Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When is the Last Time That You Ate in the Staff Cafeteria?

Are you a regular in the staff cafeteria at your Hotel?

If your answer is “no,” you are missing out on a lot of opportunities, and, you are unnecessarily distancing yourself from the majority of your staff.

I have always made it a habit to dine in the staff cafeteria as much as possible, the only exceptions being when I have been entertaining clients, and I have even taken some clients to the staff cafeteria.

This is not something that I have to think about doing – I have always enjoyed my visits to the staff cafeteria, and spending time there has provided me with a wealth of information, while gaining the respect and support of my staff.

For me, this is like walking the floors, which I also try to do every day.

When I come across one of our room attendants on the floor and I ask her how it’s going today, and she knows that I know her family situation as an example, because we have had a nice chat in the staff cafeteria previously, she is more likely to give me an honest answer, one that speaks to the connection that we have made, as people, not as General Manager and Room Attendant.

And that wouldn’t be possible, were it not for the times that I have pulled up a chair at the table where one of my groups of employees were gathered for lunch and asked if I could join them.

From those times we have shared stories about the challenges of raising kids and other information that we have in common and after a time, if I have been lucky, they have come to see me as another “person” through the conversations that we have shared over lunch, or perhaps when I have followed up with them later, when I have seen them on the floors, working so hard as they always do.

And there is no better way to find out what is really going on in your Hotel.

How is that new employee program really being received and perceived, amongst your employees?

Has the roll out been ineffective?  

Have employees misunderstood the information or the intent?

You’ll soon find out, but what’s better, is the fact that now that you know, now that you are presented with this information in a casual conversation in the staff cafeteria, you have the opportunity to address the situation, now, not in a month when the information has finally filtered its way up to you.

And not to be ignored or overlooked as an equally important piece of information; how is the food in your staff cafeteria?

If you don’t eat there with any frequency, you won’t know, and what’s worse, your employees will think that you do know, and as a result, you either don’t care, or, that that’s the reason why you never eat there.  

Either way, it’s not good, and it’s certainly not going to help your relationship with your employees.

So, push back from the table in your dining room, put down your nice cloth napkin, and head for the staff caf, you’ll be glad you did.

And while you’re at it, make sure that ALL of your Managers are taking the majority of their meals in the staff cafeteria as well.

Let’s face it, if there are opportunities and positive messaging from you eating in the staff cafeteria with your employees on a regular basis, imagine the positive impact if ALL of the Management team is eating in the staff cafeteria the majority of the time.  

Doesn’t that send the right message to your employees? 

Need an experienced hospitality professional to help your property reach its full potential?  Contact me.

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