Archive for the ‘organization’ Category

The Cost of Chaos

Monday, January 11th, 2016

Common wisdom tells us that quality costs more, but according to one of the foremost experts on quality this is not the case.

W. Edwards Deming, statistician, professor, author, consultant, lecturer, a man who made significant contributions to Japan’s reputation for high quality products and its rise to an economic power in the latter half of the 20th Century, wrote extensively about how a focus on quality actually reduces costs while providing a number of other benefits.  Convincingly, his ideas and methods were proven true by numerous success stories – most dramatically the rise of Japanese manufacturing to world class status after World War II.

How does a club measure or quantify the cost of confusion, mishandled or incomplete information and orders, time to investigate and correct errors, and member dissatisfaction?  The bottom line is that poor quality and disorganization is a major driver of costs in club operations.  Conversely, an improvement in quality not only lowers costs but also improves service.  The combination of lower cost and better service attracts more member patronage which improves the club’s bottom line.

Detailed organizational systems and processes allow the operation to function efficiently.  When things happen consistently and routinely in all areas of the operation, employees have the time and the inclination to focus on quality and service.  When everything is messed up all the time, employees will find it difficult to care.

So help yourself and your employees by structuring the routine to happen routinely.  This takes both the will and the organizational discipline to make it happen.  When 80% of the details happen routinely, everyone can focus on the 20% that will wow your members.

So what are some of the things food service managers can do to better organize their operations.  This short list is pure common sense:

  • Prepare written procedures for all routine tasks – opening, closing, and cleaning procedures, conducting inventories, replenishing par stocks, making coffee and ice tea, and on and on.  Since your staff does these things on an ongoing basis, take the time to write them down in detail so they can be used for consistent training and task completion.
  • Prepare and use checklists for both training and accountability.
  • Prepare room diagrams of all dining and event spaces.  These will save time and avoid misunderstandings when it comes to room set ups.  Prepare and save set up diagrams for all types of events – receptions, carving stations, buffets, wedding receptions, etc.
  • Organize a filing system for each of the above so you can find them quickly when you need them.
  • Anytime you hold a training session, organize and save the material.  You’ll certainly be using the same material again . . . and again!
  • Review all activities and events after the fact and record your observations.  You will undoubtedly hold the same or similar events in the future.  Your notes for improvement will help continually improve the quality and execution of all you do.
  • Prepare written standards and guidance for such basic matters as background music selections for differing meals, activities, and times of day.  Make the same effort to define appropriate lighting for differing events and time of day.
  • Prepare and use an ever-updated list of project work that can be used to assign to staff in slow moments when you’re not prepared to send anyone home early.
  • Train yourself in the techniques and disciplines of time management.  Time management is not really about managing time, it’s about managing those task that use up your limited time.  When you waste your time, you can’t help but waste your employees’ time as well.

Bottom Line:  No one wants to work in a chaotic environment.  If your department or section is well-organized, if everyone knows where things are, if employees are well-trained in opening and closing procedures, if everyone knows their responsibilities and is held accountable, the workplace runs almost effortlessly.  Don’t run off good people by putting them through the hell of a disorganized 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!

 

Franchising Your Operation

Monday, July 13th, 2015

The underlying theme of much that we have written about on the Hospitality Resources International website is the need to document all aspects of your operation.  This is especially true of standalone enterprises with limited resources and no economies of scale.  Without an effort to establish expectations, standards, and processes, you’ll be forever reacting to daily crises and addressing issues and challenges on an ad hoc basis, which inevitably results in chaotic and inconsistent operations.

Compare this to the success of franchised operations which are built upon carefully crafted and well-documented processes for all aspects of the business.  Michael E. Gerber, author of the bestselling E-Myth Revisited, goes so far as to say, “without a franchise no business can hope to succeed.  If, by a franchise, you understand that I’m talking about a proprietary way of doing business that differentiates your business from everyone else’s.  In short, the definition of a franchise is simply your unique way of doing business.”

The obvious implication for clubs is that to be successful you must define your expectations, standards, policies, procedures, and work processes and organize your club as if it were a franchise – one where how it interacts with its members and how service is delivered sets it apart from all others.

While the effort to establish such a “franchised operation” is significant, the major benefit of such an approach is that much of the day-to-day functioning of the enterprise takes place routinely, allowing senior management to focus on strategic issues, managing the deliberations and direction of the board, and providing extraordinary levels of personalized service to the membership.

To assist club managers in their efforts to document their operations, HRI has created a large number of operational resources.  Some can be downloaded at no cost, while others can be purchased at reasonable cost from the Marketplace Store.

Here’s some of the feedback we have received from satisfied clubs:

“I cannot tell you how valuable I have found the [accounting] policies and procedures manual.  I was wondering if the Personnel policies manual is also available?”

Deborah Brumitt, CPA, Controller, Hermitage Country Club

“Thank you very much – I appreciate the material as I am embarking on a new project of writing SOP’s. We a readying our club for turn-over later this year and preparing SOP’s that had never been written for my department.”

Kristina Gelb, Director of Catering, Desert Mountain Properties

“As a new club manager I was delighted to find Hospitality Resources International on the web.  I have been looking for a way to adapt and streamline existing club policies and procedures for quite some time now and HRI helped us do just that.   I love your product!!!  It is simple to use and will eliminate hours of redundant work and endless editing.”

Attila Harai, General Manager/COO, The Army and Navy Club

“As a new owner/manager in the club business I was starting to develop our operational systems.  When I came across Hospitality Resources International I was amazed at the complete system that was put together and available on their website.  After getting and implementing the entire program in our operation, it has become an invaluable resource by which we run our entire business.”

Joe Godfrey, President, Foxland Harbor Club

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!

Detailing Your Club Operations

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

At root our business is about details – the specifics of the products and services we provide and the manner in which we provide them to meet the expectations of our members.  Given that private clubs entail a variety of distinct businesses based on the amenities provided, the tally of daily details easily runs into the thousands across the full spectrum of club operations.  And it’s the way a large number of employees consistently attend to and execute those details that create and sustain members’ perceptions of the value of their club experience.  So while it’s the big picture of strategy that sets the course and trajectory of the operation, it’s the daily attention to detail that creates the expected level of quality and service.

So who is responsible for delivering that quality and service?  Ultimately it’s the general manager, though for practicality sake, the authority to do so is delegated through the club’s department heads and managers to the employees who deliver the service.  But delivering a consistent level of service and quality requires that a vast amount of knowledge, information, guidance, and ongoing training be provided to employees by perhaps 15 to 20 supervisors and managers.  This can only happen if all employees are immersed in a well-defined and continually reinforced culture of service.

This is easily said, but far more difficult to create and sustain in the dynamic and fast-paced environment of club operations.  Clearly the solution is to build as much of the details of service as possible into the structure and routine of the organization.  Here are the necessities:

  • Understand the expectations of your members.  Without a basic understand of what they want and desire, you may miss the mark and all your efforts will be for naught.
  • Ensure consistent and unimpeded communication of organizational values and culture of service.  There is so much for service employees to know and understand that any impediments to the open flow of information will defeat your efforts from the get-go.
  • Identify, prioritize, and focus on the details of departmental touch points.  These are the logical starting point for all your efforts to improve quality and service.  As these are mastered, continue to uncover and address deeper levels of organizational detail.
  • Provide thorough and consistent training of all employees.  Understanding the touch points of your operation does little good if that understanding is not passed on consistently to each new employee and generations of employees.
  • Foster employee empowerment to deal with the unscripted moments and challenges of service.  Management can never foresee all the contingencies of service.  Employees, with the full backing and support of their supervisors, must be encouraged within the parameters of their training to use individual initiative to overcome any service challenges.
  • Utilize organizational structure to institutionalize consistent service delivery.  What we do ain’t easy!  Help yourself and your employees by structuring the routine to happen routinely.  This takes both the will and the organizational discipline to make it happen.  When 80% of the details happen routinely, everyone can focus on the 20% that will wow your members.
  • Institute a robust process of continual improvement to analyze and enhance service and service delivery, detail by detail, department by department.  As we say in Continual Process Improvement, “Given the many details associated with managing a quality club operation it is imperative that management commit to and promote a process of continual improvement in all areas of the operation.  This requires a positive emphasis on problem discovery, a discipline of constant review, and an understanding that in quality service operations, the devil is in the details.  As more and more areas of the operation become systematized and routine, management at all levels, with the commitment and assistance of their empowered employees, must continually ‘peel the onion’ to deeper and deeper layers of detail.  Further, no detail must be seen as too trivial to warrant management’s attention and the establishment of standards and procedures to ensure it is attended to by the staff.”

While many owners and managers will say their business success is dependent on location, location, location, in the demanding world of the private clubs, it’s how we handle the details that determine our level of service and 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!

Structure for “the Groove” and Avoid “the Rut”

Monday, August 4th, 2014

Every new General Manager has tackled the challenges of their position with vision, vigor, and enthusiasm to address the expressed concerns of the board or owners and the perceived needs of customers/guests/members.  It’s something we’ve all experienced – analyzing the operation, discovering the problems, formulating a plan of action, winning the support of employees for the new agenda, and executing to completion.

While there are few things as satisfying as overcoming obstacles to improve a hospitality operation, the larger challenge that never goes away is how to keep the spirit of renewal alive over time.  This is so because it seems that despite whatever progress is made, things still fall apart, old habits die hard and new initiatives, no matter how exciting, grow stale and uninspiring in short order.  It is just too easy for your “in-the-groove” operation to backslide into that same ol’, same ol’ rut.

So what is the conscientious manager to do to break through the seemingly endless cycle of groove and rut?  The simple answer is to instill a strong sense of constant renewal in the enterprise’s culture.  While this is easily said, the reality of making it happen is far more complex and challenging, requiring a significant degree of organizational structure and focus.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Make ongoing renewal a priority in departmental expectations and departmental plans, ensuring that department heads spell out goals and specific steps to keep each operation’s events and activities fresh and compelling.  Tools:  Annual club planning, individual work plans, measureable accountabilities, and accountability for performance.
  • Focus on the fundamentals of service and service delivery with ongoing reminders to managers and employees alike.  As Mac Anderson says, “The three keys to inspiring . . . service – Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce.”  Tools:  On the Go Training, Daily Huddles, Notable Quotables
  • In each department encourage employee feedback on what works and what doesn’t.  As prominent technology and entrepreneur blogger Bill Robinson says, “To be able to regularly solicit, capture and execute upon the strong ideas of those on the front lines who really know what the customers want will be the panacea for the 21st century business world.”  Act on the information your employees bring you to continually improve all aspects of the operation – organization, planning, execution, training, service, and service delivery.  Tools:  Continual Process Improvement
  • Using the principles of Service-Based Leadership, work continually toward the power of employee empowerment.  An entire staff that understands what must be done, how to do it, and acts without fear of making mistakes and repercussions will bring far more to bear on success and renewal than the efforts of a handful of managers and supervisors.  Tools:  Leadership on the Line, The Power of Employee Empowerment
  • Use every opportunity of interaction with employees to reinforce organizational values and the culture of service.  Whether it’s pre-shift meetings, the habit of daily huddles, or casual conversations and direction throughout the workday, managers must constantly “spread the gospel” by word AND deed.  While the message is important, there is no substitute for example – not only in how leaders interact with customers/guests/members, but more importantly how they interact with their employees.  There is no substitute for the example of leadership.  “A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.”  Tools:  The Bully Pulpit, Daily Huddles, Notable Quotables, Service-Based Leadership
  • Seek the feedback of your customers/guests/members.  Ultimately it’s their perception of your operation that guarantees success.  Feedback comes in many forms – formal surveys, departmental comment cards, personal interactions, AND benchmarking customer spending habits within each department.  All of these will clearly point to customer boredom or dissatisfaction with your operation.  Tools:  Surveys, scored and benchmarked comment cards, daily interactions, monitoring and analyzing spending habits.
  • Take time for analysis, exploration, and reflection.  Most managers stay busy all the time.  Many simply react to daily and weekly crises.  Some only give infrequent and passing thought to the strategic direction of their operations as if everything runs well enough on auto-pilot.  Without blocks of time set aside on a regular basis to consider their operations and the ongoing or dominant issues that impact their business; to analyze the ebb and flow of their business; to read, research, and reflect on operational ideas and best practices; and to work continually to improve all aspects of what they do, the enterprise will reflect in systemic ways their disinterest and neglect.  Ongoing reflection, analysis, and engagement are essential.  Tools:  Benchmarking and review; structured set-aside time; professional reading lists; ongoing review of trade journals and other publications; adequate time off property for perspective; relationships developed with other managers to discuss, compare, and brainstorm issues and solutions.
  • Make wow factors a significant part of your team’s effort.  It stimulates the creative juices, breaks the tedium of habit, and can be fun for your staff while thrilling to your customers.  Tools:  Wow Factors – read What Have You Done for Me Lately?
  • Make time for constant renewal – Arrange and organize your operation to handle the fundamentals routinely.  The less effort you and your staff have to spend to execute the basics, the more time and focus you’ll have to conceive and execute the extraordinary.  Follow the Pareto Principle to organize your operation so that 80% (the fundamentals) happens routinely, allowing you and your staff to focus on the critical 20% of customer service and satisfaction.  Tools:  read The Quest for Remarkable Service

Bottom Line:  Get your operation “in the groove” with organization and structure.  Then focus on ongoing renewal with continual process improvement and wow factors to avoid being “in the rut” of stale, uninspired programming, service, and service delivery.

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!

 

Structure for “the Groove” and Avoid “the Rut”

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Every new General Manager has tackled the challenges of their position with vision, vigor, and enthusiasm to address the expressed concerns of the board or owners and the perceived needs of customers/guests/members.  It’s something we’ve all experienced – analyzing the operation, discovering the problems, formulating a plan of action, winning the support of employees for the new agenda, and executing to completion.

While there are few things as satisfying as overcoming obstacles to improve a hospitality operation, the larger challenge that never goes away is how to keep the spirit of renewal alive over time.  This is so because it seems that despite whatever progress is made, things still fall apart, old habits die hard and new initiatives, no matter how exciting, grow stale and uninspiring in short order.  It is just too easy for your “in-the-groove” operation to backslide into that same ol’, same ol’ rut.

So what is the conscientious manager to do to break through the seemingly endless cycle of groove and rut?  The simple answer is to instill a strong sense of constant renewal in the enterprise’s culture.  While this is easily said, the reality of making it happen is far more complex and challenging requiring a significant degree of organizational structure and focus.  Here are some things to consider:

  • Make ongoing renewal a priority in departmental expectations and departmental plans, ensuring that department heads spell out goals and specific steps to keep each operation’s events and activities fresh and compelling.  Tools:  Annual club planning, individual work plans, measureable accountabilities, and accountability for performance.
  • Focus on the fundamentals of service and service delivery with ongoing reminders to managers and employees alike.  As Mac Anderson says, “The three keys to inspiring . . . service – Reinforce, Reinforce, Reinforce.”  Tools:  On the Go Training, Daily Huddles, Notable Quotables
  • In each department encourage employee feedback on what works and what doesn’t.  As prominent technology and entrepreneur blogger Bill Robinson says, “To be able to regularly solicit, capture and execute upon the strong ideas of those on the front lines who really know what the customers want will be the panacea for the 21st century business world.”  Act on the information your employees bring you to continually improve all aspects of the operation – organization, planning, execution, training, service, and service delivery.  Tools:  Continual Process Improvement
  • Using the principles of Service-Based Leadership, work continually toward the power of employee empowerment.  An entire staff that understands what must be done, how to do it, and acts without fear of making mistakes and repercussions will bring far more to bear on success and renewal than the efforts of a handful of managers and supervisors.  Tools:  Leadership on the Line, The Power of Employee Empowerment
  • Use every opportunity of interaction with employees to reinforce organizational values and the culture of service.  Whether it’s pre-shift meetings, the habit of daily huddles, or casual conversations and direction throughout the workday, managers must constantly “spread the gospel” by word AND deed.  While the message is important, there is no substitute for example – not only in how leaders interact with customers/guests/members, but more importantly how they interact with their employees.  There is no substitute for the example of leadership.  “A leader leads by example, whether he intends to or not.”  Tools:  The Bully Pulpit, Daily Huddles, Notable Quotables, Service-Based Leadership
  • Seek the feedback of your customers/guests/members.  Ultimately it’s their perception of your operation that guarantees success.  Feedback comes in many forms – formal surveys, departmental comment cards, personal interactions, AND benchmarking customer spending habits within each department.  All of these will clearly point to customer boredom or dissatisfaction with your operation.  Tools:  Surveys, scored and benchmarked comment cards, daily interactions, monitoring and analyzing spending habits.
  • Take time for analysis, exploration, and reflection.  Most managers stay busy all the time.  Many simply react to daily and weekly crises.  Some only give infrequent and passing thought to the strategic direction of their operations as if everything runs well enough on auto-pilot.  Without blocks of time set aside on a regular basis to consider their operations and the ongoing or dominant issues that impact their business; to analyze the ebb and flow of their business; to read, research, and reflect on operational ideas and best practices; and to work continually to improve all aspects of what they do, the enterprise will reflect in systemic ways their disinterest and neglect.  Ongoing reflection, analysis, and engagement are essential.  Tools:  Benchmarking and review; structured set-aside time; professional reading lists; ongoing review of trade journals and other publications; adequate time off property for perspective; relationships developed with other managers to discuss, compare, and brainstorm issues and solutions.
  • Make wow factors a significant part of your team’s effort.  It stimulates the creative juices, breaks the tedium of habit, and can be fun for your staff while thrilling to your customers.  Tools:  Wow Factors – read What Have You Done for Me Lately?
  • Make time for constant renewal – Arrange and organize your operation to handle the fundamentals routinely.  The less effort you and your staff have to spend to execute the basics, the more time and focus you’ll have to conceive and execute the extraordinary.  Follow the Pareto Principle to organize your operation so that 80% (the fundamentals) happens routinely, allowing you and your staff to focus on the critical 20% of customer service and satisfaction.  Tools:  read The Quest for Remarkable Service

Bottom Line:  Get your operation “in the groove” with organization and structure.  Then focus on ongoing renewal with continual process improvement and wow factors to avoid being “in the rut” of stale, uninspired programming, service, and service delivery.

Thanks and have a great day!

Ed Rehkopf

This weekly blog comments on and discusses the club 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 club managers throughout the country and around the world.

Club Resources International – Management Resources for Clubs!

The Value of Structure

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Some weeks back I received a phone call from a general manager and former colleague to thank me for landing his dream job at an ultra-luxury private club aspiring to “national club” status.  He said the hiring process was unexpected and sudden.  His name had been passed on to the owner’s search committee who flew him in for an interview.

John (not his real name) is a consummate club professional with Certified Club Manager status and a solid record of achievement in the industry.  But according to John what really made the committee sit up and take notice during his interview was providing them with a copy of the Remarkable Service Infrastructure (found in The Quest for Remarkable Service).  John gave credit where due for the diagram, but explained that he believed in it and followed it in organizing the clubs he managed.

One of the interviewers, obviously impressed by John’s recognition of the need for organization, commented that in all his experience with club managers he had never come across one who recognized and articulated so well the need for structure in running a club.  Five days after the interview John was offered the position.

I thanked John for his kindness in calling me and giving credit to the Remarkable Service Infrastructure diagram, but assured him that the committee would never have considered him had it not been for his record of accomplishment and reputation as a consummate professional.

While I recognize the value of the Remarkable Service Infrastructure diagram, it and The Quest for Remarkable Service are only marks and words on paper and of little value without a committed general manager to initiate and execute the many leadership and management disciplines involved.

But as with any successful endeavor, the leader must have a game plan and then follow it to conclusion.  As legendary NFL 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.”

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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