Learn why Dining Room Service Manager, Nicole Simington, is passionate about providing excellent service, her goals for the future and what she’s been up to during this recent time at home.
What’s your history with Egypt Valley?
I began working at Egypt Valley in August of 2014 as an inexperienced server. At the time, every one of our team leaders could vouch for my inabilities, as I was not the best server, but I did have a strong work ethic and desire to learn. A year later, I was offered an opportunity to interview for my current position, as the Dining Service Manager. I couldn’t believe it. There was much I would have to learn, yet it was an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t pass up!
Each following year, I experienced exponential growth, both personally and professionally. I have attended many educational seminars, some of my favorite being Pinot Camp (indeed, wine camp), Zingerman’s customer service training, and CMAA (Club Management Association of America). In the last few years, I have become devoted to improving our training program and continuous service training in order to provide the best service for our members.
My ultimate goal as one of the food and beverage managers is to lead a team that wants to grow with us year after year, having the common goal of meeting and exceeding our member’s expectations of excellent service. I have also become passionate about good leadership and doing what it takes to become a great leader, not just one who manages people. In learning to do so, I now believe when a person can successfully manage themselves they can truly lead others.
What’s your favorite meal at Egypt Valley?
My favorite meals to have are all of the variations of our Wild Caught Scottish Salmon. From the sweet and smoky cedar-roasted, apricot glazed salmon to our more savory, seared salmon with Michigan mushrooms and brandy-thyme cream sauce. At times, I’ll even ask for it plain, grilled and with a pinch of sea salt, paired with rice, broccoli and sometimes grilled pita bread. Thankfully, our chefs are always willing to accommodate special requests when able to, especially when I ask to add mushrooms on just about everything.
How has the addition of the new patio changed service?
The new patio has brought about many changes, as we expected. Daily business in the main dining area has increased during the summer months compared to prior years. We did not take reservations for outdoor seating before, instead it was first come first serve and it seemed to work well. Now that it has become the most popular area to dine, we have changed the policy to taking reservations for patio dining until seating is full. Although the number of seats have only increased a bit, we’ve needed to increase the amount of staff to accommodate the larger size of the patio, as well as the spike in business at all hours of the day.
Fun fact: It takes a minimum of seven servers on the patio alone, for a busy evening. The patio has also been requested more often for member celebrations of all kinds. We’ve moved the men’s league from Trophy Room to downstairs after seeing the influx of golfers finding their way to the rockers by the fire places, the comfy lounge areas, and the gathering tables under the awning to watch sports. Due to the extra space, we’ve also been able to enjoy more entertainment outdoors. Overall the new design is perfect for socializing, group gatherings, and a variety of clubhouse events.
How have you been staying busy with the extra time you’ve had lately?
With the extra time I’ve had social distancing in the past weeks, I have been taking a lot of walks, bike rides—and believe it or not—roller blading (a favorite past time of mine). I’ve enjoyed a few bonfires while doing a lot of yard work; we’re planning on turning a large part of our backyard into a garden so that will be exciting. Really anything to safely be outside the house.
While inside, I have been cleaning and organizing my life away, reading a lot of great books and, best of all, cooking some great meals. Odd new hobbies I’m trying out are baking breads and acrylic-canvas painting. Baking bread has been the most challenging, but I’m getting the hang of making tortillas! I’ve also been spending some much needed, quality time with my dogs; I have an 8-year-old Pomeranian, Sophia, and a 3-year-old Doberman, Major.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
Sadly, this is the hardest question to answer. I’m more calculated than spontaneous when it comes to just about every decision. I’d like to be more of a risk taker, but it just does not come naturally. I guess the most spontaneous thing I can think of, is when I took on my current position at Egypt Valley. I never planned on it or had time to prepare for it. I knew it would be a risk for me, and it’s turned out to be one of my best decisions yet.
What’s one thing most members might not know about you?
Something most members may not know about me, is how passionate I am about holistic health and wellness. One of my favorite books in regards to this topic is the textbook, “Healing with Whole Foods” by Paul Pitchford. Really anything under the holistic health umbrella, especially Ayurvedic teachings are my favorite topics to learn about. I am obsessed with nutrition, skin care, and discovering natural remedies. I also enjoy crafting my own face, body, and hair moisturizing products because I love sourcing and mixing the best quality ingredients that are safe and effective for my sensitive skin.
Anything additional you’d like to share?
If there is ever anything you think could improve our food and beverage service, please do not hesitate or wait for a survey to share. I am always happy and more than willing to listen. There are some continual challenges we face that seem to improve incrementally, but I promise we are dedicated and striving to provide great service and experiences for you all. Our leadership team and core service staff is passionate about the quality of our operations, but sometimes a new perspective is all we really need to discover the best solutions.
I like to believe life is like a scientific experiment: If every aspect of our environment were the same, our perspectives would be the only independent variable which is always worth studying.
I hope you’re all remaining safe and sane out there during this tough time. My thoughts are with you all and I really hope to be seeing everyone this summer!