Common wisdom says that everyone hates meetings. But what everyone really hates are pointless meetings that drag on and on. Beyond such mismanaged gatherings is the absolute need to communicate, pass on important information, and keep all managers and staff informed.
This is especially critical in the hospitality business where there is so much detail for everyone to know and communicate, yet with the press of operations, long hours and days, and multiple shifts, it is difficult to gather staff, exchange ideas and information, and get the word out.
The first and most basic step in improving communications is a consistent service-based approach to leadership among the General Manager and department heads with its emphasis on the open flow of communications throughout the organization. This alone will uncover issues, keep the staff better informed, and ensure that everyone knows what’s expected and what’s going on.
The second requirement is that everyone responsible for holding meetings understands and consistently applies proven meeting disciplines to ensure meetings are on time, on topic, on purpose, and efficiently run with the minimum investment of everyone’s precious time.
With these two requirements in place, the following is a list of ongoing operations meetings (excluding club board and member committee meetings) that are considered essential to a well-run organization. While there may be other meetings the general manager would like to see from time to time, these may be scheduled as necessary with desired attendees:
1. Weekly General Manager’s Staff Meeting. A weekly update meeting for the General Manager and department heads, including the Controller, HR Manager, Facility Manager and heads of all operating departments. The purpose is to bring everyone up to speed on what is going on in their areas of responsibility and to give the General Manager an opportunity to give group direction, discuss issues and concerns, and review any significant club events and activities for the coming week.
2. Weekly Food and Beverage Meeting. This meeting goes over all F&B activities and events for the coming week and is usually held early in the week to allow time for menu changes, revised guarantees, and any last minute details that will affect the smooth functioning of the F&B department. The meeting is usually chaired by the Food and Beverage Director or Executive Chef and includes the Catering Director or Manager, Dining Room Manager, and any other F&B managers or supervisors who have a need to know.
3. Monthly Golf Operations Meeting. This meeting allows the GC Superintendent, Head Golf Professional, and General Manager to discuss any issues relating to the golf operation and ensures the General Manager is well-informed on events, issues, and concerns relating to the players’ golfing experience.
4. Departmental Daily Huddles. These brief meetings at the beginning of the day or before each shift give the department head or supervisor the opportunity to meet briefly with staff to discuss the day’s business, review activities and events, reinforce the organization’s culture and service ethic, go over member preferences, recognize outstanding performance, and remind staff of important service issues.
5. Monthly Review of Operating Statement and Department Work Plans. When the monthly financial statements are completed, the Controller will schedule a series of meetings for each department head to meet with the General Manager and Controller to review departmental performance and progress toward work plan milestones and completion. Department heads will bring their Tools to Beat Budget Binders to the meeting, along with their departmental benchmarks, and be prepared to respond to any questions from the General Manager.
6. Monthly Facility Maintenance/Housekeeping Meeting for the Facility Manager and/or Executive Housekeeper to brief the General Manager and discuss any and all concerns relating to his or her areas of the operation.
7. In Private Clubs, the Monthly Membership Marketing and Relationship Management Meeting to allow the Membership Director and General Manager to review marketing efforts and any member issues. In other operations the Monthly Sales and Marketing Meeting with the Sales Director and/or Marketing Director and General Manager.
8. Periodic All Hands Departmental Meetings held monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly as the need requires and the pace of operations allows. These meetings allow department heads to inform all staff of important issues and concerns, reinforce mission and vision, clear the air, and give staff the opportunity to ask questions.
The bottom line is that in the detail and labor intensive business of hospitality management, thorough communications among management and staff is a must to promote the quality and efficient operations expected by customers/guests/members and the owner(s). Without ongoing meetings, these expectations are seldom met!
Thanks and have a great day!
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.
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