Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Hospitality-food for thought

     I wanted to take a few minutes to shed a little light on the hospitality industry ( But not too much, because you couldn't handle it!). I believe that everyone should at one time or another, have a job in hospitality. Either in a hotel or a restaurant. To learn how to serve grouchy, condesending and entitled people in a way that will benefit both them and your employer, results in a highly valuable employee. Am I suggesting that you fake enthusiasm when serving others? Well, if you are getting paid, then yes. And if you are not getting paid, and do it out of kindness, or as a volunteer, my answer is still a resounding YES.
     Having worked as a waitress when I was in my late teens, I have to tell you that everything you hear about what can happen to your food, is true. I do not care how well run the restaurant is, it is still run by humans who are more than likely being paid minium wage. The least you can do, to ensure your food is not contaminated, is to be polite to the staff. Did you know that waitresses are sometimes not even paid minimum wage? And they are taxed by the government on a percentage of their sales EVEN if they are not tipped the 20% that is common courtesy? Yep. Go ahead and ask.
     I also have had the distinct pleasure of working as a receptionist at a hotel. I know that how you treat employees, (from the manager, to the maids and everything in between) directly determines your entire stay, from the cleanliness of your room, to the quality of your food. If you think otherwise, you and your rainbow colored pet unicorn are delusional. And, make sure you leave a tip for the cleaning lady, she depends on it, and it is very common for a hotel to hire maids for only 4 hours a day, which means that even though they may get minimum wage, they only get paid for half a day and the employer can get away with not providing any benefits. It is the nice thing to do, even if you are only staying for one night.
     Let's go over a few questions that are asked of you on a regular basis, why they are asked, and some of the stupider smart Alec answers I have been given in the past, just for fun.

     Hotel receptionist:  Welcome to the Wilton Garden Inn. How can I help you today?
     Asked because: ALL employees are required to say this, or face termination.
     Answer from guest: "Um, DUH! I'm here to get a room for the night!"

    Hotel receptionist: "OK, I'll need your credit card and identification please."
    Asked because: If you don't get these, legally the credit card holder is not responsible for the debt incurred.
     Answer from guest: "WHY do you need my Identification?!? I stay here EVERY WEEK!      
     Answer from receptionist: Because I don't want to lose my job.

     Restaurant hostess:  "Good morning, how many in your party today?"
     Asked because: I don't know if you drove with someone who let you off to get the table while they parked the car.
     Answer from guest:  "Table for two please, just me and my friend Harvey, the invisible rabbit."
     As you can see, there are reasons behind every question that may seem trivial or superfluous to you. They are not ice breakers, and are not asked for the entertainment of the people who are asking them. Just be polite and answer truthfully, without sarcasm. Otherwise, you may be ingesting something you hadn't planned on.
     Till next time
     Miss Jodi