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Those of us living here in Las Vegas are really quite spoiled, with amazing weather, sun nearly 300 days a year, beautiful mountains, very little traffic, AND it is a restaurant mecca. Las Vegas boasts some of the finest dining destinations in the world. Having lived here for just 3 years, Michelle and I have had the pleasure of dining at many places, both on and off the strip and yet, we still have a V-E-R-Y long list of venues to experience. Two of the places that we have had the pleasure of enjoying are Rivea & Skyfall, the newest gems in Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Crown, truly shine.
Rivea- the restaurant, and Skyfall Lounge are the newest iterations of legendary French Chef, Alain Ducasse’ restaurant portfolio in Las Vegas. They are the newly renovated and rebranded venues that replaced what previously were known as MiX Restaurant and MiX Lounge. I devoted an entire Soupfly post to MiX in the past:https://soupfly.wordpress.com/?s=mix
After a very successful 10 year run, MiX closed down for a handful of months last year, and after a 7 Million dollar renovation, Rivea Restaurant and Skyfall Lounge were unveiled in late September 2015. As stunning in their decor and ambience as Rivea and Skyfall are to behold, with the Murano glass chandelier, wave tile muralled wall, the private room with lighting that matches the constellations above and having one of the best views of the Las Vegas Strip-it is the Service and Hospitality of the team that really brings the WOW! Still led by Chef Bruno and General Manager Sebastien, Rivea and Skyfall absolutely shine. Michelle and I were invited to the Grand Opening last year, we dined at Rivea for our 2nd year wedding anniversary in November and recently, last week, we attended the Vegas Legal Magazine Champagne party.
Each of the times that we’ve been to these locations, we have been absolutely amazed at the Service and Hospitality of the entire team. Now before I go any further, full disclosure, yes, I am biased, because I had the privilege of training the staff of both Rivea and Skyfall for their opening. I shared with them the importance of Setting the Tone, of Reading the Guest, and understanding that this is a Show. The time I spent training this team was one of the best, most gratifying experiences for me, since I began doing Getting to WOW! Service and Hospitality training last year. These young men and women were fully engaged, filled with a high level of positive energy and hungry to learn. I shared with them that they were absolutely set up for success. I told them that they have the opportunity to be one of the best venues in the city. If the owners invested 7 million dollars into a renovation, you can be sure that they have high expectations for success. And that high expectation carries over to the staff.
So, perhaps you may think my vision is clouded, because I am a part of the story. True, like Sebastien said to me at the Grand Opening, that I did play a part and I can take some credit, and I am very grateful for that opportunity. However, precisely because of that, I’m perhaps even more critical in my assessment, because I know what they were taught and what is expected of them.
To say that this front of the house team knows how to deliver WOW! Service is a huge understatement. This front of the house team gets it. They resonate with a joy of serving. They are welcoming and warm. There is a positive energy that exudes from each of them and it is so refreshing to experience. From the hostesses that greet us at the entrance to the elevator, to the bartenders, the cocktail servers, the servers, the bussers, the food runners-all of them are focused on creating a great service experience for the guests.
As I’ve said before, it all starts at the top. Management leads the way to success of any establishment. Huge credit and props go to all the leadership team from Chef Ducasse, to his executives, Yannis-(and another gentleman whom I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet) to the management team of General Manager Sebastien, Assistant General Manager Olivier-who recently took a new position at Atelier de Joel Robuchon (https://www.mgmgrand.com/en/restaurants/latelier-joel-robuchon-french-restaurant.html), Managers: Philip, Alejandro, Paul, Nick and Sommelier Matthew. I congratulate each of them for their obvious dedication and commitment to creating a 5 Star Service Experience for each guest every time. Chef Bruno and his culinary crew also, do a marvelous job creating amazing food. It is also evident that there is a true synergy between front of the house and the back of the house-the kitchen.
When Michelle and I dined at Rivea last November for our anniversary, we were overwhelmed with the welcome by almost every member of the front of the house staff. So many of them, servers, hostesses, bussers, food runners, bartenders came by our table or greeted us on the way in or on the way out or as we walked to the restroom, saying “Congratulations”, “Happy Anniversary Mr. and Mrs. Weihman” “Thank you for dining with us” etc. Now I’m sure that most likely, Olivier or Sebastien mentioned to them in pre-shift that we were coming in and that it was our anniversary, but the sincerity and warmth with which each one congratulated us truly touched us in a positive and meaningful way.
Our food was amazing, with both gluten free choices for my wife and pesca-vegan choices for me. It was such an enjoyable, relaxed, pleasant evening. The team that served us, led by Mike, were on point and hitting the mark. Olivier came by to visit with us more than once. All around it was one of our best dining experiences here in Las Vegas.
What also was so touching was when one of the bussers, Jesus, said to me after dinner, “Christoff, You taught us in the training that it’s so important to have a servant heart in this business, and everyday when I come to work I have that in my mind. I learned so much from your training.” What an amazing feeling that was. And Jesus certainly expresses that true servant heart in his manner of relating to every guest. We’ve witnessed it not only towards us but with all the other guests as well.
I also, teach that the desired outcome for any service experience is for the customer, the guest, to leave your establishment with a positive feeling. Things may possibly go wrong, or there may be some Soupfly, but if the guest is greeted with a warm welcome and the team truly endeavors to create a great experience for the guest, the guest will leave happy, pleased and with a fond memory of the establishment because of the people that served him. This has been our experience each of the three times we’ve been to Rivea and Skyfall.
There is much more I could say, but I will end here with this. I am very impressed with the team at Rivea and Skyfall. I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the story. And I encourage all of you, if you live in Las Vegas, to make a reservation and go, eat, drink, dine, experience the gem that is Rivea and Skyfall at Mandalay Bay. Likewise, if you come to Vegas to visit, please do yourself a huge favor and put Rivea and Skyfall on your list of must dos. You will thank me. To the Rivea/Skyfall team, I say thank you, congratulations and keep it going!
P.S. a big thank you to Olivier De Roany, the former AGM, now at Atelier de Joel Robuchon at the MGM, for first allowing me to interview him and contributing to my book, Getting to WOW! and for connecting me with the F & B Executive team at Mandalay Bay. Had it not been for him getting the ball rolling, I would not have had the opportunity to be “a part of the story” of Rivea and Skyfall. Thanks Olivier!
Thanks for Reading! I am so grateful for all my Soupfly readers from 100 plus countries around the world!
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Elevating Service and Hospitality,
Christoff J. Weihman
Las Vegas, NV