So here I am, suddenly a blogger as I struggle to understand the incredible pace and complexity of this new digital world that surrounds us. Is a blogger someone who just wants to talk or do they really have something to say? I guess we will find out.
Who is Bill? I started working when I was about 9 or 10, delivering morning newspapers when they were the primary means of real information. A couple of years getting up at 4 a.m., zero degrees outside, plenty of wind drifted snow and customers that expected the paper between their front doors, motivated me to get a real job. So, cleaning apartment buildings every day after school for 15 cents an hour will accomplish my mother’s goal of teaching work habits and what clean is. I saved enough to buy a better bike to use everyday. Wow, was I proud. Lying about my age, I got my first hospitality job working at the pot and pan sink of an airline flight kitchen. Not to keep dating myself, but that was when the airlines really cared and competed for your attention and food and beverage was a big differentiator. I was up to 35 cents an hour and in great shape as my 15 cent an hour bike is now helping me make the big money.
My father died early and left my mother with five kids and a high school degree. In a suburban neighborhood where fathers worked, mothers were the home makers and single women were not much welcome. We gained independence quickly when my mother started working at a local famous independent full service motel. I quickly became fascinated with her stories of the people, events, situations, successes and problems that a busy hotel deals with daily. No two days alike then or now.
That’s how I got interested in full service hotels. No two days are alike. I guess I am admitting to a short attention span, but to me it’s the energy of hospitality. The rooms side of the business is the steak and the food and beverage side is the sizzle. Or do we feel like the rooms side is the stability and the food and beverage the chaos? And, look how the industry is developing. Great new market leading brands trying not to do food and beverage and being forced to by their customers. A good room-only idea (limited-service) isn’t as limited anymore. Not only are the number and types of food and beverage products and services increasing, but also the expectations for quality. Darn, it’s hard not to give the customer what they want even though it takes us down that slippery path of food and beverage.
Ok, my customers want food and beverage—where do I start? Many start by looking at their competitors. Some actually talk to their customers, and some default to their brand standards and never put much more thought into it. Why not look through your customer’s eyes and at their behavior? For many of our customers it may be the last impression before they move on. Until they are out of our control we need to commit to fighting for their emotional attachment to our property.
No one said how long a blog should be but now I worry about losing your attention in this acronym-laden, abbreviation-style world we are in. Next time I want to talk with you about where success is in food and beverage and how it can be a huge point of difference in your success. Let me know what you think ... until then.