Food & Drink Magazine

The Indianapolis Super Bowl

By Waiterstoday @Waiters_Today

The Indianapolis Super BowlGrowing anticipation for the 2012 Super Bowl has Indianapolis in an anxious frenzy trying to get everything planned, finished, and up to par.  Streets are being repaired.  Architectures are being renovated.  A huge hotel has been built. And many more city facelifts are either in the works, or are planned for the immediate future.

As far as the hospitality industry is concerned, managers and owners are trying to hire more staff.  Event coordinators are trying to figure out how to organize and schedule parties.  And chefs are trying to staff their kitchens while balancing the menu, and food ordering responsibilities. 

So it seems all we have to do as servers and bartenders is sit back and redeem the monetary benefits when that strenuous week comes around.  Besides, we've done this type of thing before right?  The annual Indianapolis 500 Race is one of our busiest and most profitable weekends.  Every four years we've endured the men's NCAA Final Four Tournament.  And when the city hosted the Formula One Race, the frustrations over European expensive tastes and demands, coupled with their lack of American tipping etiquette, was successfully defeated...well, mostly.

However, the reality of this upcoming mega-event is that the Indianapolis Super Bowl is going to be the BIGGEST mega-event our city will more than likely ever see.  This does not discredit other mega-events hosted by our city.  But to put it into perspective, it is estimated the men's NCAA Final Four has an economic impact on cities ranging from around 30 million to 110 million dollars.  The NFL claims an estimated economic impact from Super Bowls to range between 300 to 400 million dollars.  

In addition, around 100 thousand to 150 thousand visitors are expected to attend the Super Bowl, not to mention the flow of local football enthusiasts.  Included in those numbers are a large quantity of media, celebrities, corporate sponsors, and advertisers looking to entertain guests from all over the world.

Now the point of this post is not to discuss the marginal differences of blah, blah, economic garble and the exact accuracy of the numbers.  My point is service staff and hospitality workers are the "ambassadors" for a city whenever outsiders come in for a visit.  Whether visitors are in town for business or pleasure, it is more than likely they will have more interaction with service staff of restaurants and hotels than with locals.  Therefore, it makes our jobs even more important when our city hosts a major event like the Super Bowl that we be on our game.  

We may not be manually building hotels, or be the brains behind planning an entertainment event.  But by preparing ourselves as well, we can ensure we are taking the hard work of others around the city, polishing it up, and executing with perfection.

If you are still with me and my soap box lecture, I'm going to move over to a couple of suggestive reminders it seems we all need several times during our careers that can often fall victim to the routine complex.  Utter importance during this time is a focus on clean, professional service...ALWAYS.  Should be common knowledge, but I'll reiterate it because I've come across so many crabby servers and bartenders.  It sometimes blows my mind.

You NEVER know who you are waiting on.  I know sometimes it's hard, but with the months leading up to the Super Bowl it is important to keep this in mind at all times.  You could be waiting on an NFL employee, a corporate sponsor or advertiser, someone from the media, or maybe a simple business person who is in town and down the line is surprised by his/her boss with a company trip to the Super Bowl.  Guess what?  Any one of those guests could lead to a possible booking during the Super Bowl.  And if you provide a clean atmosphere with quality service, it's almost a guarantee they will be bring their group right back to your restaurant.

Keep this in mind while taking care of guest during Super Bowl also.  It'll be a little harder because of the tiring, lengthy hours combined with the crazy slams of business.  But keep your head up, your work station clean, and a smile on your face (yes, fake smiles count).  You don't know who that guest is sitting at your table or bar.  Your performance may mean a make-or-break for future business.  And future business is a make-or-break for your restaurant, whether it's from a local or an out of town visitor.

Also, you need to get to know your city.  Did you know Forbes named Indianapolis as one of the top ten Best Weekend Vacation Cities?  When visitors are in from out of town, a lot of times you get the question, "What is there to do?"  Or also, "Where else is a good place to eat?"  Super Bowl guarantees a crowd ready to have a good time.  There has been a surge of bars and restaurants opening around the city over the past year or so. And there's no better time or excuse to check them out than now.  If you're providing clean, professional service to your guests, than it's inevitable they are going to trust your judgment on other quality places to check out.  So make sure your word is good when you point them in a certain direction.

Furthermore, make sure your up-to-date on all of the Super Bowl activities going on around the city.  So far a "Super Bowl Village" has been set to take place on Georgia St., along with the "NFL Experience" taking over the first floor of the Convention Center.  Obviously, more events, parties, and attractions will be revealed as we get closer to the date. It is an important job as the city's "ambassadors" to know what's going on, and be able to provide that information to guests in order to provide maximum entertainment.  Because with all of the national and international attention focused on our city, it would be a disgrace to be viewed as boring.

No matter how many insanely chaotic busy weekends or weeks we've had, no matter how many parties we've taken care of with big names entertaining guests, or how many celebrities we've waited on, this is going to be bigger and harder than them all.  And in order to shine successfully during the February 5, 2012 event, you better start preparing yourself for it now.


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