How Bartenders Steal & How We Catch Them - Hospitality Checkpoint is a Bar Theft & Service Staff Evaluation Company. We spot Bartender Theft & Evaluate Service Staff Standards.

Stopping waiters and bartenders who steal

June 10, 2015 19:03 by administrator

Stopping waiters and bartenders who steal
Local police officer offers advice to restaurateurs, diners
Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2015 5:00 am | Updated: 9:15 am, Mon Jun 8, 2015.

Heidi Prescott South Bend Tribune
Posted on Jun 7, 2015
by Heidi Prescott

Craig Whitfield spent years in restaurant dining rooms and bars. Not as a customer, however. As an investigator.
In the 10 years he worked as director of safety and security for one of the nation’s largest restaurant franchise companies, the Mishawaka native watched bartenders pocket profits and servers help themselves to more than their tips.

He saw servers delete entire meals from point-of-sales systems and pocket the money. He caught a bartender who had stolen $40,000 from a restaurant over five years by not always ringing in what customers had ordered to drink.

He describes helping Ohio police arrest a waitress at a national chain restaurant after she admitted to inflating her tips on credit card transactions several years ago. She stole more than $200 over five months from customers, including Whitfield when he posed as a customer and she doubled her $3 tip on his credit card.

“Most restaurant employees are honest, hardworking people. Unfortunately, the dishonest employees cast a bad light on the good ones,” Whitfield says. “When they get greedy, that’s when they hit the radar.”
Employee theft costs U.S. restaurants 4 to 5 percent in sales each year. The National Restaurant Association estimates that employee theft accounts for 75 percent of a restaurant’s inventory losses.
“With a million restaurants and bars across the country,” he says, “this loss is enormous.”

And the problem does not center around one brand or concept. It can affect any restaurant, anywhere, family owned or chain, 50 seats or 250 seats.
“Yes, it even happens here. We have a lot of restaurants,” Whitfield says. “It’s an industry where there’s easy access to cash, and thieves are thieves, no matter the restaurant.”
Whitfield has worked in law enforcement for most of his life. He spent 25 years with the Mishawaka Police Department working as an investigator. Not long after he retired, he decided to join the Memorial Hospital police department, where he currently serves as assistant chief.

He draws on a decade of experience investigating internal theft at restaurants in his book, “Guess Who’s Eating Your Profits: The Manager’s Essential Guide to Restaurant and Bar Loss Prevention and Investigations.” The book serves as a guide to restaurateurs, offering advice about how to identify, investigate and prosecute employees who might be stealing from their business.
“So many mom-and-pop restaurants and shops go under,” he says, “and the ones that do, often have theft going on in some fashion.”

His own mother and father, who owned the G & L Diner in the mid-’80s at the corner of Mishawaka Avenue and Division Street in Mishawaka, caught a server stealing from them.
“She was throwing the meal ticket away and pocketing the money,” he remembers. “I learned that just because the person is your friend, and they treat you nice, you can’t close your eyes to the fact that if your numbers are off, someone might be stealing from you.”

Cases of restaurant theft don’t always make newspaper headlines, because restaurateurs often try to deal with the situation in-house.
“But if you’re not wise to all the ways there are to steal, and you don’t know how to push back on an employee who denies wrongdoing, you’re set up for a tough investigation on your own,” he says.
In some cases, the crime can even affect restaurant diners who hand their server a credit or debit card. Whitfield offers consumers this advice:

• Protect your credit card. If it is taken from the table to complete the transaction, make sure the server returns your card. Sometimes a card can be swapped with a lookalike, which is usually a card left behind by another guest and was subsequently canceled,
• Track your dining purchases. Keep your receipts. Leaving a receipt behind sends a message to the server that you really don’t care. Your copy serves as a reminder to check the transaction against your bank draw. You can confirm the amount is what you actually authorized.
• Speak to a manager when you discover irregularities on your check.
“Guess Who’s Eating Your Profits...” is available at Barnes & Noble book sellers and Amazon. Hardcover costs $28.95 and softcover is $19.95.

Guess Who's Eating Your Profits...: The Manager's Essential Guide to Restaurant and Bar Loss Prevention and Investigations Hardcover – April 25, 2013

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

20 places for guacamole in metro Phoenix

March 24, 2015 20:48 by administrator


Barbara Yost and Georgann Yara, Special for The Republic

PNI 0917 Otro

Whether served with tortilla chips or atop a quesadilla, guacamole is the chunky, creamy avocado-based mixture we've come to love. Here are 20 places in the Valley where you can find the dip that makes all other dips green with envy.


Barrio Cafe

Watch your Guacamole del Barrio made with flair, prepared right at your table after dinner service commences, with creamy avocados, tomatoes, red onion, jalapenos, cilantro, lime juice and a dollop of pomegranate seeds for color and crunch ($11.50).

Details: 2814 N. 16th St., Phoenix. 602-636-0240,

Otro Cafe

Share the guacamole or pig out all by yourself with this dip made from avocados, Serrano chiles, onions, tomatillos, orange and cotija cheese, served with tortilla chips ($4.50 for a single, $7 to share, add $1 to substitute raw veggies for chips).

Details: 6035 N. Seventh St., Phoenix. 602-266-0831,

Taco Guild

Choose your flavor profile. Fresh guac is prepared with minced jalapeno, cilantro, fresh-squeezed lime, red onion and tomatoes, and then you add the rest by choosing house ($7.95) , grilled Serrano ($7.95) , caramelized pineapple-mint ($8.95) or jalapeño-bacon ($8.95) .

Details: 546 E. Osborn Road, Phoenix. 602-264-4143,

America's Taco Shop

Get four times the fun with the Cuatro, one bowl of chips served with three dips: salsa, bean dip and guacamole ($4.99 and $7.99).

Details: 1615 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix. 602-264-4229, other locations at

Modern Margarita

You can make a meal of the guacamole and chips ($6) , a chunky mound of avocado mash sprinkled with white cheese and diced tomatoes — simply indulgent.

Details: 5410 E. High St. (near 56th Street and Loop 101), Phoenix. 602-795-8111,

West Valley

The green chile burrito, chimichanga style, at Rito's

Rito's Burritos

For a lighter fare, the tostada with guacamole ($3.25) is the way to go. An amazingly light and crispy tortilla is sprinkled with beans, cheese and lettuce, then topped with a smear of guac.

Details: 7416 N. 51st Ave., Glendale. 623-939-3001.

Ayala's AZ Kitchen

Smash up some avocados, add onion, jalapeno and green chiles, serve it with chips and you've got Ayala's satisfying appetizer ($6.50).

Details: 8427 W. Peoria Ave., Peoria. 623-979-1121, search "AZ Kitchen" on Facebook.

Nino's Mexican Restaurant

The chefs make it simply: avocados with sour cream, salt and garlic. Have it with the chips that come free for the table (small $4.25, large $6.75).

Details: 10659 W. Grand Ave., Sun City. 623-931-3572, search "Nino's Mexican Restaurant" on Facebook.

Marley's Restaurant & Bar

Have your guac on a big, fat burger. The Guacamole Burger comes with a half-pound beef patty covered in guacamole, melted Swiss cheese, red onions, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. It's served with choice of fries, sweet-potato fries, kettle chips or a cup of soup ($10.49).

Details: 15226 W. Bell Road, Surprise. 623-251-4854,

Old Pueblo Cafe and Pub

How about some nachos with your guacamole? Old Pueblo's signature guacamole is the star of the Old Pueblo Nachos, a pile of chips with beans and cheese, lettuce, sour cream and choice of chicken, green-chile beef or red-chile beef ($9.95).

Details: 102 N. Old Litchfield Road, Litchfield Park. 623-935-5059,

Northeast Valley

Dried fruit and pomegranate guacamole from SumoMaya.

The Blind Pig

Have your guacamole with greens in the House Guacamole Salad, made with spring greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and croutons topped with a mound of guacamole drizzled with a vinaigrette ($4).

Details: 3370 N. Hayden Road, Scottsdale. 480-994-1055,

Los Sombreros Cafe & Cantina

The guacamole is a chunky-creamy mix of white onion, tomato, jalapeno and cilantro piled high in a stone molcajete and topped with cotija cheese (small $6.95, large $10.95).

Details: 2534 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480-994-1799. Also, 14795 N. Northsight Blvd., Scottsdale, 480-991-1799,


It's all about fusion here and the guac is no exception. Go with the dried apricots and cranberries and pomegranate ($11) concoction, or explore the savory side with the bacon version, made with chicharrones and queso cojita ($11).

Details: 6560 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale. 480-397-9520,


At Iron Chef Jose Garces' restaurant, the regular guacamole is prepared with avocado, roasted jalapenos and cojita cheese ($10), but you can make it extra special with the addition of real crabmeat ($5 extra).

Details: The Saguaro, 4000 N. Drinkwater Blvd., Scottsdale. 480-970-4444,

La Hacienda

Choose one of four varieties: regular, made with avocados, onions, cilantro and Serrano peppers ($15) ; pomegranate, made with pomegranate seeds, mango, apples, pistachios and balsamic vinegar ($17); spicy crab, with blue lump crab, chile arbol and heirloom tomato ($18); and pepita, with roasted pumpkin seeds, queso fresco and salsa morito ($16). Can't decide? The combo gets you the pepita, crab and pomegranate varieties ($20) . Serves four to six people.

Details: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess, 7575 E. Princess Drive. 480-585-4848,

Southeast Valley

Guacamole side dish at TQLA in Mesa.

Joyride Taco House

There's crunchy jicama in the guacamole here, along with tomatillos, roasted garlic, Serrano chiles, cilantro and onion. Served with chips ($8).

Details: 302 N. Gilbert Road, Gilbert. 480-632-8226. Also, 5202 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. 602-274-8226.

Z'Tejas Southwestern Grill

Prepared table-side and served with warm chips, this guac has tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, jalapenos, pepitas (pumpkin seeds) and cotija cheese ($10.75).

Details: 7221 W. Ray Road, Chandler. 480-893-7550, other locations at


Served with chips, this guac is a mound of avocado, diced onion, tomatoes, cilantro, peppers, pumpkin seeds and lime juice ($8.75).

Details: 1840 S. Val Vista Drive, Mesa. 480-813-8752,

Restaurant Mexico

Simple and classic, this rendition is a favorite of native Phoenician, longtime Tempean and former U.S Representative Harry Mitchell. Fresh avocado is tossed with tomatoes, onion and just enough cilantro for a citrus bite ($3.50, $5, $6.20).

Details: 423 S. Mill Ave., Tempe. 480-967-3280,

Original Burrito Company

The taco salad is a fried tortilla shell filled with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, chicken or shredded beef and a crown of guacamole or sour cream ($6.89).

Details: 4949 E. Elliot Road, Phoenix. 480-893-3857,

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Taking Care of your "regulars" - Should you “comp” them or give them “a little extra?”

March 13, 2015 18:14 by administrator


By Ian Foster of Sculpture Hospitality

Your ‘regulars’ are critically important to the health of your business. Unless you operate an airport bar or a tourist-focused establishment, the regular guests who visit week in and week out are the backbone of your business.

So, how are you “looking after them?” How are you making sure that they feel appreciated and valued?

Many bar and restaurant operators have not really given this question much thought. But your bartenders probably have. If you don’t have a policy to acknowledge your regulars, your bartenders are almost certainly trying to do that by giving your regular customers heavily over–poured drinks.

And the odds are that this is benefiting your bartenders more than it’s benefiting your business.

Of course we need to look after our regulars. But letting our bartenders over-pour is ineffective – and far too costly. Here’s why:

  • Over-pouring becomes the new normal

Once you allow the bartenders to over-pour when they think it is warranted, the inevitable result is that almost everyone will get an over-poured drink. Maybe at first over-pours will just be for the regulars; but then the bartender's friends will benefit too; then employees from other bars; anyone who throws a buck into their tip jar; and, eventually, over-pouring just becomes habitual and almost every drink is routintely over-poured

  • It is impossible to manage

There is no way to track or control which guests are getting “a little extra.” Without this most basic information, your management team won't be able to see what is and isn't beneficial for your business.

  • It is too expensive


Every industry study has discovered that the average bar is losing 25% of their alcohol to over-pouring and lost sales. The Glenfiddich example (above) fits this pattern. Our client had priced his drinks based on a 1-1/2 ounce portion but the bartender poured over 2 ounces, representing a 26.8% over-pour. This level of over-pouring has the exact same effect as giving away one drink for every four sold. And no owner or general manager would comp at that rate to anyone.

  • Your regulars don't appreciate it

After awhile, this generosity is taken for granted or simply goes unnoticed. And even when they do notice, your guests don’t value it very highly, thinking only about the cost of the extra liquor, not your labor costs, rent, overhead, taxes and other costs: "they can afford it - a bottle of Jack Daniels only costs $25 and they're only giving me an extra 1/2 ounce".

So letting your bartenders over-pour your regulars is a poor policy. What should a bar operator do to make sure the regulars are happy? More on this next week.



Great Read … I loved it!

I had some comments about this too.

“And the odds are that this is benefiting your bartenders more than it’s benefiting your business.”

The bartenders aren’t benefiting that much either because when they give away drinks gratis they are losing actual sales which in turn decreases gratuities - well honest gratuities. Secondly, overpouring drinks a customer will reach an alcohol threshold quicker and thus not purchase as many full priced drinks which again reduces their gratuities. Lastly, overpouring drinks can develop dram shop liquor liability issues.

“After a while, this generosity is taken for granted or simply goes unnoticed.”

I really like this statement because it is so true. Giving somebody their first drink becomes the new normal to them and therefore it is taken for granted and if they ever are not given this "normal" gratis drink then they become disgruntled with the establishment. It's been over a decade since I owned a nightclub but what I did was tell our bartenders if they need to give a drink anyway give away something like a kamikaze shot with well liquor that cost less than a quarter. That way the guest feels like they still got the freebie drink but then ponies up for the five dollar beer.

Most importantly, in my opinion, any alcohol that is given away gratis should be directed to the hospitality of the owner and not used as a tool for a bartender to increase gratuities and/or social status. It's not his or her booze inventory - it's the owners. And they should be the ones to benefit.



Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-1919
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Better to hear about atrocious service from us than on a Yelp! posting.

March 13, 2015 03:42 by administrator


Server:  Xxxxxx male, about xxxx, xxxxxxx light facial hair, wearing all black clothing, light brown hair, longer than traditional male cut, towel hanging on back of pants

The Agent and Associate seated themselves as was directed by the Host.  About 3 minutes afterwards the Agent and Associate were greeted by the Server.  The server did not provide his name nor did he ask if this was the Agent and Associate’s first time visiting the restaurant.  According to the receipt, the Server’s name was listed as “xxxx xxxxxx.”

The Server asked for the Agent and Associate’s drink order.  The Agent stated that the Agent was considering a specific specialty cocktail.  The Server quickly said “it’s horrible!” The Agent asked why he thought so and the Server responded “look at the ingredients.”

A drink order was placed.  The Server returned with the beverages shortly after.  Coasters were not used for any of the beverages.

The Server returned several times to ask if the Agent and Associate were ready to place a food order.  The Agent and Associate were not ready to place a food order.  The Server did not attempt to suggest any specific entrées or appetizers.

The Agent and Associate placed a food order.  The Agent and Associate also asked what time the kitchen would close as the Agent and Associate wished to order a dessert.  The Server stated that even after the kitchen closed he could still serve dessert.  He explained that the dessert that the Agent and Associate wanted was “just microwaved” and that he could do that.

The salad to one of the entrées was served about 5 minutes after that.

The Server did not provide any utensils or napkins before the salad was served.  The Agent and Associate attempted to request utensils but did not see the Server for several minutes.

A few minutes later the Busser brought out the entrées and the Agent and Associate requested utensils.  Entrées were brought out 13 minutes after the order was placed.

Shortly after that the Server returned with utensils.

At this time there was something found to be wrong with one of the dishes (see Food and Beverage section).  The Agent and Associate informed the Busser as he was walking by the area.  The Busser informed the Server and the Server returned to address the problem.

The Server later returned with the Manager and he addressed the problem as well.

The Server checked back during the meal a couple of times.

The Server asked the Agent and Associate if they still wanted to order dessert.  The Agent and Associate placed a dessert order. 

No coffee or after dinner drinks were offered.

Dessert was served about 4 minutes after ordering.  About 5 minutes after, the server returned to check on the Agent and Associate.

The server was friendly but really lacked professionalism.

At the end of the visit the Server personally shared that he was “normally not scheduled to work and that he would rather not be here today.”

The check was requested and processed in a timely manner.  The dish with the problem was comped.

The dessert was not included in the bill.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Craft breweries bubbling up in the West Valley

March 12, 2015 22:14 by administrator



Craft breweries bubbling up in the West Valley

Srianthi Perera, The Republic |

Hefeweizen - Color: Pale yellow to dark gold with a

Those thirsting for local craft beer in the West Valley have reason for cheers: The West Valley is catching up to the rest of the Valley's — and the nation's — emerging craft brewery scene.

At least five new independent breweries opened in the area recently and more are to follow. So far, owners of the breweries said business is booming.

Neal Farrell opened Peoria Artisan Brewing in downtown Litchfield Park at the end of 2013. It was the first brewery to open west of Loop 101.

"The response has been amazing," said Farrell, who now serves nearly 400 patrons at his 23-seat taproom that includes a food menu. "People love having someone local and yet will travel for new breweries. We have had people come from Apache Junction."

Jared Dubina opened his European brew pub, Dubina Brewery, in Glendale last August. Last month, he served his European-style beer to about 3,300 patrons, most of them Millennials.

"Each month, we've experienced a 12 to 15 percent growth, month over month," Dubina said. "That's really good."

A first for Avondale

Avondale native Ryan Whitten, a home brewer for 11 years, said he is spending almost all his savings — $150,000, plus some funding from an investor — to create the 8-Bit Brewery. Whitten, a 31-year-old online marketer, said his hobby "turned to a passion that turned to an obsession" that's finally panning out.

Working together

The West Valley's brewery owners don't view each other as rivals. They are friends, they said. And they often brew collaboratively, experimenting with different brew techniques and helping each other.

"The brewing community is awesome. None of us look to each other as competition," Whitten said. "We're a very tight-knit community, and our competition is domestics like Bud Light, Miller Light and Coors."

The collaboration helps them promote their craft.

"Somebody who drinks craft beer gets really intrigued by it and wants to try other people's stuff," Dubina said.

Rob Fullmer, who heads the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild, said there are 3,000 breweries across the country, with about 60 in Arizona.

He estimates its value in the state at about $60 million in direct impact and $1.2 billion in indirect impact, creating about 4,000 jobs.

"For one brewer job, it's estimated there are 45 jobs outside the brewery that supports that job," Fullmer said.

The growing interest in home brewing has run parallel with people wanting to start breweries and explore new flavors, along with the natural food movement, he said. This has spurred interest across the state.

"But I think you're seeing them on the west side because of the landscape," he said. "You have a concentration of new development out there that's probably getting into maturity and some of the entertainment areas and shopping areas are being established, just like it was 10 years ago in the East Valley."

Fullmer said a lot of excitement is being generated by these neighborhood breweries.

"It just goes back to how we're maturing as a city and we're getting away from those big developments and we're wanting to meet our neighbors and we're wanting to do things in the community," he said. "To have a place somewhere where you can walk to or bike to that's close to your house, I think a lot of people want that."

Flavor, taste testing are key

Whitten said craft beer's popularity hinge on their unique flavors. "We're on smaller systems, so we can experiment, we can put stuff in a beer that hasn't been put into beer before," he said.

One example is his imperial stout, which has ingredients Mayans put in their chocolate — honey, Mexican vanilla, Mexican cinnamon, annatto powder, ancho chili pepper and Peruvian cacao nuts.

"I love making beer and I love watching people drink the beer that I've made," he said. "I've been to a couple of events and watched people's faces light up, and it's great."

Whitten's brewery incorporates a beer tasting room that can accommodate 46 people, with 14-foot ceilings and equally tall windows. It isn't exactly tucked away in a neighborhood, but he said it's a great location for a production brewery such as his.

"A production brewery's location is not quite as important as it would be for a restaurant," he said. "People don't normally stumble upon them. They've already had the beer at a bar and want to go to the brewery."

As 8-Bit's opening draws near, Whitten reflected on the roller coaster journey of creating his business. It was a major decision by him and his wife to fund it almost entirely by themselves, and the couple plans to work the brewery without hiring staff for now.

They are using a homemade keg washer to clean their 68 kegs, two at a time. Practice runs have been successful. Helped on by video game music, Whitten is making the first batches of the beer and nostalgia abounded in the brew house.

"It's pretty much complete," he said.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811


Bill amended to allow craft brewers to increase beer production

March 11, 2015 21:18 by administrator


Bill amended to allow craft brewers to increase beer production

Ryan Randazzo, The Republic |

With dozens of microbreweries in the Valley, there's

Arizona's craft breweries have compromised on a bill that will allow them to produce more beer than currently allowed in the state while maintaining their restaurants and bars.

The Arizona Craft Brewers Guild is pushing for a change in state law this year that would clarify that the nearly 60 microbreweries could maintain restaurants and bars after exceeding a certain amount of production. Senate Bill 1030 was held up last month in a committee when the bill's opponents raised questions about its legality.

The Guild then compromised on an amendment, which passed its first test Monday while advancing unanimously through the Senate committee where it had been held up. The bill's sponsor is Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City.

The new bill language will allow microbreweries to produce as much as 200,000 barrels of beer annually among multiple locations. The cap is 40,000 barrels today. A barrel is 31 gallons, or two full-size kegs.

"This is exactly what we asked for," said Rob Fullmer, executive director of the Arizona Craft Brewers Guild.

Breweries need to know there is a path for them to continue growing if they are to continue investing in Arizona, he said.

Under the current law, brewers who make more than 40,000 barrels of beer a year are not allowed to run restaurants. That means the bigger breweries in the state, such as Four Peaks Brewing Co., can't keep expanding without selling or closing their restaurants, or changing the law.

Supporters hope the amended SB 1030 moves through a full vote of the Senate this week.

Under a three-tier system that dates back to the end of Prohibition, a company only can be a producer, distributor, or retailer of beer in the state, and can't do business as more than one of those.

In 1987, Arizona passed special rules to allow small brewers to make and sell beer at their restaurants and bars. That allows them to act as a producer and retailer, with no distributor.

Arizona brewers making less than 40,000 barrels of beer a year get special privileges, such as being allowed to "self-distribute" beer to a second location themselves without a distributor. Current law also allows them to self-distribute 3,000 barrels of beer a year to other retailers.

Under the amended bill, a brewer would have to give up those self-distribution rights once it exceeds 40,000 barrels, except for its on-site retail sales. Brewers also could not expand to any new retail locations once exceeding 40,000 barrels.

"We don't know of any opposition at all," Fullmer said of the amended bill.

The three companies that originally opposed SB 1030 approve of the amendments, Fullmer said. Those companies were Alliance Beverage Distributing, Southern Wine and Spirits and Young's Market. Collectively, the opponents refer to themselves as the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association.

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811


12 Southeast Phoenix Valley restaurants near ballparks

March 10, 2015 23:53 by administrator


Tempe Diablo Stadium, the spring training home of the

Georgann Yara, Special for The Republic


After a few days, even spring-training enthusiasts may tire of the game-day hot dog and soda ritual. If this applies to you, there are nearby ballpark options beyond the drive-through joints and convenience-store sandwiches.

Here are 12 restaurants located within 3 miles of a southeast Valley ballpark to consider for pre- and post-game drinks and eats.

Near Tempe Diablo Stadium

Where: 2200 W. Alameda Drive, Tempe.

Market Cafe at the Buttes

Get up a little early and fill up on the breakfast buffet or grab a casual sit-down lunch in the shadow of the ballpark at the Buttes, a Marriott Resort. Its proximity to the stadium has earned the resort the unofficial designation of Angels nation East.

Details: 2000 Westcourt Way, Tempe, 602-431-2367,

Related: Cactus League 2015 preview

Detroit Coney Grill

This hole-in-the-wall offers authentic Coney dogs — the distinct snap with each bite resulting from the all-natural casing is proof — slathered with chili, onions and mustard. Angus beef patties will satiate burger lovers and Better Made Chips and Fagyo Pop offer a taste of home for natives.

Details: 930 W. Broadway Road, Tempe. 480-219-7430,

Little Miss BBQ

Skip breakfast and head to this popular barbecue joint that has made a big splash with its Central Texas-style brisket and sausage. Round out your plate with a side of coleslaw or jalapeño Cheddar grits and save room for the Bekke's Secret Pecan Pie. Closing time is 4 p.m., but they tend to sell out before then, so it's best to get there when the doors open at 11 a.m.

Details: 4301 E. University Drive, Phoenix. 602-437-1177,

Boulders on Broadway Bar and Grill

Celebrate a win over a pizza or drown your sorrows of defeat over happy-hour pints at this neighborhood hangout. Choose from dozens of beers on tap and hearty pub-food plates like the Big Freaking Nacho, an intimidating mound of light-fried chips covered with mozzarella, pepperoni and sausage. Or the Moose Drool Burger topped with jalapeño cream cheese and crispy onion rings.

Details: 530 W. Broadway Road, Tempe. 480-921-9431,

Near Hohokam Stadium

Where: 1235 N. Center St., Mesa.

Native Grill and Wings — Mesa Drive

Pick wings or tenders and go sweet and savory with the honey BBQ sauce, lose a dare and take your chances with the scorching ghost pepper-based bath. Or skip the mess and choose from the half-dozen dry rubs. On weekdays, seven dishes are available for $7 each.

Details: 318 E. Brown Road, Mesa. 480-464-4383,

Blue Adobe Grille

Heed a craving for diverse comfort food at this nostalgic eatery, which features daily specials, breakfast on Sundays and hearty plates that range from carne adovada and chimichangas to spicy chicken pizza and green-chile lobster dip. Wash it all down with one of the specialty margaritas or sipping tequilas.

Details: 144 N. Country Club Drive, Mesa. 480-962-1000,

Diamond's Sports Grille

Cubs fans unite here for eats, drinks and general camaraderie — win or lose. For the spring-training season, breakfast is served at 9 a.m. and a free shuttle takes fans to and from Sloan Park. However, its proximity to Hohokam makes Diamond's an easy stop for Oakland A's fans as well; and the happy hour from 1-7 p.m. daily can be enjoyed by all.

Details: 161 N. Centennial Way, Mesa. 480-844-3888,

Barro's Pizza

Bring the gang to this family-owned pizzeria, which uses an original recipe that dates to the 1930s to craft a flaky crust and tangy sauce as the base for its pies. Lunch-combo specials, pasta and sandwiches are also on the versatile menu.

Details: 1925 E. Brown Road, Mesa. 480-834-1541,

Near Sloan Park

Where: 2330 W. Rio Salado Parkway, Mesa.

Spinato's Pizzeria

This is the original location of the Arizona pizza chain that prides itself on Chicago-style pizzas and calzones. The Super Six aims to please a crowd with Italian sausage, pepperoni, ham, red and green bell peppers and mozzarella. Throughout March, guests who bring in a ticket stub from any March spring-training game will receive a free appetizer (one per party).

Details: 227 S. Smith Road, Tempe. 480-967-0020,


You don't have to be a Yankees or Mets fan to appreciate the nearly never-ending options at this New York-style delicatessen, restaurant and bakery. A buy-one-burger, get-one-free special runs March 3-31 (except March 17). That means diners can buy one 1/2-pound premium Angus beef burger and get one of equal or lesser value free with the purchase of two beverages. There are six burger styles to choose from, and burgers can be customized with other toppings at an additional cost.

Details: 1160 E. University Drive, Tempe. 480-557-0700,

Thirsty Lion Gastropub and Grill

Located minutes away in the Tempe Marketplace, Thirsty Lion has a wrap-around patio that takes advantage of ideal temps and provides people-watching prospects. Grab a quick bite before the game or unwind with a meal and happy-hour drinks, including $4 featured pints, house margaritas, well drinks and select wine. Pair these with menu items such as crab and seafood cakes, pulled pork sliders and grilled pear and prosciutto flatbread, ranging from $3.95-$5.95.

Details: 2000 E. Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe. 480-968-2920,

iCream Cafe

Create a from-scratch treat at this inventive DIY dessert shop. Thanks to a state-of-the-art liquid nitrogen machine, hundreds of ice cream, yogurt and sorbet flavor combinations are possible and frozen while you wait and watch. From March 1-April 1, a buy-one- dessert, get-one-free deal is offered to customers who show a spring-training ticket stub from any game. Ticket stub must be from the current spring-training season and is good for a one-time use. Limit one per customer per visit.

Details: 929 N. Dobson Road, Mesa. 480-610-6345,

Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

Bartender Theft Detection Agent (Chicago, Los Angeles, New Your City, Dallas, Phoenix)

March 5, 2015 18:16 by administrator

Bartender Theft Detection Agent

• Do you have bartending experience
• Server or bar/restaurant manager experience
• Comfortable playing a role
• Non-judgmental observer
• Fair and objective
• Excellent communicator with fluid writing skills
• Good memory for details
• Reliable meeting deadlines
• Follows specific direction
• Thorough and accurate with detailed paperwork
• Computer literate with Word, Excel, e-mail and attachments


Hospitality Checkpoint is a bartender theft detection spotter service company specializing in bartender theft detection and deterrents for the hospitality industry. Hospitality Checkpoint spots for bartender theft and evaluates service staff standards. We have performed integrity reports for restaurants, bars, clubs, and resorts throughout the country. Hospitality Checkpoint is in touch with the trends and norms of the vibrant dining, bar and hospitality industry. We expect quality reports and compensate accordingly. Good writing skills are a must at Hospitality Checkpoint.

Hospitality Checkpoint Agents are very carefully selected and chosen for the unique skills necessary to evaluate at the level expected. Meticulous screening and training are the norm, and they are professionals who understand the importance of integrity and what proper customer service means to the success of a bar or restaurant. Moreover, all of our agents must possess knowledge and years of experience in restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and resorts customer service industries in order to properly evaluate for theft and service concerns.

Please take a moment to view sample reports at our Hospitality Checkpoint BARTENDER SPOTTER SERVICES website and see if you have what it takes to be a Hospitality Checkpoint Bar Spotter Service Agent. These are part time contracted positions and you can apply on-line at the website hyperlink APPLY NOW . Our Bartender Theft Blog can be viewed at: Please follow the on-line process described -- No inquiry telephone calls please.

Woman wants $100K, public apology for Valentine's service

March 5, 2015 17:59 by administrator


Woman wants $100K, public apology for Valentine's service

Teresa Blackman, KGW-TV (Portland, Ore.)

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Northeast Portland woman is suing a local Italian restaurant because she claims the staff refused to serve her on Valentine's Day.

Kathleen Hampton made a 7 p.m. reservation for two people at Enzo's Caffe Italiano, on Northeast 29th Avenue, on Feb. 14. The restaurant was serving a special five-course meal that day, in honor of the romantic holiday.

According to court documents, Hampton said her husband backed out at the last minute, so she decided to go by herself. The two had apparently gone on a lunch date earlier in the day and her husband didn't think he had the appetite for the big Italian meal.


The court documents stated that Hampton, who is representing herself in the lawsuit, first felt uncomfortable about the way she was treated when she arrived for her reservation.

"I was finally seated after people coming in after me was (sic) seated. I thought that was strange but I was not getting any services," she said.

Hampton also complained in the court documents that when she told her waitress she was ready to order, she was instead asked to leave and give up her table.

Enzo Lanzadoro, the owner of the restaurant, said when Hampton arrived alone, they assumed her date was still on the way. So they offered her a glass of wine to sip on while she waited.

Lanzadoro said on nights when his restaurant is serving special menus, the staff typically does not seat people until their entire party arrives. In addition, the tables are used only for parties of two or more, because the restaurant is so busy it needs every seat in the house.

Hampton did not tell the host that her date had cancelled, so she was eventually seated at a table, Lanzadoro said, and she was also given a second glass of wine.

"When the waitress asked her if the other person was coming, she said, 'No, he's not coming.' At that time, because of that day - Valentine's Day – the waitress said, 'Sorry you cannot take a table by yourself, you can either sit at the bar or outside.'"

The court documents stated that at that point, Hampton just wanted to leave. "I was so hurt. I've never experienced this before here in Portland and I was crushed," she said. "I even gave them away (sic) out by saying I will do take out and they told me they don't do take out."

Lanzadoro told KGW the restaurant usually allows customers to order food to go, but it was not available on that particular night, because of the special five-course menu. He said before the waitress could explain, Hampton had walked out.

Hampton said she decided to sue Enzo's after talking about the devastating ordeal with family and friends. Her lawsuit asks for a public apology and $100,000 "to make sure all business owners in N.E. Alberta know we are serious about our community," according to the court documents.

While Lanzadoro is not willing to meet those demands, he said he would like to talk to Hampton and she is welcome back at Enzo's Caffe Italiano any time.

"'I am so sorry. It was in no way intentional. Please let me make up for it.' That is what I would say if I could talk to her," he told KGW.


Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

© Hospitality Checkpoint LLC 2015


Three Key Ingredients to a Succesful Restaurant By Michael Zenner

March 4, 2015 18:48 by administrator


By Michael Zenner

It’s always been my contention that three aspects are essential for a successful restaurant operation 1. Great food & beverage offerings 2. Ambiance & setting 3. Service What I have found in my business of Hospitality Evaluating is that many new operators have great ideas, concepts and food. They fuel that with optimism and gumption. However, many fail to recognize the all-important service aspect being an essential catalyst to either success or failure. The staff is the representative of the concept and if the delivery is faulty then the vision is marred. I have discovered a propensity for many chef driven concepts, because their focus on the artisan part of their concept, fail to adequately address honing the front of house staff and even though their product may be flawless if it’s delivery isn’t, then that’s what many will strike as its label can be negative. In my opinion, it’s extremely important to have the service aspect down from the launch as you only get a first impression once. And if flawed Yelp! service reviews begin popping up, the up-hill battle to establish a granite foundation and a positive quality brand just get that much steeper.


Michael Zenner - CEO      
Hospitality Checkpoint LLC  (blog)
PO BOX 995 Gilbert AZ 85299
Office: 480-777-7056
Toll Free: 800-880-0811

© Hospitality Checkpoint LLC 2015