Two training videos, The Professionals (based on how to plan and sell a successful catering function) and An Inspector Calls (based on the enforcement of health, safety and hygiene regulations in the hotel and catering industry), produced by the then Hotel and Catering Training Board, U.K., made deep impressions on me during my early professional life. The reason? Both were wake up calls to pay attention to details.
You guessed right, this week our focus in the series ‘Excellence is…’ is being detail oriented.
It beats my mind how a seemingly glamourous wedding buffet dinner should use disposable cutlery or how disposable teaspoons should be placed in take-away packages of Yangzhou Fried Rice, a Chinese dish! I do cringe at certain practices and omissions in our industry including policies.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, synonyms for “detail-oriented” can include: “meticulous, punctilious, conscientious, careful, diligent, attentive, ultra-careful, scrupulous, painstaking, exact, precise, accurate, correct, thorough, studious, exhaustive, mathematical, detailed, perfectionist, methodical, particular, religious, and strict.”
Do you have good attention to detail skill? For many professions it is a must-have skill. Yet we seem to overlook it, give excuses and sometimes create humor of the shortfalls.
In this first part on Excellence is detail oriented, I share a checklist you might find interesting and useful towards continual improvement. I am however mindful that it is not all details in the list that are issues to every customer or guest.
- Poorly lit parking areas
- Inadequate and inconvenient parking
- Inconvenient access to the property
- Improper parking drainage
- Unkempt landscaping
- Cluttered entrance
- Poor telephone etiquette
- Talking on the phone while dealing with guests/customers
- Wrong/unclear directions
- Opening late or closing early contrary to posted hours
- Décor that doesn’t fit
- Holiday decorations still up weeks after the event
- Being greeted with arm and hand signals
- Tables set with napkins in the glass
- Chipped glass/chinaware
- Mismatched china or silverware(unless it is part of the concept)
- Paper napkins in an upscale restaurant
- Dead or wilted flowers on the tables
- Poor quality or dirty artificial flowers on the table
- Centerpieces that obscure diners
(List continues in part 6b) However, take note of these pleasant details!
Solution for past riddle: You can’t keep this until you have given it. What is it? Your Word.
Riddle for the week: What book was once owned by only the wealthy, but now everyone can have it? You can’t buy it in a bookstore or take it from the library.