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TRAINING AT EVERY LEVEL IS A MUST

Source: Barbados Daily Nation

TRAINING AT EVERY LEVEL IS A MUST

 

 

WHAT DO red caps, taxi drivers, receptionists and bartenders all have in common?

 

Answer: they are the foot soldiers of the local tourism and hospitality industry, and, international bartender-training guru Scott Young from www.extremebartending.com believes that like all good frontline soldiers, they must be trained, trained and trained some more until excellent ‘service with a smile’ becomes a constant reality.

 

Mr. Young was in Barbados last week to conduct a three-day training workshop in Extreme Bartending, compliments of the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association in association with the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Council, which provided the training funds through the Employment and Training Fund (ETF). The training was conducted at the Dining Club, Manor Lodge, St. Michael.

 

And some might question just what does Extreme Bartending have to do with good customer service? Well as Mr. Young sees it, Extreme Bartending is more than just flipping bottles and dazzling customers with ‘tricks’. “It’s about all around extreme service - exceptional customer service, professionalism plus entertainment value,” he explained.

 

He stressed that operating a bar in the 21st century was like any other business and bartending like any other ‘profession’. “In order to be competitive, training is important. The frontline is your bottom line and you need to train,” he stressed, quoting from one of his mentors.

 

“Training is important and it is necessary. There is always a need to examine (work) in a systematic way, break it down so that it can be improved and replicated. Most bartenders don’t care. Training motivates them to try harder…to be more than just order takers.”

 

 He added: “A blank face, no love and no personality just doesn’t work anymore.”

 

“Bartenders are part of the front line of the tourism and hospitality industry. Like everything else, they will be impacted by globalisation which means the standard of professionalism has to rise.”

 

Elaborating, Mr. Young noted: “Barbados has great natural resources which need to be complimented by great customer service, in every area. Bartenders, taxi drivers, etc, have the opportunity to interact with guests, educate them and to make meaningful contact so as to ‘sell’ Barbados’ products and services to them. They can encourage them to spend.”

 

Having conducted training all over the world for the past 12 years, he pointed out: “Barbados is competing against other tourism destinations and a negative attitude is unacceptable in any service industry. Word-of-mouth is very important, which is why each front line worker has to make each customer contact a positive experience. Every customer contact must count.”

 

Mr. Young stressed that a good bartender was either “proactive, reactive or inactive.” “Being a good worker is not automatic which is why training is everything. The atmosphere that is created by the worker makes the difference between your business and another business.”

 

The three-day training session covered subject areas that included basic mixology – i.e. product knowledge, distillation processes -  suggestive selling, serving alcohol responsibly, flair bartending and understanding when/when not to use it.

 

Mr. Young noted, in particular, that responsible service of alcohol and the laws related to it was a very important area and that in British Columbia – from where he originates – all bartenders were legally required to undergo a self-administered certificate training course in the responsible service of alcohol.

 

The BHTA’s Michelle Smith noted that the organisation was happy to have facilitated the training because improving the skill levels of the front line persons in the tourism and hospitality industry was very important, and, contributed to motivated workers who felt good about themselves and their jobs.

 

She said the skills learned, particularly up-selling (i.e. suggestive selling) and improving customer service were very important to advanced bartending service providers.

 

24 bartenders representing ten organisations participated in the workshop. The organisations included: Accra Beach Resort and Hotel, Colony Club Hotel, Savannah Hotel, the Coach House, Ship Inn, Barbados Beach Club, Mount Gay Distilleries Ltd., Hilton Barbados and Café Jungle.

 

Date: October 13th, 2005

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Scott Young, President and Head Instructor Bar Smart Inc.