A significant number of Australians work in hospitality at some point in their lives. Whether it’s running plates of pasta or pouring lattes, hundreds of thousands of young people have gotten their first piece of work experience in a hospo role. For a lot of those, that’s where it ends; they go on to an office job when university finishes, or work a few more years in the industry and then ship out to a new industry.
But what if that’s not the arc you want your career to take? If you’re considering going further in hospitality into more senior roles in front or back of house, or even sideways into hotel management, it can pay to closely analyse your goals and skills. These roles will demand a lot from you, and before you start offering up what isn’t there, it’s important to think about what talents you would bring to an elevated role. To help start the discussion, we’ve put together a few traits everyone looking for a senior hospitality position should possess in some measure. Read on to learn more.
Are you a people person?
This goes deeper than a convincing smile and a chatty nature. Being the kind of people person that excels in hospitality means having the deftness of a surgeon in social situations coupled with the ability to empathise with and think like near-complete strangers. Consider the maître d'hôtel at an exclusive restaurant, who may have to negotiate with unapologetically late and selfish guests or extremely specific or hard to satisfy demands. Balancing the interests of the establishment with the interests of more demanding guests in a way that satisfies both the owner and your customers takes a special kind of intelligence.
Cool under fire?
Hand-in-hand with an enhanced ability to manage people is the ability to manage situations. Random cancellations, culinary crises, expensive breakages – despite all of these, the show absolutely has to go on, and the first step towards a successful recovery is a cool head. Being able to look at carnage and see the path through to a smooth evening like a ship’s navigator seeing their way out of a storm is crucial in high-pressure environments.
Dot every I, cross every T
Are the settings on a two-cover table absolutely symmetrical? Has the table been approached for order a short but unhurried amount of time after they’ve all closed their menus? Do they never drop below half a glass of water? Being a details-oriented person is everything in hospitality, as it’s here a guest’s experience is made. These little things count – not noticing that the level on a vintage bottle of wine has dropped could mean serving expired vino to your guests, which is sure to take stars off their review.
If you’re looking to reskill into a hospitality career, speak to the team at Skills Certified to learn more.