Friday, January 7, 2011

Bar Champs (Part 2)

This is part 2 of a three part series called "Bar Champs."  Ok so after I won the store level competition I was afforded the opportunity to go to regionals.  This particular year regionals were held in Nashville, Tennessee and was about three weeks after the store level competition.  At regionals the competition is tougher, you have to take more test, and more recipes are added to the food and drink test.  This was the first year for our restaurant and somehow management obtained a copy of the food and drink test.  They gave me a copy and instead of just focusing on that material I decided to waste brain power studying everything.   That was a big mistake.
I woke up the morning the GM and I were flying out to Tennessee and drove to the airport to meet him.  We boarded the plane and were on our way, the flight kind of threw me off because we arrived the same time we left (stupid time zones).  I had a hotel but for some reason he didn’t take me there, instead he took me to another store because he had a meeting or something.  I was dead tired and nothing to do so I took a nap in one of the booths.  Later that afternoon he took me to the restaurant where the competition was held to check in and take the food and drink test.  I still had not made it to my room, so I took the test with all my bags near me.  He did inform me that a manager from my store had drove to Tennessee and would take me to my room after testing.  So this is why studying everything was a mistake, the test that I took was the exact test that management had given me prior.  Man was I mad at myself for trying to remember unnecessary information.  I finally made it to my hotel room and was able to unwind for a brief moment, because we all had to meet at a bar downtown to announce who was winning after testing and socialize.
After testing I was in 5th place out of 9 or 10 people, not a bad spot I could still place but it wasn’t a great spot either.  If I would’ve studied the material provided or even was able to study in better conditions I probably would have placed a lot higher.   I made it back to the hotel and got a much needed nights rest.  I woke up the next morning and practiced my routine, came up with some new tricks, and had a great breakfast.  I ended up eating lunch with everyone that came from my store, we ate at a Mexican place that had 2 for 1 margaritas on special.  After lunch I went back to the hotel and took a nap in the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.  It is now competition time and the butterflies started to flap their wings, I was comforted by the small group of supporters who were there.
The competition began and I went third to last, some of their flair was amazing and others needed some work.  It was then my turn and I did the same entrance as I did at the store level, the crowd went crazy and I started to do my thing.  I pulled out all the stops and left everything behind the bar, I juggled two bottles with one hand, flipped it up and caught it behind my back and all kinds of other cool stuff.  I stayed within my time frame and successfully made, garnished, and presented my drinks.  The one guy that was ahead of me by a few points dropped bottles, garnished his drinks wrong, and used the wrong glassware (you’ll see why I made this point later).  The bartender who won the store level at that particular store went last, so he had the pleasure of having the home crowd behind him.  They went bananas when he came out and he began his routine.  This guy was phenomenal, his flair was stuff that you only see on TV, and I knew at that point at best I would get second.  For his finale, he lined up five glasses, poured red bull in them and set five shots on the connecting rims.  When he filled the last glass with red bull he took the can and hit the side of the glass which knocked the five shots into the glasses.  The crowd went bananas again and the judges deliberated to announce the standings.  The GM of the restaurant comes out to announce the winners.  He announced third and I was like, “Yes I’m in either 2nd or 1st!”  Then he announced 2nd place and it wasn’t me, I was like there’s no way that I won this but maybe?  He announced 1st and that wasn’t me either, I could not believe that I did not place at all.  I understand how first and second got their places but third was complete BS.  Do you remember that guy I mentioned earlier who messed up everything?  Yeah he was the one who got third, he was only a few points ahead of me and when you mess up drinks it’s a large deduction (at least it was supposed to be).  Guess who came in fourth?  Yeah, this guy…I was so pissed off at these results, there was no way he should have came in third.  So I went to the GM and asked to see how they scored because he messed up his drinks.  Conveniently the scores had been thrown away and couldn’t be reviewed.  This infuriated me even more, ten minutes after the competition they throw away the judges’ cards? (Sounds kind of suspect right?)  I asked my GM what could be done about it and all he could say was that he would check into it.  Many months later and the results had not changed (go figure).
We live in a corrupt world and “anything” can be bought, sold, or bargained for.  I’m not saying this was the case but something just smelt fishy with this situation.  Ethics are challenged everyday of our lives, don’t compromise yours to get ahead because it won’t pay off in the long run (i.e Madoff, bank loans, Enron, BP. etc)  Stay tuned tomorrow for "Bar Champs (Part 3)" everything that happened after Bar Champs.

            These stories are real accounts, so if you plan to drink and have a good time do so responsibly. Remember to call a cab or a friend because the cost of a DWI is way more than a $20 cab ride home. Also, if you plan or happen to take someone home use protection. For two reasons, one there are many STD’s floating out there and it only takes one to ruin your life or that of others. The second reason is because a $3 condom is less expensive then 18 years of raising a child.

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