Saturday, May 14 – In these early days we are focused on the quality of our guests’ experiences at Lena Brava, much more than the quantity of guests. That being said, we achieved both a higher guest count and PPA today over yesterday, while the dining room maintained that buzz that comes from outstanding and surprising cuisine and a high standard of service. More than ever, we are working together as a team.
Mood Scale- Tonight we welcomed many of Leslie’s regulars from Formento’s. With many larger parties on the book, we had to utilize 62+63 for an unconventional 4-top, with the guests facing the window in a u-shape. Any worries about the guests not feeling comfortable with this configuration were smoothed over completely with Leslie stepping in and recommending half glass pours to pair with each of these guests courses: they ended up loving the table and having an amazing time, in large part thanks to Leslie!
Also on the 2nd floor, a couple who were walk-ins enjoyed a couple cocktails while waiting to be seated: they had apparently come in with a big head start, because they became befuddled and tried to claim table 75 as it opened up and was being resat. We needed table 75 for a reservation, but had seats at the 1st floor bar ready. I was worried inebriation would make it difficult for us to provide the full Lena Brava experience for these guests. I was ready to let them know we would be happy to serve food, but that we felt it best to not serve them more alcohol. However, Shari (lead host tonight) was able to seat them graciously and when I spoke with their server Kelly, she recommended we wait to see if they would actually try to order another round before forcing the confrontation to let them know they were cut off. This turned out to be a wise move: these guests loved their seats at the raw bar, and did not try to order any more drinks: they sobered up with dinner and had a full and fantastic Lena experience. Way to go Shari and Kelly!
Notable guests: Allison Sullivan, Erin Whale, and more of Leslie’s wine regulars from Formento’s. Jeff Joniak, announcer for the Bears, enjoyed speaking with Ricky (general manager from Frontera Cocina, opening soon at WDW, who staged with us tonight). Steve Dolinsky and friends. Floyd and Bonnie, who loved the banana split. Joe Gray, food editor at the Chicago Tribune.
MVP: Shari, for speaking up in pre-shift and letting the entire staff know the book was front-heavy and to pull our socks up for a big first turn. Not only did she get the team revved and ready, Shari kept that energy up all the way to the very end. Shari crushed it, and set a great pace and energy for the entire team.
Appreciation: Carlean, who gave up her day off and came in to work as a food runner for the good of the team. Thank you Carlean!
Tom Skilling says beach season just around the corner, but lake waters are cold.