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

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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

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

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