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?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

 

Advertisements

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?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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

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