Would You Like Wine With That? Alcohol Sales Are Expanding Into Unique Venues

Would you like a glass of wine with your popcorn? Depending on where you live, you may hear something to that effect next time you go out to the movies. Several different fast casual restaurants and retail locations are now exploring the idea of adding liquor sales to the mix at select locations across the country. Alcohol sales are generally highly profitable for businesses, and in a down economy, owners and operators are exploring creative new ways to boost sales.

According to the New York Post, AMC Theatres is considering adding liquor sales and sit-down restaurant options at theatres in New York. A new law would allow consumers to bring their drinks into the theatre if the movie house has a sit-down eatery establishment on-site. The idea is to draw in more adult patrons and help boost sales at movie theatres. How convenient would it be to combine a sit-down dinner and a movie in one location?

Restaurant chains around the country are also experimenting with liquor sales, with mixed results. Places like Starbucks and Sonic are adding beer and wine sales at select locations to test the waters (New York Times). For example, Starbucks is currently testing out beer and wine sales at five of its store locations in the Pacific Northwest. And, let’s not forget that traditional retail sales locations are also experimenting with beer and wine sales. Be sure to read our blog post, “Whole Foods Invites Customers to Sample the Selection,” to learn about popular grocery chain Whole Foods’ foray into the market.

What do you think? Are these retailers finding new ways to cater to consumers, or are they inviting trouble? Whether you are a bartender, server, clerk or cashier, responsible alcohol sales are a must. Remember, 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). TAM® of Nevada will train you and your co-workers to provide responsible beverage service that will keep your patrons safe and excited to return again in the future, no matter what type of establishment you work for.

What do you think about adding liquor sales to fast casual restaurants or movie theatres? What types of challenges would you expect to see?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada


Tending Bar… With a Little Flair!

Flair bartenderLearn a new bartending skill and stand out from the pack.

There are a lot of things that go into a great bartender: a winning personality, an attention to detail, and a dedication to public safety, and the legal and moral issues of serving alcoholic beverages. Think you might be right for the job? To get a leg up on the competition, being able to entertain patrons with flair bartending techniques can be the cherry on top. And the best part? A flair bartender can do pretty well for themselves, especially if they can entertain while serving. A flair bartender 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 Vegas.com’s article, “Behind the Scenes: Flair Bartending in Vegas,” for a video interview with Rock & Rita’s flair bartender Anthony Pullen.

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

  1. 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. Consider attending a bartending school if you haven’t already, there are several reputable establishments in Southern Nevada. Some of these locations also offer flair training, so be sure to ask for details of what their programs offer when you’re checking credentials. You can also get lots of practical education tending a bar and learning the ropes from other traditional, and flair bartenders.
  2. Obtain your TAM® Card. All hospitality professionals in Southern Nevada are required to obtain their alcohol education card prior to working at a location where they’ll be selling and serving alcoholic beverages. The Techniques of Alcohol Management® will give you the skills and knowledge you need to serve responsibly.
  3. 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. Another tip? Try practicing at home with plastic bottles until you get the hang of things – you will inevitably drop some bottles, and nothing will put a damper on your day faster than a mess of shattered glass to clean up.

Flair bartending is not a skill one will learn easily or overnight, but it can be done! For more information on flair bartending news, training and industry information, and a place to network with other bar professionals, you can always check out the Flair Bartenders’ Association.

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?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Come Prepared and Ace Your Next Hospitality Industry Job Interview

So, you’ve obtained your TAM® Card and Health Card, you’ve gone scouting for a job, and now you’ve got an interview lined up… What’s next? Searching for hospitality industry jobs in a down economy can be challenging and stressful too. It’s important to remember that landing an interview is only the first step; now you have to impress hiring managers with your winning personality, great attitude and industry know-how. Are you prepared to put your best foot forward and land your dream job?

A great way to prepare for your interview is to think about common questions that are likely to be asked, and how you’ll respond. Think of it like a practice test. Wouldn’t you want to review what’s going to be on your quiz before you sit down to take it? Hospitality Job Site features a great article with common questions that hiring managers like to ask job candidates in the hospitality and nightlife industry. You can read the article titled, “Common Interview Questions,” and use that as a starting point for your preparations. Still feel like you’re not quite ready? Consider asking a friend to give you a mock interview. You can practice answering questions and gain helpful feedback about your answers and your demeanor.

When you get to your interview remember to:

  1. Arrive on time. Allow yourself extra time to get to the interview just in case, and be prepared to fill out a formal application once you arrive. By arriving a few minutes early, you’ll be ready to meet with a hiring manager at the scheduled time, and won’t keep them waiting while you finish paperwork.
  2. Be confident. Smile and sit up straight. Be sure to project a positive attitude.
  3. Thank the interviewer for their time. Be sure you leave on the same positive note you came in on.

You should now be well on your way to acing your next interview. For more tips to making the most of your job search, check out our blog post, “You’re Hired! Landing a Job in the Hospitality Industry.”

What tips have you received for making a great impression in an interview?


Health Cards – Southern Nevada Health District

Common Interview Questions – Hospitality Job Site

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada


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?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada