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p12 Stateside 27/10/08 09:15 Page 12
Some organisations can forget that many seemingly
small things affect the bottom line, says Sharon Harris
or various reasons, from an unfavorable expenses on a property’s ledger sheet. Also, multiply
holiday weekend calendar to a terrible that type of incident by an unknown number of
economy to hurricane-like weather, departments where the staff is poorly trained to
September proved dismal for Atlantic City conserve, or management has dropped the ball
casinos. The 15 per cent decrease was the completely.
highest in 30 years. To survive and thrive in these tough economic
The disastrous financial picture also played out in times, managers need to redefine “streamlining” their
Las Vegas, Mississippi and across the US. It has even operations to create a “leaner machine”. Rather than
affected Foxwoods, the legendary giant in Connecticut lay off employees, how about focusing on those
that has long shattered casino revenue records. Not wasteful, unproductive practices? While no-one
only did Foxwoods lay off 700 employees in mid- can teach common sense, managers should
October, it also terminated its CEO to cut costs. reconsider putting those clueless employees out in
These scenarios have blindsided many casino the public areas.
executives. They bemoan higher gas prices, the Speaking of jobs, here is a question to ponder.
slowing economy and competition, but I also blame When companies lay off thousands on the promise of
some of them. Sloppy management and training may future employment, do they have a responsibility if
waste thousands in different departments every week. they delay a project? One Atlantic City councilman
Consider this… I am still steaming. My friend is a thought so in September. He proposed forcing
VIP player at one top Atlantic City casino. She invited Pinnacle Entertainment to commit to a construction
me to dinner at their high roller lounge on a recent deadline for its delayed casino resort.
The idea of
weeknight. The room’s overflowing buffet offered When Pinnacle demolished the Sands Casino Hotel
trashing so much
dozens of selections. in November 2006, jobs disappeared for more than
After dinner, I decided on dessert, only to find the 2,000 people. Many found employment in other
food when people
buffet almost empty at 8 pm. They were closing, casinos, but others remained unemployed, and may
are struggling was
which I considered to be early, even on a weeknight. I still be without work. Pinnacle pledged its $1.5 to
requested a dessert from the kitchen, but the server $2.5 billion megaresort would create thousands of
shocking. That
said everything was gone. new jobs and greater tax revenues for Atlantic City.
scene was a
What did that mean? As I watched in shock, she The current credit crunch has squashed those
emptied dozens of food plates into a large trash bag. plans. Pinnacle has delayed groundbreaking for at
public relations
Looking closer, I saw piles of uneaten items. We were least another year. In the meantime, the vacant multi-
a bit annoyed that there was no “last call” before acre site at mid-Boardwalk remains a reminder that
closing, but we were outraged to think they would jobs and revenues were imploded with the building.
discard so much food in front of customers. Nothing positive will come of this location for years.
The idea of trashing so much food when people are Fortunately, despite the scaling back of other
struggling was shocking. That scene was a public Atlantic City projects, there is still construction.
relations disaster. These servers used zero common Within the last several months, Harrah’s, Borgata and
sense by at least not taking the food into the kitchen Trump Taj Mahal have all opened new towers. Revel
to dump it. continues to grow higher each month.
The following evening, I was at another casino Promises ring hollow. Casino jurisdictions must
where I know the food and banquet manager. work to ensure that prior to the demolition of an
Without identifying the casino, I relayed the story. He existing economic engine, new projects should have at
reacted in disbelief at the poor management of the least enough capital to hoist the construction cranes
food bar. He explained that once the food leaves the Whatever happens in November – thankfully, this
kitchen, it cannot be reused. However, if wisely eternal election will be over by press time – everyone
replenished at intervals, the leftovers still in the should expect to hang on for a bumpy ride going
kitchen can be donated to charity for a tax forward. The casino industry must smartly develop
deduction, or used later. Either way, it is not wasted. constructive ways to manage its bank accounts.
Multiply that nightly scene by 52 weeks a year. Maybe the G2E seminars will offer sage advice…
Such staggering waste contributes to the bottom line I hope so.
12 NOVEMBER 2008
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