It might seem like one of those impossible things to do when you work in hospitality yourself; sit down at a table and enjoy your evening, peacefully, without any nagging about service or other points to complain about. But is that really the case? How can hospitality professionals still be enthused?
Back in the days that I was working in a wonderful five-star hotel in the city centre of London we paid attention to all the details, not a single step of the SOP was skipped, and if there was, the manager turned into something comparable to that dude from Texas Chainsaw Massacre (without the chainsaw, of course). At that point all staff was drilled to follow the five-star guidelines, we didn’t know any other standards anymore, which had also led to the annoyance that followed.
Obsession for AWESOME
I remember the times that I could not really visit any cool restaurant or bar anymore, without falling over something I thought was missing – or just radically wrong. It turned into some obsession… It’s good to pay attention to details, but at one point my partner back then said he had enough, and he did not enjoy going out for dinner with me anymore. It shocked me, because I knew exactly how everything went down, and what was missing and how the establishment could improve, right?! That was not the biggest deal. Instead, he told me that I should focus on the things that I actually did appreciate when going out. And guess what, Mr Smarty-pants was absolutely right. I didn’t want to admit it back then, but hey, lessons learned. Nowadays we all set the bar sky-high for ourselves and our direct environment, in what manner so-ever. This aren’t solely hospitality professionals, we all do… On our socials we pretend to have this #bestlife with the #bestfriends and the #bestfood in the #coolestbar in the most #amazingcity we could wish for. Well, of course we all do. 😉 We expect from our entire environment to be AWESOME at all times, and we get annoyed when things aren’t the way that our brains imagine the picture-perfect should be. Admit it.
Enjoy & Let it go
Focusing on the things we all do appreciate brings more joy to the table (oh, oh, what a simple joke), and those things are actually rather simple! A lot of my friends and colleagues are working in hospitality, and they often say the same. In the beginning it is hard to “let it go”, but if you do, you actually start enjoying yourself in restaurants and bars again. What I got out of the conversations with my friends was that hospitality professionals are not hard to please at all, actually! What are the most important things for them?
- A warm welcome; We want to be seen, our presence should be acknowledged and greeted, even if it’s just a nod or a smile. If the place is fully packed; your nod and smile will save your ass, because we understand it’s busy for you too.
- At your earliest convenience, preferably within 5 minutes maximum, ask what we would like to drink, and order these drinks directly. Oh, and if you make eye-contact while doing so, you are a winner already.
- Get the drinks to the table and SMILE. If it took you a bit longer, no worries, as long as you smile and are nice to us, we are (probably) fine.
(In this article of Forbes you can read about the importance of smiling.)
- When asked for the bill, get it as soon as possible. When any guest wants the bill, they want it now, because they want to leave, now. Not in half an hour.
- Say bye! Smile, be nice, thank them for coming. Wave, if you want, you can even bow and sing them a song.
From whining to relax dining
Alright. I think we got the base covered there. I am not diving into the details about the food, clean glasses, stable tables, correct orders, polished cutlery, warm-drinks-first, un-dead beers, wine temperatures or clean attire. We probably got it just right now; Welcome, be nice, be alert and smile. If you can do this, you are definitely capable of accommodating any guest. Because those hospitality pro’s, they are something. Sometimes.
We should all take a moment to realise the staff shortage in our beloved industry, and everybody who works the operation during this year’s ever-lasting summer deserves a pat on the back. Another thing we should really do more often, in my opinion. Share your appreciation, tell someone they did a good job, give them a high-five! We know how tough the job can be, so a compliment here and there is the least we can do, exactly as Adriaan stated when he spoke about the generation difference in Hospitality. That is what true hospitality professionals do!
I am really curious to hear if any of you hospitality-gurus experience this the same. Comment in the section below and tell me what you think!