Building a Successful Hotel Restaurant
I have been given opportunities to work in many successful hotel restaurants. These hotel restaurants in San Francisco, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, Washington D.C., Atlanta, and Boston had several things in common, including:
- Commitment to quality – This commitment is in the food, equipment, china, glass, silver, uniforms, décor, etc. Although we monitored costs, no purchases were made based on just the lowest price.
- Extensive and ongoing training – Training wasn’t a 2-day orientation or 1 to 2 weeks of trailing a senior employee. Nor was it relegated to daily shift meeting or vendor-led wine seminars. Management understood the importance of developing the team through training and budgeted accordingly.
- Clear vision – Everyone on the team from the utility person to managers knew the importance of the restaurant in making the hotel successful. Hotel and restaurant managers demonstrated this vision daily.
- The right people – Many people through experience can interview VERY well. They say all the right things, dress properly, and demonstrate the right traits during the interview. I was taught to ask questions applicable to our operation not the cookie cutter questions I had been taught in Management 101. Second, we LISTENED to the person being interviewed. By listening carefully we could hear the true feelings of a candidate. Third, knowing the dynamics of the team and our expectations. These expectations were communicated clearly. Finally, a Maitre d’ at the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco taught me to be honest with a candidate during the interview process. Don’t embellish the position, the future with the company, or income potential.
- Proper staffing levels – We had enough staff to take care of the business on hand. Even when 20 people came in without a reservation we could give them exceptional service. Sure we had the call-outs that every restaurant has. However, we all pitched in as a team because we didn’t have burned out team members due to short staffing from previous days. Labor costs were always managed to the margin.
- Consistent enforcement of standards – We had extremely high team morale. Everyone on the team was on the same playing field. All team members knew what was consistently expected. Cooks knew cooking times, servers proper ringing in of orders, utility placement of dishes, and host people their duties in the dining room are examples. Management enforced these standards equally.
Although this isn’t an all-inclusive list, it is a foundation. A strong building is built on a firm foundation, and a successful hotel restaurant should be also.
I would love to hear from other F&B professionals with your ideas and experiences on this topic.