Thursday, May 8, 2014

For the Love of Food


French Lick Resort has a long history of extraordinary food and beverage service. We’ve served delectables to large convention groups and to couples in intimate settings in throughout the years. From Chef Louie Perrin’s invention of tomato juice in 1917 to our waiters serving baked Alaskas on their heads, we’re proud of the French Lick Resort legacy.
We're bringing back a restaurant
to the French Lick Casino!
 
We also have great people who are proud to serve our food. Our servers love getting to know our guests and our guests know many of them by name, especially the group from Diamond Jim’s in the French Lick Casino. In a couple of weeks you can again see some of your favorite French Lick Resort servers in one of our most popular casino settings.
Because we know that our guests have missed the staff and sit-down food service in the casino we’re bringing back a restaurant to the French Lick Casino, with a bit of a twist. We’ve rebranded the Diamond Jim’s space and with a new name called DJ’s and we’ll be serving buffet-style meals there beginning Thursday, May 22.
Our casino food and beverage manager says we’ll be serving “good old fashion southern Indiana cooking.” If you’re not from southern Indiana or are not sure what to expect, that simply means we’ll have fried chicken, BBQ pork ribs and meatloaf as typical meat features. As compliments, we’ll serve corn on the cob, green beans and roasted red potatoes, for examples. As with every buffet, we’ll also have a salad bar and freshly-made cold salads.
What’s all this going to cost, you wonder? If you don’t have a French Lick Rewards card, plan to pay $19.95. As always, we suggest you sign up for a rewards card, though, because that will get you a 10-percent discount. Drinks, of course, are included in the price while beer and wine are extra costs.
We’re kicking off this new setting with select hours. We’ll be open 5-9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 3-9 p.m. on Sundays. We’re hoping you will continue to enjoy breakfast at the Grand Colonnade and lunch at the other French Lick Resort venues when DJ’s is dark.
As many of you familiar with the Diamond Jim’s atmosphere can guess, the space is not conducive for an endless buffet. We’ve never proclaimed to be the biggest when it comes to a lot of things we do in the casino so we’re going for quality over quantity at the beginning of this venture. What we always want to be is the friendliest and starting small will allow us to keep our personal service. Besides, we really think you’ll love our freshly fried chicken!
We always value what our guests tell us. For a while you have been telling us you miss Diamond Jim’s and that you would like a buffet. So, we’re going to give DJ’s a shot at killing two birds with one stone. With our traditional friendly service and down-home atmosphere, we welcome you to visit our all new DJ’s!

Friday, September 13, 2013

The heart of our operation

We get a lot of good guest comments about the cleanliness of the French Lick Casino and the friendliness of our team. We will never make apologies for being proud of reading and hearing those comments. Here’s why: At the heart of those reviews, there is a team committed to achieving guest satisfaction.
Keeping a casino with more than 1,000 electronic gaming devices and 40 table games clean is no walk in the park. Not all of our guests treat their gaming space like they would their living rooms (or maybe they do!).  Our entire front-line casino team runs across the evidence of multi-taskers all day. Our guests eat and play. They drink and play. They smoke and play. Our team routinely finds dinner plates, drink glasses, personal effects and other stuff you find on the living room end table from guests who do treat the casino like their own personal space.
This adds up to a daunting French Lick Resort housekeeping task but we think our team knocks it out of the proverbial park every day!
Janice in action.
Cleaning ashtrays is a continual chore.
Our case in point is Janice, an evening-shift housekeeping attendant.
We know that ladies don’t like to reveal their age, so let’s just say that Janice is a few days beyond retirement age. Still, she is one of our most dedicated housekeeping team members, faithfully serving our guests and her fellow teammates no matter what department or area might need assistance.
In the modern culture where attention to the needs of others is sometimes a bit overlooked, Janice has been known to meet guests where they are. If that means helping a guest at a slot machine or assisting in a restroom, Janice steps up. For example, while Janice was once cleaning a restroom, she discovered a guest who was ill. Her response was boots on the ground and she searched the casino floor until she found the guest’s family.
When a cocktail waitress, for example, accidentally spills a tray of drinks, we can count on Janice to be one of the first responders to restore the area back to our safety standards. If a coffee machine in the back of the house malfunctions and overflows, Janice is right there.
Sometimes it seems like there are two or three Janices in the building. She simply goes out of her way to help.
Like in many of our front-line departments, each member of the housekeeping team is assigned a section of the casino to patrol over the course of their shift. Janice, though, knows no boundaries when it comes to guest satisfaction. If she is working in our non-smoking section and our Nosh deli needs a sticky floor cleaned, for example, Janice jumps into action.
Janice is just one example of the great team in our housekeeping department. While you, as our guest, may not think much about leaving that plate, napkin, tissue or glass behind at your slot machine, just remember that Janice is probably right around the corner and on her way to tidy up the space for our next guest.
You must be 21 to enter the casino. Gambling problem: Call (800) 9-WITH-IT.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A day in the life of a casino host


Guest Blogger Christina Grimes
Everything in the casino is a gamble.
This is one of those things that make being a casino host exciting. It’s always just another roll of the dice. As a host, you are never quite sure who will be waiting to meet you or speak to you on the telephone. There is always some type of request to be made! 
The atrium of the West Baden Springs Hotel
Today alone, I have booked approximately 50 rooms at the French Lick Resort, planned a Christmas party for one of my player’s family of 25, worked on wedding details with one of our amazing marketing coordinators at the West Baden Springs Hotel and am getting ready to work a spa retreat for invited guests. In the midst of all of this, we are called to assist with guests asking questions about play levels, room offers and complimentary dinners.
Each of the casino hosts, here at French Lick Casino, has a large number of guests we work with individually. I have approximately 700 players assigned to me. Out of those, I would say I am in direct contact with around 60 percent on a regular basis. That means I am talking to them in person, on the phone, texting, sending mail or emailing 420 people every month. Several of these guests have impacted my life in different ways. Working with this many people can sometimes be overwhelming. At times, I remind myself why I love my job. 
Looking back at the things I have done with my guests, I would say one of the most memorable was the planning of and attending an 80th birthday party for the father of one of my players. I will never forget how I felt dancing at West Baden in the arms of an 80 year old Italian man singing in my ear. As he twirled me around, he seemed like he was having the time of his life. The entire family was there, they had flown in from all over the world to partake in the festivities. We had made it an entire weekend out of it. Seeing the look on the family’s faces made all of the work that went into it worthwhile. 
Shortly after this wonderful celebration, I received word from my player that his father had passed away and all they could tell me was how much the family appreciated all of the work that went into the birthday party a couple months earlier. My guest spoke of all the memories each of them had made! This reminds me when I start to forget that this is not only a job, it is a chance for me to make an impact on someone’s life. The littlest of things can create a memorable moment that lasts a lifetime. 
There are several more events, situations and occurrences that could be written about but this one would have to be at the top of my list. Who knows, you may have the opportunity to hear more stories from a casino host in the future. We will just have to see how that hand plays out!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Right Place at the Right Time

When you work in a slots department there is rarely a day goes by that you don’t run into someone with a superstition. Some superstitions are as simple as a lucky memento like a rabbit’s foot. Others are more complicated, like a specific sequence of pushing the buttons to spin the reels.

Our team at the French Lick Casino loves superstitions but, in all cases, they don’t affect the outcome of the game in any way. It’s because slot machines and the roulette tables are the most random games you can play. Really, there is no rhyme or reason as to why certain reel or number combinations appear.
Now, that doesn’t mean all guests completely believe the randomness of slot machines. Slots are so highly computerized and table games are so closely watched under surveillance that the slightest abnormality will be noticed! We can’t “push a button” to put them in jackpot mode! The Indiana Gaming Commission would padlock the doors of any casino pulling that kind of stunt!

So, being at exactly the right slot at exactly the right moment is the biggest part of being lucky. Whether you’re playing it or not, a slot machine is internally continually churning out reel combinations. Some of them are winners. Our slot department has shared some really cool stories of lucky winners and other stories that illustrate randomness.
We shared one in the previous post but we’ve got plenty more stories!

First, there is Tillie. She won two vehicles in less than a week’s span last year. On July 29, 2012 she won a Ford Explorer, just hours after we put it on the floor! Then, four days later, she hit the jackpot for a Chevy Cruze (but took the cash option this time!). She hit both jackpots on a 1-cent Super Times Pay Free Spins type of game, although different machines.

We also have a guest who’s a huge Harley fan and on the way home from vacation got into a car wreck. The car was totaled so the guest stayed in French Lick with some acquaintances. (The guest was from Colorado and suffered some injuries in the accident.) They visited the French Lick Resort, played at our Harley bank of slots and won the special anniversary edition Harley-Davidson motorcycle! The guest was so excited that after our slots team got it prepped for delivery the guest drove it all the way back to Colorado!  

A couple of weeks ago a guest won a Ford Fusion jackpot on the first visit!  She brought along a small purple bag that she had jokingly told her husband she was going to fill. After our slots team paid her, she immediately stuffed all the cash in the bag to show him.
There was also a guest who hit the second level progressive jackpot on the Quick Hits for about $2,500 about an hour after turning 21! 

So, you’ve heard some of our stories; now feel free to share yours, even if they’re superstitions!

You must be 21 to enter the casino. Gambling problem: Call (800) 9-WITH-IT.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Those one-armed bandits

Ever wonder about those two small lights stacked on top of each other at the top of all the slot machines? When on, they may blink or just burn solid but what exactly does all that mean? On our slots at the French Lick Casino, they are both white but in other casinos you’ll see the colors may vary. To the player, they really don’t get noticed much but to the slot department they are the beacons signaling important information, mostly concerning guest service.

The Blazing 7s are some of our most
popular slot machines.
Let’s start from the top.
When the top light is blinking, it signals that the game may be close to running out of the paper you will need to cash out your credits. We call that TITO (ticket-in, ticket-out) paper just so you know. The machine will not accept any money until the paper has been reloaded. If you can play it, the game has paper!
When the top light shines solid, then you’ve probably pushed the “service” button. Sometimes you intend to push that button so that you receive guest service. However, we’ve found that, many times, you’ve pushed it on accident because it’s near most of the other buttons you use to play the game. But, don’t apologize for doing it by accident as so many of you do. That “accident” just gives our team a reason to come over and say “hello” and be assured you’re having a great time at the French Lick Resort!
The 25-cent Double Diamond pays a
minimum progressive jackpot of $600.
When the bottom light is blinking it means that a member of our slot team has been in the game. You’ll notice that it starts blinking once they shut the door after loading the game with TITO paper, for example. That light will quit blinking as soon as you make the first wager after the door is closed.
So, what about when both lights blink in conjunction with one another? That’s the whole reason you play. That means you’ve hit the jackpot! When this happens you can expect to see a slot attendant dressed in a red shirt heading your way. Congratulations!
That’s what we love, paying out jackpots! We love hearing your stories while you’re waiting for your cash (or check!). Here’s one story a slot operations supervisor shared as an example. We’ll shorten and paraphrase it.
The jackpot was for more than $132,000 and was won by one of our senior guests. The person told the slot sup that it was time to leave the casino, thinking all the money had been spent. A final reach into a pocket to grab car keys revealed one last $20 bill. The guest took that Andrew Jackson to our 2-cent Triple Double Diamond bank near the entrance and hit the big one on a $1.80 bet!
So, that got us to thinking about other stories out there. We’re sure you’ve heard all kinds of jackpot stories, whether they be myths or factual. Maybe you have one yourself. We want to hear about them. Feel free to share them below.
You must be 21 to enter the casino. Gambling problem: Call (800) 9-WITH-IT.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Take a seat at the tables

So, what’s the big red dome-looking structure on our roof, you ask? It’s the French Lick Casino’s most prominent tie to the gambling history in French Lick. That dome-like part of the building is a 21st century rendering of the old Brown Hotel gambling hall from the 1920s. Local legend says it was known to be the most opulent of all the casinos in French Lick, comparable to Monte Carlo (France, not Vegas!). You’ll only find it in pictures now because it’s long since been torn down.

Larry is always happy to deal a game of Blackjack!
We do have other similarities to our casino’s roots, though. After all, we have slots and tables and the basic ways to gamble really haven’t changed over the past 90 years. Yes, slots have had radical changes but the table game you play in our casino is the same basic game all the high rollers played in the Brown back in our first heyday. There is no doubt there was a lot of money dropped at blackjack, craps and roulette back then. All that’s changed at tables, really, are side bets and the felt layouts.
We’re not sure how many tables they had back in the Brown (where’s a Flux Capacitor and DeLorean when you need one?), but we have 12 different types of games among 40 actual tables. Maybe you don’t prefer table games. Even if you don’t, we bet you still wonder about some of the procedures our dealers and supervisors (a.k.a. pit bosses) go through daily. So, here’s a quick Q&A on some questions we are frequently asked:

Question: How many decks do we go through in a day?
Answer: It’s hard to answer by the day because traffic is obviously heavier on weekends than weekdays. Per week, though, we go through about 1,000 decks. That’s why you can purchase them so cheaply in French Lick Resort gift shops.

Q: What about dice?
A: Per week, about 60. Those are used on four craps tables. They are also available for sale, by the way (wink, wink!).

Q: Is it hard to learn to deal?
A: We have periodic “dealer schools” where aspiring dealers master Blackjack and the other basic card games. Dealer school is typically an eight-week course of about 16 hours per week. Learning Craps and Roulette takes an additional 80-120 hours of training. Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow Poker are taught in separate mini-classes.

Q: How long do dealers stand at a table?
A: Working a table game is not as easy as you might think. It takes a lot of quick thinking, quick wit, mathematical calculating and physical dexterity. Because it is demanding, dealers work a table for an hour and are then given a 20-minute break to relax and clear their minds.

Oh, and all the while, they provide great guest service, game protection, chip maintenance, a clean environment and card verification. Whew! So, if you thought dealing in a casino was like dealing in your weekly man-cave card game with your buddies, uh, think again!

You must be 21 to enter the casino. Gambling problem: Call (800) 9-WITH-IT.





Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Our goals

 
You know, we were gambling here in French Lick long before Bugsy Siegel opened up the first casino “resort” on The Strip in Las Vegas. There were six or seven known casinos in the French Lick-West Baden area in the 1920s and local lore places that number as high as 12-15. In either account, all were illegal!

Believe whatever you want but the French Lick Casino is completely Indiana Gaming Commission-regulated now!

While we do love to celebrate our history here at the FrenchLick Resort, we know we’re not the oldest modern-day Indiana casino nor are we the biggest. Size doesn’t really matter to us! We’ve never tried to be the biggest casino in the gaming pond and we never will. We have other more important goals.





Recognize anyone?
Understanding that, we place our priorities on meeting two essential guest satisfaction priorities. We know the only two things we really control each and every day are our friendliness and our cleanliness. In those two categories, we think we knock it out of the park. While we know we’re not perfect, we do love it when guests call out team members by name and compliment them on their efforts to make your visit to the French Lick Casino pleasant and comfortable. After all, you choose to visit us!

We’ve heard comments from our guests that our team was the “highlight” of their stay and that our team made them feel “extra special.” Other guests say they were “treated like royalty” and have even established lifetime friendships with our team. Those are the kinds of comments that make us happy! If you’re happy, then we’re happy.

So, that got us thinking. How about you? Got a great story about one of our teammates?



Clean and pristine!
Friendliness is just half of our mission, though. Our entire team, especially our EVS crew, really takes pride in making sure your entertainment environment is clean. We’ve seen our EVS team crawling behind slot machines to retrieve trash or on their hands and knees cleaning the grout in the floors. They do double duty, too, because they smile while they work (some even whistle!). Just so you know, those game faces are natural because they have them on when they clean the back of the house too!

It’s also not unusual for our table games dealers to shine the brass at the tables early in the mornings during down time. The teams from slots, F&B, cage and Player Services can be found doing similar chores. And, doesn’t it just kind of irk you when you have to weave in and out of slot chairs? It does for our slots team too so you’ll likely find them continually pushing in those chairs. By the way, that becomes habitual. Many of us who work (or worked) the casino floor find ourselves pushing in chairs at restaurants as well!

So, we were thinking (yes, thinking again!). How much do you notice cleanliness in a casino? We kind of hope you don’t notice in ours because cleanliness should be the standard!

You must be 21 to enter the casino. Gambling problem: Call (800) 9-WITH-IT.