PRINCIPLES OF HOSPITALITY
BRANKO KUNŠEK, waiter at Thermana Laško, beer pouring champion, inventor of Gambrinus’ and other beer cocktails.
I’m a waiter. What do I do? The fact that you get the right dish and drinks, served in the correct manner is only one part of what me and my co-workers at Thermana Laško work towards. I think my real job is to spread joy. That is even more important when meeting people that care about their health above all else. Good will helps! In addition, I like to use the following principles that I also pass on to my younger colleagues.
- Fearful Respect
I’m one of the oldest members of the team. My younger colleagues give me confidence, especially when it comes to the use of modern technology, whereas I teach them the fearful respect towards our guests. When speaking about fearful respects, the emphasis is of course on respect, but also fear can be extremely useful! You should fear all of your co-workers and guests, at least a little. It’s a great tool for respects that is established from the first look in the eye. That’s when we show that’s we’re interested in our guests as people, who have their own concerns and wishes. When they arrive, we acknowledge them, make an effort, and stay on our toes.
For many of the returning guests I already know how to make their day and what they’re looking for. Asking for a small detail in the kitchen that means a lot to them is really not a problem! Nowadays, the guests usually choose their meals in the self-service section, but a little fear or nerves still helps us to be ready for any questions, being able to present all dishes, and look forward to the curiosity of guests who are definitely more interested in the culinary offer now than they were a couple of decades ago.
- Local produce
Laško’s honeyed pie is something that you can only experience here. The recipe is no mystery, but since its preparation is quite demanding it’s best if you taste it here, where we can prepare, serve and present it in its original manner. The same goes for our award winning beer cocktails, which will make you appreciate beer in a completely new way.
As a domesticated resident of Laško I swear by local ingredients at home and at work. One of my favourites is the warmed cream. For an afternoon indulgence I recommend the potica cake with warmed cream and a beer cocktail. One of the most recent ones combines coconut liquor, martini and dark Laško beer. It’s also my please to present you with our complete menu. If you want to dine like a local your should start with the light beer as the appetiser, local meat product including beer sausages as the starter, followed by a mushroom soup from the local forests and a leg of pork with roasted potatoes and a glass of Welschriesling. You can conclude the meal with a cream potica cake and dark beer. After that sort of a feast I would point you towards the brewery tour and castle mount path. There you can enjoy the view with a good fruit brandy in hand. Laško possesses a lot of beauty and goodness. The most important one is the fact that we can treat our guests with local specialities and guide them to the numerous points of interest.
I think that in Laško, people are more open than they are elsewhere. We like to chat with each other at work and on the street, as well as direct our visitors to any of the points of interest. In a small town news travel fast, which is a tourist advantage. Openness is also an important principle of a waiter’s profession. We talk to the guests, get to know them, and help them to navigate their surroundings. For a waiter, it’s important to feel the guest and know how to intervene and alleviate any distress, not just when it comes to food!
We’re a disabled-friendly destination and spa. Recently, a lady that is one of our returning guests, arrived on a new electric wheelchair. Unable to fully control her new aid, she unintentionally pushed me and a table up against a glass window. There could have been a serious accident, but all ended well, and if you know how to deal with this sort of a situation with guest friendly humour, you can alleviate almost anything. Knowing their stories and being part of their stay is interesting and welcomed. Even if you sometimes end up being pressed against a wall 😀
Fearful respect, knowledge of local produce and openness are, in my understanding, the three principles of Laško’s hospitality. The professionalism can be, in this case, taken for granted. The fact that we can sweeten up our lives with spare time activities is an added bonus. I like to bake custard cakes and host family and friends over a good barbecue. I like to cool down the glasses before pouring in the liquor. In December I like to participate in the tradition of pig slaughter. What do you like to do when it comes to good food and socialising? You can tell me face to face when we meet at the spa in Laško, that I truly love calling home.