Saturday, December 27, 2008

All I Really Need to Know I Learned Working $1 Beer and Dog Night at Van Andel

So, tonight was my first experience working at Van Andel (yeah, yeah…I know, it’s long overdue). I selected an infamous $1 beer/dog night as my inaugural gig. I heard plenty of warnings prior to tonight, and must say, it was pretty intense at times. But, I worked with a rockin’ group of riders from our ever-so-awesome team, and really did have a great time. Now, as I relax after a hellacious white-knuckled icy and foggy drive home, I realize that one can actually take away several life lessons from this cool set up at VA…

Be diplomatic. Explain nicely that beer and hot dog limits are in place so that we DON’T run out before 8:00 p.m. Plus, we don’t have a tray to give you anyway, so just take what you can carry and go watch the game, man.

Be assertive. It’s ok to card a 60+ year old man on $1 beer night. There’s even a little sign on the counter that says so.

Be an example in patience. When faced with 75+ Griffins fans waiting for the beer taps (yes, ALL of them stopped working at the same time) to be fixed…keep your cool.

Shrug your shoulders, smile, and try to look cute when faced with an angry mob. See previous comment regarding extended lack of beer.

Flattery will get you everywhere. Just ask Chris Radford who kept carding all of those “21 year olds.”

Be appreciative. Giving a big ol’ “thank you!” and quick plug for the awesome cause for which we’re working after each tip (also, just loud enough so the next guy in line can hear it too!) makes everyone feel good.

Be frugal. Apparently, those little cheese cups are counted. Don’t give them away.

Wash your hands. Please.

Trust people. When the “Queen of the Cash” comes by and takes a wad of money out of your drawer, it’s cool. She knows what she’s doing. And dang…she is GOOD at this stuff.

Respect authority. When you don’t really know what the heck you’re doing (you know, like on your first night working at VA), just keep asking what you can do, and then do it. e.g. “Count these cups…No, Nicole…those stacks should only have 40 in them….”

Smile. Everyone has more fun when you do.

Healthy competition is a good thing. I’m pretty sure “Tip for the girls!” FAR outnumbered “Tip for the guys!” tonight. And even if it didn't, we still pulled in a ton of tips by fostering a little bit of competition.

Pass blame whenever possible. It’s not my fault beer sales cease at the end of the 2nd period. “Sorry, sir. It’s arena policy to end beer sales at this time.”

Reward yourself after working hard. Usually you won’t have to twist Cindy’s arm to visit her favorite coney/bar across the street from VA after working.

Call home. Especially when you have to go 60+ miles in fog that most closely resembles potato soup.

Team: What other lessons have been learned during Van Andel events? :)


did said...

$210 in tips sez you learnt it good!


Linda TP said...

Eating out of the "spoils" box is kind of a bonding time too!

Amy said...

I am feeling so out of the loop, I must contact Cindy and sign up to work, especially once Linda brought up the "spoils" box...Oh and I have learned through my years of bartending... good bra and fewer button= greater tips!!!!

Chris R said...

I would rename "pass the blame" to "Explain the rules." Beer sales are cut off for safety reasons. At all events, beer sales are cut off approximately 1 hour before the end of the event for the safety of all attendees.

I have also learned that a great team can produce amazing results. I watched a group running a stand last night that was dis-organized and chaotic - it hurt to watch. We, the JDRF team, always seem to have the best night of any group in the arena and do it with speed and efficiency. Thanks to all those who help.

Nicole said...

hehehe I was just joking about that one, Chris. People were actually really understanding of that rule when I explained it to them.

Good call on the well-oiled machine thing too...I wouldn't want to do this working thing with any other group of people, ever. Thanks for helping make my first experience at VA really cool. See you soon.

club-velo said...

I gotta go along w/ Nic on this one.........I "paid my dues' in the food biz back in the day and hadn't been missin' it AT ALL but sloppin' nachos and pourin' cheap beer w/ my JDRF homies is actually somrthing that I look forward too!

Those of you that have successfully resisted the temptation to join in the fun oughta get ahold of Cindy and get'cher signed up!

Maybe not on Friday nights though.....

Brian J. said...

funny, the "good bra and fewer button= greater tips" trick has never worked for me. Maybe I'm doing something wrong?

MC said...

I dunno Brotha...I think you're lookin' GOOD!

Might be just me though....?