June's Server of the Month: Forest from Tarry Lodge

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. 

Forest combines a subtle sense of humor with professionalism from years of experience to deliver his own style of hospitality to our guests. His dedication to details and polished service set the standard for the rest of the staff. Forest finds a way to connect with each guest to provide an individual level of service; he is truly an ambassador of the Tarry Lodge experience
— Steve - General Manger, Tarry Lodge
“Our waiter, Forest, was excellent! He chatted with us, answered questions, and offered suggestions.”

”[Forest] was so knowledgeable about the menu. A great representation of the restaurant!”
— Tarry Lodge's Guests