Understanding Our Products and Keeping Up with Our Customers
Terroir? What exactly are they talking about?
“terroir tɛrˈwɑː,French tɛrwar/ noun
The complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, including factors such as the soil, topography, and climate. The characteristic taste and flavour imparted to a wine by the environment in which it is produced.”
Have you ever been in that situation where your guests are discussing some aspect of a wine, beer, coffee or food item and you have no idea what they are talking about? It rattles your confidence and can have you second guessing your choice of employment when your own product knowledge is bit shallow. As a bar tender or waiter serving wine (or any other product) to our guests, we need to develop an understanding that goes beyond reading the label, wine list or menu description and quoting the price. Hospitality and Tourism guests are becoming more educated as they consume vast quantities of information about food and beverage through television or other digital channels. You may not be at the level of Sommelier or Maitre D just yet, but you can begin the journey of self education through reading books, attending trade events, visiting wineries and competitor venues, participating in industry workshops and of course accessing online resources such as Train My Venue. Keeping up with an informed customer base is essential if you want to really engage with your guests and deliver authentic service that has them coming back to your venue for another wonderful experience. This is an industry for people who are genuinely interested in life-long learning and continuous improvement. I’ve been in the industry for over 35 years and every day I am delighted to learn something new. The service industry is a place of rich opportunity to expand your world view, to learn competent and confident communication skills, and above all, understand the power of effective communication and engagement.
You can become a very confident and knowledgeable hospitality professional in a short time frame if you align your learning with some areas of key interest.
Enjoy Craft Beers? – there’s your home work topic for this week.
Is coffee one of your favorite beverages? – read up on it!
Love chocolate? – eat some and Google how it was made!
Enjoy white but not red so much? – try a lighter sparkling red and read about the grape variety and how the wine is made.
I think you are getting the idea, so set the intention to become a great waiter, bar tender or all round service professional.
Schedule yourself a time slot to watch, read or listen to thirty minutes a day of some new information about the products that you are working with and see how your confidence builds over a few short weeks. Before too long, you will be naturally communicating with workmates and customers about aspects of our industry that previously had you feeling nervous or inadequate. Embrace the opportunity to build your professional pride in hospitality and it will serve you well in all aspects of life.
Author: Dave Upson, Managing Director, Train My Venue.