Posts Tagged ‘team building’

Find Your Inner Chef

November 17, 2010

I am one hell of a cook…in my dreams.  Seriously, I make a mean omelet, grilled cheese, and tofu stir fry, but aside from those notable leftover midnight concoctions from my bachelor days, I am pretty much incompetent in the kitchen.  In fact, I routinely burn water!

My wife, Kimberly, is an excellent cook.  About 4 years ago (when she was pregnant with our son and had some time on her hands), we became fans of the cooking competition show Top Chef on the Bravo network.  Never mind that we now watch Man vs. Food, Iron Chef, Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations, Top Chef Masters, and a few other random programs–Top Chef became our only must-watch program during the week.

Kimberly watches for the incredible creativity and mostly superior technique, and the show’s many wonderful chefs have proved to be excellent muses for her throughout the last 4 years.  Lucky me!  I watch for the competition, the passion, and the interpersonal drama that one can only find in the best (and very worst) of reality TV.  Ironically, I am a vegetarian, yet I can root for the heartiest pork and fish dishes.  They even look tasty to me a full 15 years after my last bite of flesh!

At City Beach, we have developed a multitude of super-cool team building activities.  My absolute favorite, of course, is called “Extreme Chef.” The experience is equal parts teamwork, creativity, and culinary gymnastics.  The video on our site tells a good part of the story, but you really have to see it to believe it.  Suffice to say, no one leaves hungry or disappointed!  The Extreme Chef program is limited to our Fremont location, and while you don’t have to be a good cook to participate, it helps to watch a little Top Chef before you come in as preparation.  Just don’t touch that hot stove (insert legal disclaimer here!)


Kicking Off the Season

September 13, 2010

This Sunday was my favorite holiday of the year…NFL Football Season kicks off!

Okay, so to be precise, it started with the Saints vs. Vikings on Thursday night.  But the true kickoff is always on Sunday morning, and we are hosting the NFL Sunday Ticket here at City Beach all year long, so you know where you will find me for the rest of the year.

You may wonder what this has to do with social and corporate events…nice segue…glad you asked.  On July 31, we were the proud hosts of a certain local NFL team who shall remain nameless.  Okay, I’ll name them…it was the San Francisco 49ers!  They brought their entire team, coaching staff, and the coach’s son to City Beach on the first day of training camp.  Yes, they chose City Beach as the place for the entire team to bond…ON THE FIRST DAY OF THEIR FOOTBALL YEAR!  Needless to say, we were honored to have them. 

For fans of the team, you will happy to know that this group of guys is easy to root for.  The 49ers players, coaches, and front office are the most gracious and humble people you could ever hope to work with.  The steady leadership of Coach Singletary is evident throughout the organization.  He demands high character in addition to superior football skills, and his background and demeanor are nothing short of legendary.  Your humble correspondent was fortunate enough to spend a few minutes alone with the Coach, his son, and our Director of Operations, Gregg Dean.  The thing that we were most impressed with was his low-key energy.  He exudes calm confidence, which I am sure makes his “other side” that much more effective when he turns it on and becomes a master motivator.  That debacle in the opener against Seattle notwithstanding, I think the 49ers are heading towards a playoff birth and great things beyond just a first-round win.

That’s it for now!  We are preparing to host 1500 employees from a Bay Area behemoth tomorrow, so I am off to fold napkins and dust the eaves…

The Perception of Prosperity

April 20, 2010

The perception of prosperity was and is a struggle for corporate America.  When a certain company back in the 2008 was spending lavishly on their holiday parties and corporate functions (and Executive Bonuses), it sent ripples through the event industry.  Companies that could still afford to do something to reward their employees were doing nothing in the name of political correctness.  Not only did this crucify the event industry that directly and indirectly employs hundreds of thousands of people, it also effectively reduced morale at companies around the country.

Yes, unemployment is still high.  Yes, there are a lot of people looking for jobs or worrying about feeding their kids or making their next mortgage payment.  But do we all continue to live in fear of “what people may think,” bowed by our concern that we will appear to prosperous when it is not prudent to do so? 

I am a creature of optimism.  City is, by its very nature, an optimistic place.  We choose to proceed with a sense that the worst is behind us and the best is yet to come, and we preach it internally as well as to the folks that come to us for team building or just to kick back for a beer and some food.  Like virtually every business in America, we saw tough times in the last 18 months that tested our mettle as an organization.  But we, like so many of you, have found our way through the woods and are coming out of this more nimble, sensitive, and focused. 

What I want for us as an organization is what I want for America and for the world – a renewed sense of possibilities, an eye towards a better financial future, and the conviction that no matter how bad things get, there is a way to get better and stronger through hard work and steadfast conviction.  More than ever, we are grateful that people around the Bay Area continue to patronize City.  If you have the means, and if you have the desire, we await your people with open arms and a plan to inspire them towards a brighter tomorrow.

City Beach Santa Clara – Take the Whole Place!

April 16, 2010

As a member of the Sales Team at City Beach, I am stationed in our corporate offices at the Fremont facility. However, a good portion of my sales inquiries are for our Santa Clara site, so I like to go down there every couple of weeks to peek in. It is critical for the sales team to always be in touch with the pulse of the staff, the operational and logistical nuances of each facility, and the overall vibe. Because I spend so much time up in Fremont, it is easy to lose touch a bit with our brothers in the SC!

I live in South San Jose, so it is about a 20-minute drive up the 85 to the 87 to the 101. I made the trip to City Beach Santa Clara last Saturday for a Bar Mitzvah, and I was immediately greeted by my event staff buddies Eli, Larry, and Travis. I met another crew member named Sam for the first time as well, and all seemed in great spirits and happy to be in Santa Clara.

As I watched the flow of the party from up close and afar, I got a sense of why our team a loves to work at events in SC. As Eli (one of our lead facilitators and resident Mitzvah Games expert) told me, it is an unbelievable spot for parties of 60-150 people, because YOU GET THE WHOLE BUILDING! Seriously, the entire 26,000 square foot facility is yours…5 sport courts, two awesome seating and serving areas, and no sharing with anyone. According to Larry, the lead host on the party, “I love it down here because it is so wide open, and no one has to police different events at the same time.”

As I left the building, I thought about the upcoming birthday parties of my three kids. This latest trip to City Beach Santa Clara left no doubt that we will be there for at least two of them in 2010. And Eli, Larry, Travis, and Sam will all be there, too!

RR out

What’s New on the Horizon

March 8, 2010

What time is it?  Blogging time!

We had a modified Open House last night…”modified” in that it was supposed to be a low-key opportunity to meet with some clients past and present.  Chef Abe and his little helper Kirby (a sock puppet name) busted out some awesome apps.  Hoyt Ryan rocked the Robosurfer, and I served drinks and more drinks…and then some drinks.  The mini Beef Wellington goodies were the hit of the night.  We also connected with some cool cats from diverse businesses such as Broadcom, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Walters & Wolf.  There is something about talking business with a glass of Chardonnay in one hand and Crustini in the other that is just so California.

As I was walking folks through the facility, I realized again how much we have to offer, and how much I love my job.  We have some new program offerings for team building that are as cool as can be, and we now have flyers to match the quality of the programs!  In describing these experiences to people last night (in front of our 25×25 foot game show board), it was easy to get jazzed about what we have to offer.  Our guests seemed to feel my enthusiasm, and we had some great dialogue.  The Extreme Chef program seemed to be a particularly hot topic of conversation.

 We are filming the first video for our team offerings tomorrow with 60 sorority girls.  It is a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.  It will appear on our new web site in t-minus 30 days, or a quickly as I can finish the copy for the 98 new pages of content.  No problem, should be done in a week or two, if I don’t eat, sleep, or breathe.

Group Services OUT!

Corporate America Steadily Waking Back Up

March 1, 2010

Corporate America seems to be waking up, and we’re so glad to see it.  The volume of inquiries is clearly increasing from our old friends across the Bay, and we are only too happy to help them kick back, “hang loose,” and have some food and fun.  We have built so many deep and lasting relationships over the years that have made City Beach what it is today.  When they hurt, we hurt with them…  But things are turning around, and we are thrilled to still be here for them…new and improved, but with the same spirit and optimism as always.

In addition, we are starting to hear from some new folks as well.   Last night, I had an old friend from a vendor we work with and a new friend from a major sports organization in the Bay come in to the Fremont location for the first time.  All the New Gal could say is “Wow, I can’t believe I have never been here before.”  We spent some time walking around, talking about what we can do to make her organization happy, and then we broke off into the restaurant for some hot food and cold Stella.  Tough job, I know, but someone has to do it…and I am only too happy to oblige!

While some want team-building activities customized to the dynamics of their group, many just want to come in and celebrate the “revival.”  All of our offerings are about bringing people together.  We see that video games and laser tag can be fun…no doubt we have all geeked out on Pacman or Halo a time or two.   But that is not City Beach’s forte…we want people to play together, not side by side and in their own world.  Simple games like billiards and ping pong open discussion, and complex offering like our new Extreme Chef or Show of Shows bring that connection to the next level.  In point of fact, shared experiences last the longest, and City Beach feels that we can facilitate that with an expert touch.

 That’s all for now…keep those calls and emails coming, and Welcome Back! 


Have you met our new team member?

February 22, 2010

Greetings from the newest resident of City Beach’s “Group Services Secret Lair.”   By way of introduction, my name is Ryan, and I’m a workaholic.  I joined the sales and marketing team at the beginning of February, and of course, it has been trial by fire.  There is always a learning curve in any new endeavor, but fortunately, I was previously employed in a capacity where I was dealing with the CB staff frequently.  That familiarity has made my transition relatively smooth.  The friendly folks at CB have all been amazingly helpful and accommodating, and I am thankful for that!  Most of us have been in the “other” type of new job situation, and that certainly gives one an appreciation for the companies that do it the right way.

 To business!  Deep in the bowels of 4020 Technology Place in Fremont, we are frantically trying to keep pace with the volume of incoming business while ensuring that our current clients all receive what El Jefe calls “The Impeccable Experience.”  That philosophy encapsulates our emphasis on delivering superior customer service from the time an inquiry comes in all the way to the follow-up on surveys that are sent out, post-event.  The Impeccable Experience is our only goal here…but you need to live it to understand all that it entails.  We aren’t a corporate, stuffy event facility.  We aren’t a place that you come because you have to do some team-building.  Google “O’hana” and you will get a bit more insight as to what we strive for every day.  We are a shelter from the storm, a beacon in the night, a cold beer on the beach, etc…you get the idea.

 I look forward to updating this every week and keeping you apprised of the latest and greatest here at City Beach.  We have an open house on March 4 from 5pm-7pm at the Fremont Facility, so if you want to come check out some new menu items (delicious) and team games (fun), then feel free to holler at me at 510-824-0311 or  Have a fabulous week!

Start the New Year Out Right

January 19, 2010

2009 is behind us!  Start 2010 out right, bring your team together and begin the year with a resolution for your company.  At City Beach we all got together and made a resolution as a company to evolve and create new and exciting events for our clients.  Sounds simple, maybe even ambiguous at best, but it helped each of our departments create a mission plan and fire our employees up to begin a joint venture together.  What will your companies resolution be?  How can you grow together?  If you are unable to answer these questions or maybe just need someone to help get you going in the right direction give us a call and we will help you plan a powerful and entertaining relaunch!!!

Zoll Cirulation at City Beach for the Holidays

December 7, 2009

Zoll Circulation was able to join us last weekend and we had a great party in store for them.  The night started with some cocktails as the group enjoyed our festive Palm seating area.  Presents sat on top of every table surronded by beautifully flocked trees that were accented with holiday lighting , and to top it off we even lit a virtual fire (wood free, of course).  After some introductions the Zoll group was able to participate in one of our festive holiday games, only this one left everyone guessing as to who said what. Many of the  answers even left their desk-mates confused, but it was all in good fun. Our guests stayed late, enjoyed the holiday celebration, and left with some great prizes.