This past week Hussong’s Cantina Las Vegas marked the beginning of its third year of successful operation. Unlike our first anniversary, we celebrated our second birthday quietly and without a party. In no way does this mean we are less proud of the progress and accomplishments our staff and management showed in 2011. It’s in fact the other way around. We’ve been so busy working hard and maintaining the levels of performance established that we just worked right through our own second birthday!
2011 was a great year for Hussong’s. After some initial clean up, we stabilized our operations, improved our food, remodeled our kitchen, increased sales, had fun with the marketing, added a whole new line of retail and made adjustment in the food and beverage product. All for the better. Most prominently though, 2011 was a people year.
Our Hussong’s family grew strong and our family bond was strengthened in our second year. While we were working on the business, we constantly reminded ourselves to follow our core values and continued to treat others as we would like to be treated. We believe all team members should share in the rewards so we took the opportunity to create teams consisting of both back of house and front of house family members. The teams competed against one in another in sales and attendance contests. Teams were eligible to win weekly and monthly competitions. All winners enjoyed a month long fiesta resulting in the sharing of cash prizes, camping gear and 2 hours of go-cart racing at Pole Position. Guided by our core values, we stood by our family when it got tough, and in most cases, we were rewarded with the most loyal team members we could ever wish for. We welcomed new additions to our team whom, within no time at all, fit in perfectly. Among these new hires is our General Manager of four months, Susan Perkins.
Susan has been working without sleep since she’s been hired, but since she’s a Fem-bot, this doesn’t present any issues. At times, upon following the sounds of rhythmic banging, we find her in the walk-in cooler and discover (as we feared) that the banging is her head hitting the wall. She calls this her stay-cool-chi practice. For the most part, Susan maintains her sense of humor about her new role and handles her responsibilities with relentless warrior like focus and determination. We thank her for that, and we are thankful that she chose to become a member of our elite fighting force. You never want to be opposing a Fem-bot. Susan wasn’t the only change in our management ranks.
2011 saw the rise of JD from server to manager. It is always a proud moment to see your children grow up. JD has been learning his new position and progressing nicely, proving that promoting from the inside has major advantages. We are looking forward to doing more of that this coming year, and also thank JD for all his hard work.
Our management team wouldn’t be complete without our most recent hire, Stephanie. Stephanie has become a part of our family, and we feel lucky having such a responsible and dedicated manager. She completes The Three Amigos in front of house management. She’s also tall. We like that. (Since it’s only been few months since Stephanie got hired, we will report on her coping mechanisms as we learn more about them. We hope they won’t involve the walk in cooler. It might get a little crowded there.)
Overall, our team has shown tremendous growth and we couldn’t be prouder. We thank all of our workers for riding the ups and downs with us and continuing to work hard as a team. It isn’t always easy, but it surely always rewarding. The steps we took together towards higher standards and better performance in 2011 have now become automatic. This allows us to continue to raise the bar and challenge Hussong’s team members further. Constant challenge is a way to guarantee progress and not only better our services and product (which benefit our customers). Constant challenge also ensures individual growth of our employees, and that is one of our goals for 2012. Besides efforts towards service improvements, which we believe begin with happy and stable employees, we worked on our food and made some great improvements in this department.
Chef Noe and Sous Chef Jesus worked on many changes to our menu in the last year. We all agree that our dishes selection and consistency is still a work in progress as we continue to receive the plethora of opinions and feedback from our guests. Trying to reflect on all the suggestions we receive, without losing our own identity and the “Hussong’s touch” continues to be the biggest challenge we face. During our table visits with our customers, reading review website posts and sorting through comment cards, we patiently and openly welcome and weigh all feedback. We then make changes where a collective consensus is reached, while staying consistent with the definition of our brand. Please continue to share your thoughts and ideas with us, while keeping in mind that the most helpful comments are the honest, specific and constructive ones. The difference between: “I didn’t like this.” vs. “The soup was too salty for me.” is that the latter we can use and apply to wards a positive change.
Involving our customers in the evolution process is what we enjoy the most about this industry. But we are not mind readers (yet. Mind reading is also one of our goals for 2012).
And last but not least, besides taking mind reading workshops, what will we do with ourselves in 2012?
Well, although it sounds boring, it will be more of the same. We want to continue to push our own limits and certainly continue to improve our services and our product. It is truly with great pride that we do what we do. We are proud to prepare meals for you, we are happy to serve you great drinks and provide you with a fun, laid back environment where you can enjoy your friends and family and have some laughs. Not everyday do we manage to perform these responsibilities to perfection but every day we try our hardest. Just like Scott Frost, Titan president and partner of Hussong’s Cantina Las Vegas.
Since being paralyzed in May 2009, Scott has taken small but fully committed steps towards perfecting his vision. At the grand opening, Scott personified our dedication to perseverance by taking 18 steps from the front door of Hussong’s to a seat at the bar. Just like Scott, we know where we are going. Some days are easier to get there than others, but there is no giving up. We have learned that our journey is what we make it, and we choose it to be enjoyable. We choose to work beside worthwhile people. The very people that support us in who we are and work together towards achieving our goals. This includes both our customers and Hussong’s family. We want to thank you all for an amazing second year. Please come raise your glasses with us, welcoming our third year and drink to many, many more years to come.