Feel Like You’re Stuck in a Pressure Cooker? Managing Stress on the Job

The hospitality industry isn’t for the faint of heart. Staff members in bars, restaurants and casinos have fast-paced, high stress careers. Bartenders, servers and security personnel contend with long hours, demanding customers, high workloads and a requirement to remain cheerful and upbeat. Have patrons lined up at the bar for drinks? Do you get that sinking feeling when you see a group of 30 diners walking in the door right before closing? It’s no surprise that one might get stressed out on the job.

It can be hard to do your job with a smile when you’re being pulled in so many different directions. If you’re worried you might be headed to on the job burnout, it’s time to make some changes to how you handle stress. When the going gets tough, take a deep breath and try these tips.

Helpguide is an amazing resource for stress management information and support. They offer a multitude for tips on dealing with on-the-job stress which are helping to hospitality professionals including:

  1. Don’t over-commit yourself. If you find it hard to say no when you’re already over-extended, you might be setting yourself up for a very stressful night at work. Examine what tasks you need to complete, prioritize them, and eliminate any tasks that aren’t necessary. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Your supervisor and coworkers are a part of your team and want to see you succeed, and your guests leave happy. Just be sure to return the favor when you can if one of your coworkers is over-extended at some point too.
  2. Resist perfectionism. One wants to always do their best work, but no one is perfect. You will drop a glass or forget an order at some point. Nothing good will come from beating yourself up over it, just breathe and realize that these things happen. You can only do your best, and you’ll do great.
  3. Flip your negative thinking. Approaching your work with a glass half empty approach is never a good idea. Sometimes it can be difficult to see the good in a difficult situation, but do your best to think positively.
  4. Find humor in a situation. Laughter is sometimes the best medicine.

For more tips on handling stress at work, you can refer to Helpguide’s website here. Sometimes you just need a minute to take deep breaths and center yourself. Taking a minute to get focused during a stressful shift is perfectly understandable. Managers and Supervisors must also be aware of the pressure their staff works under on a daily basis. Managers should refer to Nightclub & Bar’s article, “The High Cost of Bartender Turnover,” for information and ideas on keeping staff stress-free and motivated.

What tips do you have to stay calm and focused at work?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Are You Doing All You Can to Prevent Drunk Driving?

Every 30 minutes someone dies in an alcohol-related crash. And, did you know? Alcohol is a factor in 6% of all traffic crashes, and over 40% of all fatal crashes (National Safety Council). These are startling facts that one cannot simply ignore. Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous activities someone can engage in. It’s also 100% preventable.

An alcoholic beverage service professional has a legal and moral responsibility to serve alcohol responsibly, keep a close eye on imbibing patrons, and promote an alternative means of getting home if anyone appears too drunk to drive. One should make sure guests can make it home safely without injuring themselves or others.

Remember, drunk driving is always dangerous, and not just to the driver. Pedestrians, passengers and others on the road can all become victims. Recently in the early morning hours on April 28th, a woman was killed when she was hit by a suspected drunk driver on the Las Vegas Strip (Las Vegas Sun). This is another terrible reminder of the dangers of getting behind the wheel after having too much to drink.

Some people are able to ignore the facts. But remember, a victim of a drunk driver is someone’s sister, brother, mother, father, friend, coworker, etc. The Transport Accident Commission in Australia created an incredible PSA on the dangers of drunk driving which can be viewed here. This is a graphic video, but one of the most powerful PSAs we’ve ever seen at TAM® of Nevada. This video is certain to hit close to home for some, and sharing with others will help spread the message that drunk driving is never the answer.

There are a few things you can do to support and promote this message with your patrons.

  1. Complete your alcohol awareness course with TAM® of Nevada to learn about responsible beverage service. Course highlights include identifying false identification, clinical effects of alcohol, laws, rules and regulations, customer disturbances and service guidelines.
  2. Become familiar with sober driving services available in southern Nevada. Keep the number to a reliable cab company and any other sober driver services at your bar so that you can make the call whenever necessary. Companies like Designated Drivers, Inc. provide a responsible alternative to driving while impaired. A driver will be dispatched to take your patron home in their own vehicle, no worrying about retrieving their car after they sober up.
  3. If a group of guests is at your establishment and an individual within the group is becoming intoxicated, check with a sober member of their group to make sure that they have a plan to get the intoxicated individual home safely. If there is no designated driver assigned, offer to call a cab or sober driver service.
  4. Familiarize yourself with company policies when it comes to intoxicated patrons and suspected drunk drivers. Alert your manager or supervisor if you need to cut someone off, if you need them to intervene in the situation, or if you have any concerns about a guest’s safety.
  5. If you have a friend or family member that you worry may have a drinking problem, and may be at risk to drive drunk, do what you can to get them the help they need. Refer to our blog post “April is Alcohol Awareness Month” for tips on how to recognize a drinking problem, and how to help.

Drunk driving is a serious problem that can affect so many. What tips would you give someone else to help prevent intoxicated individuals from getting behind the wheel of a car?

Resources

Drunk Driving – National Safety Council

Woman, 28, accused of DUI after collision kills pedestrian on Las Vegas Strip – Las Vegas Sun

Designated Drivers, Inc.

© 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

Patrons Behaving Badly – Avoiding Trouble and Disturbances at Your Establishment

Ask any seasoned security professional, and they’ll tell you they’ve seen some patrons behaving very badly at some point in their career. Donna Hood Crecca for Nightclub & Bar highlights this fact in her article, “Do the Right Thing.” This article focuses on security policies and procedures in place during a January incident at Temple Nightclub in San Francisco that resulted in a fatality and other injuries. A patron was knocked out and later died after a fight inside of the club; a second man was also injured, and another fight outside the club left two others stabbed with broken bottles.

What makes this unfortunate incident worth noting is that security procedures were in place and considered by police to have been more than adequate on the night in question. Club management examined and further enhanced these procedures after the tragic evening.

While these types of incidents are rare, news like this serves as a reminder. Do you have adequate policies in place to avoid trouble and disturbances at your establishment? Remember, bartenders and servers need to be concerned not only with the behavior or state of their direct customer, but how they can effect or interact with others around them. Guests are coming to your restaurant or bar to have a good time and enjoy themselves, no one wants to be harassed or otherwise made uncomfortable.

You can learn more about managing problem patrons from seasoned industry professionals with real-world experience by taking the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) ® course offered by TAM® of Nevada. Here are some quick tips for hospitality workers to use:

  1. It’s easier to stop a fight before it starts.
  2. Keep an eye on your guests.
  3. Always understand and follow company policies and procedures.

You can read more about who you can legally refuse to serve or ask to leave in our blog, “Who Can You Legally Refuse to Serve or Ask to Leave? Know Your Rights!

What are some of your house policies about guest safety and handling disturbances at your establishment?

Resources

Do The Right Thing – Nightclub & Bar

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada