Hotel Food & Beverage: The Interview Process

By Susie Ross Founder, Waiter Training | October 28, 2008

You want to set the stage from the beginning that you operate a professional business. It isn't just a caf'e, diner, restaurant or deli. It's your business and, if you want to take an aggressive approach, ask questions of your applicant that will reveal personality and the salesperson in her. This is assuming you want a personality that wants to sell and not take orders.

Insist on a resume and take advantage of it! If you like the person after the first interview, do the research that the resume was intended for to make sure a candidate is a good fit. Ask the legal questions of a former employer. If you're unsure of the legality of your questioning, consult your attorney or your state's restaurant association for the proper legal questioning of a prospective employee.

First and foremost, you should expect that an applicant will show up in proper attire and bring a resume. If an applicant doesn't, I think it's acceptable to request that he comes back when he is properly attired for an interview and to also bring a resume. I always wonder why it's acceptable for someone to show up in torn jeans and a cool t-shirt to apply for a restaurant job and not ok if applying at an office. This is your business; what image do you want to project?

It's generally agreed in all areas of employment that two or more interviews take place, preferably with different managers and on different days.

After the initial interview has taken place, the resume has been called on and references have been checked, set up a second interview. I might suggest a simple test for starters. Give her an example of a regular guest check that you see on a daily basis. Ask her to take five or ten minutes, go over the menu and respond to you with ideas on how she might increase the check amount. Ask her what she might suggest to a guest to increase the check amount. Simply listen for words used. Keep your request simple and see how far she goes with it. Set up a role-playing situation. This exercise can be done while sitting at the table across from each other; there is no need for her to stand up and do this, unless you feel it necessary to do so.

A more experienced applicant will have a good idea of what you're looking for and will either go along with you or decide this is not the job for her. Body language will instantly tell you what decision she's made.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.