First and foremost, whether you had the patience or not, thanks for waiting while I vacationed! But as promised, I am bringing this week’s learning lesson straight from Vegas.
Las Vegas is one of my not-so-secret guilty pleasures due to the attention I get as a mid-twenty female. What isn’t to love about free food and drinks for being semi-attractive? But working in the service industry keeps me from fully enjoying the Vegas experience due to my over analytical scrutiny of their interpersonal skills and multi-tasking efficiency.
What sets the Vegas industry apart from all others is its glitz and glamour, half-naked women and making people feel more important than they actually are. From club hosts and poker dealers to go-go dancers and servers, Vegas hits every aspect of the service industry in a 4 mile stretch.
Each day I spent in Vegas this last trip, I paid close attention to all the different types of service I was encountering. I am desperate to make my job a more enjoyable one for me and you readers (people sometimes [coughallthetimecough] make this a difficult task), anything I can learn I absorb like a sponge to water.
I learned a few things about the food service industry in Vegas – it’s nothing special. They have all types of different food, yes. But their servers are not anything special. I know it is hard to find great service anywhere, but of all places I would assume Vegas would be the easiest. It is all different walks of life in the city of sin; people come from all over looking for work. You would think people would be more excited about their job due to traveling so far just to work here. We ate at multiple places and the experience was the same – automatic gratuity and annoyed servers.
My most entertaining food-service experience was within Diablo’s Cantina attached to the Monte Carlo hotel. In desperate need of a hang-over cure, guacamole and burritos too big for my mouth seemed like the right fit. We were all sat down by a less-than-amused hostess (I understand, pushing a couple tables together when you first open is a daunting task).
We sat for a few minutes before an equally less-than-amused slu—I mean server—came over to greet us. Adorned in 4-inch wedges, a mini-skirt so tight she could barely walk and a strategically-ripped, breast-revealing shirt she offered us some of their signature margaritas. We laughed and just asked for water (sissies, right?) which in turn caused her to wrinkle her nose job at us and she waddled away to let us decide on food.
The service after wasn’t slow but highly inconvenient. When asking for a couple of beer refills, she goes, “Oh you wanted more?” as if she had ever asked in the first place. The same response was gotten every time we asked for something. A side of ranch got, “Oh? Sure, I’ll be right back with that for you.” She seemed surprised every time we talked to her, like she was shocked to find this party of seven in her section.
The only time I saw a genuine smile was when she handed us the check, and like most of Vegas restaurants, we were greeted by an 18% gratuity.
I am the last person to complain about gratuity, seeing how it’s one of my saving graces in my place of work. But I am thoroughly disappointed that every one of my meals was greeted with this same dull-ridden faces and annoyed attitudes to be followed by gratuity. I am not blaming the gratuity perse, but more so saying the gratuity has allowed laziness because the tip at the end of the meal is automatic, so why try?
But even though disappointed by the food-industry, the dealers at the gambling tables in every casino have never left me feeling this way. Engaging in genuine conversation with dealers is probably the reason I gamble for so long – who loves to lose money?
My favorite dealer’s name was Amy, who can be found at Planet Hollywood at the Paigow poker table. When deciding which table to sit at, three drunken Australians were screaming enthusiastically. Immediately attracted to trouble, the boyfriend and I decided on this one and set out our cash. Amy briefly greeted us with a warm smile before continuing to hush the drunken gentlemen, clearly irritated by their intoxicated antics. Before she could begin another hand or deal out our chips, they decided on another game and quickly stumbled away.
Slightly disappointed, we decided to stay anyway. We ended up sitting at the same table for about four hours, gambling until our last penny was gone. During those four hours, we contemplated leaving a couple times but stayed for the good conversation. Amy was engaging and genuine. She taught us more about the game, helped us with hands (yes, I’m aware all dealers in Vegas will do this for you) and let us stay at a cheaper minimum even after the table’s minimum went up. Not once did I feel as though she was bored or would rather be doing something else. We tipped her heftily (that’s probably where half of our money went) and I found myself perfectly intoxicated after leaving the table. Even though we’d lost two hundred dollars, we left happy.
Our table server (gal who brings around free drinks) was equally as pleasant, unnecessarily offering us bottles of water and returning frequently to refill our beverages. I’m sure our heavy-tipping had something to do with it, but she worked for the tip. And that’s all I wanted, was genuine service and understanding that a tip really isn’t something to be expected but earned. Without realizing it, my want for better service taught me something.
My experience in Vegas taught me the most important part of service is being genuine. Yes, a little ass-kissing and unrealistic expectation fulfilling is part of the shitty job description. But without personality and flare, you don’t have anything. You’re going to make 15% or less anywhere you serve without a personality.
If you’re consistently making less than 15%, it’s you, not the guests. Being stiffed is heard of, no matter how good you are. But to consistently claim that no one tips you well should be an indicator that you’re doing something wrong. Whether it is a bad attitude or lack of understanding of what people want, self-examine. You’ll make more money the more genuine you are.
Viva Las Vegas.