How to get the most out of your food and beverage team.

As a consultant, I work with many hotels, different brands, different management companies, franchised and managed properties. Generally speaking, all of the property teams do a great job and have a great staff who care, want to be successful, and do the best they can for the hotel and for the guest. One simple thing that can be done in many hotels is to increase the level of support, encouragement, and attention given to the F&B team. Just a little love can go a long way!

 

The success of the hotel F&B division can be strongly influenced and affected by the attention they receive from their hotel general manager, executive committee, and corporate teams. By attention, I mean not talking about why the payroll is so high, the guest service scores low, or food cost out of control. I am talking about asking: “how can I help?”, “what issues are you having?”, “thanks for taking care of our group last weekend” or “how is your daughter doing?”. Pick up a tray, chat with a guest or associate, stay involved – 15-30 minutes per shift can be all it takes.

 

Now I understand that if you ask these questions you may feel the need to get involved, and some can be intimidated by that.  However, ignoring the issues will not make them go away. Blissful ignorance is not sustainable. I have been there and get how it happens. It is OK that you may not know F&B and have all the answers. Being willing to try can make a huge difference and make the team feel that you care about what happens and that you want to help support their efforts. They want and need, to see that you care about what they do, understand how hard it is, and that you’re as passionate as they are about the quality, service, taste, and cleanliness.

 

Profit, food cost, labor cost, and financial metrics are, of course, important, but remember the Main Thing: the reason we are all here is the guest. First, get that down, focus on providing the team all that is needed to be able to serve great meals, awesome drinks and memorable service. Simultaneously, you can work on fiscally responsible systems that ensure that margins are controlled, the staff is productive, and the food is not wasted.  Focus on increasing the top-line, by providing a great product, and the bottom line takes care of itself. This is the case whether you are a first-class, industry-leading food and beverage facility, or a simpler restaurant where you just have to do the minimum to keep the brand or owner happy.

 

The success of your F&B team comes down to the positive direction and influence that you, as general manager, executive committee member, or corporate leader, gives to the team. By inspiring them to be greater and helping to take steps to get to the next level, you will always see increased scores and improved results. So, spend a little time walking talking, asking, and being excited about what is going on! This will go a long way with the team and you will see performance greatly enhanced.

Russ Blakeborough | Focus – F&B | Global Consulting for the F&B and Hotel industry.

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