The good and the bad of online manuals

June 9

I decided that although I have some great ideas of my own, and received some super helpful suggestions from my classmates this past week, I wanted to give the Internet a shot at helping me out. So what do I do? Google search! And to my surprise, I found some really useful manuals already printed and available for download that offered sample training manuals for bartenders. The one I looked at specifically can be found here and had both some good and some bad things. First off, I loved how the manual was very organized and laid out all the objectives, expectations, and rules that went with being a bartender. Although I didn’t create the actual manual that I would give to my imaginary trainees, I took note of many things from this one that I would use if I were to have created one. I even mimicked the organization and flow of this manual in my revised instructional model. More specifically, I really liked the way that it talked about the importance of catering to many types of guests–timid, aggressive, fussy, blind, etc. This is something that could easily be forgotten as it seems simple that a bartender would serve all. But actually, there is a specific way to treat each person uniquely to create the most inviting and friendly atmosphere. For example, during my first couple days a lot of regulars came in. I went about my greetings the same way as I was told, and soon realized that the regular customer seemed almost offended that I had to ask for their information so formally, when they were so used to being known and not have to answer questions. Now I know to treat these individuals more casually rather than as if they were new guests. 

On the opposite spectrum, I disliked the way the manual suggested bartenders “read” their guests. It even said that to businessmen, one could suggest a bloody bull or martini, to an older couple a Manhattan or baileys in coffee. For some reason this really upset me, as it seemed to go against all the former talk supporting individualism. I may be biased because my bar is a very relaxed and beer-friendly place that has a lot of diversity. We serve young, old, hip, traditional, businessmen, college kids, and the list goes on. This definitely influenced my decisions when remodeling instruction to make sure to not include any suggestions like this. I hate the idea of categorizing people right of the bat. However if I do plan on making this project more generalizable to be sold to other businesses in the future, I might need to reconsider this. Perhaps if I’m trying to sell my instructional model to a more upscale and less diverse restaurant, these types of “readings” would be beneficial. So though I didn’t really agree with it for this instance, that’s not to say I will write it out of all future instances.

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So I can really benefit from this?!

The owner came in today during my shift and I asked permission if I could take a few pictures of the bar to use for my class project. He stood there with a puzzled expression for a moment, then asked me how old I was.“…I’m twenty-two, Talgo,” I said with a straight face. I’m always being asked if I’m even old enough to be allowed in a bar, let alone work at one, so this question was frustrating.

“That’s what I thought…but…school project?” He asked quizzically.

I went on to explain that I was finishing up my masters and was using his business as the subject for my most recent project. After hearing the situation, he happily agreed and was even excited to learn more about it. I think he was excited to see someone evaluate his business, as this could obviously point out some things that weren’t very effective and efficient as is. He said he wanted to know more about it when I finished, and I’m actually really excited to tell him.

Having these types of interactions helps keep me interested in projects like this, as I see them being useful in real life. I think that’s one of the things I like best about this course so far, is that we are encouraged to focus on a situation that we would like to work in in the future. Not only will this help the business I’m working at now, but it could also give me a much firmer ground to start from if I choose to open my own bar/restaurant in the future!