EXCELLENCE IS… Series Part 2-3

by Egi Gaisie

The hospitality industry is our focus this week, having ‘touched’ on hospitality and tourism education and training, last week in respect to Excellence is…Productivity.

Hotels! Their very physical structures can be extremely impressive and their interiors quite glamorous!

Starting my working life in a-166 room hotel with a large lobby, an indoor and outdoor restaurant, a bar, two kitchens, a retail shop, a bank, a rental car company, a casino, a swimming pool, lawn tennis courts, a laundry, staff canteen, back offices and other support operational areas all sited on a large piece of plot and moving on to other hotels much bigger, with many more functional areas where almost everything guests need was found ‘under one roof’, my concept of hotels is justified; a world within a world!

They come in different shapes and sizes. In Ghana, the minimum number of rooms for a facility offering itself as a hotel is ten rooms. Hotels vary by brand and by hotel type; limited-service vs. full service, commercial vs. resort, luxury vs. economy, country and culture and so on. They depict a variety of interesting concepts, examples of which are illustrated below in 3d images. Some hotels, unfortunately, don’t carry any ‘character’.

Yes, I am still on the subject of Excellence is…Productivity.  

Believe it or not, when it comes to hotels, from their development phase, correctly identifying the activities to be conducted within and surrounding the property, establishing relationships among the activity areas, and allocating an appropriate amount of space for the defined activities while avoiding conflict between public space and private space, all contribute to turning spaces into healthy financial returns, and that is what productivity aims at! It’s been said of hotels, ‘when you combine great ideas with financial capital you create a great hotel’.

My work experience in the food and beverage service sector in Ghana is limited but I have a way of looking at the food service industry in general; from chop bars to up-class standalone restaurants to hotel restaurants, having worked in specialist restaurants, (French, German, Italian and American) and a range of casuals including fast foods.

Have you considered foodservice outlets as combining both manufacturing and service operations/activities? Whereas most goods are manufactured at one place, sold at a second-place and consumed in a third place, the food and beverage service industry accomplishes all three of these functions in one place! Additionally, food service personnel serve perishable products so holding equipment used to serve food away from the place of manufacturing is of great concern to some of us.

Maximizing productivity is something all businesses strive for. In a work environment where labor is paid per the hour, productivity is a real concern!

The amount of time given to room attendants to clean rooms varies depending on where they work, but it is usually between 20 and 30 minutes per room per day. Some clean 13 to 15 rooms per day (of 8 hours), but some hotels have as many as 30 rooms cleaned!

In waiting service, there are strict service ratios. The average ratio is one server for every 32 attendees at a meal function regardless of the style of service, the type of menu, or whether the servers are responsible for wine service.

Measuring productivity and finding ways to improve it, however, isn’t always a simple task. In manufacturing, it may be as simple as knowing how many units need to be produced per hour and figuring out why this isn’t being met or how production can be optimized to meet set targets.

In hospitality operations and perhaps much more for hotels, there are many more variables to track and many ways to measure results!  

Service has always topped the list of factors considered to influence the ‘WOW’ experience of guests and not the brick and mortar or the design or furniture, or the style of the linen. Hopefully, we all know that the hotel industry requires caring and dedicated hotel staff who make guests feel welcome, comfortable, safe, secure and yet at ease; that in our competitive environment, hotel personnel go the extra mile to satisfy their guests. Efforts are therefore made to train personnel to be anticipatory, courteous and to work efficiently, responding to guests’ needs appropriately.

Staff! Staff! Staff! These are the people who will prepare and serve the food which makes the food great; who maintain a clean and attractive environment; whether it is the inside and outside of the hotel, the front-of -house or back-of- house.

Where payment is not per the hour, we tend to focus on performance and not pay much attention to productivity! However, “If we satisfy our customers but fail to satisfy our business, we’ll soon be out of business. If we get the profit but fail to satisfy our customers, we’ll soon be out of customers.”

Hotels are huge investments and it saddens me to observe many of what of been invested go down the drain, resulting from a lackadaisical attitude toward productivity.

The layout and design of food service operations, the relationship between raw material, equipment, and manpower all impact on productivity.  However, for now, let’s also consider staff.

Are hotel staff 100% productive? What makes staff productive?

It is not a-one-size fits all solution! The hospitality industry is built on people-to-people interaction, and also involves a huge variety of tasks and skills within one business, hotels in particular. Understanding what needs to change is one thing, and predicting how customers might react to certain changes is another.

Sometimes all it takes to increase productivity at a hotel is a simple restructuring of the way staff work. This might mean looking at staff scheduling to make sure there is sufficient staff to meet demand.

Hotel checklists are powerful motivators for hotel personnel to enhance productivity.

Employees must have a sense of belonging, a direct responsibility which needs to be provided by management. 

Excellent productivity requires good relations between:

  • Management and staff
  • Team members in each team
  • All teams in the company

Poor productivity damages relationships; lack of desired results often leads to negative emotions, moods and reactions: frustration, blame, bad excuses, apathy, conflicts or internal wars.

Poor productivity impedes quality; inefficiency leads to sloppy work, mistakes, waiting time and delays.

Knowing the level productivity of your staff will help arrest leakages!

We close with our last patriotic song: Arise Ghana Youth for your country

Arise Ghana youth for your country

The nation demands your devotion

Let us all unite to uphold her

And make her great and strong


We are all involved

We are all involved

We are all involved

In building our motherland

In building our motherland


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