Editorial Board   

Mr. Fernandez, Sr.

Gerald Fernandez, Sr.

President & Founder, Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance

Gerald A. "Gerry" Fernandez, Sr., is president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance (MFHA), a national non-profit organization that promotes the social and economic benefits of diversity and inclusion in the restaurant, foodservice and hospitality industry. He founded the Alliance by garnering support from premier sponsors Cargill, Coca-Cola Company, General Mills Corporation, Nation's Restaurant News and PepsiCo, Inc. to create the MFHA charter in 1996. Gerry began his career with General Mills in 1992 in research and development and was eventually promoted to National Account Manager, Foodservice Sales. It was in this position that he founded the Alliance, after which, in March of 1997, he became a loaned executive to MFHA. Gerry currently conducts lectures and workshops for some of America's best-known companies, organizations and brands. Prior to joining General Mills, he spent more than 10 years as senior manager, opening and operating fine-dining restaurants for the company now known as RARE Hospitality. Earlier in his career, Gerry held various leadership positions in many fine-dining establishments, including The Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. Gerry holds a Bachelor of Science degree in foodservice management from Johnson & Wales University, where he also earned a culinary arts degree in 1976. The university awarded him an honorary Doctorate in business administration in 1999. Gerry is married, has three sons, three grandchildren and lives with his wife, Debra (Jackson), in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Mr. Fernandez, Sr. can be contacted at 401-461-6342 or gerry.fernandez@mfha.net

Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.