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.

Why You Can’t Be a Perfectionist Forever

One of the challenges faced by a perfectionist is longevity.

When we are younger and have energy to burn, we can relentlessly work through exhaustion and jump through hoops daily to achieve the perfection we seek. Usually this perfection is attained solely from our personal labor since “no one else can make it perfect but me.”

But as we move through time, we slow down enough to the point where we don’t have an unlimited supply of energy. Not enough time can be spent away from our family or illnesses arise that supply the setbacks of life.

This is when the perfectionist wishes that he/she had built a team around him so others can continue his dream of perfection. We can only do it all ourselves for so long. And be perfect for even less.

So have you built your team around you?

You haven’t? So how do you expect your business to prosper? How long can you do it all?

Your customers expect much from you, they look towards that perfection you offer, that you promote, that you insist will happen and that you will provide.  But is this realistic on behalf of the customer, of from you for that matter? Probably not. So why do we insist on being perfect and how will you get there all by yourself?

Most, if not all, of our customers don’t really believe all the hype that the average television commercial states or what that print ad promises. But they do want value. They need assurance that their money has been well spent and they desire a customer experience second to none. So how will you provide this by trying to be perfect?  You can’t, so stop trying.

Hire the best people, people with a customer-first mindset. Search for the candidates that are goal-oriented and “teachable.” You can always train them the necessary job skills but attitude, desire, forward thinking, and a heavy dose of common sense must already be present.

Encourage a group responsibility to look at a product or service challenge from all angles, especially from the customer’s point of view.  “What would I expect if I were buying this product?”  “How would I feel if I had to wait on hold for 20 minutes just to speak with a live person on the phone?”  “Are we delivering what we advertize?”  “Is this the best we can do?”

Before long you will be surrounded by a team of like-minded “ambassadors” who will treat your business as their own, for the good of the company and the customer.

Only then can you produce a product of the highest level and provide the best guest experience possible. It may not be perfection, but it will be close. And you will not have to do it alone anymore.

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To Have and to Hold

Recently, at a network event a new planner approached me with a challenge that she was facing.

She had a client who was disturbed by the creative path of her wedding plans, and the planner could not figure where she had gone wrong. She felt that she followed the given instructions and emphasized that she even gone above and beyond.

So, I asked her to retrace her tracks from the point of the discussion in which her client explained what she wanted. She stated she did this already and she signified that the client’s ideas were so simple, it needed more enhancements.

Reflecting on a similar personal experience, I gently explained.

You are bursting with talent and ready to amaze the world, however, you were entrusted with a dream and you replaced it with your own. Read more of this >>

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Accurate Beverage Management Using Technology

By Dr. Fred J. DeMicco  and Brian Liachowitz

Inventory management is an important factor in restaurants. Poorly performing inventory management often leads to inventory shrinkage and employee theft. An area that is often most susceptible to inventory shrinkage is beverage management. There are many ways that an employee can steal from a restaurant while handling alcoholic beverages. In these instances, inventory control is imperative. With emerging technologies, there are many systems that can be used to manage beverage inventory. Some of the most popular beverage management systems available to date are AccuBar, EasyBar, and Bevinco’s Bar Management Solution. These systems allow managers to holistically view the flow of inventory as it enters the restaurant up until the beverage is poured to the guest. Read more of this >>

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If Walls Could Talk

Have you trained your servers to taste-test your evening specials and given them the list of paired wines which you would like to recommend and, in doing so, create an enthusiastic atmosphere towards selling (and upselling) your evening meals? For the purposes of identifying best-case scenarios on targeting sales, I evoke the dinner hour to best capture positive response rates and impulse-purchases. Certainly, you can rely on the talents of your servers to create momentum from tables of two as much as from a group table—with an invigorating recitation of the evening specials.

The challenges are evident when not everyone at the table is ready to place their order, or perhaps indifference from the diners themselves becomes more of a chore, leading to regular menu choices (and a smaller tab for the restaurant in sales). Read more of this >>

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Humble Pie

All too often I speak with colleagues in the restaurant or retail business baffled by the loss of customer base.  For the life of them they cannot figure it out. They add product, change advertising methods, and make numerous updates to get customers in the door, but the real problem is they can’t keep them—no return interest.

They either refuse to notice or they simply don’t see that the problem is closer than they think.  Truth is that it is often their greatest investment—the staff. While lack of training is the first thought that comes to mind, you will find there is another staffing issue that customers find offensive and reproachable.  So what is it? Arrogant behavior, too superior to serve, expressed with a haughty facial expression and lack of attentiveness. Read more of this >>

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A Leader in Imperfection

I read a quote recently by John Maxwell, he says “You can measure a leader by the problems he tackles. He always looks for ones his own size.” Well, I should begin by informing those who don’t know me personally that I am 6’8”. Yes, I tend to hit my head often, and in case you’re wondering, the weather is fine up here. Although the quote may lead some to ponder the obvious, given a recent incident I encountered, I looked at it a little differently. Instead of thinking about the biggest external issues I face, I forced myself to look at the biggest internal issues I face. Not anyone’s favorite topic to think about.

It has been said that we are our own worst enemies. It has also been said that we are our own worst critics. I can say both of these things about myself. We all battle character flaws which prompt us to find some sort of handicap to help mask or shine the light away from them. These could be traits we are aware or unaware of; pride, jealousy, fear, inadequacy, the way we react to stress, or even anger can top this list. Read more of this >>

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Don’t Follow the Lemmings Over This Fiscal Cliff

I am glad our fellow trade bloggers are sharing their own experiences about leadership qualities, lax service issues, and trying to resolve ongoing unprofessional ineptitude.

This type of intramural communications volley permits us all to recognize these issues are constant reminders of (most likely) a lax management culture. Guess where all fingers are pointing.

Correct this apathy: business sustainability can only occur when professional standards are demanded. I don’t hesitate to submit constructive complaints on tabletop “comment cards” (for management). Question: do these cards really get to the correct decision-maker, especially when it’s usually the culprit server receiving the cards, and these go straight to the circular file in quick time? Read more of this >>

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Focus on the Focus Group Surveys

How are your hotel F&B operations measuring up to your competitors’ newly designed (or retrofitted) restaurant? How is your chef monitoring the quality of the meals served? Do your staff have the appropriate training for upselling new products? Do you utilize social media to monitor complaints and provide a quick response time to improve your PR issues?

Too many questions on your plate? Too many cooks in the kitchen? Where’s management when you need them?

Suggest you seek a competent professional hotel and restaurant advisory group with relevant credentials in your region. They will serve your specific needs to improve your operations with an unbiased opinion. These advisers are trained in the hospitality field and recognize many symptomatic issues where failures may occur if intervention does not take place. Read more of this >>

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