February 11, 2019
December 13, 2018
March 09, 2017
As Hospitality professionals, most of us are excited to help people by making a difference to an occasion, experience or foot note.
Doing the same thing day in and out can sometimes make us forget what’s important serving others.
To many, the new face standing, sitting or queuing in front of us is just another customer. Sure they’ll be treated nicely, but how many of us really care whether that person or people receive the experience they deserve and in a sense are entitled to.
Recently a friend who owns a local community deli, took his wife on a five star holiday.
My friends are warm and friendly, their customers LOVE them; in fact these guys are the very essence of hospitality.
Working 7 days a week, 51 weeks a year, they look forward to their 1 week holiday where being spoilt and pampered is what it’s all about.
The build up to that one week holiday takes 6 months of longing, expectation and desire, plus 51 weeks of scrimping and saving. .
Guess what, the 5 star resort vacation was underwhelming, not because they had unrealistic expectations, it was the attitude of the staff and resort GM who did not care at all.
Without getting into the rights and wrongs of the situation, I think there’s a far bigger lesson here.
When a fresh face comes to our bar or restaurant, who knows what type of day they’ve had or are still having; how often do they go out and spoil themselves; can they afford to go out regularly or need to save up to go out.
Ultimately, as servers or facilitators, it’s too easy to get caught up in the moment and forget we’re trying to help other people, and its most unlikely we’ll ever know the circumstances and situations our guests face or are in.
The only thing that counts: guests are in our care, they deserve our “Relentless Pursuit of Being Our Very Best."
Image designed by www.freepik.com
December 05, 2016
Apologies to our many friends in the US, with our choice of title.
Every bar cries out for experienced bar staff.
Experienced meaning bartenders possessing the requisite knowledge, skills and mindset to excel at the job.
Experience of course comes at a price and in a global sellers’ market, the buyer, namely the bar must pay over the odds to acquire the required talent.
Seems fairly logical, right?
Now here’s the secret very few understand and even less share.
To compensate for poor, badly performing bar tools (as many bars do not see the value in higher quality, more precise tools), better, more expensive bar staff must be retained to overcome the negative consequences of using poor quality tools.
If this doesn’t make sense , here’s another way of looking at it:.
Let’s say a business is using antiquated software to run accounts, process wages, and evaluate sales. To overcome for the shortfall in software, more staff are required to make sense of the mess..meaning higher costs and more time consumed to get the results required.
At Uber we know that investment in rock star bartenders will not always compensate for a lack of investment in the proper tools. Give a mid level bartenders better tools and you could find they can shake it up just as well as their more experienced brothers using lower quality bartools.
August 29, 2016
Bar and Kitchen staff develop painful issues which are the result of years of repetitive work.
Wrist burn is commonly suffered throughout the hospitality industry which is a culmination of work load placed on the wrist.
Anecdotally, wrist burn can be traced to poor technique or bad tool design backdated 100’s or possibly 1000’s of years.
Certainly historic design can be a good guide and teacher, however when design hasn’t evolved to keep up with changes in societal thinking, problems occur.
Today human centered design and Occupational Health Safety & Security (OHS&S) act as an important driver for changes in workplace tools.
The below pictures illustrates how easy it is for a user of fairly common tools to experience a wide range of arising issues..
Let’s hope that inspired thinkers and dreamers will one day re-invent the way we do things, so at least work place injury will be significantly reduced.
August 01, 2016
The perennial issue facing all hospo businesses: finding experienced staff!
Ironically employers searching for new staff assume they’ll instantly attract an ideal candidate someone else invested in!
And there’s the problem.
In a hyper competitive world with many businesses seeking few candidates what are the chances you’ll pay way over the odds?
Pretty high huh!
Sorry to say it this inconvenient truth needs accepting to allow quickly moving to the fix: In-house staff training.
Whilst costing more to start, longer term it’s the proven way to reap rewards.
June 20, 2016
In the developed world we take it for granted that cocktail culture is interwoven into our lives.
In Europe, North America as well as other mature markets, cocktail culture has provided us with new entrepreneurs, stunning new bars, amazing new spirits together with loads of innovations.
In SE Asia however we feel that the positive impacts of cocktail culture are going unnoticed.
Bartending has been a phenomenon everywhere, however in SE Asia the impact is tremendous as to many young bartenders, the “craft” is providing an escape from poverty, providing new trajectory.
Traditional Asian social structures are built around family and village– whereby a bartender in a large city such as Ho Chi Min, Jakarta or Manila may come from another city or island far away, repatriating monies home to dependants and village communities.
In a sense the success of the individual bartender translates into success for families and communities too!
To the tens thousands of bartenders making a contribution to the Asian hospitality industry, their reach and impact is far greater than most realise.
Quite possibly in the not too distant future more and more English speaking SE Asians bartenders will leave their countries of origin and start travelling the world to countries now desperate for hospitality staff.
Ironically stories such as these tend to get overlooked by the Politics that surrounds the liquor industry. Suffice to say being a bartender makes all of us proud , with positive impacts too easily overlooked.
April 29, 2016
It seems the same re-occurring problem is equally faced by bars, restaurants and hotels, when the following refrain is heard:
“hey, do you know anyone, who can……..? ”
Ironically all prospective employers “assume” they’ll be able to magically find the ideal candidate, trained, experienced and ready to go!
Stepping back a bit one soon realizes that to attract a trained whatever- someone else or else’s had to roll up their sleeves and invest in the person you want!
Doesn’t it then seem then to be a little unfair or unrealistic to expect a miracle?
How about this thought: when everyone wants to “take” someone else’s staff, who’s then left to select?
Let’s be honest, most people don’t start off in hospitality with long term dreams and aspirations for a career in that industry. Most are studying or doing something else with hospo work the plan B, short term.
OK so we’re all competing for the same staff hence choices are limited, sometimes you’ll win, mostly you won’t!
Now here’s the part most people hate hearing when looking for the right staff - train, train and train some more.
Yep, it means only one thing, invest in training.
In-house programs are generally proven to attract staff creating one hopes some well-developed, staff interested and vested in your business.
Is this process going to cost you time and money – it will! Will it solve short term staff shortage problems? Probably not!. Will it pay off in the long term? Absolutely!
Well-developed staff are part and parcel of a successful business. In an industry full of wannabes, it’s worth investing in those showing potential!
August 07, 2015
In a world where communication is increasingly disconnected, hospitality remains inherently human. At a number of points, our industry has the opportunity to provide real interactions that can turn into remembered experiences within guest’s hearts.
This personal nature, expressed through everything from first-impressions to final goodbyes, can potentially become another competitive advantage for your venue; as long as you manage to convey it authentically.
Ironically, this same warmth, responsiveness and care can be projected even before a customer meets your staff face-to-face. Follow this script below to transform an unknown visitor into an instant raving fan – all before they actually arrive at your venue. Sound impossible? Give the role-play below a try!
Phone rings in a restaurant…
Staff Member: Good afternoon… this is [NAME OF VENUE]
Guest: Hi I’d like to make a reservation for… at… on…
Staff Member: Certainly Sir/Ma’am, it will be our pleasure. May l ask if this is your first time joining us or are you a returning guest?
If he or she is a first-time guest…
Staff Member: We are looking forward to welcoming you and your friends, and we’re looking forward to providing a wonderful evening.
Is there anything specific you’d like us to take care of before you arrive, say a special occasion?
The conversation continues shortly thereafter.
This is a the first big step towards an ultimately happy, or daresay ecstatic, guest— one who is looking forward to a new experience and is confident in the knowledge that their friends will be happy with the choice of venue selected.
From here manually input the details gathered on your reservation system, noting NEW GUEST and special requirements (if any).
With this system, needs and expectations of the group are assessed, and staff members are aware of potential areas to go above and beyond— all before the evening begins.
Follow through ensures when the guests arrive, whoever welcomes them will be able to maintain expectations and extend the personal connection established at the very first touch point.
If the person calling is a returning guest, make use of the same system by pulling up the guest’s history (if on file). Continue by noting anything relevant and informing front of house staff to look for further opportunities to add nice touches or a friendly flourishes to the visit.
There are so many more extra touches your staff members can add throughout the evening to enhance guest experience, critical of course that each team member in your chain of service is willing to pay attention and provide the same level of care.
This level of consideration is usually provided at top tier venues. The creation of higher customer service standards particularly when not initially expected can really resonate with guests and can easily (and almost effortlessly) become the difference between sending off a one-time diner and welcoming back a life-long regular.
July 24, 2015
In an industry with such a high turnover rate, staffing changes are a constant consideration for any bar manager. Make the right decision and your team’s lives becomes easier, their morale becomes higher, and their work becomes more profitable – but make the wrong decision, and everything can turn around in an instant.
When a dutiful hire turns out to be a dud, recovering is exhausting — especially if it was your job to vet them in the first place.
It can be challenging to develop a system for evaluating potential hires, more so when staff is needed and options are slim. Managing a hospitality team is about selecting diverse people to fill diverse roles, each often requiring a completely different skill set.
The key to selecting a team member, partner, associate, supplier or whoever, is to pay attention and ask the right big-picture questions.
Don’t get snowed by someone who is just a smooth talker if you are hiring for organizational skills. Don’t be fooled by a great look or presence when you are hiring for back of house. Take the time to make sure what you see can match up with what you really need.
Some years ago l read a short article that challenged the reader to apply a scientific thought process to the suitability of an individual for a role or position. It’s easy to think you do this already, but in the moment so much of what you set out to evaluate can be easily be forgotten.
Understanding the need for a process allowed me to look beyond the first impressions (and beyond what I thought of as standard “interview” success) to really make sure I had gathered enough initial information to clarify common success factors.
What do you really need to hit on in order to make role selection possible? The answer can be boiled down to the 4C’s…
Does the person have the knowledge, intellectual skills and experience for the job, position?
Does the person have the personality, character traits to fit into the organisation?
Does the person have the enthusiasm for the role long term, is there a burning desire to succeed, what is their need and or needs?
Does this person have the ability to grow, learn, follow, lead, innovate, apply, assist and build?
Expanding each of the 4C’s into questions specific to the position being considered allowed me to build a clearer picture of what I wanted to see in an ideal applicant.
Running through what you hope to hear from a future hire will allow you to build a clearer picture of who the right person for your job is.
Next time you are hiring, ask the right questions and make sure the contender fits into your 4C’s. With a bit of extra insight you will be one step closer to hiring your next rock star team member.
May 28, 2015
Once upon a time... service was thought of as the great differentiator between businesses!
Now when transparency, customer ratings, competition is everywhere, NO business cannot afford to offer anything less than great customer service.
Yet, great service has become a commodity!
When everyone’s offering great service, do your guests then value or consider your service as a differentiator?
This week l had the experience of going to a local motor registry office… prior experiences were an experience in helplessness and humiliation as a public
(potentate) servant threw my "wait" around.
Things have since changed, today customers have the option of rating their service experience at an exit rating machine.
The arising question: when great service is no longer a differentiator what can one implement as a competitive counter move… the answer
Delivering Exceptional Experiences!
Everything can be copied yet within the 4 walls of a business one can create and own a unique customer’s experience that delivers exception and in the process success. Try it!
May 07, 2015
The kitchen and bar, in a modern hospitality business, operationally speaking pull in different directions, creating a paradigm rather than a clearly defined singularity of purpose and outcome!
This paradigm we refer to is a tug of war created unknowingly between the Kitchen/Bar.
The contrast boils down to:
“What’s WATCHED in the kitchen tends to be WASTED in the bar”.
The WATCH versus WASTE paradigm pivots around 2 different philosophies each altering individual operational imperatives, training and arising metrics.
Kitchens are tremendously expensive enterprises, with tight margins. Produce, protein and labour costs are finely balanced in an economic pas de deux, whereby the slightest hiccup, mis-costing, mis-portioning may very well blow any profit on a meal out of the water!
Bars seemingly operate differently: what costs so little per serve/shot is sold at very high multiples, requiring far less time and energy to produce a profitable result.
Given the economics, management is very focused on closely watching what’s valued the most… things which are undervalued are more likely to be taken for granted and wasted!
The issues between the Kitchen and Bar Operations can be broadly contained to 6 key differences:
- Chefs tend to be formally trained (scientifically) at culinary schools, whereas bar/beverage people tend to learn on the job.
- Structure, measurement, precision are vital to operating a profitable kitchen. Consistency is the outcome sought... yet flip this to a bar and measurement is not critical, drink balance and inconsistency is rife.
- Bars can be notoriously lax compared to strict chef imposed process and controls. A lobster tail goes missing in the kitchen and a wild chef is on the hunt... a bottle of booze goes missing there’s a grunt or huh!
- Kitchens invest in tools which save, assist and control; whereas bar spending is confined to guest facing serve ware. Bar consumables are not compared, cross checked for value, quality and performance; whereas in the kitchen, kitchen consumables are.
- Chefs do inventory daily or multi-times a week, in well run bars this may be done weekly, mostly monthly (if at all).
- Accountability in the kitchen is extremely high... every scrap, drop, grain is watched and accounted for, whereas it’s more laissez faire behind the bar.
If you are an independent or multi-unit operator the news is not all bad as there are specialist inventory control companies such Barmetrics and Bevinco offering intensive on-going management control systems to help.
Compare your kitchen and bar operations... once the analysis is done, it makes sense to impose kitchen discipline in your bar. Try it... what do you have to lose, other than money, inventory and reputation!