Archive for January, 2014

Standards for Golf Operations Staff

Monday, January 27th, 2014

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 customers/guests/members 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.
  • In private clubs, 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 hardworking  hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

Three Critical Things Every Operation Should Benchmark

Monday, January 20th, 2014

I have written again and again of the importance of benchmarking key operating statistics which will tell you far more about your operation than just how much of a profit or loss you had in any given period.  While I strongly recommend that every department benchmark in detail, here are three key things that every enterprise should begin benchmarking immediately:

  1. Payroll hours by category (regular, overtime, holiday, vacation, and sick time) by department and payroll cost by department – both by pay period.  Just the fact that this data is being reported and looked at regularly will bring down overtime costs, while pinpointing further cost saving opportunities as the ongoing norms of the operations become clearer.
  2. Utility costs by category (electricity, gas, and water).  In most hospitality operations utility expenses are second only to payroll as the most significant operating expense.  Once routinely measured and reported, a variety of energy-saving initiatives can reduce these expenses.  Utility usage rates can be compared to various measures of usage such as rooms sold, meals served and rounds of golf to establish key benchmarks.  The vagaries of weather and its impact on heating and air conditioning can be removed by comparing electricity and/or gas usage to degree days for each heating and cooling period.
  3. Major revenues, number of transactions (rooms sold, meal counts, retail transactions), and average customer/guest/member spend by revenue category and profit center.  Taken together these measures will pinpoint whether shortfalls in revenues are caused by declines in volume (# of transactions) or by the average customer spend.  Since the steps to overcome these deficiencies are different, knowing whether the problem is volume decline or lower average spend is critical to turning the situation around.

There are many other key numbers to benchmark in club operations, but these three should be the starting point for implementing a larger discipline of benchmarking.  Remember the words of William Thomson, Lord Kelvin “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.”

Note:  Hospitality Resources International has developed benchmarking spreadsheets for all areas of club operations.  The Excel files can be downloaded and customized for your operations. 

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 hardworking  hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

 

Coaching Your Way to Excellence

Monday, January 13th, 2014

One of the most important responsibilities of any hospitality general manager is coaching your team to success.  The business concept of coaching is one borrowed from the sports world as can be seen from the following Merriam-Webster definition:

“Coach – one who instructs or trains; especially one who instructs players in the fundamentals of sports and directs team strategy.”  (Note the words “fundamentals” and “strategy.”)

Given the sports origins of coaching, let’s look at the role of coaches by using the National Football League as an example.  In this highly-competitive arena, the measure of success is winning.  As legendary football coach Vince Lombardi said, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Every team in the NFL is loaded with talented players who by their athletic prowess, physical conditioning, and demonstrated abilities over years of competition, have risen to the pinnacle of their profession.  Yet despite their talent and experience, these players are guided by a team of experts – the coach and assistants – who instruct players in the fundamentals of their positions, mold individual talent into a team for optimum performance, and plan the strategy for each game of the season.

This analogy could not be more appropriate for hospitality general managers who have a team of assistants – the individual department heads – and the players – the line employees who interact daily with customers/guests/members and whose performance is critical to overall success.  The general manager and department heads are responsible for instructing their line employees in the fundamentals of their positions and establishing plans for success – the enterprise annual plan and each departmental plan.

Recognizing the key role of coaching in the excellence of any enterprise, why is it so often neglected in hospitality operations?  I suspect the main reasons are the busy pace of daily operations, the time-consuming involvement of managers in the basics of the business – basics that should be made routine by organization and structure, and the lack of ready materials to organize and convey instruction to managers and employees alike.

Hospitality Resources International has created a number of proven coaching tools covering the fundamentals, structure, organization, and disciplines for success.  These that can be used in short, easy-to-absorb sessions to focus any hospitality team on the fundamentals of the profession.  When used in conjunction with well-thought out strategy and plans, they become powerful conveyances on the road to operational excellence.  Here’s a list and brief explanation of each:

Leadership on the Go – 53 coaching topics for the most fundamental and critical foundation of success; the perfect tool for coaching a consistent, service-based style of leadership.

Values on the Go – A means to constantly and consistently remind your management team of the operation’s underlying values.  Includes topics on Mission, Vision, Guiding Principles, and Operating Standards.

Service on the Go – The 54 topics in this book cover such topics as The Foundation of Service, Principles of Service, Attitude, Teamwork, Etiquette, Common Courtesies, Body Language and Tone of Voice, The Pre-Shift Meeting, Suggestive Selling, Engaging Members, Dining Service Tips, Service Recovery, Wow Factors, and more.  Taken together they form an incredibly effective tool for coaching new employees and reminding long term employees on the basics of service and service delivery.

Management Disciplines on the Go – 130 topics to coach your management team on the essential disciplines of hospitality success.

Employee Development and Discipline on the Go – This 65 topic, wire-bound book is directed at the necessary disciplines to find, hire, develop, and retain the best talent for your operation.  Includes detailed principles and procedures for counseling, disciplining, and discharging problem employees.

Food Service Management on the Go – 136 best practice topics to remind and reinforce the necessary disciplines for running a high-quality and high-performing food service operation.

Accounting on the Go – A great teaching and coaching tool for managers and supervisors with bottom line responsibility.  Use these 46 short topics in a wire-bound book to remind your managers of their important fiscal responsibilities, as well as to help standardize the accounting functions of your operation.

Human Resources in the Go – 84 Human Resources coaching topics covering employment laws, hiring, onboarding, employee development, training, performance reviews, and necessary club HR policies.  These topics are designed to assist your club’s management team in meeting all regulatory requirements and HR best practices.

Each of these coaching tools can be purchased individually on the HRI Marketplace store.  As an alternative, all eight can be purchased at a 25% discount here.

Hospitality enterprises that engage in a formal program of coaching experience significant benefits, ranging from improved morale and engagement from people who recognize their employer’s commitment to their development, to enhanced performance resulting from a focus on the fundamentals of the business, and to pride in belonging to a high-performing operation.

Lastly, there is no greater satisfaction than that of the coaches who share their knowledge and experience in a meaningful way with those following in their footsteps.

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 hardworking  hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!

A Manager’s Code of Ethics

Monday, January 6th, 2014

In an ideal world we could trust everyone to do the right things, but such a world does not exist. The unfortunate fact is that if we don’t train our management team to a common standard of professional behavior, some will transgress. And this is of primary importance because if we as managers and leaders don’t set an unimpeachable example, we can expect our employees to cut ethical corners as well.

Here is a list of professional expectations for managers and supervisors at all levels of hospitality operations:

  1. As a representative of the business for whom I work, I understand that my actions and behavior, both at and away from work, reflect on the organization that provides my employment. I will, therefore, do everything in my power to represent them faithfully and professionally in all my dealings with customers/guests/members, employees, vendors, and the community at large.
  2. I will organize the work areas for which I am responsible and thoroughly train the employees I supervise to ensure the most efficient operation with the highest levels of service possible.
  3. I will not use or remove company property for personal use and will protect the assets and resources of the operation as if they were my own. My vigilance and example will ensure the employees I supervise do likewise.
  4. I understand that my leadership and example set the standard for my employees. I understand that a manager who shirks responsibilities, cuts corners, fails to give an honest time commitment, pilfers food and supplies, fails to secure inventories, or is not personally productive in time or commitment, can expect his or her employees to do the same.
  5. I will not exchange company goods or services for personal favors or services from customers/guests/members or vendors. Further, I will not accept personal favors, gifts, or rebates from vendors in any form. Such items benefit me at my employer’s expense and are appropriately considered kickbacks. My only interest is to get the best price for my place of business and I will make every effort to do so by seeking competitive pricing from several vendors.
  6. While I may direct employees’ work, their productive effort and well-being serve the interests of the company that employs them. Therefore, I must work hard to ensure their maximum contribution to the mission and goals of the enterprise. I can only do this if I value each employee as an individual whose contribution to the collective effort is directly dependent upon my leadership, as well as the tools, training, resources, and support I provide them.
  7. I will never use my position or authority to request or require personal services or favors, sexual or otherwise, from employees.
  8. I will never enter into personal or intimate relations with any employee who works under my direction or is directly or indirectly supervised by me. Such an inappropriate relationship damages the organization by implications of favoritism and clouded judgment. Ultimately, it irretrievably harms both my ability to lead and my personal and professional reputation.
  9. While maintaining a positive interest in and influence over the efforts of my employees, I recognize the importance of maintaining a professional distance from them. I will not socialize or party with those I supervise, except while attending company-sponsored social events or in the furtherance of company business.
  10. Finally, I recognize that my integrity is at the core of my personal and professional standing. It is the most important ingredient of my leadership and is the foundation for any success I will achieve in my career and life. I will never be tempted to squander this most precious possession for the sake of expediency or inappropriate gain.

These basic standards should be used to indoctrinate all new members of your management staff. I personally like to have each manager sign and date a copy that is placed in their personnel file. I also like to review the Code of Ethics at least annually with all managers.

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 hardworking  hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for the Hospitality Industry!