Why is it that hospitality is one of the only industries in the world where a large portion of the executives have no formal education? They are smart, successful, and very capable... but have no formal education.
Why is it that when senior restaurant management see an application with a "Hospitality Management" education they don't hire the applicant based on having no experience?
Why is there such a gap in knowledge between the executives and the management running operations every day?
I attribute this to two things...
1) People pursue careers in hospitality because they love people, they love food and beverage, and they love to be the host. NOT because they love numbers, doing inventory, "being a manager," OR went to school. I know this is 100% true for me and so many other people I know who ended up having great careers.
2) Very few companies actually believe in investing in their people in such a way that allows them to become high functioning, professional restaurateurs. They worry what will happen if they train their people, and then their people leave. They are afraid to share too much information.
I know to a degree this may always be the way it will be...
I am just on a mission to do my part to change it.
As I wrote about in a previous post, hospitality management are some of the most skilled and talented people I know! They wear several hats on a daily basis. They are incredibly knowledgeable in everything from sales to hr, training to problem solving, and everything in between. However, unless they are lucky enough to work with someone who wants to mentor them, or for one of the few companies that truly believe in developing their people into well rounded, high level management, then they are left to try to figure things out on their own... which is incredibly challenging, demotivating and exhausting.
My writing of this is not meant to attack anyone, or to imply that I feel as though hospitality executives don't know what they are doing. It is actually intended to be the opposite. I believe that the people who excel in "the industry" do so because they went and found the information and the lessons they needed. I believe that they were lucky to have a strong, caring mentor(I know I was), and I believe that they were likely incredibly resilient throughout their career. All good things. The challenge is that there is still a gap between where they are, and where their successors are in terms of high level industry knowledge.
So, this brings me to my purpose in writing this post. We all know that restaurants have a million variables... Wage changes, average guest check, drink specials, commodity prices, rent, turnover, fierce competition, and the list goes on. How do you train someone how to deal with all of those things all at once??? You can't. Then throw in a pandemic to make things more complicated...
My belief is that the only way to actually make a change to this perpetual cycle is to work to remove the variables, make things less complicated, and find a way to simplify an industry known for it's complexity. Systemize everything.
Although I am not always sure how to go about doing my part to make this change, and as I think about how big of an industry it is, I continue to realize how badly the people who love to be the host, who love food and beverage, and who love people need more support.
I always love to hear from readers, from up and comers, and from executives. No matter where you are on your hospitality journey I know you have an opinion on this, because you have been through it one way or another. So let's talk. Let's chat. For a better way forward for "the industry" and if you have a spare few minutes, check out www.benchmarksixty.com for a program that I believe will start to make a small dent in this giant industry challenge.