Are You Ready to Take an Alcohol Awareness Exam?

StockSnap_BBX50H7QEZRead on for tips on how you can prepare for your final exam.

The State of Nevada’s Commission on Postsecondary Education requires that students pass a supervised exam with a 75% or better before being issued an Alcohol Education Card. What does that mean for you? If you complete your TAM® training online you must physically go to the provider’s approved school location to take a proctored exam after finishing the online training. If you opted to complete the course in a classroom setting you will take a test immediately following the training session.

Are you nervous about taking and passing a test? Fear not! TAM® of Nevada has been helping students prepare for their exams for over 25 years. Before you come in to our official training to obtain your TAM Card, read on for more tips on making sure you’re prepared to pass with flying colors. Rest assured the training you’ve completed with TAM® will leave you prepared to ace your exam, and excel at practicing safe beverage service techniques on the job.

How long is the exam? The exam is 25 questions. It takes approximately 15 minutes for you to take your exam and have your picture taken for your TAM Card. Most students find the test to be a breeze after participating in TAM training; all questions are a review of the material you covered during the course.

Is there a Practice Test? You bet! Students who elect to complete TAM® Card online training will take a practice test at the end of their online training. This is one of the best ways to prepare for your proctored exam; you’ll get an idea of the types of questions that will appear on your final exam and have the chance to complete a final review before taking the real thing. If you’re planning to wait a few days to take your proctored exam, you can refresh your memory on the material covered by going through the TAM Student Manual before leaving for our office.

What if I take a classroom course? Traditional classroom training will leave you equally prepared for your test as the online option. Feel free to take notes and ask questions during the class. Our instructors are there to help and make sure you’re comfortable with all of the material. They love being able to answer questions and discuss the particulars of safe beverage service with students!

Relax! Take a deep breath and focus on the questions. You’ll do great!

What other ways do you like to prepare before taking an exam?

Resources

Nevada Commission on Postsecondary Education

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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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?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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 Hcareers.com’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?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Cheers! Tracing the History of Classic Cocktails

People have been mixing drinks to suit their tastes for centuries. In fact, many of the most popular and well known drinks requested by bar patrons today were first created by bartenders decades ago. Ever wonder about the history behind these classic cocktails? Being able to explain the origin of a mixed drink makes for great conversation with your patrons. The origin of many popular cocktails remains elusive, often with multiple sources claiming credit. Others can be traced back to a particular mixologist or bar. While several cocktails have more stories about their origins than ingredients in the actual drink, here are a few we can help pinpoint for you:

  1. Long Island Iced Tea – The history of the Long Island Iced Tea is easy to trace back to, you guessed it, Long Island! This drink was first whipped up by bartender Robert “Rosebud” Butt at the Oak Beach Inn in the mid-1970s (Chow, Wikipedia).
  2. Piña Colada – The official drink of Puerto Rico, made famous by Rupert Holmes’ song “Escape” (more commonly known as the ‘Piña Colada Song’), and most likely created by one of two individuals who claim credit (Chow). Depending on which account you believe, the tropical cocktail was either created by Ramon Monchito Marrero Pérez in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton, or across town by Don Ramón Portas Migot in 1963. You can read the Puerto Rico Herald’s article, “A Caribbean Tale of Two Piña Coladas,” and decide for yourself.
  3. The Mojito – This drink is popular once again, and while the exact origin can’t be confirmed, all are in agreement that its origin can be traced to Cuba, and may have first showed up around 400 years ago (Chow, Wikipedia, Bacardi). The mojito may have been popular in Cuba for many years, but perhaps its most famous fan was writer Ernest Hemingway who helped make the drink, and the Cuban bar La Bodeguita del Medio, popular among the masses.

The origin of some cocktails has become the stuff of tall tales and legends, but it certainly makes for good material to debate. What is your favorite classic drink recipe?

Resources

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada