It has been a little minute, so let us get down to it, shall we?
The new job is still pretty incredible. I’m glad that our honeymoon hasn’t ended yet. Here is a short list of things I’ve learned so far:
- Creating a new wine list is stressful.
- Creating a new wine list is fun because you get to do a lot of sampling.
- Creating a new wine list is rewarding.
- Alliances. You’ll need them.
- Wander around, and go places you probably shouldn’t. You find some really good stuff that way.
- Have the other manager’s backs.
- Don Corleone was wrong: It’s business, and personal.
- Keep a cool head. You’ll earn a lot of respect that way.
- Country clubs and restaurants are very different animals.
That last point is no complaint; it’s a sort of blessing. In a regular restaurant, the guest has no real attachment, no fidelity. A few shining stars might, but by and large your customer base is volatile. If something goes wrong, they won’t tell their server, they won’t alert a manager. They will simply go somewhere else the next time.
In a country club, the guests have a vested interest in the success of the business: it is their club. They are proud of it. They bring in their friends to show it off. They host tournaments against other clubs to show it off. They want it to be the best, and as a manager, I want my restaurant to be the best. It’s a win-win. There are actual lines of communication between me and the members. They know my name. Some have my phone number. If something is wrong, they tell me so I can fix it. And if something is right, they tell me so I can make sure it keeps happening.
There is more feedback given to me here from the members, other department heads, and owners, than was given in a year at my last job. It’s really quite amazing. This place reminds me why I’ve stuck with the service industry, and makes me hopeful that there is a future in it.
I know that this isn’t about poetry or bartending. There is no recipe this time around, no analysis of clouds flying past. This is what is on my mind and on my heart. I’m ready to take this place on. Molon Labe. I just need to get a new pair of Shoes for Crews first.