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Competency standard: Unit THHBFB11B Develop & update food and beverage knowledge Unit Descriptor

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Competency standard:Unit THHBFB11BDevelop & update food and beverage knowledge


Unit descriptor l.jpg
Unit Descriptor

  • This unit deals with the skills and knowledge required to develop and maintain the general product knowledge required by food and beverage attendants. It brings together much of the product knowledge that underpins effective work performance in a range of food service roles and relates to food knowledge and the relationships between different foods and beverages. The unit also focuses on the need for ongoing updating of knowledge by all food and beverage staff.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Unit Descriptor

  • Please note that the specific product knowledge that applies to those mainly involved in beverage service Is found in other units such as unit THHBFB04B Provide table service of alcoholic beverages and THHBFB01B B Operate a bar. There are also two other higher level units which deal with specialised food and beverage knowledge. These are THHADFB02B Provide specialist advice on wine and THHADFB01 B Provide specialist advice on food.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Performance Criteria

1.1 Identify the Information required in order to fulfil daily activities associated with the job role

1.2 Identify suitable sources of the required information on food and beverage

1.3 Develop and maintain current knowledge of food and beverage as required for the job role.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

Performance Criteria

2.1 Provide assistance to customers on selection of food and beverage Items

2.2 Offer advice on suitable combinations of food and beverages where appropriate

2.3 Respond courteously and correctly to customer questions on menus and drinks lists

2.4 Provide advice on menu Items In response to special dietary or cultural requirements of customers.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Essential knowledge and skills to be assessed

The following skills and knowledge must be assessed as part of this unit:

  • the features of commonly prepared dishes as appropriate to the industry sector

  • traditional accompaniments for different types of food

  • service styles for different types of food

  • compatibility of common food and beverage items

  • specific food safety issues for different types of food

  • common cultural and dietary issues and options

  • general overview of special dietary requirements, including food exclusions for allergies and food Intolerance

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

1.1 Identify information required

It Is vital for every hospitality employee to have an excellent knowledge of the products and services offered by their workplace.

In particular, you need this knowledge so you can take every opportunity to promote dishes, recommend beverages and generally assist customers.

Opportunities to promote products frequently arise during service sessions, and elsewhere in the general hospitality environment.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

These opportunities mainly occur when taking orders, and present an excellent opportunity to show-off your skills, as well as to inform the customer of the various products or services offered by your place of work.

Knowledge about food, beverages, the services you offer and the facilities available is called 'product knowledge', and you can't have too much of it!

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Information to assist in fulfilling daily duties

Waiters and bar attendants, because of their roles, will have greater focus in different areas.

Waiters

One of the more immediate ways for you to acquire food product knowledge is to refer to the menus being used.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

  • If you are unsure about any of the listed items, the terms used or the cooking methods mentioned, you should ask the kitchen: the first time you do this, you may have quite a few questions you want answered (and this is normal), so it may pay you to make an appointment with whoever can help you.

  • To get a broader up-to-date knowledge of the food products currently available on the market, along with various recipes and cooking methods, you should start developing an interest in books and magazines that feature these things.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

In addition, you'll have to equip yourself with beverage knowledge, because part of your role will at sometime Involve you In taking orders for, preparing and serving beverages. A good knowledge of wines is also useful.

Bar Attendants

Bar attendants deal with a wide range of products, so It is important you become familiar with all the different beverage tastes, styles and qualities.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

It is also useful to have accurate knowledge about Ingredients and production methods, as well as a little product history (such as place of origin).

Beer

The term 'beer' relates to all the fermented liquors from malted and unmalted cereals. It includes ales, lagers, pilseners, porters and stouts.

Beer is said to be one of the oldest drinks dating back around 5,000 years, to the ancient Egyptians. Around the 15th century, hops were Introduced from Germany, and these hops helped prevent the ale from souring.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge



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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

The original distinction between ale and beer was that ale contained no hops. Today, the difference is between ale and lager, not ale and beer. This is because of the brewing methods: ales are 'top fermented', while lagers are 'bottom fermented'.

Fermentation depends on the strain of yeast used, and some yeasts rise and others sink during the fermentation process.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

The process of making beer is broken down into five areas:

  • malting

  • mashing

  • hopping

  • fermentation

  • Pasteurisation.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Colour, body and flavour of beer

The colour, body and flavour of beer will largely depend on the kind of malts, grains, hops and water used.

It will also depend on whether top or bottom fermenting yeasts were used, the temperature of the fermentation, and the handling duration of the beer prior to packaging.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Lager styles

Yeast cultures that ferment at the bottom of a vessel can be isolated and removed.

This means that lager beers are usually a cleaner and 'thinner' style of beer than ales, which can be seen as 'heavier'.

After fermentation, the yeast that settles on the bottom of the vessel is drained off and the now 'green beer' is run off to be stored under cool conditions for two or three months.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Pilseners

Pilseners are usually paler In colour than lagers, and have a fresh hop aroma with a strong carbonated, dry, clean finish.

Pilseners are known as the ideal aperitif style of beer.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Ale styles

Ales are generally an older style of beer. They are a result of using top fermenting yeasts, and once the yeast rises to the top, it is skimmed off before the ale is run off into barrels or bottles for further maturation.

Ales are usually more 'complex' in flavour, darker in colour and less effervescent than lagers.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Ales may be served at cellar temperature (which to many means at room temperature, but when it Is realised that the cellar temperature in the northern hemisphere can be pretty cold, perhaps 'cellar temperature' should mean 'lightly chilled'.

Some sub-types of ales are:

  • stouts

  • porters

  • barley wines.

    In the main, the stout that is usually served in Australia is served chilled, but there may well be drinkers who prefer certain stouts unchilled.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

The Packaging of Beer

Draught (or bulk) beer

Beer that comes In barrels (also known as kegs) Is referred to as 'draught beer' - also known as 'bulk beer' -- to differentiate it from beer that comes in bottles, cans or stubbies, which is known as 'packaged beer'.

Any product which is drawn directly from a keg/barrel is called 'draught': thus you can have draught stout and draught cider. Bulk wine tends just to be called 'bulk wine' and not draught wine.

The level of carbonation of draught beer is usually lower than for packaged beer.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Kegs should be stored in a cool area and never left out in the sun, as high temperatures can accelerate the ageing process. This can result In the deterioration of flavour and loss of quality.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Packaged beer

This term refers to any beer packaged In a bottle or a can:

  • 24 cans/bottles makes up what is generally known as a 'slab'

  • a 375 ml bottle of beer is known as a 'stubby'

  • a 750 ml is often known as a 'King Brown' or a long neck'

  • 6 bottles or cans are known as a 'six pack'.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Boutique beer

Boutique beer is beer produced by a small brewery.

It may be dearer than normal, and may have a 'cult' following.

A venue is unlikely to stock much in the way of boutique beer unless there is a demonstrated demand for it: your venue may, in fact, be a brewer of boutique beer!

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Imported beer

Beers from many countries are now commonly sold in packaged form In venues.

Some are relatively new arrivals on the Australian market, and some have been popular here for decades.

Many are of a higher quality and price than domestic options, some aren't: however, it is always a matter of personal taste.

It is interesting to remember that Fosters lager Is pretty commonplace locally, but - In England - it is an Imported beer.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

  • Some of the more popular imported beers are:

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Spirits

Spirit is fermented alcohol after it has been distilled to separate the alcohol and flavour from the water.

Most spirits are made from grain such as barley, rye and corn, while others are made from grapes.

There are 5 main spirits - brandy, whisky, vodka, rum and gin.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Distillation

The process of distillation makes beverages of high alcoholic strength out of liquids from a lower alcoholic strength.

During distillaton, a base Ingredient (with alcohol) is heated until the alcohol turns into steam or vapour. This is possible because alcohol boils at a lower temperature than water making it possible to vaporise most of the alcohol In the base liquid, leaving behind the water.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Once the vapour is trapped and then cooled, it turns back into a liquid that has a higher concentration of alcohol, which is then known as spirit wine.

There are two styles of spirits:

  • Intrinsic Flavour Spirits When the main flavour is that of the flavouring agent.

  • Added Flavour Spirits Where a flavour is added to the neutral spirit.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Base Ingredients

  • grape wine makes brandy

  • sugar wine makes rum

  • fruit wine makes cherry brandy

  • malted/unmalted grain wine makes whisky, gin and vodka.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Brandy

  • Brandy was said to have been first developed as a by-product of the wine growing areas in France.

  • During the Middle Ages, France first began exporting wine and found it didn't travel well, so they boiled it down to a concentrate and upon arrival at its destination, the concentrate wine was mixed with water and then bottled.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Many people acquired a taste for the boiled down concentrate which came to be known as brandy.

Cognac is brandy distilled from the wine made in the Cognac region of France.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Cognac can undergo a lengthy period of ageing in wooden casks and can be identified by letters to Indicate its quality:

  • X - Extra

  • V - Very

  • S - Superior

  • P - Pale

  • O - Old

  • M - Mellow

  • F - Fine

  • E - Extra or Special

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Thus, V.S.O.P means 'Very Superior Old Pale'.

Brandy can be served straight, on-the-rocks or with a mixer. Cognac is usually served straight in a warmed brandy balloon.

Common brandy brands sold in Australia are:

  • Chatelle

  • Hardys

  • McWilliams

  • Mildara

  • Seppelt

  • St. Agnes

  • Remy.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Commonly served cognacs in Australia are:

  • Courvoisier

  • Hennessy

  • Martel

  • Remy Martin.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Whisky and bourbon

Whisky has been made by the Irish and the Scots for hundreds of years. The word 'whisky' comes from the Gaelic and means `water of life'.

In Australia, there are over two hundred brands, covering five main types.

Regular whisky drinkers really know their favourite tipple - so don't think you can 'pull one over them' and substitute one type - or one brand - for another: they are certain to pick the deception.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Scotch

Is the most popular type of whisky, and there are three main kinds of Scotch whisky:

  • Traditional Malt Whisky made from the highest quality of malted barley. It can be aged between 5 and 25 years.

  • Blended Whisky can sometimes have up to 38 different whiskies in the blend. The majority of blended whiskies are bottled in Australia, after arriving here in bulk.

  • Deluxe Blended Grain Whisky, usually use a high proportion of malted grain in the blend. It is usually served on the rocks or with water.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Whisky can be served straight, on-the-rocks or with a mixer.

Brands of scotch (bottled in Scotland - B.I.S.) commonly sold In Australia include:

  • Ballantines

  • Bells

  • Chivas Regal

  • CuttySark

  • Dewars

  • Dimple

  • Famous Grouse

  • J&B

  • Johnnie Walker

  • Teachers.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Scotch (bottled In Australia) commonly sold In Australia Includes:

  • Black Douglas

  • Grants

  • Highland Queen

  • Macleay Duff

  • Pipers

  • Vat 69.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Scotch ('Traditional Malt' B.I.S.) commonly sold In Australia Includes:

  • Glenfiddlch

  • Gienlivlt.

    American bourbons

    There are two main kinds of American bourbon:

  • Bourbon Whisky - made mostly from corn

  • Tennessee Whisky - made from a blend of cereals that have been filtered through finely ground sugar and maple charcoal.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

  • It is served mostly with a mixer, though some like It on-the-rocks.

    American bourbon brands commonly sold in Australia Include:

  • Beam's Choice

  • Cougar

  • Early Times

  • Jack Daniels

  • Jim Beam.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Irish whiskey

Irish whiskey (with an 'e') has been called the

original of whiskies.

It has a distinctive taste that sets it aside from other whiskies. It is served straight, on-the-rocks or with water.

It Is also the basis of Irish Coffee.

Irish whiskey brands commonly sold in Australia Include:

  • Tullamore Dew

  • Jameson.

  • Taste of Ireland.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Canadian whisky

Canadian whisky is commonly known as rye whisky,

Rye whisky has a light bodied taste.

Canadian is usually served with a mixer, though some prefer it on-the-rocks.

Canadian whisky brands commonly served in Australia are:

  • Canadian Club

  • Crown Royal

  • Seagram.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Vodka

Vodka was first made in Kiev in the Ukraine in the 12th century.

The word vodka in Russia means 'little water'.

It was originally made out of potatoes and other vegetables, though is now distilled from grains, the principal one being rye.

It is a colourless and uncomplicated spirit, with little to no taste, which lends it perfectly to being used as a mixer, and in cocktails: flavoured vodkas lend themselves to more creative uses.

Brands of vodka commonly sold in Australia include

  • Absolut

  • Cossack

  • Smirnoff

  • Stolichnaya.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Rum

Rum is made from distilled sugar molasses, and is usually produced where sugar cane is a major crop.

Rum was said to have originated in the West Indies, and is still produced there today along with areas in eastern South America, the Philippines, Mauritius and, in smaller quantities, in the USA and Australia.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

There are three main styles of rum:

  • Dark or Brown Rum has a rich distinct flavour that comes from adding molasses and caramel

  • Gold Rum is matured for three years in charred casks with caramel added for colour

  • White Rum is rather light in taste, very popular and suitable for most mixed drinks.

    Rum is usually served with a mixer.

     White rum is also a very popular Ingredient in cocktails. Brands of rum commonly sold in Australia Include:

  • Bacardi

  • Bundaberg

  • Captain Morgan

  • Coruba

  • Black Heart

  • Mt. Gay.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Gin

The origins of gin go back to the 16° century in Holland.

The common ingredients found in gin are juniper berries, angelica, liquorice, orris root, dried citrus peel, caraway and coriander seeds.

It has a distinctive, dry taste.

Gin is a very versatile drink and is commonly served with a mixer, especially tonic or bitter lemon. It is also used in cocktails and is the major ingredient in a Martini.

Brands of On commonly sold In Australia Include:

  • Beefeater

  • Gilbeys

  • Gordons

  • Grants

  • Seagram

  • Tanqueray

  • Vickers.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Tequila

Tequila Is a colourless spirit that originated in Mexico.

It Is made from fermenting and distilling a cactus-like agave plant called the Blue Mezcal, a cactus that mainly grows In the southwest region of Mexico.

The township of Tequila Is the main production centre, hence the spirit's name.

There are two types of tequila:

  • White Tequila is aged in wax-lined vats

  • Gold Tequila is matured In oak barrels just long enough to give its golden colour.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

The most common way of drinking tequila, and the most traditional, is called 'lick, sip and suck', because you lick some salt, gulp down the tequila, then suck on a wedge of lemon.

Some tequilas come with a Mezcal Worm, which is to be eaten by the drunker. Tequila is also a popular mix in cocktails like Tequila Sunrise.

Brands of tequila commonly sold in Australia

  • Coyote

  • Cuervo

  • El Toro

  • Mestizo

  • TQ.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Ouzo

Ouzo is a popular spirit from Greece.

It is made from distilled grape spirit which is then redistilled with aniseed and herb flavouring: ouzo turns a milky-white when added with water.

It is usually served with a mixer, especially cola.

Brands of ouzo commonly sold in Australia are:

Akropolis

Apollo

Olympus

Ouzo 12.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Note: It is important to remember that the pourers used for ouzo must be washed separately because the distinct aniseed flavour will taint all other pourers if mixed in with them.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

1.2 Identify sources of information

Sources of information can be external or internal. External sources include:

Trade newspapers and trade magazines - an ongoing source of new products, trends and industry happenings

Point of sale advertising material that you see in other venues - adverts about new products and promotions

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

The media generally - you should begin to cultivate an interest in the broad industry: anything to do with liquor, food, accommodation and entertainment (issues, public comment, political comment)

should attract your interest.

Make it your business to watch relevant television programs, and read the hospitality, food, liquor and tourism sections of the newspapers.

Books - these are always coming out and give Information about various aspects of the industry, and the cut-price piles offer some real bargains.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Representatives - talk to the reps who call in to your establishment, and find out from them what's happening. They are a fabulous source of information because, not only do they know their own product, but they get to move around lots of other venues and pick up on what's happening there too.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Suppliers – this is a bit of a variation on talking to reps, but a phone call – or a personal visit – to your suppliers can be really beneficial: many have heaps of promotional material, and many can put you on a mailing list to keep you up-to-date.

Other bodies – related agencies (tourism bodies and other government agencies such as liquor licensing, police, health authorities) can also assist and give you information that enables you to keep abreast of changes.

Your competitors – visit them and note what they are doing.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Internal sources include:

  • Management and department heads – they are usually 'in the loop' about new events, changes and impending moves. Make them aware that you want to know what's happening, and ask them frequently.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

  • Keep your eyes peeled – in some venues there is much that goes on, much that changes and it is difficult for management to Inform everyone of everything: certainly there is unlikely to be any effort designed not to tell you! This means then that you are obliged to be alert to changes (new signs, new adverts that your premises run, new products, altered services, revised facilities).

  • Tour the premises – if you are new to a place, make arrangements to have a guided tour through the venue: many places will conduct one of these as part of their Induction and orientation program, but some don't. Even If you've worked at a place for quite a while, a tour of the establishment can prove very useful.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

  • Taste the products – undertake some structured program (you will have to design this for yourself) that enables you to taste all the foods your establishment offers, and begin to sample the beverages too.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

1.3 Develop and maintain current knowledge

Service staff can use informal and formal research techniques when seeking to develop and maintain current industry and establishment knowledge.

Informal research

  • Informal research is when you use workplace observation, or ask another team member or supervisor/manager about the product and services offered by the establishment and by your competitors.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

  • You can also seek information from catalogues or promotional material

  • You could become proactive and ask for verbal or written customer feedback on a particular product or service.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Formal research

  • Formal research is when you seek out further product information by enrolling in a recognised course, attending product launches and promotions, attending seminars or industry nights.

  • Included in this research is attending or participating in in-house training sessions when sales representatives (technical staff) visit.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Customer feedback or workplace observation

  • Service staff can learn a great deal about products and services by observing the workplace or receiving customer feedback.

  • This information can be used to evaluate products, services and promotional incentives offered by the establishment.

    Observation in the workplace may include:

  • Being aware of new products and services offered

  • Being aware of product returns

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

  • Familiarising yourself with promotional displays and printed materials

  • Speaking with other team members about the services and products they appear familiar with

  • Observing customers' reactions to a particular product or service.

    Note that for any research, questioning or observation to be successful it must be done with a purpose in mind – you must have a definite idea of what you want to find out about.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Customer feedback may involve:

  • asking a customer for their comments after they have sampled a product or service

  • providing comment cards for the customer to complete

  • talking to customers

  • observing customer reactions.

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Sharing knowledge

  • It is most important for all staff to share product and service knowledge.

  • This can be done in an informal fashion (which would be information that you 'just pick up around the place' in a random manner), or it can be structured (through organised staff meetings that have a pre-set focus)

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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

The following times provide the perfect opportunity for knowledge sharing:

  • during any sort of staff meetings

  • before or after service sessions

  • during breaks.

    However, it would definitely be inappropriate to discuss product knowledge during the middle of a busy service session, in front of patrons, or while customers were waiting.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 1: Research general information on food and beverage

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

Element 2: Share

information with

customers

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

2.1 Provide assistance to customers General assistance

  • You should provide assistance to customers at every opportunity.

  • Often, customers will ask you for this help, but frequently — by observing customers, or listening to what they are saying — you can offer this advice before they ask for it, thus providing outstanding customer service.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • If you are ever in doubt about whether to offer assistance: ask the customer if they would like some help. Never hold back on offering assistance simply because you are unsure about whether it's wanted or not.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • You must bear in mind that some people are too 'frightened' to ask, they may be in a strange town, they may In a different culture, they may be amongst people who are speaking a different language.

  • In addition, customers may have had a bad day and feel that if they ask for anything, they won't get It anyway!

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • Or, they may have had a previous bad experience with us and feel that asking anyone else will simply be a waste of time: in these cases, our offer of help can turn a negative service situation into a positive one.

    The nature of assistance

  • Assistance can be anything!

  • The next section talks about providing 'advice', so this section highlights the need for us to provide physical assistance to customers.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • While this unit specifically mentions 'food and beverage', it is unwise to isolate the provision of assistance for F & B from the provision of assistance elsewhere in the establishment: it goes without saying that if anyone, anywhere is in need of help - we provide it.

  • NEVER, NEVER, NEVER refuse to help someone thinking or actually saying, "Sorry, that's not my area". EVER!

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Element 2: Share information with customers

Assistance may cover:

  • Carrying drinks to a table

  • Rounding up children who may have gone wandering a little too far from the parents' table

  • Getting a copy of today's paper to find out what's on the telly tonight

  • Helping with cases - in or out

  • Holding a door open - even for a male guest/customer

  • Supplying tissues

  • Obtaining a street directory for the customer to look at

  • Phoning a taxi

  • Getting some extra Ice for a drink

  • Going to your bottle shop to get a bottle of wine that the guest wants, but which isn't on the wine list

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Element 2: Share information with customers

2.2 Offer advice

Food and beverage advice

  • Unless customers are regulars, it is more than likely they will appreciate some help in this area: even the locals or the regulars may benefit from it from time-to-time, too,

  • Service staff should provide assistance to the customer on the selection of food and beverage items, because it would be impossible to list every combination of food and beverage items.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

The opportunities to provide the customer with assistance on selection of food and beverage may arise when you are:

  • serving a customer at the bar

  • serving the customer at a table

  • greeting the customer

  • seating the customer

  • in public areas

  • taking a reservation or enquiry over the telephone

  • communicating in general with customers.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

The customer may need advice on a particular kind of drink or a specific menu item.

It is for this reason that you must cultivate excellent product knowledge.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

Wine and food combinations

  • Remember that everybody has different tastes, and it is unacceptable for you just to recommend what It is you like.

  • Over time, various combinations of food and wine have emerged as being generally acceptable.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

Soups

With a consomme try a fino (dry) sherry.

With others, try to match the flavours and the texture of the food and wine: for example, a creamy pumpkin soup with a chardonnay.

Antipasto

Choose from a sauvignon blanc, unwooded or wooded chardonnay, an old grenache, rose, pinot noir or a medium-bodied red.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

Spicy mild foods

Choose from intensely flavoured wines such as riesling, gewurztraminer and frontignac.

Spicy hot food

Chilled gewurztraminer or riesling, with a leaning towards the slightly sweeter wines.

Light reds match sweeter curries, while meat curries may be matched with a medium-bodied red or a sparkling red.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

Sushi and sashimi

Fino sherry and red or white sparkling wines.

Also dry riesling or sauvignon blanc.

Rich creamy sauces

Full-bodied wines are called for, so suggest semillon, chardonnay and marsanne.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

Rich earthy sauces

Softer style reds are preferable, such as pinot noir, grenache and blends. Warm climate shiraz is also suitable.

Vegetables

Semi-sweet riesling, gewurztraminer, frontignac or pinot noir are generally suitable, but you also need to factor in the sauces that may be used with the vegetables.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

Barbecue

Rich flavoured and textured white wines or a medium-bodied red with seafood, chicken and lighter meals.

Food with more power and texture are better suited to an intensely flavoured medium- to full-bodied red.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

In-house tastings

Your venue may run periodic tasting sessions where you get to taste certain wines to 'see' what they are like: the point being it can be very hard for you to recommend something you haven't tasted. The establishment may run these sessions, or they may be conducted by wine companies.

Sometimes these sessions incorporate a food tasting session too, so that you can 'see' for yourself how certain wines compliment certain menu items.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

2.3 Respond to customer questions

Our patrons can often be in strange surroundings: we may know our way around, know the house policies, and know the local 'rules and regulations' but many of our customers will not.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • They are not being rude, they are not stupid — they simply don't know and it is part of our job to help them.

  • Even though your establishment may have a specific point of contact for questions (such as the front desk or concierge), many patrons prefer to ask another member of staff, as they find it more personal.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

When responding to questions asked by guests:

  • be polite

  • always address them properly

  • never give the impression that their questions is: a nuisance, an interruption or an imposition stupid

  • the one-hundredth time you've been asked that!

  • smile

  • give them your full attention

  • ensure they understand your answer, directions, recommendations, etc

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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • A Big "No, No!": Never, never, never JUST say, "I don't know!"

  • It's a fact of life that no-one knows everything, and as a staff member, it's quite possible you will be asked a question you don't know the answer to.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

2.4 Provide advice on menu items

  • In addition to advice on the general pairings of food and wine mentioned above, customers may also ask you about specific menu items.

  • This is a reasonable thing for them to do, because there can be so many variations on a theme even for 'traditional' dishes, as well as the unique nature of your own house specialties.

  • Once again, there is no problem with your not knowing what these dishes/menu Items are: the problem only cuts in when you don't take action to find out what they are.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • The kitchen Is the obvious place to go, and the chef is the obvious person to ask. Some establishments will hold special Information and tasting sessions when there is a change in the menu - or new items are added.

  • These sessions enable you to find out what each new dish looks, tastes and smells like, and provides an opportunity for the chef to describe the dish to you - explaining the ingredients, cooking style, time taken from placement of the order to the dish being ready, history of the dish, and so on.

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Element 2: Share information with customers

In addition some guests will ask predictable questions about a basic range of dishes:

  • Is the fish fresh or frozen?

  • Is the schnitzel really made from veal?

  • Are the steaks tender?

  • Are the apple pies really home-made?

  • Is the curry really hot?

  • What is the 'soup of the day'?

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

  • You should make it your job to find out the answers to these questions early on in your job: they are common questions that you can realistically expect to be asked.

  • Other questions may involve your doing a bit of extra research in the kitchen in order to be able to answer questions, for example: What dishes are available for a vegetarian? What is suitable for a diabetic? Is there MSG in any of the food?

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

Still other questions are likely to be:

  • Are the meals big or small?

  • What dishes are ready to eat immediately?

  • What meals are available as kids' meals?

  • Are the entrees available as main courses?

  • How long will a well-done steak take?

  • Can I have ice cream instead of cream? Can I have both?

  • Check at your workplace and see if they have any sample menus to give away to clients, or if you can give away copies of the menu.

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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Element 2: Share information with customers

The End

Develop & update food and beverage knowledge


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