The Bartender-a Service Professional, a Servant, a Showman and so much more!

WELCOME BACK TO SOUPFLY!! wpid-20150514_142547-1.jpgwpid-20150512_150944.jpgwpid-20150514_142000.jpg This past week I had the great pleasure of sharing the message of Getting to WOW! to 5 different groups.  What a fantastic opportunity!  Four of those times had me speaking to students from The Bartenders Union at Las Vegas Distillery.  Each year Las Vegas Distillery hosts Executive Director of Training, Paul Femia and his students on a educational tour and tasting of the Distillery.  Over the course of two days, four groups of Bartending Students came through and had the amazing pleasure of listening to and learning from George Racz, the Distillery’s founder and owner.  George is a man with a wonderful depth of knowledge about the making of spirits in general, as well as  the specifics of his own journey of 5 years to bring to fruition his dream of establishing the first distillery in the state of Nevada. wpid-20150512_093620.jpg wpid-20150512_095918.jpg wpid-20150512_093656.jpg wpid-20150512_093708.jpg wpid-20150512_093633.jpg George had told me earlier in the year that he would be once again, this year, be hosting Paul and his group and that he thought the message of Getting to WOW! was apropos to be shared with these eager minds.  He assured me that I would be invited to come and speak to the students. The thing is that he was not sure of the exact schedule.  All the while, I, was hoping to and planning to attend the NRA convention in Chicago-the R is for “Restaurant”, not “Rifle”.  However, my plans weren’t quite coming together, waiting for a client to close and a couple of other issues were making  the trip to Chicago uncertain. Maybe the NRA Show was not to be in my immediate future.  But why? I wondered. I had never been to the NRA- National Restaurant Association Show and I knew that that’s where my target market would be-40,000 plus of them!  Restaurant owners and managers and Food & Beverage Directors, and catering managers.  These are the people I need to get in front of to promote my book, Getting to WOW! However, I didn’t really have a strong conviction that I was really “supposed to go”.  I’m sure you know what I mean. Recently I had been communicating with Sid, George’s right hand man at the Distillery about the upcoming tour, since George was out sick for a few days.  Finally, the week before said tour, at the exact time that I originally would have been traveling to Chicago-Sid tells me, “It’s next week.”  He tells me to come and see George on Monday and talk with him about our schedule for Tuesday. I go and see George at the Distillery on Monday and he says to come in early on Tuesday to talk with Paul and confirm with him about me speaking to his group.  Even though it wasn’t officially confirmed yet, I felt really good about this opportunity.  So, that’s why I wasn’t really meant to go to the NRA show in Chicago this year.  There’s always next year.  Sometimes we may have a plan but something bigger and better is in store if we will listen and allow ourselves to be lead. wpid-20150514_210420-1.jpgwpid-20150514_203944.jpg wpid-20150514_205050.jpg wpid-20150514_205115-1.jpgwpid-20150514_203643.jpg wpid-20150514_152028-1.jpg wpid-20150514_145343.jpg wpid-20150514_145402.jpg wpid-20150514_145308-1.jpgwpid-20150512_105838-1.jpgwpid-20150512_105159-1.jpg Over the course of two days, 4 sessions, I was privileged to stand in front of about 225 students from the Bartenders Union here in Las Vegas.  225 as opposed to 40,000? you might ask.  Absolutely, these 225 or so, students sat, listening in rapt attention.  I was given a nice introduction and  a warm welcome.  I didn’t have to chase people all around a convention center and ask if they would like to listen to my message.  These Service professionals were interested and wanting to learn.  And seated. As I was preparing for what I would be sharing with this group, it dawned on me that Bartenders are really the unsung heroes of the Front of the House.  I often say that Front of the House staff are the unsung heroes in any restaurant-as the chef most often is the one to receive the accolades.  But I’m also realizing that Bartenders are kind of left out in the cold themselves.  They are almost always the first ones in, the last ones out.  They rarely are privy to the pre-shift line up/meeting.  They are usually setting up their bar as the rest of the service team is learning about the specials, who is on the books for the evening and any other matters of business that are discussed.  I know this is not in all establishments but it is pretty common in the industry.  What this often results in is bartenders not having the same menu/food knowledge as the servers.  During my presentation to these Bar Professionals I challenged them to consider a few ideas. 1. Setting the Tone- You, as a bar professional must always be conscious that you often set the tone for a dining guest.  A guest may be sitting at your bar just for one drink while waiting to be seated at a table.  How you greet and welcome that guest to your bar will have a lasting impression upon them.  Are you a bartender that waits for the guest to greet or speak to you?  Don’t be.  Are you one of those bartenders that basically just grunts at the guest or says, “What can I getya?”  Be pleasant, upbeat, engaging and have positive energy.  If you welcome your guest in  a pleasant  and friendly manner and set a positive tone for their evening, they may very well change their mind and decide to sit at your bar to eat and tell the hostess, to never mind about the table.  You are the one who determines how your guest’s experience at your bar is going to be.  Regardless how long they are at your bar your attitude and approach will influence how their experience and how the rest of their day will be. 2. Servant Heart- There is an entire chapter in my book, Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service, covering this topic.  It is all too common these days to encounter Service Professionals who actually DON’T ENJOY SERVING PEOPLE.   I hear people in the Service Industry complaining about guests and saying things like, “I’m not your servant”, or “I’m not here to serve you,” etc.  Well, here’s a newsflash-if you don’t have a servant heart, that is if you don’t really enjoy serving others, then you are in the wrong business.  This includes bartenders.  I challenge you to dig deep inside yourself and consider if you are really meant to be in this business.  Let me share a secret with you, as you develop a servant heart, and you get to the point that you really, truly enjoy serving others, you will get so much joy and blessing from it that you will not be able to contain it.  As you give, you will be more blessed than the one you are serving/giving to.  I know you are a bartender, but what you do is so much more than just serving food and drink to customers. 3. It’s a Show-and You are the Performer! As  a Service & Hospitality professional-as a Bartender, you are a performer. Once you walk behind that bar, you are on stage.  It doesn’t matter if you are open or not, if you’re there-the Show is on.  It may be just the previews but you must realize that people are coming to see a show.  And every guest that comes to your bar is there for a different reason. Some want to drown their sorrows, some want to have fun.  Others may just want a quiet relaxing evening. Still others are there to meet people.  There is an excitement that people feel as they go to their favorite restaurant or bar that is akin to the same feeling they have when they’re getting ready to go see a show or their favorite artist in concert.  Just like a performer on stage, you have to leave your problems at home, put on  a smile (not a fake one) and focus on the task at hand-the Show. To quote Michael Balabon in Getting to WOW!  Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service :

“For some people this is the place you go to end your busy week on a high note. It’s what you look forward to all week long.  The excitement and anticipation builds and as you walk in the front door your pulse races.  Guests are expecting a Show.  From the sights they see and the aromas they smell; to the interaction they have with other guests and the service staff, these elements all culminate as they would in any theatrical performance.  There is a beautiful drama that should unfold at the table/bar throughout the meal.  The service professional has at his/her disposal, multiple opportunities to add theatrical elements.  The perfectly time arrival to the table, the culinary concept description, the ability to craft and create a culinary (or cocktail) journey for the guest and the manner in which they carry themselves mentally and physically throughout the meal, these all add drama to the experience. …A good drama, a show, a performance.   Your guests should feel as if something magical just took place and they want more of it.” I truly  appreciated the opportunity to share the message of Getting to WOW! with these wonderful bar professionals.  I salute you all.  You have the opportunity to brighten someone’s day and make a difference in the lives of those that come and sit at your bar.  Let them feel that something magical just took place.  That’s a pretty cool feeling. I want to thank George Racz of Las Vegas Distillery and Paul Femia of the Bartenders Union for hosting me to speak at this event.  This was a wonderful, exciting experience for me.  Glad I didn’t book a flight to Chicago!  Also, special Thanks to Frank White for filming our last session-you can view it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5YdqHapjHk Thank you for reading!  Please feel free to Share this blog with family and friends.  I encourage you to Like our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SoupFly/1438615929733655 Also, if you would like to receive an email alert when a fresh serving of Soupfly is posted, please hit the FOLLOW button below.  Soupfly comes out once a week. If you want to get yourself a copy of this amazing book that will help you elevate your Service & Hospitality-You may a signed copy here: http://www.gettingtowowbook.com/ Untitled1 (2)

God bless you all and Cheers!! Christoff J. Weihman ASPIRE Enterprises wpid-20150405_133517-1.jpg

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In Celebration of Nurses

WELCOME  BACK TO SOUPFLY! 

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This week is National Nurses Week.   My wife, Michelle, is a nurse with nearly 20 years of experience-from interventional radiology, to ER, to ICU.  So,  with that in mind, I thought it only fitting to take a departure from our norm of sharing about a dining experience that we had and instead focus on Service & Hospitality from a different perspective.

This week, Soupfly celebrates the unsung heroes of the medical industry-Nurses.  

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As I was finishing my book, Getting to WOW!, Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service, Michelle would often share with me how nurses and servers in a restaurant are very similar in so many ways.  Nurses, like servers are the ones who are most intimately related with the customer/patient.  When I would talk with her about principles of Service & Hospitality that I was writing about in the book, she would explain to me that the same holds true in the medical field. In fact, as I was writing the book with the Food & Beverage/Restaurant Industry in mind, it eventually became clear to me-(Michelle knew it immediately-I guess I’m a little slow) that the principles I share in Getting to WOW! are applicable across the board-no matter what industry one works in.  If you are dealing with, selling to, or serving customers, guests, patrons, clients, patients or employees (your internal customers), then the content in Getting to WOW! applies to you.

The more we discussed it, the more it made sense to me to dedicate a portion of a chapter to that very topic: Servers Are Like Nurses-so, with permission of the author-me, I would like to share with you a part of the chapter entitled, Getting a Servant’s Heart: 

Servers are like Nurses

My wife, Michelle, is a registered nurse and works in the ICU of a major hospital in Las Vegas.  She has more than 20 years of experience as a nurse.  Although she has never taken an order or carried a tray, or ever done anything in the service industry-that is, she’s never worked in a restaurant-we both agree that our two industries are so very similar.  When I think of a person with a Servant Heart, I would say that Michelle definitely fits the description.  In fact, she epitomizes it. Yes, I’m biased but I know I’m right on this one.   

Nurses are to the medical field what servers are to the Service and Hospitality industry.  Nurses do all the dirty work, so to speak, and oftentimes, literally and the doctors get all the praise and glory.  Servers, similarly, are on the front lines in the front of the house, but the Chefs get all the accolades.  In both industries there are tasks that are vital to the operation/success of the business yet not desirable by those who must perform them.

Although, there is a lot of technical and medical knowledge that nurses must call upon from their training, on a daily basis to care for their patients-as in checking and recording vitals, communicating medical information to them and their families, administering medicine and a myriad of other things,  they also do many other non-glamorous things for their patients like-feeding and  bathing them, propping them up in their beds, moving them, helping them use the bathroom, emptying bedpans, etc.  

These other tasks are equally as vital to the patient’s care, comfort, and well-being as the former ones are.  And Michelle, truly has a calling to care for and serve people.  We all know that nurses do command a very good income and rightfully so. But although, I know Michelle is very happy and grateful for her compensation, her primary motivation is not the money.  She cares for the people.  That is what God has called her to do.  And gifted her to do. 

In the same way, I am saying that if you want to be, believe you are to be, in this business of Service and Hospitality, in whatever capacity, somehow, someway, you must develop a Servant Heart.  If you don’t enjoy serving others but you just love the money and the flexibility of schedule-you will not be truly successful.  In fact, deep down you will be miserable.

Truly, Nurses are the backbone of the medical profession, at least in my opinion.

Michelle has a plastic bracelet that she wears to work which has a very simple yet profound message on it:

I AM THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE

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To me, that really sums it up.  Remember, a patient in a hospital is, most of the time, an unwilling customer, as in they didn’t really choose to be there, unlike a restaurant guest, who, usually is in your establishment by choice.  For a patient, whatever their experience during their hospital stay, by and large is going to be equated with how well they felt the nurse(s) took care of them.  I AM THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE..  When that patient says that hospital did a great job of taking care of me-they’re usually referring to the nurses.  When a patient says they ignored me and let me be in pain, that patient is referring to the nurse(s).  You, the Nurse, one person per shift, (at least in ICU) are the representative of the hospital in the mind of the customer, the patient.  If the hospital gets a positive review-usually it’s thanks to the Nurse(s).  I’m not trying to minimize or diminish the part that the doctors play but the reality is that the nurses are there 24/7 available to the customer-the patient.

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I’ve learned from Michelle that there are certain protocol, certain steps and procedures that are to be followed by the nursing staff, and yet it is possible for a nurse to follow such protocol to the “T” and still not really provide great Service to the customer, the patient.  Why?  For one thing, I believe that just as in the Service & Hospitality Industry there are some who are in it only for the money, so too, sometimes is the case in nursing.  This is just my opinion, but technical skills and ability without the heart of a Servant leaves something lacking.

This philosophy needs to be understood, embraced and applied in every industry-I AM THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

If a guest leaves a restaurant feeling great and looking forward to return-it’s usually, largely, due to the efforts of the server or the service team.  When the customer/guest says that they really like a restaurant-most of the time, you can bet that they are not referring to the management staff.  Yes, the quality of the food is important-but good food with sub-par service will not entice the guest to return.

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YOU THE SERVER, THE BARTENDER, THE FOH STAFF, ARE THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.  

In a hospital environment, it is not the wonderful comfort of the hospital bed, nor is it the ambience of the room, nor the medicine administered, nor the food-that causes a patient to remark favorably about their stay-Rather, it is largely due to kindness, the care, the positive upbeat attitude and the overall Service & Hospitality of the nurse or the nursing team that was by his side during this most difficult time.

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I could write the equivalent of 10 posts about how important nurses are and how the ones who do it well are like angels to their patients.  I know of numerous times when Michelle’s patients told her exactly that-that she was their angel.  I know that it wasn’t just because of her technical skills and her ability to properly and efficiently execute protocols.  I know that she doesn’t just walk into a patient’s room and start poking and prodding and taking vitals etc., even if the patient is asleep-which I know is a very common occurrence. She actually talks to, engages her customer/patient and explains what she is about to do to them. A nurse with a Servant Heart will do this.  One who doesn’t have a
Servant heart will be efficient yet very cold in their manner.  I AM THE PATIENT EXPERIENCE

What feeling do your patients, customers, or guests take with them when they leave your establishment?

Do they feel well cared for, that you genuinely were interested in their well-being, their experience?  Or do they feel like they’re just a number, just another body, just another customer?

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I’m sure all of us have had our lives touched, encouraged, blessed, healed by a nurse’s care. If not you personally, then I’m sure someone close to you. I am blessed to be married to, not only an Amazing woman but an awesome nurse, Michelle Renee Weihman
God bless our nurses. We love and honor you for your care and service.

Thank you for reading! As always, I encourage and invite you to Share on Social Media and send us your comments.

God Bless you and Cheers!

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Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV

Order your signed copy of Getting to WOW! Everybody WINS with 5 Star Service TODAY!!

http://www.gettingtowowbook.com/

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