In this installment of Venga’s Server of the Month series, we recognize Forest from Tarry Lodge. Forest stood out among his colleagues as a shining example of genuine hospitality.
How did you get started in hospitality?
Forest: When I was going through college at Louisiana State, I worked at a catering and events management company in Baton Rouge. This was something I enjoyed so much that I decided to stick with the company. I became a manager at Lafitte's Landing in Ascension Parish upon graduation. I was encouraged by the experience, not only because I found the work interesting, but that I had a talent for it as well. Most of the servers were much older than myself and I spent a couple years learning from them as their manager. I knew I was hooked at that point.
What is the best part of being in hospitality?
Forest: I would say the best part is the fast pace and the fact that the industry is in constant evolution. I never get a chance to become bored with work because everyday is different and there are always new trends.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to a brand new server?
Forest: There are so many things to learn and most of that comes from experience. Because the action moves at such a fast pace, it's important to try to stay 2 or 3 steps ahead. Even the best servers make mistakes. If you are organized, prepared, and anticipate needs, you can withstand a few setbacks without having it effect the guest. It also helps to have a genuine interest in food and beverage. Try to read as much as you can and become an expert. When patrons see that you are knowledgeable, you can gain their trust. A nice smile and a good attitude helps as well.
If you could have any meal, what would it be?
Forest: This is the toughest question of all. I guess it would depend on what I was in the mood for at the time. I'd probably pick something simple like a good steak with garlic mashed potatoes and salad. Of course a bottle of wine and something chocolate for dessert would have to be included as well.