Hospitality training academies in nearly every postcode in Australia.

'I can't get any decent staff - there are no good staff out there - none of my staff hang around.' These refrains are constantly cropping up in conversations. And I ignore them all the time.

There are over 13000 pubs, clubs and taverns across Australia which have a dining room, bistro or restaurant. Very few of these venues offer food all day. The majority are only open for Lunch and/or Dinner between the service hours of 12-3pm and 6-9pm. Between the hours of 9am to 12pm and 3pm to 6pm seven days a week these dining rooms are all vacant - not a soul in them. 40+ hours a week of dead space! All set up and usually with access to a bar and ideal to use as training venues to train potential front of house staff. Short 2 hour maximum sessions with no more than 8 pax paying no more than $20 per head trained by the FandB manager or whatever their title is.

These dead spaces and times become a recruitment vehicle for the venue, an opportunity to quickly find potential staff, a great way to upskill middle managers in training methods, provide a reserve supply of staff and prepare people for the job description and not some dubious qualification. And they may even add a little to the revenue base.

Above all it is about credibility and "need to know". It would be great to get trained and prepared for the real world demands of the workplace by someone that is responsible for 1000+ covers a week and a multimillion dollar annual turnover. It is not about assessments, meeting curriculum guidelines or conferring a qualification. It is about gaining "need to know" skills and knowledge and an understanding of what is expected of you every day you come in to work.

I can prepare a middle manager within 60 minutes to start delivering any type of training and supply them with support and operations based resources in any form they like - paper based, with an app, on line or on a TV monitor. I can even supply them the artwork and layout to produce the most exquisite and desirable Certificate of Completion if needed.

Even if a venue ran one of these sessions a week and found an individual "gun" once a month, it would silence the refrains.

By the way - I haven't even counted the thousands of restaurants, function centres and other venues which sit idle for extended periods each day and every week throughout Australia.

GTD Hospitality 7/11/17

The hospitality industry is based on standards and consistency.

It was like this when I first started many years ago, is valid today and will continue to be so for many years. The standards are in place to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of service in any type and scale of operation.

Our industry is about standard recipes, standard procedures, standard measures and standard practices. It is about the proper way of doing things rather than individual staff and management doing it their way.

There is a proper way to make a cappuccino, pour a tap beer, clean a hotel room, to shift a gas cylinder, carry 3 plates and mop up a spilled drink. The best operators make sure that these standards are maintained by ALL their staff every time they come into work and every day of the week without fail.

Venues do not change their open and close times every second day, they don’t change their menus or prices at a whim nor do they alter the room set up when they feel like it, so why are we so accepting of the huge inconsistencies in service levels delivered in many places today.

The old crock argument of the industry employing mainly casual staff who don’t care and don’t want to is a fallacy. A 19 year old student doing marketing at University and working 12 hours a week in a café does not set the service and performance agenda of that business. Also many clients respond that they are not a 5 star operation and should not be held up to these standards. My response is that some of the main culprits when it comes to lowered standards and inconsistencies are actually the premium operators. A number of years ago my company was paid a lot of money to fly 4 hours across Australia one way to deliver customer service training to 150 staff at one of the largest tourism operators in the country…. who incidentally had their own training department!

Owners, managers and middle managers are ultimately responsible. In my travels it is these groups that either do not know, have forgotten or have become accepting of ‘close enough is good enough’ as their operational mantra. They need to ensure that staff are aware of, trained and continuously monitored in the delivery of standard practices and more importantly delivering them every time they come into work. I am astounded by how few operators take the time out to sit down to objectively observe their own staff even for an hour.

On occasions I am asked for advice by people with minimal experience who want to open or buy a hospitality business. My first response is “DON’T”. However if they persist I advise them to get a sheet of paper and a pen. Then visit as many times as they can a particular venue I consider to be one of the places where they can take notes on how to do it properly.

It is getting increasingly harder to advise them where to go.

GTD Hospitality 17/10/17

Most staff in hospitality industry get paid 'appearance money'

Most line staff in our industry get paid money just to appear at work. Through no fault of their own I might add. It does not matter if it is a suburban café, a 4 star hotel, a hip newly renovated local pub or top tier resort. As a customer and guest I have to initiate nearly all the service and selling protocols.
The industry is very good at 'inviting' me to a venue but not very good at welcoming me once I am there. An even greater failing is extracting as much revenue as they can from a willing and satisfied customer during my stay.

Asking to see a menu, trying to attract the attention of someone to get another drink, lining up at a counter to get a stick with a number on it, minimal product knowledge leading to no confidence, inadequate skills causing over exertion and time wasting, no interaction with me while I am there and when was the last time someone thanked you for your business, wished you well and hope to see you again?

Once again....I never blame the staff. The industry is fixated with time, money and effort on social media and marketing campaigns to get me to their door to spend my hard earned disposable income. There are no problems in me getting to your venue. Unfortunately all the problems arise when I get there.

No one wants to know about me nor take my dollars!

GTD Hospitality 8/10/17