Hotel F&B Observer Blog

Hotel food and beverage professionals share experience, skills and commentary. These hotelier blogs reflect a variety of unique career perspectives and real-life workplace stories, observations and opinions.

Food Quantity Versus Food Quality

About a month ago, I was able to get away on a cruise for a few days. I have been cruising before but, for some reason, this time I paid particular attention to the other passengers on the ship. Specifically, I paid particular attention to their eating habits.

For those of you who have not been on a cruise , the variety and volume of food is incredible. I personally enjoy the fact that I can try so many different things. On this trip I noticed that a number of my fellow passengers had an entirely different mindset when it came to this.

On the first day of the cruise, I enjoyed a buffet lunch. As I was in line, I noticed people in front of me piling food on their trays as though they were hibernating for the winter: two pounds of salad, a loaf of bread with a pound of butter, a pound of potatoes, two pounds of meat and some greens (probably so they felt as though they were eating healthy…you know…like someone ordering Diet Coke at McDonald’s). Besides the fact that they were consuming their daily-recommended caloric intake five times over, I thought to myself, “Do they know what they are eating?” “Do they appreciate the fact that they are trying dishes from all over the world?” “Do they appreciate the flavors, tastes and labor that went into making the dishes they are consuming?”

In our country, you notice that all-you-can-eat operations thrive in some parts of the country while they can’t keep their doors open for a few days in other parts of the country. This usually parallels to the parts of the country that ask for their steak to be cooked to a specific temperature versus other parts of the country where their meat is either cooked or not cooked. A lot of this really boils down to people being focused on the quantity of food versus the quality of food.

This is how I see it. I would be curious to hear from others as to what their experiences are with this. Are your customers concerned with the quality of food you put out, or are they more concerned with getting the most for their money?

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Cruise Ship Savvy

The headline read: “Captain and 5 crew charged in Greek ferry sinking” (Reuters 2007/04/07).

The Sea Diamond running aground in the inlet of the isle of Santorini was perhaps a very fortunate accident, because it did not happen out at sea. The picturesque isles of Greece are what make these cruises so popular, and the views are spectacular. If you have taken an Alaskan Cruise or a cruise across the Panama Canal, it would be similar to taking a cruise in the Greek Isles. These breathtaking views are what make these cruises memorable and make most passengers want to come back.

How fitting it is to talk about “Cruise Ship Savvy” on the anniversary of the RMS Titanic, which on the infamous and ill-fated voyage on the night of April 14, 1912 around 23:40 struck an iceberg and went down in the freezing water of the North Atlantic. The numbers vary from country to country investigating the incident, but out of the 2200 or 2208 passengers and crew, only 700 to 705 survived; the other 1500 or so perished either from accidents, fire, drowning, or from the freezing water of the Atlantic.

Cruise ship officers and crew go through rigorous training, and the passengers have orientation on their voyage either the same day or within 24 hours of embarkation. But would you know what to do in the event of an emergency on a cruise ship? There is a fire and safety drill that everyone must attend, passengers and crew members alike. The crew members are usually assisting the passengers to find their way to their assigned areas for the drill. It is imperative that all passengers familiarize themselves with the emergency procedures of the vessel and be aware of their assigned places should there be an emergency.

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