Deep Thoughts… on hospitality
… I recently started working on a Training Manual for Moving Sidewalk, and thought I would share the intro, which basically reflects my approach to Service and Hospitality
“Service and hospitality
People go to bars for various reasons. Most go to have a good time, to escape their problems or their coworkers, to celebrate and see friends and friendly faces. Lots of people nowadays go to bars because they are attracted to the quality of product (craft cocktails, beer, wine,) though this is a relatively new-ish phenomenon (at least in our own lifetimes.)
“Everything tastes better when you are in a good mood.” Remember that.
Our job as bartenders is to be the ultimate hosts. Each and every night we are inviting guests in to our home (the bar), showing them a good time and throwing a party. While we take our craft extremely seriously and obsess about the tiniest of details, at the end of the day, if we are not showing people a good time by being hospitable hosts, the ultimate hosts, what’s in the glass doesn’t really matter all that much.
A key to success here is to always be reading the people seated in front of you. You must be able to develop the ability to tailor your service based on the cues that the guests are giving you. For example, a couple on a first date should require plenty of space at first, but it may be your duty to help one of the parties recover an awkward moment; the guy that was in the night before who is back with a group of his friends whom he is showing his new discovery (our bar!) needs to be recognized and made to feel important; while your regulars who come in and see you every Saturday afternoon probably want to hear about your week, the date you went on, your upcoming travel plans, etc. (you should probably ask the MOD if we can buy them a round); and that grumpy guy reading the New York Times drinking single malt with one cube that he takes out halfway through, just wants to be left alone. Pick up the cube, fill his water to let him know you’re around and stay out of his way.
Additionally, while its fun to geek out about gin botanicals, copper pot stills, hop varietals and the like, remember that guests rarely come in wanting to be lectured or made to feel like they are being told how and /or what to drink. There are exceptions of course, and a good many people do come in because they value our expertise, and will want to talk your ear off all evening about their trip to the Basque Region and the similarities and differences between Cognac and Armagnac- by all means engage them, learn a thing or two, and if its appropriate, show off a little bit of your own knowledge.
Now, please don’t take this as a way of saying that you should curb your enthusiasm regarding your craft, just remember that the guest experience has to come first. Additionally, if a guest orders something that you are not a fan of, remember that our negative opinions of guests’ orders are simply that, opinions- store them with your opinions on religion and politics. But do be excited and show enthusiasm about the things you enjoy. When a guest orders your favorite single barrel Bourbon, talk to him or her about it, be engaging, pour them a taste of something comparable that they haven’t tried, etc. …”
Lets hear it!
Cheers! Alex Gregg.