Ask TrueGuest: Best Methods for Pouring Alcohol

Logo_Mark-Five_Diamond_HospitalityDear TrueGuest,

I can’t seem to get our liquor costs under budget.  What is the best control for measuring the bartender’s pours?

Good question!  There are a few different methods for pouring alcohol such as free pour, jigger, or measured spout.  Which one works best depends on your bar.

Typical lobby lounge – If your bar is typically slow, usually a measured jigger works best.  Just be sure to have plenty of jiggers on hand so the bartender always has one within reach.  We like the measured jigger because it is easy for your supervisors to monitor from across the bar.  Also, customers are accepting of a jigger in most cases.  Of course, the down side is that it is easy for the bartender to overpour using the jigger.  Most bartenders we see using a jigger like to run a tail with each pour.  Here is a good video on basic jigger techniques:

High volume bar – If your bar gets pretty busy and the bartenders need to crank out drinks fast, we like the measured spout.  The ball bearings in the spout automatically pour the exact amount and then stop.  The bartender would have to tilt the bottle back a second time to be able to overpour with these spouts.  Here is a good video of how the Precision Pours work:

Free Pouring Method – We really do not like any bars to use the free pour method.  It is both dangerous to your profits and to your customers.  Our mystery shoppers have reported time after time instances where they were poured a drink that had over 4 ounces of alcohol when a bartender free poured.  You can easily see how pouring 3 times the correct amount can be very dangerous.  But if you must free pour, at least have a good counting system in place and a system to test the bartender’s pouring skills.  Here is a good video:

Ask TrueGuest: Improving In Room Dining

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Dear TrueGuest,

I am the In Room Dining Manager of a large hotel.  Our In Room Dining sales have really dropped over the last year.  Our service scores are also suffering.  Where do a start?

room serviceGreat question!  Many hotels are reporting a drastic decrease in F&B sales per occupied room.  The In Room Dining sales have taken the biggest hit during these tough times.  Guests are really cutting back on the more expensive amenities of the hotels and room service is usually at the top.  Here are our recommendations:

1.  Revisit your menu and specifically your menu prices.  Many hotels dramatically increased their room service menu prices over the restaurant prices.  We recommend that the prices are similar, especially if your hotel is near many other restaurants…  especially if they are within walking distance.  Guests typically look at the room service prices and assume they are the same as in the restaurant.  If a guest feels they are too high, you have lost them as a customer in both room service and the restaurant.  Guests will grab breakfast from a quick mart and eat dinner at the restaurant next door.

2.  Review the basics of room service selling with your Room Service Operators.  Now more than ever, they need to maximize the revenue on every call they receive.  Check out this article on how to increase your room service sales by as much as 50 percent!

3.  For help on improving your service, check out this article on how to deliver room service orders the right way!

Have any tips of your own?  Post them below!  Have a question that you would like answered?  Post it below or send it to us via the contact page.

Ask TrueGuest: Bartender Selling Techniques

Dear TrueGuest,

I am a food and beverage manager at a hotel with two bars.  Can you tell me some ways that we can increase our revenues?  We are obviously a little bit slower lately, but is there anything that we can do to help?

mixed-drink1The selling area of a bartender’s service is always overlooked. These selling standards are extremely important to generating higher revenues. Bartenders can come across as uncaring and unfriendly if they just approach and ask guests, “What can I get for you?” They also will not sell much more than the minimum guest order. Most hotel bars are not like the bars or nightclubs that stand alone.People usually expect more from a hotel bar.The service of a bartender should be similar to that provided by servers to a table of guests that are eating.There are many selling standards that should be in place for each time a guest arrives at the bar.This includes practices such as offering your drink menu to guests whether they know what they want or not, providing a food menu, suggesting any specialty drinks, offering more beverages, and offering bar snacks.Each of these practices has its own effect and benefit on your bartender’s guest service as well as revenues.Here is a breakdown.

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The Benefits of Mystery Shopping

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Many managers usually ask us, “Why do we need mystery shopping?” or “How will mystery shopping benefit our hotel?”We are here today to answer these questions for you and more.Let’s start with the most basic, but very important question of, “What is Mystery Shopping?”To TrueGuest, mystery shopping is a training and observations tool for managers.With shoppers acting as normal customers writing detailed reports about the service they experienced, managers are able to get the rare glimpse of the service from a guest’s perspective.Mystery shopping provides a great look at the service a hotel provides that you, as a manager cannot personally see.By using these reports, a service improvement training program can be implemented with the proper accountability.How often do you train and train on service standards only to get poor “official” scores on guest service?How do you know where to begin to find out what went wrong?Mystery shopping reports provide that accountability tool for managers.They can find out exactly what is or is not happening that creates poor service.

magnifying_glass1There are many hotels that tell us, “We are doing well in our guest service scores, so we do not need any mystery shopping!”To those hotels, we say, “Congratulations!”But think of it this way; who fills out those comment cards that you regularly base your success on?The guests that take the time to fill out the comment cards are almost always either the guests that had a wonderful visit or the guests that had a completely terrible visit. This probably accounts for only 1% of your total guests.What you are essentially saying is that you do not care about how any of the guests in between feel; a good 99% of them.You are risking the loyalty of the guests that you provided below-average service to, who did not feel like filling out your comment cards.How would your corporate office respond to that?Comment cards are like a crapshoot; you hope that you get “good” guests this month and that they give favorable scores.Why not turn that crapshoot into a sure thing?Mystery shopping provides an unbiased, objective look at your service at any given time.Managers are then able focus on keeping service consistently high by pinpointing and correcting any service deficiencies instead of waiting for a guest to comment on them.Unfortunately, they probably will have chosen another hotel by then.

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Ask TrueGuest: PBX Basics

Dear TrueGuest,

I was recently promoted to PBX Manager at a 4 diamond hotel.  Our service scores in PBX have been awful.  Can you help?

Thanks,

April


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We can help.  Good phone skills are a lost art.  If you are experiencing poor scores when it comes to handling phone calls, focus on the basics.  The secret to PBX is consistency.  Here are some basic tips:

1.  Make it your goal to have every single phone call answered within 3 rings.  Test to make sure that it is happening.  Call the hotel during different times of the day and score each shift.  Don’t forget night audit.  We often call night audit and don’t get an answer even after 20 rings.

2.  Place a small mirror by every phone in the PBX office and teach every operator to answer every call with a smile in their voice.  If they have a smile in their voice, they also have a smile on their face…  hence the mirror.

Basics on answering external calls

All calls should be answered by using a greeting (good morning, good afternoon, good evening), announcing the name of the hotel, and announcing the name of the person answering the call, and an offer to help.  Example:  Good morning, thank you for calling the World’s Best Hotel, this is April, How may I help you?

The secret here is consistency.  The phone should be answered the same by every operator on every shift.

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Banquet Bar Requisition Template and Instructions

Click here to download our free Banquet Bar Requisition Template

To download these instructions in PDF format, click here

Logo_Mark-Five_Diamond_HospitalityInstructions for using the TrueGuest Banquet Bar Requisition Worksheet To set up the file:

1. Create a new file for each event. You can either create a new file for each month or add each month to a separate tab within this worksheet.

2. Input the details of the event at the top of the spreadsheet. Only fill in the cells that are in blue!

After you requisition the liquor to banquets:

1. Fill in the amount that you requisitioned in the column labeled ‘requisitioned’.

2. Again, only fill in the cells in blue.

3. Add additional rows for additional types of liquor not listed.

After the event and banquets returns the unused alcohol:

1. Fill in the amount that is returned in the column labeled ‘returned’

2. Again, only fill in the cells in blue.

To view your cost for the event:

1. Input the amount of revenue you collected for the event at the very top of the spreadsheet.

2. Your cost for the event will be displayed right below your revenues.

3. Send a copy of the worksheet to accounting so they can transfer the amount to banquets.

 

To download these instructions in PDF format, click here