Wednesday, July 30, 2008
When I started working as a banquet manager at this hotel, most of my waiters worked here around 7 years and some up to 15 years. After a few days of observation, I made a list of the things I know we can do better on and planned the steps needed to make it happen. No big deal, I've done this many times before.
When I sat with the staff and informed them of the changes that will happen (mind you - I only started with 5 things out of my list of around 20) you would have thought I asked them to sell me their first born child! I heard every excuse in the book - this wouldn't work or that's too hard to do. Then...they said the one thing that drives me crazy - "but we've always done it that way".
I don't care how you've done it in the past, this is how it will be done from this day on. Maybe if your ways of the past were so good then all the service scores for this department would be much better! S.A.L.T scores were bad, Meeting Planner Surveys were bad, and so on...
Well to make a long story much shorter, my staff learned how to work better, smarter, and became more productive. And best of all, we started to provide a much better product. The service turned from average to great. They were now able to anticipate the guests needs instead of just reacting to their complaints.
It was a lot of hard work changing these dinosaurs but it was worth it. Now I have a department that I am very proud of.
Add a comment to this post and tell me (and all the readers of this blog) what you've done to improve the service of your banquet department. Thanks again.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Saturday, July 26, 2008
It seemed a little strange. When the busboy brought our water and utensils, I observed that he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket.
Then I looked around and saw that all the staff had spoons in their pockets. When the waiter came back to serve our soup I inquired, 'Why the spoon?'
“Well,” he explained, “the restaurant's owner hired Andersen Consulting to revamp all of our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour.
If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift.”
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he replaced it with his spare. “I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now.” I was impressed.
I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly.
Looking around, I saw that all of the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies. So, before he walked off, I asked the waiter, “Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?”
“Oh, certainly!” Then he lowered his voice. “Not everyone is so observant. That consulting firm I mentioned also learned that we can save time in the restroom.
By tying this string to the tip of our “you-know-what”, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39%.
I asked quietly, “After you get it out, how do you put it back?”
“Well,” he whispered! , “I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon.”
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Do you write a food related blog and looking for additional "traffic"? Then you should look at a blog carnival.
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But remember...all entries must be submitted before July 31st.
Read more at the Soup To Nuts Carnival.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Well, during a wedding last weekend, I was asked by a guest if he could order a few bottles of wine and have it served at his table. "Sure", I said. I went to get our full wine menu and brought it to him. He ordered 4 very good bottles of wine and I looked forward to a nice bill. I set up a separate bar tab for him and he was going to put the charges on his credit card later on, no problem.
My staff gave freshly polished red and white glass to each guest and got the wine bucket ready. I performed the usual wine presentation procedure, and opened all 4 bottles table-side. He tasted the wines and was very happy. Then I served all his table guests and followed up during the next hour or so. They were having a great time. So far so good!
A short while later he ordered 2 more bottles. Now the tab came to just shy of $1400.00. Not bad for a little extra revenue during a wedding.
As the night came to a close, he approached me and asked if he could settle the bill. "Sure" I said, "I would be happy to". I rang-up the charges and presented the check to him without adding a service charge (BIG mistake)!
He gave me his credit card but didn't add ANY gratuity to the bill. He said "I'll take care of you later". Ok, what can I do now? Nothing but wait I guess.
I processed his card for over $1400.00, after tax, and gave him his receipt. Then I waited...and waited, and waited...
Well, as you guessed it, the night ended. He was totally wasted at this point and came over to me all sweaty from dancing with his clothes all a mess.
"Hey, thanks a lot for the wine", he said, and placed some bills in my hand. "Thank you sir" I said then he was off. I put the money in my pocket and went about checking my staff to make sure they were clearing the room so we could all go home.
Later on I put my hand in my pocket to retrieve the "nice tip" on a $1400 tab. All I got was $15.00. A 1% tip...
Just another day as a banquet manager.
I need a REAL job!
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
The sales manager at a Long Island reception hall donated one his kidneys to a rather new friend: A client whose wedding he booked in 2003. Rick Bellando works at Oheka Castle in Huntington, Long Island and rented the historic mansion to Matthew Fulgieri and his bride and became friends with the pair while helping them plan their wedding.
Fulgieri, a 42-year-old father of two in Queens, was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease--a fatal condition and the one that killed his mother. His doctors informed him that both of his kidneys would fail within a year. That is when Bellando offered his customer one of his own. The Daily News describes how the offer came to pass.
Bellando said he never "in a million years" thought he would donate a kidney to his newfound friend, particularly since one of Fulgieri's brothers was prepared to make the sacrifice.
But when tests showed Fulgieri's brother was not a suitable match, Bellando, who has three young girls, said he couldn't bear to watch the disease take the family man away from his wife, Mamie, and young boys.
After 60 hours of tests, Bellando turned out to be a perfect donor match for Fulgieri and he offered to save his life. The two underwent a transplant operation last month and at this time, Fulgieri has been recovering and returned to work Doctors expect him to survive his disease.
About 6,000 die annually waiting for an organ transplant. Medline has dozens of links on the practice of organ donation and transplants. As of this afternoon, 98,158 people are on the waiting list to receive needed organs in the United States.
December 26, 2007
Read original article: Banquet Manager Saves Groom's Life
Monday, July 14, 2008
Then one day she met a man and fell in love. When it became apparent that they would marry she thought to herself, "He is such a sweet and gentle man, he would never go for this carrying on."
She made the supreme sacrifice and gave up beans. Some months later her car broke down on the way home from work. Since she lived in the country she called her husband and told him that she would be late because she had to walk home.
On her way, she passed a small diner and the odor of the baked beans was more than she could stand. Since she still had miles to walk, she figured that she would walk off any ill effects by the time she reached home.
So, she stopped at the diner and before she knew it, she had consumed three large orders of baked beans. All the way home she putt-putted, and upon arriving home she felt reasonably sure she could control it.
Her husband seemed excited to see her and exclaimed delightedly, "Darling, I have a surprise for dinner tonight." He then blindfolded her and led her to her chair at the table.
She seated herself and just as he was about to remove the blindfold from his wife, the telephone rang. He made her promise not to touch the blindfold until he returned. He then went to answer the telephone.
The baked beans she had consumed were still affecting her and the pressure was becoming almost unbearable, so while her husband was out of the room she seized the opportunity, shifted her weight to one leg and let it go.
It was not only loud, but it smelled like a fertilizer truck running over a skunk in front of a pulpwood mill.
She took her napkin and fanned the air around her vigorously. Then, she shifted to the other cheek and ripped three more, which reminded her of cooked cabbage.
Keeping her ears tuned to the conversation in the other room, she went on like this for another ten minutes.
When the telephone farewells signaled the end of her freedom, she fanned the air a few more times with her napkin, placed it on her lap and folded her hands upon it, smiling contentedly to herself.
She was the picture of innocence when her husband returned, apologizing for taking so long, he asked her if she peeked, and she assured him that she had not.
At this point, he removed the blindfold, and she was surprised!!
There were twelve dinner guests seated around the table to wish her a "Happy Birthday"!!!
Friday, July 11, 2008
By Paul Kane
Monday, June 9, 2008; Page A01
Year after year, decade upon decade, the U.S. Senate's network of restaurants has lost staggering amounts of money -- more than $18 million since 1993, according to one report, and an estimated $2 million this year alone, according to another.
The financial condition of the world's most exclusive dining hall and its affiliated Capital Hill restaurants, cafeterias and coffee shops has become so dire that, without a $250,000 subsidy from taxpayers, the Senate won't make payroll next month.
The embarrassment of the Senate food service struggling like some neighborhood pizza joint has quietly sparked change previously unthinkable for Democrats. Last week, in a late-night voice vote, the Senate agreed to privatize the operation of its food service, a decision that would, for the first time, put it under the control of a contractor and all but guarantee lower wages and benefits for the outfit's new hires.
The House is expected to agree -- its food service operation has been in private hands since the 1980s -- and President Bush's signature on the bill would officially end a seven-month Democratic feud and more than four decades of taxpayer bailouts.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the Rules and Administrations Committee, which oversees the operation of the Senate, said she had no choice.
"It's cratering," she said of the restaurant system. "Candidly, I don't think the taxpayers should be subsidizing something that doesn't need to be. There are parts of government that can be run like a business and should be run like businesses."
Sunday, July 6, 2008
It’s gotten so bad that I need to sit facing a wall or the corner of the room just so I don’t see what’s going on.
Since I’ve been banquet manager, I just can’t enjoy myself when I go out (which isn’t too often because I work too many damm hours).
When I do go out to eat, it’s usually at a “theme restaurant” that is supposed to provide quick service (since I’m normally so impatient). I just can’t stand it when the waitress (where are all the guy waiters?) comes to the table and gives me the same prepared speech that she has used for 10 years; “Hi, my name is Bambi, and I’ll be your server. Can I start you off with a drink from the bar?”
Start me off? What am I a race car driver or something? Do you see Mario Andretti sitting here? Change your damm opening speech once in a while!!!
Then she may ask “Do you want to give me your orders now or do you need a few more minutes?” We’re still reading from the damm menu’s, do you think we’re ready yet? What ever happened to watching when the guests put down their menu’s to then approach the table for the orders?
What about when you have this ugly guy waiter that insists on crouching down at the side of the table to “look you in the eye” when he talks to you? What the hell is this? If I wanted to look him in the eye I would stand up when I gave him my order. If he is trying to get more personal by doing this he’s right. Now I get a better wiff of his bad coffee breath!
Then when the food comes, don’t you hate it when the waiter, or food runner, has to say “Who gets the Chicken Marsala?” “You ordered the burger, right?”
Who teaches them this crap? What ever happened to proper order taking? Does anybody know how to take orders by seat number anymore? We do it in Banquets, why can’t the average restaurant do it?
Also, ever hear about the 2 bite or 2 minute rule? I was taught that as a waiter (which was a very long time ago for me) you must check back with the guests to see if they are happy with their meal either within their first 2 bites or 2 minutes of dropping the plate. This never happens. I am usually finished with my meal and thinking about getting out of this place before she even realizes she was supposed to check in with me.
Then when I go to a wedding, I can’t help but look for stains on the carpet, light bulbs out on the chandelier, foot marks on the doors to the service hallway, or to watch and see how many waiters leave the salt and pepper on the table even though he’s serving coffee & cake. I look at the waiters and see if they are serving from the left and clearing from the right and if they pour beverages directly from the pitcher or bottle instead of taking your glass off the table to pour it on the side. I even find myself looking at my watch to see how long it takes them to serve between courses!
I know, I know…this is crazy but I can’t help it. My whole career is based on trying to instill in my staff the “proper” way to serve our guests and provide to them a level of service that they don’t even know they deserve. We should “WOW” our guests.
They shouldn’t be saying; “Wow, at least they didn’t put the service charge on the bill”.
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
A doctor was having an affair with his nurse. Shortly afterward, she told him she was pregnant. Not wanting his wife to know, he gave the nurse a sum of money and asked her to go to
”But how will I let you know the baby is born?” she asked. He replied, “Just send me a postcard and write “spaghetti” on the back. I'll take care of expenses.”
Not knowing what else to do, the nurse took the money and flew to
Six months went by and then one day, the doctor's wife called him at the office and explained, “Dear, you received a very strange postcard in the mail today from
The doctor said, “Just wait until I get home and I will explain it to you.” Later that evening, the doctor came home, read the postcard, fell to the floor with a heart attack. Paramedics rushed him to the ER. The lead medic stayed back to comfort the wife. He asked what trauma had precipitated the cardiac arrest.
So the wife picked up the card and read, “Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti - Two with sausage and meatballs, two without.”