Archive for October, 2014

The Remarkable Service Infrastructure

Monday, October 27th, 2014

SQI - Infrastructure6 (320x240)While many think that it costs more to provide Remarkable Service levels, this is not necessarily so.  At the end of the day, it’s more about organization and discipline than it is about higher costs.  The highest service levels, however, do require buy-in and commitment from owners, as well as the understanding of the long-term, focused effort required.

Realistically, the process may take three to five years . . . or longer.  But the benefits to the enterprise are as remarkable as the level of service achieved, including:

  • accountable, service-based leaders,
  • willing, committed, and empowered staff,
  • lower staff turnover; improved morale and motivation,
  • integrated and efficient operations,
  • improved operating performance,
  • less liability exposure,
  • better planning and execution,
  • improved sales and customer satisfaction.

The important thing for management, staff, and owners to recognize is that they are working on a plan to organize, improve, and revitalize their operation.  And as legendary Dallas Cowboy coach Tom Landry said,

“Setting a goal is not the main thing.  It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”

The Quest for Remarkable Service is a journey requiring the continual disciplined attention of management and staff.  No matter the effort, no matter the perceived success, the enterprise will never reach a point where managers and employees can say, “We have arrived; now we can rest.”  The quest is never a destination; it’s a transformative journey that enriches both the recipients of that service and the providers.

In the ever-changing world of customer expectations, each level of quality achieved, each plateau reached, is merely the starting point for further development and improvement.  Yet as the cycle of review and continual improvement begins anew, all can be assured that with each iteration, each turn of the Flywheel, success becomes easier and more assured because of the organizational discipline gained and the momentum achieved.

Excerpted from The Quest for Remarkable Service.  For a free ebook version of The Quest for Remarkable Service, click here.

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 Hospitality Operators!

Fostering Initiative in Your Organization

Monday, October 20th, 2014

Do your department heads demonstrate initiative in the operation of their individual departmental “businesses” or do they sit on their hands waiting for you, the general manager, to tell them what to do?

The latter situation is detrimental to your enterprise because it:

  • Puts the burden on the GM to know what’s going on and what needs improvement at all times and in all areas of the operation,
  • Slows down any efforts toward continual process improvement as the GM’s plate becomes full and mired in operational detail,
  • Takes focus away from the strategic duties of the GM,
  • Requires the GM to have an in-depth understanding of all operational disciplines which few, if any, possess, no matter how experienced and competent,
  • Robs subordinate managers of the opportunity to exercise judgment, gain executive experience, own outcomes, grow skills for greater authority and responsibility, and experience the satisfaction of success and accomplishment – a significant driving force for most people, particularly the gifted and ambitious,
  • Demonstrates a lack of trust in subordinates,
  • Is the primary symptom of the doomed-to-fail “genius with a thousand helpers” leader – the one who feels that only he or she is capable of doing the job right and who promotes a cadre of “yes men” while driving away the most competent assistants,
  • Damages the future of the enterprise by putting all the leadership strength and decision-making in one basket, thereby creating the potential for catastrophe when he or she moves on,
  • Inevitably burns out the individual who is trying to do it all.

The intelligent alternative to these consequences is to put the responsibility and accountability for operational areas into the hands of capable subordinates who know and understand all aspects of their business specialty.  But to work effectively, the general manager must first:

  • Establish and reinforce organizational leadership and values,
  • Spell out expectations for performance,
  • Establish annual operational goals,
  • In conjunction with individual managers establish departmental goals, develop meaningful work plans, and hold them strictly accountable for results,
  • Bo open and approachable for consultation as necessary,
  • Monitor progress toward goals and work plan completion by using milestones and timelines,
  • Meet at least monthly with department heads to review progress,
  • Offer ideas and assistance through mentoring and professional development of subordinates,
  • Praise and reward wins,
  • Constructively review failures with the goal of educating and improving.

When all these things are done on a continuing basis, the performance of the entire operation is maximized, the operation shows continual improvement, and members/guests/customers are provided an ever-enhanced experience that rewards and delights their ongoing patronage.

A few caveats:  When embarking on a course of greater subordinate initiatives, experience and trust are paramount.  Therefore:

  • For those subordinates who are new or relatively unknown to the organization or who by past questionable action warrant a degree of caution, use a process of specific direction and close supervision until they’ve demonstrated the requisite skills and judgment to exercise broader initiative.
  • For those who’ve already demonstrated sound judgment, competence, and professionalism, give them a freer hand while being ever ready for consultation and brainstorming.

When mistakes happen, and rest assured that they will, use them as learning experiences and move on to the next challenge and initiative.

Summary:  Initiative is one of the primary components of sound leadership.  Hospitality enterprises operate in highly competitive environments and are too complex to allow any portion of the operation to tread water.  Continual improvement and the necessary initiative to move forward on a broad front are critical to ongoing success.

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 Hospitality Operators!

A Representative List of Employee Work Policies

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Every hospitality operation will have a number of employee work policies to guide employee behavior and performance.  While these may vary significantly from property to property, here is a representative list of topics to cover:

  • Supervisors – an explanation of the role of supervisors in the organization and that an employee’s supervisor is their first point of contact for direction, issues, or concerns.
  • Attitude – covers the importance of an employee’s attitude to their own success as well as the organization’s.
  • Punctuality – the absolute importance of being at work on time and what steps to take if an employee will be unavoidably late.
  • Sickness – spells out what an employee must do when calling out sick.
  • Absences – stresses the importance of being at work when scheduled.
  • employee-handbook-2Notification – goes over the requirements to notify the establishment if an employee is unable to meet their schedule or calls out sick.
  • Inclement Weather – provides specific guidance as to what employees should do during periods of extreme weather such as snow and ice storms, hurricanes, and severe thunderstorms and flooding.
  • Time Clock & Timesheets – explains all the details of punching in and out for work or completing time sheets for exempt employees.  Also, provides guidance on what to do in case of a “mis-punch.”
  • Appearance & Attire – reviews the organization’s policies and standards for appearance and dress, including type of shoes to be worn.
  • Uniforms – explains the requirements and standards for any positions requiring the wearing of uniforms.
  • Nametags – explains requirement to wear identifying nametags, as well as providing guidance for how to properly wear them.
  • Grooming & Hygiene – explains the organization’s standards for these to include any guidance for acceptable makeup; jewelry; hairstyles and color; fingernail cleanliness, color, and length; as well as visible body art and piercings.
  • Sanitation Requirements – such as constant hand washing is a must, particularly for food service employee.   Also to take particular care to avoid fussing with face or hair, nail or cuticle biting, careless sneezing or coughing, combing hair and scratching in any form.
  • Disclaimer Statement for Personal Grooming – “while it is not possible to establish absolute standards of personal grooming, the final determination of an employee’s suitability for work rests with management.”
  • Trash/Litter – stresses the importance of keeping the facilities neat and clean.
  • Telephone Use – covers the issues of telephone and cell phone use while working.
  • Loitering – gives guidance regarding unnecessary loitering around work premises before or after work.
  • Visitors – explains the inappropriateness of family and friends visiting the establishment except in case of emergencies.
  • Lost & Found – explains the requirements of lost and found policies and procedures.
  • Removing Items from Premises – forbids the removal of any items from the premises to include all food and beverage items, leftovers of any sort, and supplies and materials.
  • Tobacco Use – explains the policy on smoking or the use of other tobacco products on premises.
  • Personal Habits – describes personal habits, such as eating, drinking, chewing gum or breath mints, smoking, conversing with fellow employees and taking breaks that detract from the organization’s focus on service and provides guidance on rest and meal breaks.
  • Solicitation/Distribution – explains the policy against solicitation and distribution of materials to customers/guests/members or other employees on premises.
  • Personal Electronic Equipment – describes how radios, TVs, CD players, iPods, boom boxes, cellular phones, and other personal electronic equipment detract from the organization’s dedication to service.
  • Parking of Personal Transportation – explains the location of all employee parking areas and why the close-in parking is reserved for customers/guests/members.
  • Employee Entrance(s) – describes which entrances are to be used by employees.
  • Fire Safety Systems – acquaints employees with the basic function and location of fire extinguishers and alarm stations and the need to familiarize themselves with the operation of these life-saving systems in advance of any need.
  • Use of Facilities – explains that the facilities are for the exclusive use of customers/guests/members except when specifically authorized by the General Manager.
  • Employee Rest Rooms, Locker Room, Lunchroom, and Break Areas – explains the location and describes the requirement to use employee facilities.
  • Protection of Property & Assets – explains the special responsibility of employees to care for the property and assets of the organization.
  • Taking the Initiative – encourages employees to take the initiative to correct problems if something is improperly stored, in need of repair, out of place or missing, or let a supervisor know if necessary.
  • Problems & Grievances – provides guidance to employees on options available to them to make management aware of concerns and issues.  Explains that under no circumstances at any time should complaints be voiced to customers/guests/members.
  • Open Door Policy – explains the policy and requirements of management availability for employee opinions, comments, complaints or other concerns about the place of employment.
  • Suggestions – explains that employee suggestions to improve any aspect of the operation are encouraged and always welcomed; and to please discuss any suggestions with the appropriate supervisor.

Work policies should be spelled out in both the Employee Handbook and Managers Handbook so that all managers, supervisors, and employees are fully aware of and support these essential policies of a professionally-run hospitality 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 hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!

Our Human Assets

Tuesday, October 7th, 2014

One of the most important factors in the success of any endeavor is the dedication and performance of its employees.  They are, after all, the ones who do the work from top to bottom of the organization and they are the ones who directly serve your members every day in all areas of the operations.

Recognizing the importance of employees’ contributions, there are a number of things that influence the quality and performance of your human assets.

  • Hiring well,
  • Employee development and training,
  • Disciplinary system, and
  • Organizational leadership.

Hiring Well.  Jim Collins in his groundbreaking book, Good to Great:  Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t, speaks of the importance of getting the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seats on the bus.

Employee Development and Training.  In order for employees to perform at high levels they must know what’s expected of them, be thoroughly trained, and receive ongoing feedback, both formal and informal, regarding their performance.

Disciplinary System.  It’s an absolute requirement that employees are treated consistently and fairly in all aspects of employment and the club’s disciplinary system.  The consequences of failing to do this include discrimination and wrongful termination complaints, higher unemployment compensation costs, and the ongoing turmoil of complaints and grievances.

Organizational Leadership.  This is the most important factor contributing to high levels of employee commitment, dedication, and performance.  Employees who are valued, engaged, motivated, informed, listened to, and empowered by the consistent application of sound leadership from the entire management team will consistently achieve at higher levels than those who don’t.

While high performing individuals can be found in any segment of the population, a club will find it difficult to build a team of such performers without understanding the underlying disciplines in finding, hiring, developing, and retaining them.

Excerpted from Employee Development and Discipline on the Go, 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 hardworking hospitality managers throughout the country and around the world.

Hospitality Resources International – Management Resources for Hospitality Operators!