Entrepreneurs and employees in hospitality speak different languages

Written by Wouter Verkerk. Published on

Let’s be honest, if employees in the hospitality found money really important, they wouldn’t work for you in the hospitality industry, would they?

That’s not meant to be ridiculous, but of course, there are places where you can earn much more money with less effort. Yet, this is not a reason for employees in the hospitality industry to leave you; they love their profession, their colleagues and the atmosphere. They care much less about earning money, doing business and entrepreneurship. But why do you (and so many other entrepreneurs) talk all day long about money with employees and not about the things that people in the hospitality industry find important?

Duration, costs, return

Many entrepreneurs think in terms like ‘Money’ ‘Turnover’ ‘Costs’ ‘Margin’ ‘Return’ ‘Upselling’ ‘Cross-selling’ ‘Sales’ ‘Average spending’ ‘Labour productivity’ ‘Personnel costs’ ‘Duration’ and ‘Below the line’. Each and every one of those words that employees on the floor can no longer hear. Sometimes you can see them cramp when they hear the slogan again. They can’t and don’t want anything to do with it. Entrepreneurs sometimes seem to want to turn every employee into entrepreneurs…

Experience, atmosphere and beautiful products

Employees in the hospitality love words like ‘Guest’ ‘Experience’ ‘Atmosphere’ ‘Beautiful products’ ‘Taste’ ‘Preparation’ ‘Working together’ ‘Improving’ ‘Learning’ ‘What extra’s doing’ ‘Together’. And every time they concentrate on this, there is always an entrepreneur in the nearby to calculate the costs. That demotivates more than you can ever imagine, dear entrepreneur! And moreover: What you want to say does not come across at all. Because (fortunately) not everything is about money.

I once worked in the dishes where there was a large list with pictures of all plates and dishes with their corresponding purchase price. Big letters above: DISHWASHERS ATTENTION, THIS IS HOW EXPENSIVE THE PLATES ARE THAT YOU HAVE IN YOUR HANDS! Every time I was shaking in the fear that I would break something and that only happened more often. I quickly gave up.

Business and execution

I see it like this: The entrepreneur is responsible for the business side of the story and should be able to translate the entrepreneurial goals to the floor. So don’t talk about turnover but about the focus on service and hospitality, because that automatically leads to turnover and sales. Not about productivity and higher spending per guest but about putting guests first and giving them a well-deserved experience. You know, job satisfaction and a good atmosphere reduce staff absence and therefore costs.

Dear entrepreneur, stop talking about money and financial goals all day. But translate it into what our profession is actually about. This will lead to the desired results much more effectively.

To think about: When the desired result is the goal, you often look at an ugly, calculated match. When great soccer is the goal, everyone has a great time, you form a solid team and you become a champion with laughter!


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