Commitment to Staff’s Daily Success

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Saturday, October 8

The cards that are signed by the entire staff and given to guests to mark their special occasion being celebrated at the restaurant continue to be a big hit. Tonight we had Lynnea take it a step farther.  She had a couple sitting at table 84 celebrating their anniversary. In conversation about how the couple had originally met, Lynnea picked up on a shared phrase from their courtship, which she wrote in cursive script with a flourish across the top of their anniversary card.  This was so impressive to them they were still raving about it (as well as Lynnea’s service, and the food overall) at the very end of their dinner.  As a wise man once said, “Sometimes we forget that even birthday candles in desserts, hand written cards on tables, and personal menus have a huge impact on taking care of our guests.”

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Tom Skilling says… partly sunny and dry, temps in the 60’s, just about perfect for the Chicago marathon Sunday. 

Extremely Hard Worker

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Wednesday, October 5

We had guests vacate their patio table, which was immediately seized upon by the next guests.  This did not allow us to properly clean the patio table (salsa had entered the perforated holes.)  Andrea was so gracious with these guests, and had them pull back just for a moment allowing our team to wire brush the salsa out (stuck tomatillo seeds) and that completed the beautification.  The guests were super appreciative and their CB experience got properly underway.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Lovely older couple having dinner with their dog… I was compelled to buy a pecan cookie for them and they loved it.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

MVP:  Tyler has been a strong addition to the team and tonight he was the thru-line giving our CB guests consistently awesome service from early afternoon to the end of dinner rush. Great to have Tyler working here.

Tom Skilling says… Warm October rolls on.

Passion for Industry

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Tuesday, October 4

First Tuesday of October was a hit!  We had concern that the phone / internet outage caused by construction on the block would impact our night, making us reliant on knucklebusters and walk-in’s, but this situation was happily ameliorated by Sarah and AT&T just after open.  From there, the business picked up big time, with the dining room and PDR going full steam. 

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Shoutout: Sarah thank you for taking care of the phone / internet rigamarole today, getting knucklebusters into action, training the staff on Revention’s back-up system… because of your efforts the staff felt it was going to be all good, no matter what.

Das Bueno

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Saturday, Oct 1

#DasBueno

Shoutout: The entire Cruz Blanca staff from the top down and the bottom up. In one of my previous restaurant positions I was head host and director of special events for a restaurant in Boston and we threw “Hotter than Hell” nights 3 times a year, very popular for the chile heads. I just want to say that from the content (Jacob’s beer, the awesome stein, wicked fun band, amazing sausage and bretzel) to the execution (big ups to the staff) to Matt’s suit this has to have been the coolest restaurant event I have ever been a part of. Way to crush it Cruz Blanca!

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

MVP: Yo-Yo, our PM dishwasher, consistently goes above and beyond: when he has an open minute, he fills it by bringing down dishes, or taking on a cleaning project. We all appreciate Yo-Yo’s energy and attention to detail, and he makes the entire restaurant better.

Tom Skilling says… stretch of cooler, stormy days ahead.

Always Thinking About Ways to Make Systems Better

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Tuesday, September 27

Positive start to the week.  Our 2 new SA’s, Emily and Luis, worked well together on LB1, keeping the entire dining room including the LB1 bar maintained to our standards.  We talked about anticipation and how they need to start seeing further into the future, so that they get into the habit of requesting support (be that extra hands to clear, or more share plates, silverware.) Our new lead host Shanice was engaged with guests and the training all night, excellent job, and new polisher Candy was focused on the details today, not the speed, which is how we train our polishers.  From training each other to the service of our guests, the staff gave one hundred percent and we had a successful start to the week.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Mood Scale:  We have been playing the “3 questions” ice breaking game when we introduce new people to the staff at our pre-shift meetings. Today we introduced our new lead host, Shanice.  Her first concert was NSYNC, first pet was a goldfish, and if she was a cocktail, Shanice would be an old fashioned because she is an old soul.  This “3 questions” game not only breaks the ice, it’s also known to raise mood scale of the staff.

Sees the Good in All People and Situations

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Sunday, Sept 25

Sunday began as a continuation of the big weekend and tapered towards the second half of service.  Lots of celebrations and personalized touches, elevating our guests’ LB experiences. Way to finish the week strong.

Mood Scale / Shoutout:  In today’s preshift, LLL  read a short article on how one particular Chicagoland location of a national fast food chain consistently rates highest in the country for customer satisfaction.  As the food served amongst the thousand locations in the chain must be the same, we examined as a group several recent reviews, looking for “tells” as to what the secret of this location’s success is.  Turns out, the staff consistently looks for ways to personalize the experience of their guests.  For a recent birthday celebration held at the location, the staff made a handmade poster.  For a recent drive through customer, the staff gave a sampling of all the hot sauces, which the guest turned into a hashtag for their online review.  The moral of today’s lesson, guests will remember how you make them feel, and in an increasingly homogenous world, a personalized touch goes a long way.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

A

What’s with the oblique references?  What’s the chain?

RB

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Sorry chef I was thinking the name is better left unsaid because the terribleness of their food could overshadow the lesson about personalized service… I am just not a fan of this fast food place and did not want to honor their name, only the staff working there. Here is the link chef.

Sticking Up for the “Little Guy”

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Lena Brava – Wed, Sept 22

Wednesday started with a lot of positive momentum in the manager meeting (felt like we went over a lot! thank you again to JF for the awesome work on feedback surveys) and Jill’s engaging and super informative wine by the bottle class (including my favorite… dessert wine.)  The good vibes carried over into a night of strong teamwork from the dining room to the 18 person PDR party.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Achievement Unlocked:   We were able to create a tool to clear away the blockage from the drain of the espresso machine, and it was very satisfying.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

MVP:  Brigitte the MVP again (two out of her three first days) for her confident stature in the dining room (from all her studying, learning and listening) and impressive service of R&D on the heels of taking the lion’s share of the dining room’s covers. In other news, trainee Emily gives a shoutout to all the runners.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Tom Skilling says… warmth and humidity return. (Please see special image attached in honor of the autumnal equinox.)

Positive Attitude Boosts Morale

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Sunday, September 18

Staff dedicated themselves to end the week as a team.  We had to adjust to a slightly different support staff configuration than usual, with the party.  The FOH team rocked it out and gave our guests top notch hospitality. Kudos to Lisa and the PDR team of Allie and Iggy for a successful party. 

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

MVP:  Flower has been doing a great job since she started as a polisher. Tonight was no different, she started on LB2, where they never ran out of silver or other supplies even with a 4 course party for 22.  When we cut the Junior Varsity polishing unit of Abraam and Laura (who have to get up for high school … ugh … in the morning) just after 9PM, Flower took control of all polishing at 900 and finished the job beautifully.

Tom Skilling says… Summer-like conditions return.

Generosity Towards Guests

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Saturday, September 10

Kudos to the social media team for putting the football announcement out there: we had several groups of sports fans in CB2 for college football today, and it felt like a good fit up there.  The combo of flat screen TV’s and beer is a compelling one, especially with the dearth of dedicated sports bars in the West Loop (Parlour Pizza may be the second best place to catch a game.)  I’m excited to start building that NFL following tomorrow. 

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Shoutout:  Love the new artwork in CB2, and that love has now been shared by guests on Instagram.  @ed_fl0 is pictured smiling with the new Frita Kahlo piece, his hands mirroring Frita’s hands in prayer, accompanied by the caption, “Gettin’ lit con la jefas de jefas @ #CruzBlanca #friyay #nomanchesfrida #chicago.”

Showing Care for the Restaurant and People

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Friday, Sept 9

While all in all it was a successful night, we had a couple challenges, specifically with two long waits at the door for tables. We can blame is on the stars, how the planets aligned or the fact that Mercury is in retrograde but whatever the reason, we had A LOT of campers in the dining room that threw off seating for these two tables.

lena brava cruz blanca chicago arthur mullen manager 900 randolph bayless restaurant 3rdarm sunset west loop striped bass seafood roly poly cat

Shoutout: Arthur Mullen who is the man that does it all, a utility player, a total boss ready to help out anywhere for anyone on team 900! While Arthur was overseeing CB tonight, we called upon him to bust out his hot chocolate skillz for a table with 2 young children. The adult guests on this table did not understand why we did not have drip coffee and pressured Arthur to explain why that was. Arthur fielded the question beautifully and used it as an opportunity to tell the story of Sparrow Coffee. Arthur is always seeing an opportunity to turn a negative into a positive and positively impacting guests experiences.