Archive for May, 2013

Providing Guidelines for Empowered Behavior

Monday, May 27th, 2013

“Make certain that you have given people, or made sure that they have access to, all of the information they need to make thoughtful decisions.”

Susan M. Heathfield

Guidance to Leaders

Hospitality operations need to ensure that leaders provide guidelines and information for empowered behavior as discussed in Leadership on the Line.

“. . . in addition to showing them what to do, you need to explain in depth the reasons behind various duties.  If they are to grow into broader responsibilities, they will need to have knowledge, not just technical experience.”

“When leaders become absorbed in their own sense of urgency about plans, projects, and priorities, it is easy to forget that employees lack this valuable information.  To foster this same sense of urgency in employees, communicate the details of such planning when appropriate.”

Providing Information

Having developed the necessary environment for empowerment by valuing and trusting employees, while communicating values and goals to them, the leader’s next step is to establish the framework for empowered action.

With the understanding that most hospitality employees have never experienced working in an empowered organization, the leader must plant the seeds of empowerment by suggesting ways in which employees can act in empowered ways.

1.   Develop a list of most frequent customer complaints or issues.  By enlisting your employees’ help in identifying problem areas or issues, you send a strong message to them that you value their opinions and input.  This is the first step in helping them realize that they can be empowered to solve the problems.

2.   Brainstorm empowerment opportunities.  Once your team has identified problem areas, brainstorm with them how these problems might be properly resolved.  In the give and take discussion while brainstorming, your team will gain deeper insights of how and why problems should be resolved in particular ways and what might be the best resolution of a particular issue.

3.   Establish standards or limits of empowerment.  As the leader, you should guide the discussion to the appropriate solutions.  Ultimately, while employees may make decisions and take empowered action, it is up to you to ensure that they take the appropriate action and understand the guidelines of their authority.  In other words, you’re responsible for establishing the standards and limits of their empowerment.

4.   Challenge your team to work on one or two of the identified problem areas.  Select the most pressing of the identified problem areas or those that represent easy-to-fix issues; then challenge your team to make decisions on their own and take action to resolve them.  Make sure they understand that they will not be punished for doing the wrong thing and that any errors will only be used as learning opportunities for everyone involved.

5.   Set up a schedule of ongoing meetings.  Meetings every week or so are opportunities to review how the team is doing, what problems they’ve encountered, how they might resolve such problems, and to encourage the team toward further empowerment.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hospitality hardworking  managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

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Running a Profitable Food Service by the Numbers

Monday, May 20th, 2013

Most hospitality managers would agree that food service is the most challenging part of their operations, but recognizing that knowledge is power, there are a number of management disciplines that will enhance any operation’s bottom line.

1.   Benchmarking revenues, cover counts, and average check by day of week and meal period.  This will help you schedule staff more efficiently, monitor sales trends, and allow you to track the success of new menus and efforts to upsell.

2.   Benchmarking payroll cost, hours worked, and average hourly wage by pay period.  This essential discipline will allow you to stay within budget, monitor overtime, and control your most significant expense.

3.   Formal forecasting by using historical cover benchmarks and knowledge of upcoming events, external factors, and optimum staffing levels, you can ensure expected service levels in the most cost-effective way.

4.   Timely and accurate inventories and benchmarking of inventories.  This will ensure budgeted cost of goods sold and identify any adverse anomalies or trends for investigation.  A further discipline that will yield significant benefits is to identify and inventory high value items weekly.

5.   Sales mix analysis.  This discipline will help you understand your members’ dining preferences while protecting profit margins.

6.   Basic dining policies.  Well-thought out and advertised dining policies will give all members an equal opportunity to enjoy the dining services while ensuring the highest service levels for all customers.

7.   Consistent pre-shift meetings with a purpose and continual On the Go Training.  There is no better way to prepare and train your staff for service.

8.   Product knowledge and upselling training for servers.  They can’t sell what they don’t know and servers well-trained in upselling techniques will increase your operation’s average check while enhancing your customers’ dining experiences.

9.   Upselling feedback.  If servers are provided daily sales goals and feedback on their efforts to upsell, they will be far more engaged, enthusiastic, and effective in increasing their average checks.  You just need to provide the numbers to them on a daily basis.

10.  Tools to Beat Budget.  This powerful discipline will ensure your bottom line, make you more knowledgeable about your operation, and make preparing future budgets a breeze.

Food service managers must make these disciplines part of their daily and weekly routines.  Once these disciplines are instituted and mastered, a number of them can be delegated to properly-trained and motivated subordinates.  When consistently applied, these basic and commonsense disciplines will ensure both profitability and customer service.  What more could you want for your operation?

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hospitality hardworking  managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

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Standards for Golf Operations Staff

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Quint Studer in his important book, Hardwiring Excellence, speaks of the importance of establishing a code of behavior for employee service teams.  The purpose is to communicate to employees the basic standards of interaction with members, guests, and fellow employees.  Further, Studer expects each employee to acknowledge and commit to the standards by signing a written copy.

With this in mind, here are some basic standards for the golf operations team:

  • Arrive on time according to the work schedule.
  • Meet all requirements of the dress or uniform code and personal grooming standards.
  • Get and carry with you at all times a copy of today’s tee sheet; use it to learn names of golfers.
  • Have a complete dedication to member service at all times; fully and consistently embrace the enterprise’s organizational values and culture of service.
  • Maintain a pleasant and positive attitude at all times.
  • Learn and use member names; learn and act upon their individual habits and preferences by providing personalized service.
  • Greet and assist all arriving players; introduce yourself by first name and let them know you are there to help them in any way possible.
  • By anticipation and prompt action do not permit players to pick up or carry their golf bag or clubs.
  • Provide relevant information to players, such as location of pro shop, locker rooms, and practice facility, presence and location of host and other guests, scheduled tee time, how long until scheduled tee off; walk players to pro shop or party when possible.
  • Be knowledgeable about golf operation, daily course set up and factors impacting play such as weather, frost delays, carts on the path, beverage cart running, snack bar hours of operation, etc.
  • Provide special service touches and “wow” factors.
  • Interrupt personal conversations at the approach of players; give them your undivided attention.
  • Assist golfers coming off course; clean and return clubs to club storage or cars.
  • Solve any problems encountered that are within your authority and ability to do so.
  • Report any problems encountered by golfers to the golf professional staff.
  • Maintain the cleanliness and order of your work areas; clean and straighten up work areas prior to departing as a courtesy to the next shift.
  • Work together with other staff to provide a seamless golfing experience for players.
  • Thank fellow workers for their help and assistance.  They appreciate it as much as you do.

When employees understand and commit to expected standards of behavior and service, players and other employees have a richer golfing experience.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hospitality hardworking  managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

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4 Tips for Club Operations

Monday, May 6th, 2013

Tip #24 – Real Time Tracking of Revenues and Expenses

If you have bottom line responsibility for your operation or department, your success or failure is entirely up to you.  It is your responsibility to meet your budget, made up of revenues and expenses.  While the accounting department prepares monthly financials so you and your bosses can monitor your performance, why wait until the middle of next month to see how you’re doing?

The simple expediency of tracking your revenues on a daily basis by transferring your daily sales numbers from your POS reports to an Excel spreadsheet will allow you to see if you are on track to meet revenue projections.  Such daily monitoring allows you to intervene to promote sales now instead of when it’s too late.

The same principle applies to your expenses.  Monitoring your payroll and other expenses as you incur them, as if you were writing the checks out of your personal account, allows you to monitor your expenses now, as opposed to later when you’ve missed your budget.

Tip #67 – Digital Camera Helps with Food Presentation Consistency

One of the three rules of providing consistent food products to members is to ensure uniform plate presentation.  The Chef works hard to prepare tasty, interesting menu offerings.  Part of the appeal of food is how it is plated and served.  Unless all kitchen staff are trained in the proper plate presentation, this important ingredient of high quality food service will be left to chance.

Enter the digital camera.  With the reasonable price and ready availability of digital cameras, it is easy to prepare plate presentation exactly as they should be and then photograph them.  Then print the pictures on photo quality paper with a color printer and display them prominently in the kitchen.

Presto, you now have a visual cue for all staff as to how each menu item should be presented.

Tip #98 – Creating Memories

Most clubs have recognized the value of investing in a quality digital camera to record activities and events for their club newsletter.  Members always enjoy seeing pictures of themselves and the photos of fun events encourage those who missed a good time to sign up early for the next event.

Why not carry the digital memories a step further?  For less than $150 you can purchase a good-sized digital picture frame from Walmart or an electronics store.  You can then save your photos of fun events on a memory stick and set up the digital frame to randomly display great pictures of great events.  Place the digital frame on an easel inside the club’s main entrance, lobby, or dining room foyer and watch your members stop to watch the display.  Usually a well-picked display of 20 pictures is all you need.

Some members will want copies of certain photos and these can be provided to them as an email attachment.  Once you’ve developed a large archive of fun events and continue to take photos routinely of your members enjoying their club, you can easily change out the picture display on a weekly basis.  The photos can also be used to develop an annual yearbook of club events that is given or sold to members.  Lastly, the photos can be used by the membership director to help sell prospects on the fun times to be had as a member of your club.

Tip #101 – Mastering the ABCs

As children we all mastered our ABCs, the basic building blocks of language and learning.  The term “ABCs” has long since come to signify the basics of any endeavor.

All of us who work in our industry recognize that the profession is made up of mastering the many basics of hospitality and service.  Even in an enterprise as seemingly complex as food service, it is the execution of the basics that underpin all our efforts and ultimately leads to success.

Of all the things I’ve learned in my hospitality career spanning over 35 years, the ultimate discipline of success is the necessity of executing the basics well.  Jim Collins’ research for his groundbreaking book, Good to Great, Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, pointed undeniably to “disciplined people taking disciplined action” as one of the prerequisites to any successful enterprise.

While there are many innovative, cutting-edge ideas and technologies to improve the products, service, and performance of your operation, you must build these enhancements onto a foundation of the basics.

With these thoughts in mind, I’d like to leave you with what I consider the most basic, yet ultimate tip – that as you contemplate the many ways to add service and value to your club, you must always focus your attention and that of your entire staff on the ABCs, that is . . .

Accomplish the Basics Consistently

Ed Rehkopf, Excerpted from 101 Tips to Improve Your Club Operations, Hospitality Resources International

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the hospitality industry and its challenges. From time to time, we will feature guest bloggers — those managers and industry experts who have something of interest to say to all of us. We also welcome feedback and comment upon the blog, hoping that it will become a useful sounding board for what’s on the minds of hospitality hardworking  managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

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