Set the Tone and Increase Your Earnings with Positive Body Language

As a server or bartender, you’re often the first, and last, staff member a customer encounters. Your interactions will set the tone for the evening so you want to greet your customers warmly, and leave them reflecting on a positive experience once they head for the door. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so make sure it’s a solid one. Professionalism and competence are very important, but so is projecting a great attitude and body language.

It’s important to remember that good food, drinks and a great ambiance are not the only components to a great night out. Have you ever had poor service or a standoffish server? Experiences like this can play huge into your overall impression of an establishment. On the flipside, a positive attitude and a smile can go a long way toward making patrons feel relaxed and welcome. Not only will you put your guests into a good frame of mind, projecting a positive attitude and body language will help YOU to relax and enjoy your job as well. And, as an added bonus, positive body language and professionalism set the tone for an enjoyable evening and can net you greater tips. Here are a few easy body language dos and don’ts for hospitality workers:

  1. Smile. A smile is the first social cue your guests will pick up on, and can immediately set the tone for a positive interaction. A genuine smile conveys friendliness and a can-do attitude.
  2. Don’t cross your arms or slouch. Crossing your arms over your chest tells your customer that you’re bored, bothered or closed to them. The same thing goes for hosts and other hospitality staff, slouching over the host stand with your arms crossed is NOT the first sight your customers should see when they walk in the door; you’re showing them that you’re not having a good time and would rather be someplace else. Stand up straight and make a great impression.
  3. Pay attention and remain engaged. When taking a guest’s order, make sure you’re turned to face them and pay attention. Restaurants and bars can be loud and busy at times, but don’t get distracted and turn your gaze elsewhere. A guest wants to feel like they have your attention and an interested expression or nod to confirm you’ve heard their order is all it takes.

For even more tips on positive and negative body language, you can refer to’s article, “Increase Your Tips: Professionalism and Body Language Will Earn You More Than Praise.” You can also review Hospitality Job Site’s blog post, “Hospitality 101 – The Smile and Body Language,” for even more insight into body languages cues for hospitality professionals.

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. What tips would you give someone to improve on their body language?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada


Are Your Safe Beverage Service Policies Working? If Not, It Could Cost You

A recent news story regarding the accidental service of an alcoholic beverage to a minor is making waves, and it serves to remind us exactly why alcohol awareness education is so important. A toddler was recently served an alcohol-infused margarita mix in place of apple juice at an Applebee’s restaurant in Michigan, possibly the result of a mislabeled bottle at the bar. You can read the full story on The Detroit News’ website here.

New procedures have been put in place by the company to prevent this type of mistake from happening again, but the damage has already been done. The parents are suing, and there is a monstrous wave of bad publicity for the Applebee’s franchise. Luckily, the child who consumed the beverage and began behaving strangely is OK, but he did register a .10 BAC, more than the legal limit of intoxication for an adult driver. Worth noting and also alarming is that this is the fourth such related incident reported since 2006 for Applebee’s. This is why staff training and alcohol awareness education is so important. There are legal, ethical and moral obligations to keep patrons, of all ages, safe.

Policy changes put into place by Applebee’s include only using apple juice from single-serve containers and retraining staff on beverage pouring policies and procedures. You can read Applebee’s response regarding the event and more about their new procedures here.

As a reminder to all hospitality workers, there are a few common-sense solutions that everyone can use to make sure that patrons are receiving what they ordered, and are being served safely and responsibly.

  1. Store alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages separately, and make sure containers are labeled properly so that bartenders and servers are aware of the contents. A pitcher may look like it contains juice or something else recognizable, but if you aren’t 100% sure of the contents, do not serve it.
  2. Double check that your guests are being served exactly what they ordered. If you deliver beverages to your guests, aside from visually inspecting the glass to make sure that they are receiving their correct beverage choice, you can repeat the beverage name to the patron upon delivery to confirm with them that they are receiving exactly what they ordered. If another staff member delivers beverages to your patrons for you, swing by to make sure the order is correct and they are happy with their beverage.
  3. Always card your guests if they appear to be under 30. Hospitality workers need to be concerned not only with incorrect orders and beverages, but also underage patrons who are trying to illegally obtain alcoholic beverages. To learn more about recognizing a fake or borrowed ID, refer to our blog post, “Are Minors Using Fake IDs and Sneaking Past You?” Most establishments also have a guidebook, like the I.D. Checking Guide, for validating various forms of identification. Ask your manager if you have a guide like this in your establishment and refer to it if needed. The I.D. Checking Guide can be purchased from TAM® here.

To learn more about safe beverage service, take the Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM) ® course offered by TAM® of Nevada. Do you think this incident could have been prevented? What types of procedures does your establishment have in place to prevent these types of accidents from happening?


Toddler’s Alcoholic Drink Prompts Changes at Applebee’s – The Detroit News

Applebee’s Corporate Statement on Incident in Madison Heights, MI – Applebee’s

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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’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. ( 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?


© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Share the Vegas Inside Scoop For Bigger Tips

Are you looking for ways to get bigger tips? One thing that can set you apart from other cocktail servers and bartenders is sharing some of the Vegas inside scoop with your guests. Here are some suggestions:

  • Tell your guests about which celebrities are in town and where they will be partying in Vegas. Use social media to stay close to the latest celebrity news.
  • Visit popular vegas travel web sites and give your guests some money saving and free show ideas, such as:
    • Using the Las Vegas monorail, trolleys, free trams, and free shuttles.
    • Checking out the fountain shows (of course), the Fremont Street experience, the Volcano at the Mirage, and the Show in the Sky at the Rio
  • Remind your guests of safety tips for walking along the strip:
    • For nighttime walks, never walk alone and stay on the strip.
    • For daytime walks, bring a bottle of water (especially during the hot summer months) and get a fresh bottle along the way.

By sharing your inside scoop, you’ll connect with your guests and they may be inclined to give you a bigger tip because you went above and beyond to help them have the best experience in Vegas.

What other ideas do you have for bigger tips?

© 2010 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada