Hospitality Supervisors Need A Hands On Approach.
I was at a venue recently for a meeting with two hospitality industry colleagues and I noticed something that seems to be becoming a common trait with young, dare I say, “untrained” food and beverage attendants. I won’t even use the term “waiter” because they don’t really fit the meaning or intent of that title – they certainly don’t “wait”! They appear to be task focused individuals who perform the function of delivering food or beverages to the surface in front of which the customer is sitting. This function is usually completed by a person who is wearing the requisite smile and saying the scripted lines but is lacking the key ingredient of emotional engagement with the patrons. At this point I am possibly being criticised as someone who is not giving the young ones a fair go for getting off their smart phones and taking employment in the service industry. I would like to clarify that I suspect they probably don’t know how to perform the task any differently. I think the responsibility lies fairly and squarely with Venue Managers and Duty Supervisors. How long since you have seen a Supervisor actually “Supervise” at the micro task level? I discussed this with my two colleagues and the general theme of our collective experience is that Hospitality Supervisors and Managers are also task focused rather than engaging with the experience being provided for the guests. While the Manager sits in the corner of the restaurant staring intently at next week’s roster on the laptop, everything appears to be going along nicely as long as nobody drops a tray. What is really going on is a problem that is invisible and silent. It is the vacuum of palpable hospitality and it threatens the future of establishments that are not aware of its existence.
People don’t head out to bars and restaurants because they are hungry or thirsty. We select certain venues because the experience that we seek is some combination of environment, location, style of food, range of beverages and the uniqueness of the service staff. Yes they are all unique, but too often we don’t even get a chance to see their character revealed because their robotic function of delivering product has become so mechanical.
“Cordial and generous reception of or disposition toward guests.”
Let’s bring back genuine hospitality, mentor our young players properly in the industry and encourage them to embrace the experience of connecting with the guests.
Author – Dave Upson, Managing Director, Train My Venue.