a few suggestions:

The Bitter Crush (Epicurious.com).

  • Crushed ice
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) Aperol (bitter orange aperitif)
  • 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) white rum
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Garnish: 1 (1 1/2-inch-long) lemon twist

Fill an 8- to 10-ounce highball glass with crushed ice. Stir together Aperol, rum, lemon juice, and bitters in a small glass measuring cup. Add sugar to taste, stirring until sugar is dissolved, then pour over ice.

The Be Mine Mojito (Recipe by Bridget Albert for Oprah.com).

  • 1 1/2 ounces Bacardi Razz (white rum optional)
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 1/2 lime , freshly squeezed
  • 12 to 14 fresh mint leaves
  • 4 raspberries
  • 4 blackberries
  • Sprig of mint

In a tall glass, lightly muddle the lime juice, 3 raspberries, 3 blackberries, simple syrup and mint leaves. The trick is to muddle just enough to release the oils from the mint leaves while leaving them intact. Add crushed ice and rum, and top with soda. Stir until the outside of the glass begins to frost. Garnish with the leftover berries speared with a mint sprig.

For even more love-themed cocktail recipes, check out Alissa Ponchione’s article, “Elixirs of Love“.

Next, go out of your way to make the evening extra special for your patrons. Find out if your establishment is doing anything special for guests (prix-fixe celebratory menus, live music, floral arrangements waiting for each guest, etc.) and let your guests know about these extras. Some establishments make special arrangements with visitors when they call to make reservations, such as having a special table reserved or having a bottle of champagne on ice waiting for them. Before greeting your table, check with the hostess or whoever seats guests to find out if there are any special arrangements you should be aware of.

You can also make someone’s evening with just a little extra kindness – why not offer to take your guests’ picture or bring a rose to each of the ladies you wait on? A little extra effort can go a long way.

Finally, be knowledgeable about several of the parties and events going on around town this weekend; your guests will certainly appreciate your ability to make recommendations on after-parties, places to go to after dinner, or any hotel/spa packages being offered around the casinos. For more information on Valentine’s-themed spa treatments available around the city, check out Jeannie Borbe’s article for Lights Vegas Action. Vegas.com has released a comprehensive list of Valentine’s Day-themed special events around the city; you can find that article here.

As a service professional, one should recognize a holiday like Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to provide superior service and make a lasting impression on guests and diners. Is your establishment doing anything special to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year? Are you planning to work this weekend?

Resources

Lights Vegas Action – Fall in Love with These Valentine’s Day Spa Treatments

Vegas.com – Valentine’s Day in Vegas!

Epicurious – Bitter Crush

Oprah.com – Be Mine Mojito

Nightclub & Bar – Elixirs of Love

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

The Health Department Is on the Lookout – Are You in Their Sights?

Do you make sure to always use proper hand-washing procedures at work? What about making sure that dirty dishes don’t pile up in the sink? Service industry professionals and dining establishments alike have a responsibility to make sure their places of business are clean for the health and safety of their staff and customers. Nothing can tarnish the reputation of an establishment more than a poor letter grade, a shutdown from the health department, or a rash of food-borne illnesses linked back to your business. When customers stay away, servers and bartenders lose out big on income and tips. So, it is in your best interest to make sure you are promoting a healthy establishment.

Businesses everywhere need to practice cleanliness and sanitation, but Nevada in particular does an excellent job of staying on top of the issue. KTNV ABC Action News 13 recently ran a report on the poor cleanliness practices at HK Star, a restaurant in Las Vegas’ Chinatown district, which would make just about anyone think twice about dining out. According to KTNV, the restaurant, “recently received 32 demerits and a “C” grade after a visit from the Southern Nevada Health District.” (KTNV News). Their violations ran the gamut from improper hand washing techniques by their employees, to meat left out to defrost at room temperature. Since the report, HK Star has made some changes and brought their status back up to an “A” grade, but the damage to their reputation may already be done. Would you want to eat out somewhere that historically employed lax cleaning procedures? To read KTNV’s report and learn about other restaurants covered in their ‘Dirty Dining’ section, please refer to their article, “Dirty Dining: HK Star.”

In Las Vegas, the South Nevada Health District reserves the right to drop in at any time for a surprise inspection. With that in mind, make sure you’re always doing your best to stay compliant with rules and regulations. Use common sense when it comes to cleanliness, and follow any guidelines set out by your employer.

Here are some easy to follow guidelines:

  • If you work in a food-serving establishment, make sure you have a Food Handler Health Card issued by the Southern Nevada Health District. For more information on Health cards, refer to the Southern Nevada Health District website. Also make sure you have your alcohol awareness card, you can easily obtain one from TAM of Nevada. Both of these are requirements for anyone who works in an establishment which sells food and/or alcoholic beverages. Be aware that the Southern Nevada Health District can ask to see your cards at any time, and can cite you for non-compliance.
  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after using the restroom, before and after handling any raw food products, after clearing a table or taking out the trash, after sneezing or coughing, or any time after you touch something which isn’t sanitized. For instructions on proper hand washing techniques, refer to the CDC’s article, “Clean Hands Save Lives”.
  • Keep your fingernails clean and neatly trimmed.
  • If you have long hair, tie it back to avoid having it get into food or beverages.
  • Make sure food and food storage containers are properly labeled and dated. Discard any food items which are past expiration.
  • Look around and make sure all areas in the kitchen and common areas are clean and tidy. Utensils and storage containers should all be in their place, work surfaces should be wiped down, and trash containers should be emptied regularly. It only takes a minute to clean up clutter.

To learn more about South Nevada Health District’s rules and regulations for food serving and other public establishments please refer to the SNHD’s Food Establishments Regulations. And, to learn more on just how those A, B, and C grades are handed out, refer to the Las Vegas Review Journal’s concise article, “Restaurant Inspections Protect the Public.” Proper cleaning and safety practices are everyone’s job. What steps do you take to make sure you’re doing your best in cleanliness, sanitation, and public health?

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© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

It’s Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers. What Are Your Plans for Super Bowl XLV?

It’s that time of year again, Super Bowl XLV is coming this Sunday; and, it’s going to be a blast. If you aren’t working, and don’t want to stay home to cheer on your favored team from the couch this year, there are plenty of options and places to join the party and watch the game all over Vegas. It doesn’t matter if you’re rooting for the Packers or the Steelers, if you prefer beer nuts and Heineken at the pub, or cheering loud with the casino crowd, there’s something out there for everyone.

Check out this extensive list of parties all over town, provided by Vegas Chatter. If you don’t find something to suit your fancy there, Vegas.com has also compiled their own list of the best sports books and parties for the big day; check out their list here.

Remember, kick-off time this Sunday will be at approximately 3:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Where are you going to watch the game? If you’re working, is your establishment doing anything special for the day?

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada