In some smaller hotels, a restaurant manager may work very closely with the chef in preparing the menus and purchasing the food. A thorough knowledge of preparing, storing, and purchasing food, as well as food cost accounting, menu preparation, and checking, is helpful in this work. In addition, the manager must be familiar with sanitary practices and local regulations. He or she also supervises and assigns duties to employees, seeing that no favoritism is shown any particular member of the department.
Minimum experience required for restaurant management ranges from one to five years, depending on the size of the hotel. The larger hotels may not only require the longer experience, but also may assign prospective restaurant managers to other duties in the food and restaurant department in order to familiarize them with hotel operations before appointing them to the manager ship.
The minimum education requirement is high school, and your career will be furthered if you have college and/or food and restaurant-management training at an accredited school. Although most hotels and large restaurant chains start college-trained persons as assistant managers today, giving them courses of instruction before they promote them to manager ships, there are still opportunities for waiters, cooks, assistant waiters, and others to work their way up to manager of a hotel restaurant.
The captain is an assistant to the manager and not only assists in managerial duties, but also assists people to tables, assigns waiters to stations, and sees that the guests are seated at waiting stations in rotation so that not all are seated in any one station to the disadvantage of other waiters.
In addition to the restaurant manager and captain, hotel restaurants have staffs consisting of waiters, assistant waiters, cashiers, and assistants. Besides taking guest orders and serving food and liquor to tables, waiters also set tables, sometimes collect payment, make out checks, arrange setups, help bus when busy, and perform other chores.
Though most hotels employ as waiters only men and women who have had experience in other hotels or restaurants or who have had experience waiting on tables, many hotels today are training their assistant waiters for promotion to jobs as waiters as openings occur. Some hotels are even engaging persons with no previous wait experience in order to train them in the hotel's own system.
In this field of hotel operation hours of work and earnings vary greatly. Hours depend upon local hours of service, working conditions, and many other factors. Earnings are based on tips as well as salaries, and meals are usually provided also.
Much of the reputation of a hotel lies in the hands of its housekeeper and the housekeeping staff. The most important thing sought by the average hotel guest is a clean, neat, attractive, cheerful, comfortable room. He or she also wants to see clean, neat halls and public rooms. An inefficient housekeeper can ruin a hotel's reputation almost overnight if a hotel is to succeed, its standards must be kept high.
Heading the housekeeping department is the executive or head housekeeper. It is this person's responsibility to see that halls, rooms, and furnishings are clean and attractive. In larger hotels where housekeeping staffs are also large, the executive housekeeper also has these duties: assisting in or making purchases of supplies for the department; interviewing, disciplining, instructing, and discharging employees in the department; keeping employee and housekeeping records; making regular reports to the manager of conditions, repairs, improvements, employee problems, expenditures, and suggestions; keeping inventories; and making out the department payroll. Frequently a housekeeper, if skilled, will create, or supervise the creation of, new schemes of interior decoration.
In large hotels, the housekeeping staff may include linen room attendants, assistant housekeepers, floor supervisors, housekeepers, furniture polishers, wall and window washers, seamstress and seamstresses, upholsterers, painters, cabinetmakers, and others skilled in housekeeping repair and maintenance.
Promotion to executive housekeeper is usually made from the housekeeping staff or by employing persons with experience in other hotels. Frequently, inexperienced persons are employed as assistants to floor supervisors and given training in their work. While previous training and experience are usually preferred for executive work in the housekeeping department, many have risen to top positions here from lesser jobs. Excellent training courses for housekeeping jobs are given by many high schools and vocational training programs throughout the country. These courses should be of great help in entering this field.
Openings as maid, housekeeper, supervisor, and other jobs in the housekeeping department are available to persons with little or no experience, and application should be made to the executive housekeeper.
Although lesser jobs in the housekeeping field often do not pay well, they are advantageous in that they are available to persons with little or no previous experience. To persons with the ambition and ability to succeed, these jobs offer opportunity to advance, since the rate of turnover in the housekeeping field is rather high.
Earnings of executive housekeepers average $24,086 a year in small hotels (less than 150 rooms) to $63,596 a year in large hotels (more than 800 rooms). In some hotels, executive housekeepers earn much more. Meals and lodging are quite often given in addition to cash earnings.
There are many other hotel jobs in addition to those specialized trades we have described. These other jobs, though important to the hotel's operation, are not hotel trades as such and do not require specific hotel experience. Among these other departments are engineering, telephone, laundry, valet, medical, and dental.
The hotel's water, heat, and other physical facilities are operated by the engineering department. Its size will correspond with the size of the hotel. In a large hotel, the engineering department will include boiler-room attendants, carpenters, electricians, engine-room attendants, maintenance engineers, plumbers, painters, compression workers, and others. Required experience for these positions depends upon the job to be filled. Hotel experience is not a prime factor in employment here. A background in a trade is more important than previous hotel work.
If you have a skill or trade that equips you for work in the engineering department of a hotel, talk to the chief engineer or to the personnel director for information about openings in your classification. Hours and remuneration will vary with the nature of your work and the size of the hotel organization.
There are also openings for telephone operators, laundry help, and valets (pressing and tailoring) in those hotels where these services are provided. Inquiry concerning openings, hours, and remuneration should be made to the personnel director.
In some large hotels, medical and dental services are available on the premises for the convenience of guests and for emergencies among the employees. These openings are filled from regular medical and dental channels. Medical or dental clinics can use nurses, receptionists, and secretaries. Make inquiry directly at the clinic or office.
In addition, there are numerous secretarial, typing, computer operating, reception, and other jobs in hotels. Inquiries for these should be made at the personnel office.
SOME FINAL WORDS
Remember, career decisions are often difficult. Talk to others working in the field. Get all of the facts before making your choice. Choosing your career should be a positive and exciting experience. Paul Grossinger, of Grossinger's, the famous New York state resort hotel, once said of a career in the hospitality field:
The hotel industry today is certainly one to challenge the ability of any young person. Certainly no other business gives a person the opportunity of meeting so many various kinds of people, and no other business displays the human element as graphically.
A hotel is a world unto its own. We house and we feed people and also, in many instances, entertain them. We provide stopping areas, some as modest as a candy store, others as lavish as a series of shops operated by the best known names in the retail world. Certainly, an industry such as this is one to excite the imagination of the young. Most hotel people find that their business and social lives are greatly integrated. Most of us think that this is a benefit.
Financial gains in this industry are to the capable. Certainly, the basic concept of salary and wages in a hotel has gone up tremendously. Opportunity lies within the grasp of those who truly seek it. Personally, I would not think of making my living in any other manner.