Daily Life · travel · Uncategorized · Work

Basic Restaurant Rules For The Hungry Diner

Let me tell you, having worked in the industry for a while, I have learned that there are somethings that should never be allowed to fly in a restaurant. Unfortunately, most of these are items that the diners shouldn’t be doing. I’ve written some previous articles on how to improve as a dining attendant/mixologist. This one is for the hungry guest that appears at a restaurant door seeking a table at a nice sit down restaurant. I have started with 5 items but I assure you there are plenty more :).

  1. Know the difference between a preference and an allergy. When your dinint attendant comes to take your order and you ask them to hold the onions, the dairy, the wheat – you should always mention whether or not it’s an allergy. It sounds like oversharing but I assure you it is very very important. A preference is because you don’t like it. An Allergy is because it will cause you physical harm. Your dining attendant, the manager, and the culinary staff all need to know this information. When your ticket for food goes to the culinary staff it tells them whether they need to sterilize their tools and station before making your dish or wash them. It allows the leadership to understand how serious any mistake could be and how much attention your table will be needing. I cannot stress how important this bit of communication is and how it will change the experience you have at the restaurant.
  2. Do not let your children run around the restaurant. Parents who have children, aunts, uncles, grandparents who are bringing children in – do not let them run. Restaurants are not play grounds. It is inappropriate and unsafe for you to allow the child to roam the restaurant. Staff are constantly carrying sharp objects, breakable glass, and hot plates to and from places. They are moving fast and they are not looking for something below their normal line of sight – it’s uncommon in the restaurant industry and deemed unsafe (any boxes would be moved before the shift begins for safety). Children do not have fast reflexes or the knowledge of the place to know where is and isn’t safe. Running around will cause them to be harmed and place the staff of the restaurant at risk as well. Keep your child in their chair or don’t bring them in.
  3. Tips – This seems to be one of those issues where people tip poorly now days. Especially around the holidays. Let me tell you a secret – most of the staff there lives off the tips. They make minimum wage (at least in SF, CA) hourly but the tips make the difference between eating cheese and crackers or eating a burger. Many restaurants do not give their staff free food – they must pay for it. In Michigan servers only make $3-4 an hour and then tips. That is half of minimum wage. My point is – don’t skimp on the tip just because you didn’t order your food correctly. It’s hard understanding what a customer wants from the word go and yes good service should be rewarded higher than bad service. However, think about this – many of those employees do that for a living and are working atleast 2 jobs to get enough to pay for life. You are lucky to have a salary and stability – share a little. Great service should be tipped 25-30% of the total bill; good service 20-25%; ok service 18-20%; decent or minimal service 12-18%; and anything that’s considered poor service should be 10%. You should never EVER tip below 10%. That is just rude.
  4. Know that being Vegan or Vegetarian is a life choice. Let’s talk about diet restrictions. Like having allergies or preferences – many restaurants can accomodate vegan or vegetarian requests. However – this doesn’t mean you are allergic to animal biproducts. If you are vegetarian but ok with eggs – please say so. If you are vegan due to allergies – state that. It is common knowledge that these are lifestyle choices and not typically due to allergies. Again – allergies will change the way the food is prepared and handled in the culinary world and is very very important.
  5. Move your hands/dishes/phones out of the way. When someone comes carrying your food to your table – please move your items. The food is hot and so are the plates. Just because they aren’t using a hotpad doesn’t mean their fingertips aren’t burning. It is extremely rude to keep everything where it is and act all put out when they have to move stuff. SHIFT YOUR SHIT. Be kind and move some glasses. Move some silverware. Move a plate. At the end of the night we do need your cooperation to make the experience as nice as it is. Like wise – do not put bags or feet into the aisleway. If you are tall ask for a high top table. Leaving your items in the aisleway will create a hazard and you are likely to end up with wine or food all over you.

While there are many other things that need to be addressed in terms of what the “societally acceptable” behavior in restaurants is becoming – these basic items will help. Be respectful of the restaurant and their staff. They work very hard to make it a great experience and simple things like this will help enhance that for you. Don’t be that customer they talk about for the rest of the year.

Daily Life · School tips · travel

The Art Of Learning A New Language

When you think about it, what’s one of the hardest things to learn? Languages. Now granted some people are naturally born with the gift of tongues, which allows them to naturally learn languages quickly. Not all of us are gifted like that.

The hardest part for me about getting married into a new culture and family was that when they are all together they speak spanish only. Now if you went to a standard highschool you were required to learn a language of some sort. That being said – I’m going to talk about the best way to learn a language outside of a school setting.

I’ve picked up a few tricks – firstly when I learned some Japanese from my coworkers in Hawaii, and secondly when I married into this family.

  1. Duolingo.com – I swear by this website. It’s better than Rosetta stone. This app connects words with images and also teaches you the difference between verb conjugations without making you recite things like you did in highschool. It gives you a better sense on how you should speak in a sentence.
  2. Music/Radios – The best way to learn things is through listening. Music is great at that. Songs in different languages tend to be sung slower than when people normally speak. It becomes easier to hear and understand things in songs.
  3. Watch Movies – Watching movies in another language. It again slows things down. It teaches how to speak in a basic sentence structure. It is also great if you can watch them with subtitles in the same language. This helps widen your vocabulary.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice – The phrase “practice Makes Perfect” is very accurate. The more you practice something the more you become fluent and the easier it will become to speak in that language.

The best way to learn new languages is to always practice. Always keep notes, and always allow someone to help you/teach you. I have also found that if I talk to myself I improve because it becomes easier to pronounce the words.

Have any tips? Let me know!

Holiday · Reviews · travel

“4 Best” Buffets in Las Vegas – A Foodie’s Review

Working in the restaurant industry is hard. It’s time consuming and really drains your energy. This is a review of the buffers on the Vegas Strip that I have heard called “the best”.

I have rated them on a scale of 1-5. 5 being the best and 1 being the worst. They are rated on culinary options, food quality, customer service, prices, and cleanliness.

1. The Bacchanal Buffet –

My husband and I have eaten at this buffet several times. This is easily the largest buffet that I am aware of in the Las Vegas Strip. It has multiple options and in my humble opinion, the largest seafood and meat selection of all the buffets I have experienced. The food quality has always been stellar (It has the best and largest sushi selection) and it tends to be the place I find myself craving when I think of Las Vegas. The customer service has always been decent. They tend to be the most attentive though I did have an experience where the server asked my husband and I to leave due to her needing the table. Working in the business, I understand needing the table, however, the way it was phrased definitely could have been better. That being said we have always enjoyed our experiences. The prices are the highest at this buffet but it is always worth it. You do need to go hungry to get your moneys worth though. I do have to give The Bacchanal a high five for cleanliness. They have always done a great job clearing tables and keeping the food areas clean. This is super important because no guest wants to eat next to a dirty table or pick off of dirty forks. The overall rating I would give to The Bacchanal Buffet is 4.5/5.

2. The Wicked Spoon Buffet-

This is one of my personal favorites. While it isn’t as large as The Bacchanal Buffet. It has great flavors. The items that are features in the buffet are well seasoned and flavorful. The customer service has always been really good. Drinks have been consistently refilled and the server was always there when needed. The price for the options and the quality of food is not unreasonable by any means. The tables and food buffets have always been clean when I have attended. Overall this buffet has always impressed me, my only qualm is that it is a bit off the beaten path and can be hard to find. The overall rating for The Wicked Spoon Buffet is 4/5.

3. The Buffet at The Bellagio-

This buffet is one of the smaller ones. While it has a decent size carving section, it has always impressed me with the amount of vegetarian options. They have more vegetables that have been cooked and a salad bar than some of the other buffets. The quality has always been great and I haven’t had a bad meal there once. While the customer service is good, you are in charge of getting your own drinks and for the price it kind of leaves the customer wanting. This particular buffet is probably the one that always has tables cleaned and reset the fastest. I attribute this to the fact that it’s the smallest and the “servers” do the least amount of work out of all the buffets. The overall rating of this buffet is 3/5.

4. The Buffet at The Aria-

While this buffet had the largest seating possible and was in one of the newest hotels, I was disappointed. If you go before 12 am you will not find many options. It had the smallest food options and for the options given it was probably the priciest. The quality was decent but lacked flavor. The customer service and cleanliness of this particular buffet was poor. While the food buffet area was clean the tables needed desperate attention. I watched the table next to us remain dirty for close to 20 minutes. I also had to ask our server for a drink 3 times prior to getting it. This happened not only on our first visit but on the second one as well. The overall rating for this buffet is 2.5.

Over all, I would highly recommend The Bacchanal Buffet or The Wicked Spoon Buffet. I would say the best one for breakfast is The Buffet at the Bellagio. I would not recommend The Buffet at The Aria.

Holiday · Reviews · travel

Top 5 Las Vegas Hotels To Enjoy

As you all know – I work in the customer service industry. Have done for 8 years now, well my husband and I love to travel. We frequent Las Vegas quite a bit. For this reason I’ve compiled a list of the More popular Hotels that we have stayed at and what we thought of them. These hotels include: The Cosmopolitan, Bellagio, Caesar’s Palace, Aria, and the Wynn. I’ve listed the hotels in the order of the ones we liked the most to the ones we weren’t overwhelmed with.

**as a note to my readers – I do not get any affiliate payout for these reviews. Meaning they are strictly based on my experience and unbiased or “bought”**

1. The Cosmopolitan- (9/10)

We had a great experience here. We were able to check in early and the front desk staff was super friendly and attentive. We were offered the option of an upgraded room that had a view of the Bellagio fountains and a Japanese bathtub. Let me just say that it was worth every penny! We had a beautiful balcony. The tub had a huge window facing the fountains which was a great perk for me – I was able to relax in the tub and watch the show! They also were able to accommodate our request for a later checkout – super pleased about that. The pool was a great experience. They have these nice wave chairs where you can drag it into the shallows and lounge in the water for no extra charge. The pools are wading pools – meaning there are no stairs they come out via a ramp. While the lower pool was very popular due to the bar – the upper pool was more relaxing, it also had umbrellas to provide shaded areas in the pool.

2. The Aria- (8/10)

To begin the check in area was very clean. Details matter and their area was clean and decorated appropriately. The minimalistic flower arrangements did a lot.

The room was spacey- not as large as the room in the Cosmopolitan or the Wynn, but equally as nice. It was a fully automated room. Everything was controlled by and iPad, including the curtains. They gave us and early check in but were unable to give us a late checkout – little bit of a let down. However, their online checkout system was very user friendly and you could access it from multiple devices. Their pool systems were more traditional. The pool side attendants really were lacking however. They seemed to not care and lack gumption- all except one. Carly saved our pool side experience. Her 4 seasons of working as a pool side server shone through and her guest service game was on par! She was able to explain all of the menu to us and had a great attitude – super approachable. She was someone we searched out which pool she was serving before we sat down. While the Aria has many great things to offer – due to our pool experience and the size of the room it really just fell flat and cane second on our list.

3.Caesar’s Palace- (7/10)

Caesar’s palace has many great things to offer. While we did end up getting married in their chapel and I would highly recommend shu as a wedding coordinator because she saved my sanity multiple times. Caesar’s really only ranks 3rd for us. Their wedding chapels are gorgeous and worth using. The wedding suit was huge. About the size of a medium sized studio apartment. The rooms here are definitely older, but they are clean and the staff is always friendly. Caesar’s also many options of things that their visitors can do (the shops, restaurants, and endless games). The room had many windows which for me is a huge deal – I always want more light in my room (comes from living in a winterized state for so long). We have not experienced the pools in Caesar’s except the winter and it was too cold to do much swimming. But in the summer they have a secluded European pool system and American pools. Everything is influenced by Roman architecture and is gorgeous. Due to it simply being an older hotel – this ranks as 3rd on our list.

4. The Wynn- (7/10)

The Wynn was the first hotel I stayed at on the strip and so because of the memories there it holds my heart but as a rated hotel it falls to the fourth on our list. The room we received was clean and spotless. It was a suit. The view lacked but that was ok. We didn’t get in early and it took longer for us to check in than it has anywhere else. The bed was perfectly fluffy and yet still firm enough. The entry area was stunning. They change the flowers regularly.

The next day they were different. It’s still one of my favorite hotels to walk through due to the flowers alone. The pool side service was excellent. Our attendant was very attentive and gracious. There was plenty of entertainment within this casino. While there are great memories the customer service was simply sub par to other service we received.

5. The Bellagio- (6/10)

The Bellagio is known around the world. Due to being featured in movies like the Oceans movies – it has built up a reputation for itself. I was disappointed. We had a decent check in and they gave a later checkout. However, the room was tiny and in completely dark tones. It only had a few windows and felt like a prison on some level. The decor was nice but very dated. They are known for their fountains – which I didn’t get a view of. It was very clear that The Bellagio really only provides rooms for crashing purposes because the casino part is huge. There’s plenty of games and it is evident they want you to only stay if you are gaming. This only disappointed me and I was very underwhelmed by my experience there. We did not experience the poolside service, perhaps that would have been our saving grace.

Overall, we have had some great experiences but I would highly recommend the newer casinos to stay in. They have more accommodation perks and were not disappointing at all. I’m sure the older casinos could be amazing but they need to be renovated and up dated.