Hotel F&B: You Never Know Who You Are Serving
By Susie Ross Founder, Waiter Training | October 28, 2008
The restaurant and bar crews were sorely understaffed to handle a small influx of people in October. There didn't seem to be a presence from management of any kind. The front-desk staff couldn't be bothered by petty requests and inquiries. One incident stands out in particular and I witnessed it - no exaggeration from the person to whom it happened.
The bride's uncle and his wife drove up from a small town in Texas. I'll call them Jerry and Marilyn. Jerry and his wife are unassuming in appearance and are probably aged in their mid-sixties. When they arrived at the hotel the afternoon before the wedding in their very expensive, shiny black Corvette, the valets eagerly awaited the opportunity to jump behind the wheel of the car to drive it 100 yards to a parking space.
Marilyn spotted a family member and went to chat with her in the lobby while Jerry stood back from the counter, waiting to be acknowledged. The hotel employees were assisting other guests. When they were finished with those guests, they saw no other would-be guests to whom they should be paying attention. They did see a maintenance man, dressed in dark work pants, work boots and a blue, striped shirt with a name patch, on which was embroidered the name "Jerry." They ignored him.
Jerry is a smart man, a businessman. He owns a company that paints commercial aircraft. It's not a large, Fortune 500 company, but he is successful at what he does, in part because he is a hands-on kind of business owner. He enjoys driving his Corvette and is comfortable wearing his work clothes after a day at work to get to his niece's wedding in Oklahoma City. Being a smart man, Jerry understood what was happening. So he went to the counter and asked if he could check in. He was a little angry, but he was willing to let their ignorance pass. However, the person he chose to talk to acted as if he might be insane to think that he could afford to stay in a hotel such as this. He skeptically began the check-in process.
That is basically the end of the story. Jerry checked in quietly and no one apologized for ignoring him. They happily took his money, though. He didn't complain to the hotel management; he didn't think it would do any good. However, he vowed they would never see his money come across their counter again.
Guess what the topic was at dinner that evening! The bride's family, other guests, including me, all of whom were having our own issues with the hotel, were only too eager to have another red mark added to our long list of complaints. We all certainly told other people. The tragedy for the hotel is that it's an international chain. People came from all over the United States and Canada for this wedding.