Pechanga Resort & Casino

Laurence Carner

steven spotlight

When you want an example of how working in a particular environment can better someone both professionally and personally, you show them Laurence Carner.

When you need an example of how a job can mature someone, improve someone, make someone into a better person, better employee and better teammate, you show them Carner. Then, you begin to understand how one position can transform one person.

Because when Carner shows off his considerable people skills as one of the servers at the Lobby Bar & Grill, he shows off skills that were developed during his 11 years as a busser, then server, at the Pechanga Café and server at the Lobby Bar & Grill.

Those people skills that Carner makes look seamless and easy? Those attributes that earned him a Xenia Award for his service at the Lobby Bar & Grill, when Carner overheard one guest wishing her friend a “Happy Birthday,” then pulled off the perfect unexpected surprise by having a mini ice cream sundae – complete with birthday candle -- brought out to her after her meal?

Carner learned all of that working at Pechanga. He learned that through trial-and-error and the trial-by-fire every server finds themselves in, the proverbial “in the weeds” situation where a server doesn’t know how he can keep 15 balls in the air – he just does. He learned how to be a standout team member by breaking out of his naturally reserved shell and reaching out to that next-level of service Pechanga prides itself on producing for its guests.

“I really enjoy the interaction with people I meet. We’re always engaging new guests and that’s helped build up my personality as well,” he said. “As a server, you have to talk to your guests and provide them with details about what we offer. I feel like that’s always been inside me, but this has helped bring it about.

“I think I’ve grown a lot at Pechanga, maturity-wise as well. I was a busser at the Café on the graveyard shift and I accrued some (disciplinary) points. But as you get older, you take things a lot more seriously. You learn that it’s more than a paycheck and you begin to care about your environment.”

The example of Carner listening, observing, then executing the perfect surprise for a Lobby Bar & Grill guest and her friend not only displayed his journey as a Pechanga team member, but it rendered the birthday girl speechless. Carner said he didn’t think too much about it – even after she returned from a meeting at the Pechanga Summit – to thank him and get the e-mail address for Lobby Bar & Grill Manager Justin Briggs. Later, she heaped further kudos on Carner via e-mail.

“That few minutes made it special for her,” Carner said. “Her friend was very pleased she took her friend here to have a good time and what she expected was great food. They got great food, but it was beyond that. We beat their expectations.”

And Carner, who said he didn’t expect anything like a Xenia Award; “I don’t think about awards too much…” beat his own expectations. The ones that grow every time he walks into Pechanga


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