Las Vegas Restaurant Week Returns

restaurant_weekLas Vegas Restaurant Week is returning to town once again from August 23rd through August 30th.

Now in its seventh year, this event continues to be a resounding success and an opportunity for restaurants and diners alike to help Three Square, southern Nevada’s food bank, combat hunger. Restaurant Week offers up the chance for diners to check out some of the most popular eateries on and off the strip if they haven’t had the chance (or the budget!) just yet. Additionally, a portion of proceeds from each meal sold at participating restaurants will go to support Three Square Food Bank. How cool is that?

What does that mean for Las Vegas’ servers, bartenders and kitchen staffs? Prepare to be VERY busy! Expect crowds of hungry diners eager to sample cuisine from the dozens of participating restaurants. Diners are heavily encouraged to make reservations, so that removes the element of surprise for many establishments.

If you are a service professional at a participating restaurant, there are a few things you can do to manage the crowds, maximize your tips, and wow your guests. For starters, make sure you can explain to guests a little bit about the Restaurant Week program and how it will help the community – your guests will feel good about participating in a worthy cause, and your restaurant also gets kudos for the same. Additionally, make sure you are familiar with the prixe fixe menus and are able to answer questions about Restaurant Week options (ex – menu substitutions, exclusions). Need a little more advice on how to keep your cool during this busy period? Make sure to read our blog post, “Feel Like You’re Stuck in a Pressure Cooker? Managing Stress on the Job.”

To learn more about Las Vegas Restaurant Week, Three Square Food Bank, and participating restaurants, you can visit the event website here.

Is your establishment participating in Restaurant Week? Which restaurants are you most excited to dine at?

© 2013 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

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Upselling to Increase Profits and Net Better Tips

Upselling_BarWorkers in the hospitality industry often depend on tip money for the majority of their income. Looking for ways to increase your earnings? When coupled with great customer service, a higher tab almost always equates to a higher tip, and what service professional doesn’t want to increase bar sales, and in turn, their own tips? There are several ways to net bigger tips, wow your guests, and impress your manager by netting bigger sales. Nightclub & Bar recently released an article titled, “5 Tips in Training Your Staff to Upsell,” and we here at TAM® of Nevada wholeheartedly agree with their suggestions. You can read the full article here, and check out a few more suggestions for TAM® Card holders that we’d add to the list:

  1. When done correctly, upselling is one of the most effective ways to increase your earnings potential. For example, if a mixed drink comes in a standard size or large size, it would be acceptable to ask your guest if they’d like to order the larger size. Just remember to keep an eye on any patrons so they aren’t over served. A larger drink will contain more alcohol than a standard serving size. Similarly, try and promote your top shelf liquors. If a patron asks for a mixed drink, ask them if they’d like to select the premium option. A simple suggestion such as, “Would you like your drink with Grey Goose?” is an easy way to upsell your offerings without being pushy.
  2. Suggest premium beverages or signature drinks over well drinks to increase sales. A patron can get a well drink anywhere, suggesting one of your establishment’s popular signature cocktails can instantly boost the bar tab, and your customer gets to try something new and exciting.
  3. Drink sales aren’t the only item to focus on; you can also upsell food items on you menu. Try offering your bar patrons an appetizer or entrée to go with their drinks. A simple, “Would you like to try some buffalo wings to go with your beer?” is always a good tactic.

Providing excellent customer service in addition to responsible beverage service is one of the most important duties of a bartender or server. What other tips about suggestive selling and upselling would you add to the list?

Resources

© 2013 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Service Excellence: Making your Serving Staff Stand Out

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, and it is very important that you have a proper training program in place for serve staff. Managers can benefit from a few suggestions aimed at helping to train serving staff to offer the best in hospitality and customer service to increase sales and encourage repeat business. Here are some ideas for making the most of your training program:

  1. Make the most of your search and hiring process to find candidates who are likely to succeed and fit in with your company culture. The first step to training your employees should begin with careful hiring. Make the most of your search by using traditional avenues for listing available positions such as your company website and websites such as LasVegasJobs.com. Additionally, also make use of your social media channels such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to advertise job listings and reach a wider audience. Once you’re ready to start interviewing, look for candidates who are interested in learning more about your company, are passionate about customer service, and who are ready to work in Las Vegas. Remember, TAM® Cards are required for employees in positions where they will sell or serve alcoholic beverages, so if new hires are not already certified, make sure they complete their TAM® Training and obtain their Health Card prior to the start of work.
  2. Create an orientation and training program that encompasses all of the important points a server or hospitality professional should be aware of. When outlining your orientation program make sure you touch on points such as safety, safe beverage service, and hand washing procedures, the process for greeting and serving guests, suggestive selling and upselling, and all important company policies and procedures. An orientation should let your staff know what you expect from them, and what they can expect in their new jobs. The goal for a successful orientation is for your new employees to leave well informed and excited about the new opportunity, and for you as a hiring manager to feel like you’ve conveyed the importance of all policies and procedures and set realistic goals and expectations.
  3. Consider enlisting your seasoned staff members to help show new hires the ropes. By allowing new hires to shadow your current employees while they get acclimated to their new positions, they get important on the job training from their peers on menu listings, point of sale systems, and everyday procedures. Your new hires will have someone to turn to on a busy night if they have questions, and your customers can still expect excellent service. Additionally, this is a great way to promote teamwork among your staff members.
  4. Stress that excellence and education is an ongoing process. Even seasoned hospitality professionals are constantly learning and improving. Remember, alcohol awareness cards expire every four years, and this is a good example of one way service professionals can brush up on their skills and knowledge by refreshing their training. You can also consider occasional team building or training workshops to cover topics of interest, or pass along any interesting articles or knowledge to your staff when appropriate. Subscribe to the TAM® of Nevada blog and other industry websites for articles and news items important to customer service professionals.

What ways would you recommend for training new hires? What is the best advice you received when training for a new serving job?

© 2012 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada

Looking for a New Career? A Job in the Hospitality Industry May Be Right for You

Ever you wish you had a job you love? If you’re looking to make a career change, you may want to consider looking for your dream job in the hospitality industry. Hospitality professionals work in a variety of positions including bartenders, servers, managers, hosts, security professionals, clerks and more. A career change could result in a number of benefits including increased job satisfaction, increased earnings, a chance to try something new and expand your skill set, and more.

You may enjoy a career in the hospitality or nightlife industry if:

  1. You enjoy interacting with customers. A desk job isn’t for everyone, and if you like being around other people, a career in the service industry may be right for you. Many hospitality professionals love that their careers allow them day to day interaction providing quality customer service to their guests. If you enjoy a job where you are face to face with your patrons, you may enjoy a career in the hospitality industry where you’ll get to converse with your customers, meet new people and listen to others.
  2. You have a great personality. One can make a lasting impression on patrons and increase their earning potential by having a positive attitude, being helpful and providing excellent customer service. 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.
  3. You love living in Las Vegas and want to share that with others. Nevada in general and Las Vegas in particular is a very popular destination spot, and you’re likely to interact with tourists on a regular basis. By promoting and practicing safe alcohol service, and sharing your insider knowledge about what is great within the city, you can help do your part to ensure that newcomers to Vegas can have a blast, but make it around town and back home without harming themselves or others. Hopefully, they’ll return home to tell their friends what a great time they had! By sharing what the great state of Nevada has to offer, you can not only impress your guests and help them to enjoy a memorable experience, but hopefully they’ll spread the word, and that benefits everyone in the long run.

Are you ready to explore the idea of a career in the hospitality industry? A TAM® Card is required for anyone selling or serving alcoholic beverages in Southern Nevada, so be prepared! Many restaurants and bars will ask to see your TAM® Card before you start, so give yourself a head start and a leg up on other applicants by completing your alcohol awareness training and obtaining your TAM® Card today.

© 2011 National Hospitality Institute®, TAM® of Nevada