Everything, one way or another, starts from the beginning. What a deep thought! To put it another way, everything starts with the beginning. Correct greeting, first impression, a thousand not trivial details. The astute reader must have noticed that at the beginning of this text I did not say hello. On purpose. So that you notice and praise yourself for your attentiveness.
During my collaboration with Swissôtel (I created and implemented the iconic City Space bar there), along with other top employees (and not top ones either), I spent many hours in lectures, trainings and master classes on the art of hospitality. As if I got another education. True, the diploma confirming the completion of these courses had to be confirmed daily with their work.
Famous and even famous characters often became guests of Swissôtel. We spent a lot of time studying the habits of each of them. It was like a spy mania: in social networks, among acquaintances and acquaintances, we bit by bit collected information about the guest, his habits and characteristics. I really wanted to make his stay at our hotel very special and unforgettable.
I remember how in 2008, when I had just become part of the Swissôtel team at one of the planning meetings, we discussed the arrival of one of these special guests – Jay Kay, the vocalist of the famous British band Jamiroquai. He came to Moscow with a big concert and his girlfriend Masha, originally from St. Petersburg.
The hotel director was giving important instructions to the staff, and it was like I was absent, delving into my London memories. The planning meeting was over, everyone got up and went to the exit, and I, like in a movie, heard the sacramental: “And you, Beck, I’ll ask you to stay!”.
The director said that I have an increased responsibility for the reception of JK, because he will not completely bypass our panoramic bar.
Just think, well JK, I thought to myself, a lover of the midnight KFC chicken lover. I read it not in the yellow press, but in my memory. KFC on Pride Street near the famous Paddington Station – it was, as they sang in the song “that factory entrance that brought me to the people” …
My first job, my dedication to HoReCa, my growing up and my lucky ticket. I spoke about this in detail in my book “The Code of the Horecan”, I will tell you, once and here, if there is a reason.
So it was in my (I considered him mine, loving) KFC more than once or twice loved to visit JK, invariably ordering the same set menu called “Chicken variety” for £ 3.99.
I didn’t immediately recognize him as a star at that time, but when the blockbuster “Godzilla” was released, for which JK wrote the music, the KFC packaging was branded with the movie poster, I was in the subject. Yes, and my shift colleague, Malaysian Azila (yes, everything in rhyme) nudged me with her elbow and whispered who came to us. By degree (popularity). At one in the morning.
Years have passed since then. I also had a chance to reach the starry sky of HoReCa, and KFC and funny memories and curiosities associated with it became a reason for sweet nostalgia. There is never enough time for it, however. On the day JK arrived, no one had to sit.
Vasya Grishtakov, who was responsible for meeting the guests, sent all those involved with nervous sms, in the style of “Stirlitz is walking down our corridor. Willingness number once. “
And then JK appeared on the threshold of City Space, accompanied by Vasya and a two-meter security. The faces of Jay and his guard showed weariness from the usual official hospitality that they had time to gorge themselves in the best hotels in the world. The luxury and first class welcome were routine for them.
But then JK introduced me and he, like everyone around him, heard a line not from the script: “Hello! Nice to see you again. ” This again played the role of a signal beacon and JK, looking at me, asked in surprise, do we know each other?
“3 pieces, 2 wings, 1 fries and apple tango,” I reported. I knew JK’s repertoire better than his fans. It is difficult for you to convey how his face was transformed in an instant. The gloomy fatigue gave way to childish delight and a smile. He hugged me and slapped me on the back for a long time, like an old friend with whom he had not seen for a long time and now he unexpectedly met.
Actually, for the next three days of his visit to Moscow, I really became his best friend. We drank together, chatted, drove around the city, and on the day of the concert I stood behind the scenes with him. Even his strict bodyguard Stewart, who repels all outsiders, including the hotel staff, gave me the green light everywhere. I made friends with him, and with the girl JK Masha too.
My colleague and sworn friend Alexander Kan, who does not speak English, in order to take a picture with JK had to get him black caviar through his Prado restaurant (he wanted to bring such a souvenir from Russia), but JK asked me for a number – until we meet again in London or where be that as it may. And all thanks to my good memory and awareness of the importance of the very first impression, because they do not meet by dress, I know that for sure.
Shoot down the pathos, do not be shy, be attentive and resourceful in communicating with the guests, sincerely strive to make their visit to you unforgettable, – I tell the young HoReCa employees. Young, because they still have a flexible brain and an unfed ego. Well, learn English, otherwise you just have to blush, smile and turn pale, as some of my colleagues at Swissôtel did. With English, the smile will not be forced, but confident, joyful and … liquid!
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