Tag Archive | Andiron Steak & Sea

Managers; Lead Your Team to Greatness

Welcome Back to Soupfly!

Now that the 1.5 Billion dollar Powerball Fever and Frenzy is over, we can all get back to focusing on reality. (I’m assuming that you did not win. I did not win either, but I did not play, nor did I even give it a thought.)

Today, I’d like to talk to, and about, managers, owners, operators-anyone in a leadership role.  If you are not in such a position, you may still do well to read on because what we discuss may prompt you to take action to better your situation.  Or, it may give you some food for thought that you can use in the future if, and when, you step in to the role of a manager, owner/operator.  I also hope that it will help you have a better understanding & appreciation for the role and expectations of management.


Success or Failure Always Starts at the Top

Let me start by saying that a great manager or management team (this includes the owner-if they are involved in daily operations) is absolutely one of the key factors in a restaurant’s or business’ success.  As I’ve stated many times before, it all starts at the top. If the manager is motivated, engaged, involved, caring and aware of what’s going on, then it normally follows suit that the team as a whole will also be those things…motivated, engaged, etc.

Conversely, if the manager lacks energy, is completely disengaged, unaware and spends most of their time in the office, then the team is going to suffer and the customers as well.  The team members who are naturally self-motivated, self starters who take initiative, will continue to do so, and they are usually the ones that managers depend upon.  Your A players make you, the manager, look good.  But this can only last for so long. After a period of time-even your star players, those who do care, are going to either stop caring because they see that you don’t, or they’ll keep going until one day they just can’t take it anymore and they’ll leave.  The rest of the staff,-the non-A players,  will do the bare minimum, not take initiative, lack energy and self-motivation, and eventually become the downfall of the organization. However, the failure of the business can be traced directly back to the manager or management team.

If you’ve been following me and/or Soupfly for any amount of time, you know that my wife, Michelle and I go out for dinner, drinks, happy hour etc. quite often. Well,  this past Holiday Season it seemed that we went out considerably more than normal. Hey, it’s the holidays, right?  Time to celebrate and enjoy life.  We experienced dinner, happy hour etc. at at least a dozen different places.  Some on the Las Vegas Strip, some in Summerlin where we live.  Some upscale and others very low key and casual.

During each of those different outings I was very aware of  the variety and difference of the management from one place to the next.  At some of those restaurants, like Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian Churrascaria, the management presence was evident.  They walked the floor, greeted and seated guests and were very involved in the service operation. The entire team exudes an overall warmth and friendliness.  That is very refreshing and in itself can override any potential Soupfly that may occur.  I attribute this positive energy to the management team.  You staff will follow the tone that you set.

At Andiron Steak and Sea, where we dined for New Year’s Eve Masquerade dinner, as we entered we were  greeted by Andrew, the manager, and the very friendly host team. Moments later, we were greeted yet again and quite exuberantly  by Stephen, the G.M. Shortly after being seated, our good friend and manager, Joe, was at our tableside pouring champagne.  All this attention certainly made us feel welcome.  After a couple initial hiccups, (which we brought to Stephen’s attention) were ironed out, everything went smoothly from that point on.  Was everything perfect?  No, but it started well and ended well.  And the team, led by our server, Richard (I believe that is his name) did a great job.  Again, the smoothness of the service flow is due greatly to the leadership of the management team.


Restaurants like Andiron, that have a strong management team who are engaged and involved, tend to have staff that are equally engaged and who take ownership of the service they deliver. This is the type of establishment that I most enjoy going to where we are warmly welcomed but the service doesn’t end there. When a manager sets expectations of their staff, and they themselves are also involved in the execution of them, success is sure to be in their future. Or present, even.

Contrast the above examples with two other fine dining steakhouses that we dined at recently where the scene was quite the opposite.  At one, no manager was present on the floor, although she was at the host stand. But even there her demeanor seemed quite aloof and uninviting.  And at the other place, the manager was present on the floor but seemingly unaware and unengaging.   From time to time he walked through, but never once stopped to greet or acknowledge a guest.  This can be a bit annoying for the guest sometimes. It’s as if the manager is watching the room but afraid to just smile at and acknowledge his guests.


I’ve been told by more than a couple managers that they don’t need to “babysit” their staff.  They say they have competent staff who know what they’re doing.  That may be the case, however, being present as a manager during the operation of your business does not mean that you don’t trust your staff.  On the contrary, it shows to the customer that you care.  As the staff is doing their job, competently, this frees you up to be able to engage your customers and show that you appreciate their business and connect with them. As a manager, or owner/operator, wouldn’t you want to know who your customers are?  Or is it just enough that they are here dining now?  With so many different choices for the dining public or for that matter, any type of business, if a customer continues to feel unwelcome or unappreciated, that customer will eventually or soon take his business elsewhere.  Unfortunately, at least in restaurants, many times the only time a manager makes an appearance to a guest is if there’s a complaint.  That’s not the best way to meet your customers.  Being a manager should mean more than putting out fires and recovering from Soupflies.

The job, expectations and responsibilities of a manager are vast and almost innumerable.  Being a manager, while those not in the position may think it’s glamorous with many a perk, in reality,  is very stress-filled, under appreciated, and often (until a certain level is reached)  underpaid. So, I truly appreciate all that the position entails.  I respect and admire those who do it well.  They shine.  They also empower their team to shine and it’s a beautiful thing.  And this holds true in any industry, not only in the restaurant business.

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Being a manager in any industry is replete with great responsibility, and with that also is great opportunity.  You, as the manager-even if you are not at the top  of the management totem pole at your establishment, can effect great success for your team and the business as a whole.  You must, however, embrace it, the good with the challenges.

You must realize that you are a leader.  So, if that be the case.  The question I have for you is: Where or to what are you leading your team?  Do you have a plan, a strategy to lead your team to greatness, to success in 2016?  Or are you a leader without a title and you plan to lead your peers to greatness by example?  The world is looking for and longing for great leaders.  Customers are hoping for and expecting the companies they do business with, where they spend their hard earned money, to be led by managers and operators who truly care about their customers and engage them.  If you do that it can only help your business grow and succeed.  It will make your team feel more confident, your customers will like you more and you will feel great about yourself.

In 2016 let this be the year that you step into your greatness.  If you are a manager, you are in this position for a reason.  I applaud you, I encourage you to embrace your position and all that goes with it and choose today to lead your team to success.  And I know that, to quote Joel Osteen,  “You can, you will”

Thank you for Reading!  I am so grateful for ALL my Soupfly Readers from around the world.  I invite and welcome your comments.  Please Like our Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/SoupFly-1438615929733655/

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God Bless and Cheers!

Elevating Service and Hospitality,


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Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV
















Honey Salt & Hrair (Two Great Examples of Service & Hospitality Excellence)



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First I want to start by introducing you all to someone who truly understands Service & Hospitality.  No, this person is not the owner of the newest, hot restaurant on the strip.  Nor is this person a Michelin starred chef.  This person is not the most amazing server or bartender I’ve ever met.  In fact, this person doesn’t technically work in the Service & Hospitality industry.  I want to introduce you to Hrair-pronounced “ha-riah”.   Hrair, is the owner of Park Avenue Drycleaners in Summerlin, Nevada.  That’s right he’s my dry cleaner.


This is a guy who gets what I talk about in my book.  He understands about the importance of the greeting.  Even if he is in the back pre-occupied momentarily, he will acknowledge the customer standing at the front and tell them that he’ll be right there.  He always is smiling, and sometimes, I believe that I’ve heard him singing as he comes to the counter.  He has an unassuming demeanor,  a pleasant personality and a positive attitude about him.  Yes, he’s my dry cleaner.  Yes, my interaction with him is just for a few minutes once a week but I can tell you it is so refreshing to be a customer of someone like Hrair.

What else makes him so special?  For one thing, he is very accommodating.  What do I mean by that? Well, just as in how I order when I eat in a restaurant, yes, I do make modification requests, so too, I do the same, even when I go to the dry cleaners.  I don’t like the metal hangers that dry cleaners use. Rather than transferring my dry cleaned clothes when I get home to my own plastic hangers- I just bring them to Hrair when I drop off my clothes.  What else?  I don’t like the plastic that covers the clothes.  So, I request no plastic on my clothes.  Hrair, smiles, and says “yes” every time.  I know that my special requests probably takes him a bit more time to do my clothes.  But never once has he grumbled or complained-at least not to me.

Upbeat, positive, friendly, personable, accommodating-what more could one want in  a service provider?  Hrair is a true example of Service & Hospitality Excellence.  We can all learn from his simple yet effective example.  Oh, and he takes pride in his work.  How do I know this?  Because he asks me if I was happy with the way he did my clothes.  I don’t think any other dry cleaner that I’ve ever met has done this.  But you see, Hrair, cares about his work and about his customer’s satisfaction.

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If any of my readers live in Las Vegas, and specifically the Summerlin area-I highly recommend that you give Hrair and Park Ave. Cleaners a try.  You will be very happy meeting and bringing business to this gentleman.


This past week my wife, Michelle and I have enjoyed two great dinners out-both at favorite restaurants of ours.

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First, on Friday night, we dined at -Honey Salt in Summerlin.  Honey Salt is a farm to table style restaurant.  The staff there are friendly, upbeat and welcoming.  The owner-Kim Canteenwalla actually wrote a nice endorsement for my book a few months ago and provided some great content for the chapter entitled Getting to Know Your Guests.  Michelle and I both consider the octopus at Honey Salt to be the best we’ve had.  We’ve even had octopus at some finer establishments on the Las Vegas strip but none compare with the tenderness and taste of Honey Salt’s octopus.


Our server, Travis was very friendly, enthusiastic and knowledgeable.  He knew his wines and did a wonderful job presenting, decanting and pouring.  His team was helpful and we didn’t have to ask for anything except a serving spoon for the appetizer.  Michelle enjoyed the scallops-easily one of the best things on the menu.  For my entree I had the baked cod.  It was so moist and flavorful. Very enjoyable.  Travis always made sure that he was at our table within seconds of a course being served, to ensure that we were enjoying everything.  My only suggestion for improvement is that sometimes the runners would auction the food rather than knowing which of us ordered what-and they don’t always make it a priority to serve ladies first.

We always have a great dinner or brunch at Honey Salt.  The ambience and decor are very appealing, the seats-especially the booths are very comfortable.  The management staff are engaging.  The food and service are excellent.  My only question for you, my readers, is-if you live in Vegas and you have not yet made your way to Honey Salt-why not?  You absolutely must treat yourself and go-You will be very happy that you did.  In fact, we are having a Getting to WOW! and Giving Back Mega Book Launch Brunch on Sunday, March 22 at Honey Salt from 10:30 am to 2:00 pm.  Here is the link with the information.  Please come and Join us!


Our next Getting to WOW! and Giving Back Mega Book Launch Event will be Monday, March 16 at Fleming’s Townsquare from 4:30-6:30pm.  We are partnering with Three Square-Southern Nevada’s local food bank for all of our Book Launch events.

Our Goal is to raise $1000.00 for Three Square.  Thus far we’ve only hit about $200.00 of our goal.

YOU CAN HELP-We invite you to come to our events and not only support this new author-me, but to also help contribute to Three Square.

If you live in Las Vegas-please join us on March 16 at Fleming’s and on March 22 at Honey Salt.


If you don’t live in Las Vegas and you wish to contribute-you may purchase a copy of Getting to WOW!-for $25.00-$3.00 of which will be donated to Three Square.


If you would like to contribute additionally, please message me and we will explain how to make that happen.

You may email me at: Christoff@ASPIRE2WOW.COM

And of course the team of Blau & Associates-Kim Canteenwalla and Elizabeth Blau, opened their newest  and much anticipated Andiron Steak and Sea yesterday in Downtown Summerlin.  Like many of our Las Vegas friends, Michelle and I are eager to dine at Andiron.  I know it’s going to be amazing!

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I’ll tell you about our other great dinner from last weekend in my next post.

Thank you all for reading.  I invite you to like our Facebook page and to Share on Social Media.

Soupfly continues to add readers from new countries!  We want to welcome new readers from Andorra, Sierra Leone and Tunisia!!

God bless you all and Cheers!

I hope you are all still focused on making 2015 your best year yet!

Christoff J. Weihman

ASPIRE Enterprises

Las Vegas, NV