Master trainer Brian Connors wears multiple hats and has multiple roles, and has a reputation for his contributions in the hospitality and beverage industries. He is the Bacardi Center of Excellence Faculty Director and Senior Director for Global Food & Beverage Innovation at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. He is also a strategic consultant, educator and principal for Connors Davis Hospitality.
In a recent Training Unleashed Podcast, host Evan Hackel chatted with Brian about the highly innovative approaches Brian has developed for the changing world of hospitality and beverage training, including how training has changed since the Covid-19 pandemic and how training and branding combine, and there was mention of an AI robot…
When Brian and Evan spoke about the Covid-19 pandemic, Brian noted how we’ve seen a lot of change very quickly. “We’ve learned that people can pretty much do anything anywhere, faster than we ever thought before.” Brian continued, “the last two years have taught us new ways of using creativity ,and new ways of transferring knowledge and taking it to the next level.”
He noted that people have gotten very good at Zoom or Teams (or whatever platform they’re using), and with that there’s an opportunity to have it as part of your overall training strategy to help reinforce learned behaviors.
“And that’s what we’re seeing as a big trend. Yet I think there’s always going to be value in face-to-face learning,” said Brian. “So I looked at the last two years personally, you know, in my own world at Florida International University… We’re using technology, video, audio, real-time learning and reinforcing them with a face-to-face educational opportunity. So I think at the end of the day, that hybrid model is here to stay.”
The conversation continued and Brian spoke more about the program they’ve developed and are re-branding at the Bacardi Center of Excellence… and you can almost see Evan’s excitement build.
Evan said, “My ears just perked up when you talked about that robot. Her name is Cecilia?”
“Cecilia is a robot, a bartender. And she uses artificial intelligence, is able to communicate with guests, communicate with servers and so forth. I saw the opportunities she offered because of the labor shortage, but also to build brand awareness and get our students engaged and get Bacardi North America engaged too,” explained Brian.
An AI-Enabled Robot Bartender? We Know You Will Want to Learn More!
Be sure to listen to or watch the complete conversation between Evan Hackel and Brian Connors on Training Unleashed!
About Our Guest
Brian Connors is a strategic consultant, educator, and principal for Connors Davis Hospitality. He is also the Bacardi Center of Excellence Faculty Director and Senior Director, Global Food & Beverage Innovation at Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
The Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management at Florida International University (FIU) is home to the Bacardi Center of Excellence, a dynamic educational partnership focused on developing learners of beverage management, fine spirits, industry innovation, sustainability, and entrepreneurship. The Bacardi Center of Excellence brings academia and industry together in a pioneering partnership with Bacardi North America and the Chaplin School.
Connors Davis Hospitality is a boutique food & beverage consulting firm that creates and redevelops trend-driven concepts while implementing each key step of the growth process to help their clients achieve peak operational performance.
Brian earned his culinary degree from Johnson & Wales University, has trained for his Sommelier certification at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa Valley and is certified by the Court of Master Sommelier. He is also a Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) through the Society of Wine Educators, Certified Bordeaux Wine Educator through The Bordeaux Wine Trade Council (CIVB) and a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE) according to standards achieved through the Educational Institute of the American Hotel and Lodging Association. Brian served as Alumni Admissions Ambassador at Cornell University for the School of Hotel Administration and a former board member of the Cornell Hotel Society of South Florida. Brian has developed nationally recognized and award winning wine and beverage programs and has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, FOX & Friends, the Travel Channel’s ‘Trip of a Lifetime’ as well as national television and print media features.