THE DEMISE OF SERVICE SKILLS IN HOSPITALITY.
It might seem like whinging when there are much bigger issues to address in our beleaguered hospitality industry but this is getting between me and my sleep. Trying to ignore this has not worked at all, in fact it just throws it into sharper focus. The loss of CERT to the industry has been much debated and the proof of just how wrong that decision was is being borne out across our industry every single day. Service skills no longer seem to officially exist. Taking orders is now done digitally which works reasonably well (and don’t get me going on those super cool waiting staff who try to remember it all and then are astonished when they get it very wrong) and after that my friends it is all downhill.
Aaargh!!This belongs to the customer only!
It is my firm opinion that very many cafes and restaurants are not only not understaffed but overstaffed (for floor service). The answer to the woes of owners is a course in classical Service Skills ( and probably a menu overhaul). So, what are they? They are the skills a server needs to learn to efficiently manage a section in a café, restaurant or pub with the ease of a professional. Hoteliers know this. Service in hotels in generally of a high standard as most hoteliers will have received a classical education which includes learning those skills. What is the purpose of these skills? It is to learn the purpose of a tray (gravely absent in cafes), how to use it, when to use it, why you use it and why it saves a million journeys over your lifetime as a server. It is to learn how to correctly take orders, serve and clear food and drinks so that there are no mistakes – saving more time and energy. It is to learn how to manage your section (a fully trained server will serve 25 guests in a full-service restaurant with consummate ease) without stress. It is to learn how to communicate a menu to a guest. It is to learn how to deal with challenges without having a meltdown. It is to learn that these skills are as essential to your business being a financial success as your cash management. It is to respect the fact that making great coffee is a very small part of the whole experience for your customers. It is perhaps understanding that the respect given to the position of a server in continental Europe, recognises that each of those is a highly skilled professional whose effortless management of their space comes with countless hours of honing their service skills.
The first step is knowing what is missing. I am open to correction but for me it is a service skills chasm. Your thoughts welcome.