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TSR Blog

The Resort Life- Working in a Resort

Paul Fielding - Friday, December 07, 2012
In part one of our Resort Life insight, we looked at what a guest may look forward to when visiting a resort, and what makes up a quintessential resort experience within Australia. Which brings us to part two... Working in a resort is very different to staying on one, however the goals for the staff and guest are pretty much the same- have fun, make friends, and try things you wouldn't normally have the chance to do!

First things first- a good resort can't exist without a monumental team working towards the same cause. I will keep referring to Cable Beach Club Resort in Broome, WA, because put simply, it is the most professional operation I have ever been a part of (well, excluding my own business of course!). As a guest roaming through the surrounds of the resort on the way to the pool at 10am one morning, you have no idea that at that very moment, there is a crisis meeting between the engineering, housekeeping, front office and security departments because a broken circuit is threatening the aircon supply. And so you shouldn't.

So professional is the setup of your resort, you will probably never know that in the space of 24 hours, a restaurant's opening hours were extended for a handful of guests, your housekeeping manager is working her single day off because 2 staff called in sick, reception has an extra 2 staff because of a tour group arriving at midnight, and the pool is being cleaned at 3am. Again, so you shouldn't.

Working in a resort is about two things: discretion, and fun. Discretion at work, fun outside work. Switch on, switch off.

Such is the importance that a guest enjoys their stay, the hierarchy behind the scenes of your poolside cocktail extends 5 pay ranks. Resorts generally employ the best they have to work with, and impress their unique brand of service on each employee. As a hospitality professional, this gives you the unique chance to work with and learn from the best, and presents the challenge to see if you measure up. As a casual waiter or bartender, it presents the ultimate test: do you survive the first week? Some don't.

A couple of the best hospitality minds I've met have been behind 5 star resorts, and a couple I'm still pursuing for my own business. Working at CBCR, I learnt more about customer service and understanding in my first 3 months than in 2 years in my previous work.

Once you finish work and shower (very important in the tropics boys!), and head to the local pub, the world is literally at your young feet. You're cashed up in a rewarding and challenging role, you work alongside interesting people from every corner of the globe, and you have one or two precious days off ahead to enjoy in paradise. The people you meet and work with will be friends for life, and you will always have a place to stay in at least 14 countries world wide. You will move on with skills that will hold up in any hotel in the world, and the experience of a lifetime.

Next time you're in a resort and notice your bartender or waitress smiling, just think about where they are in their lives, and why it's so easy for them to smile back. Very rewarding. Oh, and tip them.

For more reading on food, travel, our Hire Waiters, or Waiter Hire Melbourne, please click.



Advice for a Yound Chef

Paul Fielding - Friday, October 19, 2012

Fantastic read, not just for chefs, but they'll like it...

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-vetri/advice-young-chefs_b_1939356.html

 

No Bookings, No Fuss

Paul Fielding - Friday, October 12, 2012

Nice insight to a restaurant that doesn't take bookings...

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/restaurants-and-bars/waiting-game-20120903-259l3.html 

Where are the Career Waiters?

Paul Fielding - Sunday, May 06, 2012

Student, part time waiter. Studying via correspondence, casual waiter. Just moved back to Melbourne, not sure what I want, gap-year waiter.
A recruitment drive in hospitality highlights many points- skills shortage, the apparent extinction of the cover letter, but above all, the general lack of career waiters in Melbourne, and presumably Australia.

Reading about French restaurant service, and its many positions within the Front of House Brigade, it fills me with pride to know that somewhere in the world, a career in service is something that is taught, and a path to aspire to.

Whilst happy with the potential of a few brilliant candidates, most seeking work in hospitality service hadn't even considered a career in the industry. Staff training and development, an above average salary, job security, and a polished work environment we're not high on the list of a potential hire waiter Melbourne. Having Wednesdays and Fridays off to cope with study were.

In general discussion, the front of house staffing director of a prestigious Melbourne Caterer broke it down in black and white- we Australians simply don't put enough focus on proper restaurant and dining service. The basics are not standardised, conditions are often unnecessarily poor, and different operators teach many habits, good and bad. The duties performed and the overall experience created by the front of house team are severely underrated.

Without a seamless team, no food reaches the diner. It doesn't matter how good the food is.

A professional waiter is well paid, articulate, well fed, well respected by their employer, challenged in their work environment, and meets new and interesting people on a daily basis. It's an attractive role, where no two days are ever the same. Although no longer surprised by the shortage of such professionals, it does disappoint.

Until the culture of changes, the inconsistency in skills and personnel will continue.

So how do we change the perception? How do we coax the years out of skilled waiters and hospitality workers in general? To do our part, we'd ultimately like to develop a team of 25+ full time professionals, and offer waiter training or advice to any other service providers wanting it. One waiter at a time for now...

The Stimulated Waiter is the Happiest Waiter

Paul Fielding - Thursday, May 05, 2011

Often our staff are asked if they enjoy their job. Melbourne's clients are impressed with their vibrancy, enthusiasm and wide range of skills. These qualities are easy to foster in the waiter for hire business because our waiters are subjected to very wide variety conditions. Every private event is different, every private home is different, and every client has a different set of expectations that must be exceeded. This environment, as opposed to restaurant or hotel, presents different challenges for our waitstaff every day.

I think the happiness and job satisfaction for our waiters comes mainly from 2 points- a stimulating environment, and being good at what they do.

By 'stimulating environment' I mean a new environment every time. The quirks and sections of an establishment can be fallen in love with for sure, but the opposite is more exciting. In every private event we see people in their own homes, with their own families, enjoying themselves on their terms. No hotel policies, offensive patrons, and no restaurant complaints to complicate the evening. We see different cuisines, kitchens, living areas and bars. Different cellars, outdoor areas and even artworks! Our waiters are stimulated by the fact that they must take a certain ownership of their new surrounds, yet deliver the same skill set night after night.

My second point, highlighting the fact that our waiters for hire are great at what they do, can be summed up with one phrase. "You're good at what you love, and you love what you're good at." The main performance indicator that our staff are doing their job properly is client satisfaction- something we are fortunate enough to see with every job. Our staff take great pride in what they do, love to entertain, and love to be loved!

The next time you're out make sure you check the faces of your waiters and bartenders, then be sure to call us for your next private event. The difference will stagger you.

For more posts and hire waiter info all over Melbourne, please visit us by clicking the links above.

Blow up the Pokies

Paul Fielding - Sunday, May 01, 2011

Do you know what people do in Perth when they go out? They sit around around a table. They have a few beers. They might have a meal. And they talk to each other. Unbelievable isn't it?? Mum's 40th Birthday celebration in the local pub bistro is a genuine family catch up. There's no Keno, rarely a TAB attached to the dining room, and no pokies.

In contrast, my last family 'pub' catch up was a nightmare. Arranged in one of Melbourne's bayside 'uber' venues, what was planned as catch-up lunch between a family of about 20 people quickly disintegrated to a sparse table, that often resembled a drop in center. Just to clarify for those of you fortunate enough to live in a city free of these sprawling, feral monster venues, Melbourne's 'uber pubs' are designed to drain every last cent from your pockets, and have you return as soon as possible to do it all again. You can bet on numbers, horses, bar promos, and of course the good old pokies.

What these machines have done, amongst far more serious social issues, is destroy the experience of meeting for lunch at the pub. What I remember as some of the best Sunday afternoons growing up, catching up with cousins, grandparents and friends for a feed, is now tarnished with questions from family members asking "where's uncle Bill gone?" Uncle Bill just smashed $100 through a machine. "Where's nanny mum?" Nanny is hoping her free spins will at least return her pension. "Show aunty Liz what you made at school mate!" Um, Aunty Liz needs the ATM across the road.

The quality of the food and menu is diminished, because the desperate hunt for profit has spread through the venue like a virus. Beer's not cheap, and the bistro is under-staffed. Maybe one waiter to 60px. If anything, the profits being made from the lit-up home wreckers next door should allow a little relaxation in food and beverage gross profit margin. Not so.

I've worked in such venues before, from waiter to manager, and I am not against large hotels at all- the challenges in successfully managing 4 or 5 different outlets in one venue are worth tackling. Just take away the machines please! There are PA announcements at the gaming bar to tell people their meals are on their tables. There are menus designed to eat with your fingers- at your machine. In NSW, you can smoke, drink, eat and demolish as many cappuccinos that your blood pressure can take, without standing at all. Only the smoking part is omitted for Victoria.

I am sharing these particular views in a somewhat light hearted way, but the lost Sunday lunch is barely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the damage caused by poker machines in Victoria, and all over Australia. I believe that 9/10 people playing these machines, at any given time of the day, are suffering from some form of gambling problem, and there is no doubt the state governments or venues that operate the machines care at all for their patron's welfare, which is a point I will address later. 

My advice? Move to Perth.

Want more blog? Want to hire a waiter? Love Melbourne's finest boutique Hospitality Agency? Click for more...

The Master(chef) Returns

Paul Fielding - Friday, April 29, 2011

What makes Masterchef Australia so good??

During the first season, my wife and I were excluded from the fun and games of this revolutionary show due to overseas travel. Great followers of the UK series, we were shattered at the time to see teasers for Masterchef Australia, including the premiere that was to air 3 days after we departed for SE Asia. No MC Australia there...

After catching up on series one through a few repeats in WA, we thoroughly jumped feet first in to series 2, and like the rest of Australia, loved it. As hospitality professionals and keen experimental cooks, my wife and I could probably not have scripted a better show to fall in love with. But whilst the appeal to industry pros is obvious, we have Masterchef to thank for introducing a huge number of people to the workings of our industry, and the lengths our skilled professionals will go to acheive perfection.

How lucky is the Australian public, and us as an industry, to be able to watch world leading chefs such as Heston and Maggie deconstructing signature dishes, and actually showing everyday contestants not only their cullinary secrets, but how they achieve success. It's not like Bill Gates is going to televise a spanking new code he has written, or that Mick Malthouse will air a live special as he dissects his 10 year coaching plan at the Collingwood Football Club. Viewers are literally inside the genius' heads, watching and learning the skills and tips learnt through thousands upon thousands hours of experimentation.

Masterchef also challenges our industry through educating an increasingly discerning, and hungry, public. By encouraging people to seek new experiences and different flavours, fresher and unique dining experiences are much more common than 5 years ago. The public has a better understanding of where food comes from, how it is treated, and how it should be cooked. I think this can only make our industry stronger as a whole, as we strive to exceed these rising expectations. I think it also encourages people to go to restaurants more often, leading to new and lucrative opportunities for the Australian Hospitality Industry.

It's also very rewarding to see such talented, hard working career chefs that feature on the show gaining the recognition they thoroughly deserve. If Masterchef is sending more people to experience their food, in their restaurants, then that is fantastic.

Can't wait for series 3- The original and best is back!

Paul is co founder of TSR Corporate Services- providing quality boardroom and private waiters for hire all over Melbourne. Click for more about our boutique Hospitality Agency.

The year that was, and the year that will be...

Paul Fielding - Friday, December 31, 2010
As 2010 draws to a close this evening, I want to thank our clients, both corporate and private, for their support throughout what has been a fantastic year. We love being a part of your successful events and ongoing Boardroom service, and look forward to working with you again in 2011. 

I would also like to extend a big thank you to all our great staff and divisions, who week after week and weekend after weekend are out in force all over Melbourne, ensuring the level of service across the city is being constantly being challenged and raised by our team of passionate individuals.

I would also like to announce that in 2011 we are developing our own branches of Corporate on-site Massage Therapy, and also a recruitment placement service, which we think will complement our core Hospitality operations to ensure every client receives a holistic approach, and solution, to their Hospitality needs.
Both new branches are beyond developmental stages, so we'll be very excited to be offering our complete service packages early in 2011.

We hope you have a wonderful evening (you definitely will if our staff are looking after you!), and good luck with those resolutions tomorrow and beyond!

Cheers,
Team TSR. 
 

Ban the 'Booze Bombs'?

Paul Fielding - Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Herald Sun published an article titled ‘Ban the Booze Bombs’ in Tuesday’s (7/12) paper. It stated that in attempt to curb alcohol fueled violence in Melbourne's streets, drinks such Jagerbombs and Vodka Redbulls would be banned. Here's what I think:

I don’t believe banning these ‘Booze Bombs’ will do anything to curb the out of control binge drinking culture, not just in Melbourne, but Australia wide.

I’ve been both frequenting and involved in managing hotels and clubs in Australia’s capital cities for over 10 years, and it took a recent overseas trip through Europe and Asia (including 'boozy hotspots' Germany, Holland, the UK and Thailand) to see that it’s not any different combination of alcoholic or ‘poly-drug’ drinks, or Australia’s insipid ability to follow responsible service laws (another issue all together!), but a severe cultural difference that exists in our binge drinking habits.

No where else in over 20 countries did I experience any agro, macho or alpha-male behaviour (the kind you’ll find in any Aussie pub at ANY time of day)- in fact I barely even remember seeing a security guard in any of their packed venues. The vibe was always fun and cheerful, and patrons were generally far more intoxicated than you’ll find here, even at 3am in Melbourne on a Saturday or Sunday morning.

The difference in these countries is that alcohol culture centres around relaxing and having a genuinely good time- not getting as hammered as possible, in the smallest amount of time possible, and going out with twenty mates seeking trouble. Until our culture towards binge drinking changes, taking away certain drinks will have the same effect as taking the gun off a hitman- he’ll use a knife instead.


Five of the Best! (And a few of the Worst…)

Paul Fielding - Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Working in customer service for a living is fantastic. Providing the best service we can is something we work on every day, and because of this, for better or worse, customer service outside our business is something I notice as second nature.

This “sixth sense” that has slowly developed over many years in the hospitality industry is great, because I’m constantly the lookout for fresh talent, a wonderful experience, or a new business to reward with my loyalty because of their great service. On the other hand, bad service sticks out like a Collingwood supporter at AAMI Stadium, and unfortunately for business owners such as Jason and myself, it's usually (though not always) the employees that let the business down.

Having noticed my quota of both exceptional and poor examples of customer service across the average week, i have outlined and graded ten examples below. Enjoy!


Top of the Class

A+ Coles Trolley Boy
Apparently gone are the days of torn jeans, a pantera t-shirt and the token headphones on the car park trolley boys. This young man was dressed as one of the Coles 'team members', had a great smile, and proudly unhooked and presented each customer with a trolley as they approached. First class introduction to the shopping experience! (courtesy waiterhiremelbourne.com)

A- Fruit and Veg Market Cashier
Maybe a little over the top, but proud, passionate and genuinely happy at work (or a very good actor!). Fast and efficient, and even asked if I'd found everything on my list. I hadn't, and the young fella grabbed both items I was missing. Great upselling technique.

A- Subway Sandwich Artist
In a weak team (I know because this store is a great convenience to me), my new best friend at my local Subway is a shining light. So fast, it takes her about 13 seconds to have your 6 inch chicken fillet wrapped and the offer of a 'meal deal' before you, all with a fantastic smile. Superstar!

B+ The Servo Bloke
This is one that really gets me. The single line when there's four staff, the "2 for everything" (I only want one!), and the guy so bored he's rating this week's Picture Homegirls in order of bust size. 
 What a nice change the independent owner operator is. Cheaper fuel, a good bloke, a quick chat and out the door. A refreshing change from the supermarket servos, and nice to support a businessman that is capable of uttering more than those two words. "Twenny Mate."

B KFC Drivethrough
Yes, we all have a few beers on the weekend, and yes, we all have our miracle next day cure. In this case- KFC chips.
Given the mood I may approach the drive through on a sunday afternoon, the notoriously painful KFC experience is slowly turning the corner. In the past fortnight I've been treated to some great service from all windows flying the Colonel's red and white flag, in particular the usually disinterested female staff. Almost worth the extra pint. 


A lot to Learn

C Call Couldn't Wait
My local is a top little pub, and all in all the staff are pretty good, which is why this manager stands out for all the wrong reasons. I understand a manager's role, and how many things are happening at once, but answering his phone while pouring beers, talking for a while, and putting a hand out for money with no words or eye contact is not the way to make friends. Shocking example for his staff too.

D The Subway Owner!
This bloke is not who trained my superstar Subway girl, but is probably the reason she is the only ace in customer service he holds. Very rude, blunt, slow and a slob- a reason to never return. (thanks again, waiterhiremelbourne.com)


And repeating this year...

F The Virgin Mobile Salesman
Honestly, I'm not really sure what to make of this one. I thought phone companies set pretty challenging targets for the sales and contracts they expect of their staff, but maybe I was wrong??
When I asked which iPhone plans were available, I was told pretty bluntly that they were all "way expensive, as most of the plans here are", and to try Crazy Johns (Vodaphone) downstairs. Nice one.

F Owner/ Operator Newsagent
As I said above, it's often the employees letting the business down. Sadly, not in this case. This man (who I know is the owner) was listening to a race during my (and 7 other people's) visit, and only started serving once his race was over! Ignored the queue completely, clearly lost his bet, and seven potential customers in the meantime. Shocker!


Thankfully the world of service is rotating the way it should for me this week, though if I keep visiting newsagents (or try and buy a pie at AAMI Stadium!) I might change my mind...

We love to hear stories (good and bad) regarding customer service at TSR, so please email us yours, or comment below! We'll publish some of your experiences in our next newsletter, and send the best entry a bottle of Yarra Valley Pinot. Thanks for reading!



    
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