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Sandals in Jamaica hosts bartending flair seminar

Author: Conroy Walker
Source: Jamaica Observer

Sandals hosts bartending flair seminar
Conroy Walker
Thursday, October 13, 2005

The happy team of Sandals bartenders show off their certificates after successfully completing a five-day course in Flair Bartending. (Photos: Conroy Walker)

The Sandals chain of all-inclusive hotels two weeks ago, hosted a bartending seminar for 36 of its near 400 pub staff in Jamaica, in what it said was a starter project to improve efficiency and guest experience.

The five-day seminar, held at Sandals Whitehouse in Westmoreland on Jamaica's south western coast, was conducted by http://www.extremebartending.com/, an 11-year-old American firm that specialises in bartender staff training and flair bartending.

According to Extreme Bartending's website, the company has worked with nightclubs, casinos, restaurants, pubs, exotic destination resorts, Hollywood movies and has performed at the Playboy Mansion.

Joseph Finlayson (right) of Sandals Grand Ocho Rios and Curtis Whyte of Sandals Inn.

The seminar, which ran from September 26 to 30, trained the Sandals bartenders in the art of:

. increasing speed, efficiency and accuracy;
. up-selling;
. customer relations;
. alcohol awareness; and
. working flair and bar entertainment.

"We are in partnership with http://www.extremebartending.com/ to improve the level of skills of our bartenders," Sandals' corporate director, food and beverage Armando Pizzuti told the Observer. "So we decided to train our local bartenders in additional skills in flair bartending."

"This is our first seminar with 36 bartenders from all the Sandals resorts in Jamaica. The next step is to train all of our almost 400 bartenders in Jamaica. We are very exited about it," he said, adding that the resort chain recognised that their bartenders were a very big part of their business.

Seminar co-ordinator Jordon Samuda said the need for the training resulted from inconsistency among the properties.
"We had an issue with consistency and we thought that Extreme had the ability to improve their skills in theory and flair," he said. "We are also hoping to use it as additional entertainment."

On the seminar's closing day, the participating bartenders were obviously enjoying themselves, flipping bottles, glasses and mixing jugs, much to the delight of their managers.

"The bar is a stage, so we have to be confident performers and enjoy what we do," said Joseph Finlayson, a bartender at Sandals Grand Ocho Rios. "It will help me to be more skillful with my hands, to have more fun with the tools that I work with and to better entertain the guests."

Scott Young, the founder and president of http://www.extremebartending.com/, reiterated that the course was mainly about having more fun behind the bar. "We looked at ways in which bartenders can have fun and enjoy their jobs better," he said, noting that if bartenders were enjoying their jobs, then everyone around them would enjoy the experience.

"When you give bartenders knowledge, some tools and some games to play, they are going to show up for work and be happy; it helps them interact more with the guests instead of just serving them a drink," said Young.

Date: October 13th, 2005

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