The Importance of Training & Development in the Hospitality Industry

The Importance of Training & Development in the Hospitality Industry

In the hospitality industry, providing great services to customers is a must. However, having a strategic location close to popular tourist attractions and investing in well-furnished rooms and well thought out amenities, from a gym to high-speed WiFi, are not enough to guarantee that you will succeed in the industry. You need that one huge factor that will convince guests to keep coming back if they ever need future accommodations and that is customer satisfaction. This is why you need to train your staff so they will provide excellent customer service, now and in the future.

What happens if customers are not happy?

If you’re a hotel owner with a vision of making your hospitality brand grow, then you should focus on ensuring customer satisfaction among each of your guests. Otherwise, you risk ruining your brand with negative reviews coming from your unhappy customers. Considering how fast such reviews spread online, especially on popular travel sites, it is quite easy to shred your reputation to pieces and discourage potential guests from staying at your hotel. Without repeat business, you might not reach the level of profitability that you need to keep it going.

Moreover, it is easier and less costly to convince customers to book your hotel again than to attract new ones, especially with the stiff competition you’re probably getting from hotels in your area. But if your guests remember how warm, accommodating, and polite your hotel staff is, they will likely keep booking your hotel in the future.

Why it is important to participate in training?

A career in the hospitality industry can be something that you can pursue through life. It can be a rewarding career path as you can climb up the ranks, from being a busboy, for instance, to being the hotel manager. This is made possible with dedication, hard work, further education and training, some of which the hotel owner may provide. But employees can also supplement the hotel-sponsored training with voluntary training. If needed, you can always take out personal online loans for training. The cost of training will be worth it if it means opening up more career opportunities for you in the future.

Online training is beneficial for hotel employees due to the following reasons:

  • People are more likely to engage in videos instead of reading documents or articles.
  • People who train online tend to learn five times more than other people who train through other media.
  • It is around 50% more cost effective for employers.
  • It can give employers a positive ROI (return on investment) in less than a year.
  • It is favored by over 40% of global Fortune 500 companies.

Why hotels should invest in training?

There are many reasons why hotel owners should focus on developing and training their own hotel staff. These include the following:

Better cooperation as a single unit

Guests often see hotel staff as a single unit, hence the bad service that they get from one member of the staff may taint the others. But if you train people to improve their teamwork and deal with other people coming from different backgrounds in diversity training, it makes it easier for them to operate smoothly to the satisfaction of your customers.

An improved pool of potential hotel managers

They would likely discover that there are a lot of potential talents waiting to be discovered and ready to take on the hotel’s managerial positions after completing enough training. After training, it will be easier for you to identify talent that can be honed and developed into great managers.

Reduced employee turnover

Higher turnover meant higher cost in hiring and training new people. It also meant time lost in interviewing new applications and productivity wasted as new people need time to get used to their job. Well-trained people also tend to stick it out, thanks to increased job satisfaction, the satisfaction that stems from having co-workers who follow a written code of conduct, for instance, and from knowing what is expected of them, given their position. Proper training helps employees do better in their jobs and when they know that they are performing well, they remain happy, satisfied, long-term employees.

Better problem-solving skills

If things go wrong, it is important for the hotel staff to resolve the problem in a positive way to still ensure a satisfactory experience for the guests. If they are satisfied with the way the issue was resolved, they tend to choose to continue staying at the hotel and wanting to return.

Improved feeling of safety and security

In case of an emergency, guests would rely on the hotel staff to keep them safe and taken care of. It is up to the staff, who are more familiar with the hotel and the area, to direct or assist the guests in need. This is why hotel staff should receive proper training in performing CPR and first aid. They should also be trained to execute plans in case of natural disasters or potential attacks. If proper training is conducted, people in panic can be managed better, preventing the worst scenario from happening.

With great training comes happier, better performing, and more loyal staff – and happy hotel staff means satisfied customers. So if you’re ready to train your employees, start developing an online training program or a traditional program now!

Lessons from Las Vegas

Lessons from Las Vegas

The deadliest shooting in U.S. history, will force the nation’s hotel industry to rethink security procedures, but there may be little new they can do now to prevent such events, experts say.

Hotels can’t install metal detectors or other elements deemed intrusive without damaging the whole concept of hospitality that is at the heart of their business. Hotel operators will have to rely even more on the eyes and ears of regular employees such as housekeeping staff and front desk workers to detect and report unusual behavior.

Hotel operators will have to rely even more on the eyes and ears of regular employees such as housekeeping staff and front desk workers to detect and report unusual behavior.

“No matter what we do, there are always going to be security issues. The responsibility has to be on every level and not just security personnel. Everyone should be flagging odd behavior,’’ said Mehmet Erdem, a hospitality professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

While casinos and hotels do not permit people to walk through their private property with concealed or unconcealed weapons, there is little to stop them from letting guests enter with guns hidden in bags.

In the aftermath of the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, it’s important to refresh yourself and your staff on the best practices that have been in place for many years.

Casinos will likely add more security personnel in the aftermath of the massacre, said Michael McCall, a professor at Michigan State University’s School of Hospitality.

“Security being present to the extent that they are noticeable would be a disincentive’’ to criminals, said McCall.

“Security being present to the extent that they are noticeable would be a disincentive’’ to criminals.”

McCall agreed with Erdem that metal detectors would not be a viable solution as it would hurt the guest experience. People will not want to stand in long lines like they do at airport security posts.

“Vacationers want to relax, they don’t want to be reminded of the dangers in the world,’’ said McCall.

Hotels will need to beef up their training programs so that all employees, and not just security personnel, can learn to detect suspicious behavior, said Erdem. Strip casinos could consult with airlines on how they spot suspicious behavior, he said.

During a call with Homeland Security and the FBI, The Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association learned that the perpetrator of this heinous act:

  • Checked in as one person with 9 suitcases and did receive bellman assistance to his room.   Over the course of the four days he stayed, he brought an additional 6 suitcases into his room.
  • Refused cleaning services in his room for multiple days
  • Ordered room service, but met them in the hall and never allowed access or even the door to be opened.

Odd behavior in isolation can often be explained away, but if several employees notice unusual behavior and report it to a central location, hotels can respond before tragedy happens, Erdem said.

For more information on what should be considered suspicious and what you should do if you see suspicious activity, please download the FBI’s “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities related to hotels and motels” by clicking here.  In addition, through their Hometown Security program, the Department of Homeland Security offers multiple resources and training tools, including “See Something, Say Something” and active shooter training, for businesses to help prepare for and protect themselves from attack.

This article was brought to you in association with the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the CHLA.


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Problem Customers: How To Handle Them So That Your Boss Takes Notice

Problem Customers: How To Handle Them So That Your Boss Takes Notice

Customer service is a huge part of the restaurant business, and front-of-house restaurant employees need to keep their people skills sharp to stay ahead in this business. Particularly, you will want to practice dealing with problematic customers. Your shift manager will appreciate your ability to deal with these folks and diffuse tense situations because they can focus on other things. Here are a few tips for dealing with problem customers.

1. Graceful Conversation Enders

Some customers don’t mean to be in the way, but they are overly friendly. They think the waiter is a captive audience or that ‘waitress’ is another word for ‘date.’ Since you are actually working and can’t spend all day listening, you will have to come up with a polite sentence or two that lets you leave the chatterbox.

Some good ones: “That’s great, I’ll have to tell my co-workers. Excuse me.” And, “You know, that is fascinating, but I had better get you your drinks now.”

What are some of your best conversation enders? Let us know on twitter @gosirvo

2. Resolving Customer Complaints

I should clarify: a customer who brings a problem to your attention isn’t immediately problematic. It’s best to take the attitude that any complaint is genuine and serious. Always respond to a complaint with an apology and an offer of a solution to their complaint.

It’s best to give them the impression that you are taking it seriously. Ideally, you are taking it seriously, even if it seems trivial to you. Practice letting them finish their complaints and paraphrasing what you heard them say before giving your own reply. This ensures that you know the problem they want to fix, and it lets them know that you really understood their position. Sometimes just allowing someone to vent and feel heard can solve whatever their complaint was!

Practice looking attentive and not crossing your arms while you listen. Body language can speak volumes to an annoyed customer.

3. Practice Keeping Calm

Develop a mantra for when you are faced with an angry customer that reminds you that everyone sometimes has a bad day and that the complaint isn’t an attack on you. Practice keeping your voice low and calm while talking people through solutions. Your keeping your cool will keep things from escalating.

Additionally, people who are ornery by nature get off on seeing others flustered. Don’t give them the satisfaction.

4. Have A List Of Potential Solutions Handy

Customers who are having a bad time tend to collect complaints until their minor irritation snowballs into general hatred. To the extent that is possible, have a list of potential solutions to potential complaints in your apron pocket so that you can head off the snowball. Typically a free drink or discount coupon will suffice.

There will be times when you won’t be able to do something to head off a complaint. In those situations, it is helpful to have a script that you memorize to explain the situation. Practice calmly saying something such as, “I’m sorry, but we are out of…” and you will be able to clearly communicate your position. This can sometimes be enough to calm a customer.

5. Follow Up On Complaints

Customers want to be treated as individuals, and they want to feel like you personally care about whether they are having a good time. Take a few moments to check in on the especially grouchy to make sure that the solution you offered worked and that they are now in a happier frame of mind.

6. Know When To Call In The Big Guns

All these steps are ways to avoid having to pull in the manager to deal with a customer, but it is sometimes unavoidable. Your manager would rather step in before things get out of hand.

  • If you spilled something on a customer (we’ve all been there) and have potentially ruined not only their clothing but also their night… it’s best to call in a manager.
  • If a customer is insisting that you break a restaurant policy, get a manager. If he or she decides to bend the rules, you aren’t in trouble.
  • If a customer seems to be threatening or is clearly inebriated, the restaurant would prefer that you call for help in getting him or her out of there before the other customers get annoyed.

Knowing how to handle the particularly difficult FOH situations will help you stand out for your boss and further you in your restaurant career. Follow these tips to really impress with your people skills.


How to Succeed as a Restaurant Manager and Still Have a Life

How to Succeed as a Restaurant Manager and Still Have a Life

From restaurant owners who are trying to kick a great new restaurant off the ground to chefs who are trying to make a name for themselves, everyone needs work/life balance. For restaurant managers, who are required to be at the restaurant during peak hours, including holidays and weekends, it can be even more challenging! If you’re struggling to find the critical balance between succeeding at work and still enjoying the rest of your life, these tips will help!

1. Give Work Your Best

When you come into work every day, give it the best you’ve got. Work hard. When you’re on the clock, be on the clock: not hanging out in the office with your favorite employees or texting, not giving your least favorite tasks to the employees you enjoy working with the least, but genuinely giving the best you’ve got to your restaurant while you’re there.

You know that’s great for your work life, but have you considered the benefits it offers to you in the rest of your life? When you work hard while you’re at work, your employers are willing to go the extra mile for you. This might include things like extra paid time off, being able to take off the hours you really need, and even scheduling flexibility when big life choices come your way. When you fail to give your best to your employer, on the other hand, you’ll find that they’re much less willing to give you those extra advantages.

2. Don’t Always Eat At Work

You get a great discount on work food, and it’s faster to just grab something off the menu than it is to, for example, pack a lunch for yourself. Unfortunately, restaurants are rarely geared toward the healthiest offerings–not to mention the fact that they often use very large portions that aren’t in keeping with what you should actually be eating. Instead, take the time to pack a lunch for yourself. If you must eat at work, know the healthier options on the menu or how to reduce the calorie count of your order. It will help keep you healthier, increase your energy, and make it easier for you to take on the challenges of balancing both your work responsibilities and your life.

3. Prioritize You

When was the last time you got in a great workout or went to a concert? Are you overdue for a haircut? When you prioritize self-care, you’ll discover that you’re in a much better position to give your all both to work and to your personal life. Take the time to get in a workout–every day, if you can. This will increase your overall energy and make you feel better equipped for everything else you have to do in the day. Make sure you have time to shower, to decompress, and to do the other things involved taking care of you. If you don’t take care of yourself, how are you going to be able to take care of everything else?

4. Set Boundaries

Boundaries are an important element of maintaining that critical work/life balance. Just like your kids or your spouse know not to call you at work unless it’s an emergency, work shouldn’t call you out of your home life for anything less. Be clear about the hours you’re able to work, including what you’re able to offer in the event of an emergency situation. If you need specific hours off–for example, you don’t have childcare on a certain day or you’re attending classes–don’t feel as though you need to compromise those activities in order to make the restaurant owner happy. It’s okay to say no and to stick by those boundaries!

5. Get Adequate Sleep

Working at a restaurant, your hours are often long. This is particularly true if you close late. You may struggle to find a schedule that allows you to sleep adequately–but it’s critical to your health that you do! Work with the owner and your coworkers to create a schedule that allows you time to sleep before you have to return for your next shift so you’re not sacrificing your health and alertness for the sake of your job.

Creating that balance between work and life can feel challenging at first. Over time, however, you’ll discover that you can have it all! By creating boundaries and prioritizing healthy self-care, you’ll quickly find that you can succeed as a restaurant manager while still having a life outside of work.

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Tips for Newly Hired and Promoted Restaurant Managers

Tips for Newly Hired and Promoted Restaurant Managers

The National Restaurant Association (NRS) states that many new managers are often so eager to be endorsed and make others happy that they make common mistakes. They may institute changes too quickly, hold friends to different standards and think that relationships will remain the same. The following tips will help newly hired and promoted managers avoid common mistakes and achieve success.

Soft Skills

Research by Gallup reveals that companies that hire supervisors and managers based on their people skills and core talents will experience better employee engagement. The research shows that these companies may see a 17 percent increase in productivity, a 30 percent increase in employee engagement and 48 percent increase in overall profitability. Employee turnover rates may decrease up to 19 percent. All of these successful statistics depend on the restaurant manager’s strong interpersonal skills. Good leaders must be flexible and spontaneous to deal with random operational and personnel problems.  An authoritative demeanor and calm voice will help maintain stability in stressed kitchens. Being patient and organized will help maintain quality and efficiency.

Understand Motivation

Many restaurant supervisors may have strong professional skills, but they may lack human resources training or business administration experience. Managers must be able to analyze, understand and motivate their staff. The pressure is intense and the turnover rates are high, so understand individual motivations and collective goals will help restaurant managers maintain employee satisfaction. There are many well-known motivational theories, such as Sirota’s Three Factor Theory that states that employees’ basic needs should be met and that company and employee goals should be aligned. McClelland’s Human Motivation Theory states that employees are motivated by power, affiliation, and achievement. Regardless of the theory, restaurant managers should be able to understand motivation to cultivate respect and top performances.

Real-World Experience

The above-mentioned theories provide insights into the conceptual motivation of employee’s actions. Seasoned restaurant managers know that while employees will have different motivations, they will all follow Maslow’s basic two motivations of safety and survival. That is, employees most value their salaries and job stability. Restaurant manager should know how to create mutually beneficial and long-term relationships between the restaurant and employees. For example, performance reviews that randomly criticize issues without future goals and commitments are not as effective as continual communication and reinforcement.  Performance goals and expectations should be connected to salary increases and job opportunities.

In Defense of Delegation

One of the most important skills a restaurant manager must master is the science of delegation. Even a superstar cannot accomplish everything on their own each day. The best way to help both new supervisors and employees grow is through appropriate delegation. This starts with establishing individual roles and responsibilities. Restaurant managers should learn how to organize themselves so they can direct tasks, follow-up with staff and minimize poor performance. Organized delegation will free them up to focus on more important managerial tasks such as budgeting, marketing, and quality control. Restaurant managers who carefully match the right people with the right tasks and tools will enjoy better results.

Professional Feedback

Reality TV shows with vulgar celebrity chefs often glamorize and exaggerate the conflict and hostility in professional kitchens. While it is true that the restaurant industry runs on extremely tight budgets, schedules and performance standards, the best restaurant managers use their business acumen, HR knowledge, and respectful attitudes to provide feedback, identify problems and discipline staff. Giving real-time feedback in a loud and busy kitchen environment is difficult because many people are either too sensitive or indifferent. Employees need factual feedback to improve their productivity and performance. Constructive criticism that focuses on objective issues will improve issues and mitigate risks.

These tips will help new restaurant managers increase their professional competency and decrease their occupational frustration. Restaurant managers should consider avoiding these nine bad habits. It’s helpful to continually hone skills and seek knowledge through legitimate resources. A good way to find a restaurant management job is to use a job search site that allows you to follow companies, save jobs for later and apply with one click.

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