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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One thought on “The Bartender-a Service Professional, a Servant, a Showman and so much more!

  1. As are most people I assume, my wife and I are creatures of habit when it comes to eating out. We frequent the places where we have made some great friends of the serving staff and in most cases, the managers. I agree with the fact that going places like an eatery, should be a magical experience that leaves you wanting more. Now to my short story. We eat at a theme italian restaurant at least twice per month (no not that one, the other one. Starts with an “R”) and they happen to have singing servers. Our favorite one (and I wont mention her name without her permission) will usually sing at least two songs while we dine. Most of them are operatic in nature as she studied music and has sung professionally in many musicals. The story is that she is not always our server, but in spite of that, my wife and I enjoy her sudden deliverence of joy with her voice so much, that I always make sure that she is graced with a small thank you. My way of showing her that we love to hear her sing. This weekend she happened to be our server and we spent a major portion of the evening speaking to her about her travels while singing professionally. Well needless to say, we had one of the most enjoyable evenings there in a long time so we are anxious to go back and visit our friend. The sad part of this story is that she went on to tell us how at times, she has had people react very negatively to her sudden outburst of singing to the point of making her feel regretfull. I told her that like us, most of the diners appear to enjoy her singing and to continue at our request. She was so thankful and you could tell that she felt it deep within her heart that her songs were so well received by us. It was magical for us, but more so, I could tell it made her night and it was my absolute pleasure. Oh and by the way, she is also a great food server. Great food servers, are worth their weight in gold.

    Liked by 2 people

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