Hospitality Careers

Hospitality Roles

A definition

The friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers

The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes accommodation, event planning, theme parks, transportation, cruise line, and additional fields within the tourism industry.

The hospitality industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that depends on the availability of leisure time and disposable income.

A hospitality unit such as a restaurants, hotel, or an amusement park consists of multiple groups Areas) such as facility maintenance, direct operations (waiters/ess, housekeepers, porters, kitchen workers (chefs), bartenders, management, marketing, and human resources etc.)

 

Front and Back of House

Front of house refers to the physical area of the business (hotel, restaurant, etc) where you serve Customers. For example, the front of the house for a hotel would be the area of the front desk, lobby, lounge, breakfast area. The front of the house in a restaurant is basically every area where the Customer has access to such as the dining area, bar, lounge, lobby, bathrooms.

Back of House is used for catering business. Back of house is a place where the guests do not go into. It is an area to prepare the dishes, make the food, store the plates... anything that should not be seen by the guests

The terms “back of house” and “front of house” are used in the restaurant community to distinguish between different areas in a restaurant. The back of house is the staff area, where cooks and other support staff work. The front of house is the area where diners sit. Different types of staff work in each area, and rivalries sometimes crop up between back of house and front of house staffers, especially in large restaurants which can get extremely busy.

As a general rule, the back of house is a staff-only area, although it may be opened to the public on a limited basis for tours. The back of house is the area in which food is stored and prepared, and it typically includes other staff areas such as a staff meals break room and changing area. Cooks, expediters, and dishwashers work in the back of house, usually largely unseen by the public. In most kitchens, the back of house has a strict hierarchy, with each staff member performing a specific task.

In the front of house, waiters, waitresses, and hosts interact with guests. These staff are said to be “on the floor,” since they are visible representatives of the restaurant. Floor staff are supposed to be courteous, informative, and neatly dressed, since their behavior determines whether or not guests enjoy themselves.

Some staff move between both the back and front of the house. Bussers and runners, for example, carry food and plates back and forth from the kitchen and the floor. Their jobs can be extremely high stress, as they must deal with demands from the kitchen and the floor staff. In addition, they also engage in interactions with customers, since guests of the restaurant may not always understand the distinction between waitstaff, runners, and kitchen staff.

In some restaurants, part of the kitchen may be visible to members of the public. Not all kitchen staff enjoy this, as cooking can be a messy and tension-fraught business. Diners, on the other hand, enjoy being able to watch food preparation, especially since showy sections such as grill or pans section are often exposed.

In addition to being identifiable through different job duties, it is often easy to distinguish between members of a restaurant staff by uniforms. Back of house staffers typically wear chef's pants, full jackets, and protective hair coverings, along with closed toed shoes. Their clothing is designed to be comfortable and practical through a long shift of cooking, rather than stylish. Most front of house staff wear restaurant issued uniforms or elegant personal clothing, to enhance the atmosphere of the restaurant. Bussers and runners are often found in aprons and clothing which suggests the kitchen more than the front of house.

 

Restaurant Owner

A restaurant owner is an individual who owns and oversees the operation of a restaurant. Although, a college education is not a requirement for this position, some owners may elect to enrol in management or marketing courses to gain experience in these essential areas. A successful owner will need to be business savvy, including being knowledgeable of the food industry and business management as a whole. Good communication and people skills will also be beneficial, as a wide variety of personalities will be encountered on a daily basis. The owner's initial job duties will be to obtain a license and insurance, and to order restaurant supplies, but daily expectations will frequently vary.

Providing staff management is a key role in being a restaurant owner. The owner will generally be responsible for hiring and terminating employees. Employee incentives, including health care and benefits, are usually designated by this person as well. Most places of business have rules for employees and customers, such as age restrictions and clothing requirements. The owner will typically establish these prerequisites for his business.

 

Financial Management

Some owners are a part of the everyday running of the restaurants they own, while others may hire a manager to run the restaurant for them, while they remain behind the scenes. The manager will typically be the eyes and ears of the owner. Since this person can hold such an important role in the success or failure of a business, the hiring of managers and assistant managers is typically one of the most important decisions made by an owner.

Regardless of the number of managers hired to run a restaurant efficiently, the financial management is typically the sole responsibility of the owner. Bookkeeping for a restaurant is a big job and is not to be taken lightly. It entails managing cash flow, accounting for expenditures, and making sure the restaurant is not spending more than what it is taking in. Financial management can also include calculating salaries and raises for the employees. More than nearly anything else, a restaurant owner will need to be able to successfully manage the finances to keep the business open. This may not be their area of expertise so they may employ a dedicated book keeper or outsource the role so that they may focus on the business.

The owner will also oversee building repairs. This includes approving the repairs to be made to the building and hiring the appropriate person to make those repairs. In addition, the owner will be responsible for ensuring building maintenance is upheld. From broken windows to plumbing problems, the owner will generally be the go-to person to ensure problems are fixed in a timely manner.

Owning a restaurant is a big responsibility, but it can be a rewarding one as well. One of the key foundations to being a successful owner is providing exceptional customer service. If the customers are satisfied, not only will they continue to come back, but they will invite others to as well. For this reason, being hospitable and providing a customer-friendly atmosphere is among the most important duties of being a restaurant owner.

 

Bar Attendant

Bar attendants work in often busy, vibrant environments of pubs and clubs, hotels and taverns, providing customer services directly to a broad range of clients. The work is varied, available in many locations from big cities to the bush and often good prospects for advancement.

What training do I need?

You don’t need any formal qualifications to work as a bar attendant, but a Certificate II in Hospitality (Operations) would be useful in providing you with the basic skills to work as a bar attendant. This qualification is recognised nationally.

Most bar attendant positions require applicants to have a statement of attainment in responsible service of alcohol (RSA) and responsible conduct of gaming (RCG).

What personal attributes do I need?

The personal attributes you need to be a bar attendant focus on interpersonal and customer service skills and your reliability.

These include:

  • good interpersonal and communication skills
  • good personal presentation
  • the ability to deal with unexpected situations
  • Good organisation skills
  • the ability to work in a team
  • commitment to providing a high standard of customer service
  • willingness to learn
  • a responsible attitude to industry health and safety regulations.

You need to be a minimum of 18 years of age to serve alcohol.

How much can I earn?

How much you can earn in a week depends on the number of hours you work, but on average a bar attendant earns between $500 and $700 a week before tax.

How many hours can I expect to work in a week?

Hours of work for bar attendants vary, depending on whether positions offered are full- time, part-time or casual. Many bar attendants are employed on a part-time or casual basis, with much of their work involving evenings and weekends.

What are my employment prospects?

Employment prospects for bar attendants are very good as there is a constant demand for reliable, skilled bar attendants. Good growth is expected for these jobs over the next few years.

How do I find a job as a Bar Attendant?

Go to the Discover Hospitality website, this is a website dedicated to helping you find employment as a Bar Attendant. Or you could approach businesses in the areas you’d like to work in and ask to talk to them about employing you. Leave your CV, which should include your workplace achievements and experience and contact details. Make sure you follow up your initial approaches

 

Bar Manager

Bar managers work in the often busy, vibrant environments of pubs and clubs, hotels and taverns, overseeing the smooth running of one or more bars in a hospitality business.

What would I do?

Some of a bar manager’s tasks and responsibilities may include:

  • Purchase and storage of beverage items
  • Budgeting and pricing policies
  • Staff recruitment, training and rosters
  • Ensuring relevant health, occupational health and safety and licensing regulations are met
  • Oversight of the maintenance of the cleanliness and presentation of bar and service areas to the required standard
  • The responsible sale of alcoholic beverages
  • Cashing up and banking
  • Managing the security of the premises, including opening and closing the bar
  • General bar duties, including the preparation and service of beverages.

What training do I need?

Formal qualifications aren’t required to work as a bar manager. However, nationally recognised qualifications are available to help prepare you for work in the industry, and to move forward in your career. The Diploma of Hospitality Management and the Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management provide the skills required to work as a manager or senior manager respectively, in the hospitality industry.

Bar managers are expected to have an understanding of bar operations and a significant level of experience in the hospitality industry. Most employers of bar mangers seek people having a good knowledge of beverages and extensive experience in the preparation of cocktails.

Most bar manager positions require applicants to have a statement of attainment in the responsible service of alcohol (RSA).

What personal attributes do I need?

The personal attributes you need to work as a bar manager include:

  • Leadership qualities and the ability to work in a team
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication, negotiation and problem solving skills
  • The ability to pay attention to detail
  • The ability to deal with unexpected situations
  • A commitment to providing a high standard of customer service
  • Good organisational and time management skills
  • Excellent personal presentation
  • A responsible attitude to industry health and safety regulations.

How much can I earn?

How much a bar manager earns depends very much on the type of business and the experience of the individual.

How many hours can I expect to work in a week?

In general, as a bar manager, you will need to be flexible in your availability and be willing to work evenings, weekends and extended hours.

What are my employment prospects?

Experienced bar managers with excellent skills are always in demand.

How do I find a job as a Bar Manager?

Go to the Discover Hospitality website, a website dedicated to helping you find employment in the hospitality industry. Or you could approach businesses in the areas you’d like to work in and ask to talk to them about employing you. Leave your CV, which should include your workplace achievements and experience and contact details. Make sure you follow up your initial approaches

 

Barista

With many of us having a growing interest in drinking good, well-prepared coffee, there’s an increasing demand for skilled and creative baristas to help meet our coffee needs. Reliable baristas with good customer service skills are in demand in cafes and restaurants pretty well everywhere.

What would I do as a Barista?

The main task for baristas is to prepare and serve a variety of coffee beverages, as well as other hot and cold drinks such as teas and chocolate-based beverages, often in very busy and sometimes pressured situations. You would also be required to constantly maintain a high standard of cleanliness and presentation of the beverage preparation and surrounding service areas. In some businesses this may also include clearing tables and ensuring clean crockery is always available. You may be involved in operating cash registers and stock control as well.

What training do I need?

No formal training is required for baristas, however the Certificate ll in Hospitality (Operations) qualification would be useful in providing you with the basic skills to work in a number hospitality industry jobs, including as a barista.

What personal attributes do I need?

As with many hospitality industry jobs, the personal attributes you need to work as a barista focus on customer service skills.

These include:

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good organisation skills
  • Good personal presentation
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • Commitment to providing a high standard of customer service
  • High level of personal cleanliness and hygiene
  • The ability to work accurately and respond quickly to requests
  • Willingness to learn
  • A responsible attitude to industry health and safety regulations
  • A creative flair and a passion for coffee are of benefit as well.

How much could I expect to earn?

How much you could earn in a week depends on the number of hours you work, but on average a barista earns approximately $600 per week before tax.

How many hours could I expect to work in a week?

The number of hours worked by baristas varies depending on the position, which may be full-time, part-time or casual. Many are employed on a part-time or casual basis, with much of their work involving morning, evenings and/or weekends.

What are my employment prospects?

Employment prospects for baristas are good as with most of the hospitality industry experiencing a skills and labour shortage, there are job opportunities in rural and regional areas of Australia as well as in the cities.

How do I find a job as a Barista?

Go to the Discover Hospitality website, this a website dedicated to helping you find employment in the hospitality industry, including as a barista. Or you could approach businesses in the areas you’d like to work in and ask to talk to them about employing you. Leave your CV, which should include your workplace achievements and experience and contact details. Make sure you follow up your initial approaches.

 

Catering Assistant

Many different types of hospitality businesses employ catering assistants, offering varied and interesting employment opportunities. It’s a great way to get a start in the industry.

What would I do?

Working as a catering assistant involves everything from organising and preparing food and beverages, setting up rooms in preparation for various types of functions and events, to serving food and beverages to clients and guests. The role may involve washing dishes and polishing glasses and cutlery, and also handling cash.

What training do I need?

Formal qualifications aren’t compulsory to work as a catering assistant, but there are nationally recognised qualifications available to help prepare you for work in this industry, and to move forward in your career. With many catering businesses requiring staff to hold a certificate in safe food handling, the Certificate II in Hospitality (Operations) is the entry- level qualification you could consider doing.

What personal attributes do I need?

As with many hospitality industry jobs, the personal attributes you need to work as a catering assistant focus on customer service skills.

These include:

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • The ability to work quickly and efficiently
  • The ability to work as part of a team
  • Good organisation skills
  • A commitment to provide a high standard of customer service
  • The highest level of personal cleanliness and hygiene
  • The ability to follow instructions and procedures
  • A willingness to learn
  • Good personal presentation.

How much can I earn?

How much catering assistants earn varies, as most are employed on a casual basis. How many hours can I expect to work in a week?

As many catering assistants are employed on a casual basis, the number of hours worked in a week depends on the business requirements and your availability to work. It is important that you are flexible in your availability and willing to work evenings, weekends and public holidays.

What are my employment prospects?

Employment prospects are good for enthusiastic, committed individuals who have excellent customer service skills and pay attention to detail.

How do I find a job as a Catering Assistant?

Go to the Discover Hospitality website, this a website dedicated to helping you find employment in the hospitality industry. Or send an email and your resume to the businesses you would like to work at. Follow up your approaches

 

Catering Manager

Do you like working with people and to be involved with food as well? Do you like to be well organized? Do you like to provide excellent customer service? If this sounds like you then maybe a career in catering would suit you perfectly. You could work in any number of different types of businesses including restaurants, cafes and function centers, resorts. Or you may be interested in running your own business.

What would I do as a Catering Manager?

A catering manager’s responsibilities are many and varied, and include:

  • Consultation with clients about their catering requirements and arrangements for functions
  • Management and/or supervision of staff, including recruitment, training, rosters and planning
  • Oversight of maintenance and presentation of all equipment and service areas including kitchens, function rooms and facilities in line with hospitality industry regulations for the storage and preparation of food, and occupational health and safety
  • Complaints resolution
  • Maintaining financial records

What training do I need?

Formal qualifications aren’t required to work as a catering manager. However, nationally recognised qualifications are available to help prepare you for work in the industry, and to move forward in your career. The Diploma of Hospitality Management and the Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management provide the skills required to work as a manager or senior manager respectively, in the hospitality industry.

What personal attributes do I need?

The personal attributes you need to work as a catering manager focus on customer services skills.

You should have:

  • Good interpersonal skills and presentation
  • Good communication, negotiation and problem solving skills
  • Good organisational and time management skills
  • Leadership qualities and the ability to work in a team
  • A commitment to providing excellent customer service
  • A high level of personal cleanliness and hygiene
  • The ability to work quickly and efficiently

How many hours could I expect to work in a week?

As a catering manager the number of hours you could expect to work per week could vary depending on the position, but you could expect to often work long, irregular hours that would frequently include weekends and public holidays.

What are my employment prospects?

As with many jobs in the hospitality industry, employment prospects for catering managers are very good.

How do I get a job as a Catering Manager?

Go to the Discover Hospitality website, this a website dedicated to helping you find employment in the hospitality industry. Or send an email and your resume to the businesses you would like to work at. Follow up your approaches.

 

Food and Beverage Manager

Food and beverage managers oversee the operations of restaurants, bars and banqueting facilities, balancing guests’ expectations, employee needs and profitability in a range of hospitality businesses, including hotels and motels, and conference and convention centres.

What would I do?

Some of a food and beverage manager’s tasks and responsibilities may include:

  • Supervision/management of the purchase and storage of food and beverage items
  • Budgeting and pricing policies for menus and beverages
  • Menu planning in consultation with chefs/cooks
  • Supervision/management of the provision of crockery, cutlery, kitchen utensils and appliances
  • Ensuring relevant health, occupational health and safety and licensing regulations are met
  • Ensuring security of food and equipment
  • Staff recruitment, training and rosters
  • Oversight of the maintenance of the cleanliness and presentation of kitchens, dinning rooms, bars, and service, storage and other areas, to the required standard.

What training do I need?

Formal qualifications aren’t required to work as a food and beverage manager. However, nationally recognised qualifications are available to help prepare you for work in the industry, and to move forward in your career. The Diploma of Hospitality Management and the Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management provide the skills required to work as a manager or senior manager respectively, in the hospitality industry.

Food and beverage managers are expected to have a good understanding of food and beverage operations and a significant level of experience in the hospitality industry, gained as they have worked their way up through the industry over a period of time.

What personal attributes do I need?

The personal attributes you need to work as a food and beverage manager include:

  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills
  • Leadership qualities and the ability to motivate staff
  • A commitment to providing a high standard of customer service
  • The ability to pay attention to detail
  • The ability to deal with unexpected situations
  • A high standard of personal grooming and presentation
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Excellent negotiation and problem solving skills
  • A responsible attitude to industry health and safety regulations
  • Enjoying working with a diverse range of customers.

How much can I earn?

How much a food and beverage manager earns depends very much on the type of business and the experience of the individual.

How many hours can I expect to work in a week?

In general food and beverage managers need to be flexible to work evenings, weekends and extended hours, the number of hours worked depending on the business.

What are my employment prospects?

Experienced food and beverage managers with excellent skills are always in demand.

How do I find a job as a Food and Beverage Manager?

Go to the Discover Hospitality website, this a website dedicated to helping you find employment in the hospitality industry. Or you could approach businesses in the areas you’d like to work in and ask to talk to them about employing you. Leave your CV, which should include your workplace achievements and experience and contact details. Make sure you follow up your initial approaches.

 

Restaurateur

There are probably many people who aspire to being a restaurateur, to having their own restaurant. Most of those who have achieved that dream would agree that owning a restaurant is a labour of love – the hours can be long and hard. But it’s exciting and very rewarding to succeed in what can be a very challenging occupation.

What would I do?

Is finance secured, the restaurant ready for operation having been built or renovated, decorated and fitted out, registered and licensed?

If so, then on an on-going operational basis you could expect to undertake, manage, oversee or be involved in:

  • Developing business and promotional plans and all related strategies
  • Identifying and establishing relationships with suppliers and industry
  • partners/organisations
  • Managing capital and operational expenditure
  • Staff recruitment, training and rosters
  • Allocating tasks and priorities, coordinating resources
  • Oversight of maintenance of the premises, facilities, services and security
  • Ensuring all health, occupational health and safety and licensing regulations are met
  • Undertaking marketing and public relations activities in the local business community
  • Dispute resolution.

What training do I need?

Formal qualifications aren’t required for a career as a restaurateur; however both management skills and a comprehensive understanding of restaurant operations are recommended. Industry experience, for example as a chef, waiter, bartender or manager, is crucial to the successful operation of a restaurant.

The nationally recognised qualifications available to help prepare you for a career as a restaurateur are the Diploma of Hospitality Management and the Advanced Diploma of Hospitality Management that provide the training and skills required to work as a manager and senior manager respectively, in the hospitality industry. Working as a manager in the industry would help you to gain the experience you need to enhance your chances of successfully running a restaurant.

What personal attributes do I need?

The personal attributes you need to be a restaurateur focus on interpersonal, customer service and business management skills and include:

  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent organisational and time management skills
  • Leadership skills and the ability to lead a team and motivate staff
  • A commitment to invest in and train staff
  • The ability to develop and implement business plans and budgets
  • Enjoying working with people
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • The ability to solve problems and deal with difficult situations
  • Being willing to take responsibility and have confidence in your decisions
  • Entrepreneurial skills to identify opportunities and develop the business
  • Being prepared to seek relevant industry and/or professional advice.

How much can I earn?

The income of a restaurateur depends upon the business and how successful it is. It is important to be aware that profit margins in operating a restaurant can be low.

How many hours can I expect to work in a week?

In general, restaurateurs rarely if ever, work a standard 40-hour, nine-to-five week. Most work many more than 40 hours per week. It is important to be able to work evenings, weekends and public holidays.

What are my employment prospects?

Restaurateurs create their own job prospects. They may take over the operation of an existing restaurant, or open a new enterprise. The best opportunities are in areas with a strong local client base, and/or a steady tourist market. There is a high rate of business failure for new restaurants, so a restaurateur must make sure that their establishment keeps pace with the times and consistently operates at a high level.

 

Sommelier

Sommeliers are specialists in wine and its service and are also referred to as wine stewards. They have a key role in restaurants and can greatly enhance a restaurant’s operation and reputation.

What would I do?

Sommeliers duties primarily involve the purchase, correct storage and service of wine and include:

  • The purchase, storage and cellar rotation of wine
  • Development of wine lists
  • Pairing wines to menus to complement food items
  • Delivery of wine service in a restaurant, including suggesting wines to guests or customers
  • Training other restaurant staff about wine

A sommelier’s role may be broader than working only with wines, expanding to include general bar duties but with a focus on wines, beers, spirits, cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages and coffees.

What training do I need?

Sommeliers are expected to have a considerable depth of knowledge of wines, Australian wines in particular, but French and other international wine products as well. In addition, they should have knowledge of other beverages and food.

Most sommelier positions require applicants to have a statement of attainment in the responsible service of alcohol (RSA).

What personal attributes do I need?

The personal attributes you need to be a sommelier focus on customer service skills. These include:

  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Good personal presentation
  • A commitment to providing a high standard of customer service
  • The ability to work in a team
  • A willingness to learn
  • A responsible attitude to industry health and safety regulations.

You need to be a minimum of 18 years of age to serve alcohol.

How many hours can I expect to work a week?

In general sommeliers are employed on a full-time basis and could expect to work 40 hours per week. It is important to remember that much of their work involves evenings, weekends and shift work.

What are my employment prospects?

Employment prospects are very good as there is a constant demand for reliable, skilled sommeliers. Good growth is expected for these jobs over the next few years.

How do I find a job as a Sommelier?

Go to the Discover Hospitality website, this a website dedicated to helping you find employment in the hospitality industry. Or you could approach businesses in the areas you’d like to work in and ask to talk to them about employing you. Leave your CV, which should include your workplace achievements and experience and contact details. Make sure you follow up your initial approaches.

 

Waiter – Food and Beverage Attendant

Waiters, also known as food and beverage attendants, have busy and exciting jobs that require very good customer service and communications skills. They can work in many different types of hospitality industry businesses including restaurants and cafes, hotels, pubs, and clubs.

What would I do?

  • Set tables with clean linen or place mats, cutlery, crockery and glasses
  • Welcome and seat customers and hand menus to them
  • Tell guests about the menu and drinks and appropriate combinations of food and drinks
  • Take customers’ orders and pass them to kitchen staff or bar attendants
  • Serve food and drinks
  • Make up bills and present them to customers
  • Handle money or credit cards
  • Take restaurant reservations
  • Clear tables and return dishes and cutlery to the kitchens
  • What training do I need?

There are no formal training requirements that you need to be able to work as a waiter, but a Certificate II or III in Hospitality (Operations) would prepare you well for working in the industry as a waiter.

What personal attributes do I need?

  • Excellent personal presentation
  • Ability to work as part of a team
  • Commitment to providing excellent customer service
  • Highest level of personal cleanliness and hygiene
  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to respond and solve problems quickly

You need to be a minimum of 18 years of age to be able to serve alcohol

How much can I earn?

On average, waiters earn approximately $500 a week before tax.

How many hours can I expect to work in a week?

The number of hours a waiter can work in any week varies greatly, with much of the work being available in the evenings and at weekends. A large percentage of waiters are employed on a part-time or casual basis.

What are my employment prospects?

Employment prospects for waiters are good with most of the hospitality industry currently experiencing a shortage of skilled waiters. Future job growth is expected to be moderate with growth of the industry to continue at approximately 7%, so your prospects of finding employment as a waiter should be good.

How do I find a job as a waiter?

You could approach restaurateurs and owners and managers of other food and beverage venues in the areas you’d like to work in and ask to talk to them about employing you. Leave your CV, which should include your workplace achievements and experience and contact details. Followup your initial approaches. Many employers in the hospitality industry, though, prefer to find their staff through recommendations from their existing staff members. An approach through people you know working in the industry could be successful. Go to the Discover Hospitality website, this a website dedicated to helping you find employment in the hospitality industry.

 

Accommodation venues

The Rooms Division

The Rooms Division consists of three major areas, front office, housekeeping, and uniformed services. Of these, the front office is the revenue producer. The other areas are staff functions.

The principle guest representative of the front office is the Guest Service Agent (GSA). This is the position that welcomes guests, registers them, assigns guest rooms and rates, check's them out, and answers a myriad of questions about the hotel and the surround community. For many guests the front office IS the hotel. The GSA fulfills many responsibilities. We list among them cashier, reservations, pbx (telephone), and night audit.

The Night Audit is a GSA that works the "C" or graveyard shift, 11:00pm - 7:00am. The primary focus of this shift is to perform the audit but they are still a GSA. A cashier is a GSA that is performing the function of checking guests out of the hotel. A reservations agent may be a very specialized position at a major hotel property. However, at most hotels, the reservation function is handled by a GSA. Similarly, the pbx, at a major property may be a specialized position but at most hotels, the GSA handles this responsibility.

The Housekeeping department is the largest in virtually all hotel properties. Whether the hotel does its own laundry or sends the laundry out to be done, the housekeeping department will be in charge of that function. If they do their own, then they have laundry attendants who operate the washers, dryers, and ironers. The bulk of the employees in housekeeping are room attendants. These are the people who clean the guest rooms and, usually, the public spaces of the hotel. The housemen are usually males who perform cleaning activities but who also perform manual labor that the housekeepers may have difficulty with. Turning mattresses, stocking linens and other heavy labor. The inspectors are supervisors who actually inspect the work of the room attendants. Many hotels have eliminated the inspector position, choosing instead to have random inspection performed by a manager or manager on duty.

The uniformed services of a hotel consist of bell-staff, doorpersons, valet, and concierge. At many properties many of these positions have been eliminated because of cost. However, at major properties you will still encounter member of the bell-staff. These people will take your baggage to your hotel room, introduce you to the many services of the property and generally be able to answer virtually any question you may have about the property or surrounding area. Major properties may also have doorpersons, though they are getting harder to find. This staff will transfer your baggage from your vehicle to a bell cart. They actually hold the door for you to enter the property. Valet representatives park your vehicle. These employees are readily available in major downtown or resort properties where parking is scarce or remote to the property. A concierge employee can be several things. This person is a facilitator or expeditor. Most hotels incorporate the concierge into the GSA.

 

The Food and Beverage Division

Food and Beverage (F&B) may be the largest division in a hotel depending on the number of outlets that F&B operates.
We start with the restaurant. Generally this is the facility that operates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There may be only one at the hotel. There may be several, depending on the size of the facility. A large hotel may have several restaurants AND a specialty restaurant(s). The lounges and entertainment rooms tend to focus on alcohol sales however remember that each of the restaurants has alcoholic beverage service available, also.

Major hotel properties have a room service function that can be quite exceptional. It is generally quite expensive, also. The successful hotels that generate profits from room service provide a significant amount of service. Most hotels have let their "service" deteriorate. Most room service departments provide only room delivery.

One of the greatest profit potentials from hotels is created from the Catering department. Outside catering can generate a lot of revenue, however it is very labor and equipment intensive. Most hotels use their catering department to generate business in their hotel banquet rooms. Some use the words catering and banquets interchangeably. They are distinct. The catering department is the sales arm which takes the desires and wishes of the client and converts them into orders which the banquet department turns into reality. Catering has sales people and clerical staff. Banquets have servers, bartenders, and housemen.

Most F&B facilities have an employee feeding function. Small properties may just allow their staff to "have something". Major properties have facilities designed for their employees only. The employee feeding facility is operated just as a regular restaurant would be. They establish menus, have their own staff, have cash and credit procedures, and attempt to "market" themselves to the employee.

 

The Sales and Marketing Division

A hotel division that is relatively small but very important is the sales and marketing (S&M) area. The S&M division has as its first responsibility to put "heads in beds". They do this by focusing on the market groups that the hotel appeals to and by soliciting the groups in that market. In addition to the sales function, the division may have a convention service department. This department handles the details of sales groups coming to the hotel. Convention services would handle the reservation requirements, catering and meeting arrangements and any "outside" needs the group may have. The S&M division usually handles the advertising needs of the hotel and the market research information gathering. Any public relations or publicity needs initiate at the S&M division. Inquiries for information tend to be directed to the S&M division. Another small but important division is the accounting division. Major properties may have a controller, while smaller properties have a bookkeeper. The people who keep the numbers tend to be influential. Some of the functions, which may be quite specialized at large properties, are accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, taxes/fees, statements, internal banks, and external banking. Following is a quick reference to what each area handles:

  1. accounts payable - Who do we owe?
  2. accounts receivable - Who owes us?
  3. payroll - Sort of an accounts payable but exclusively for employees.
  4. taxes/fees - Lots of them! Property and income taxes, occupancy fee, health department fee, etc.
  5. statements - Profit and Loss (P&L), Balance Sheet, Cash Flows, Owners equity, etc.
  6. internal banks - The cash that each employee needs to start work. Can be over $100,000 at major properties.
  7. external banks - deposits, CD's, armored car pick-up, etc.

The accounting function and the front office work very closely with one another. Usually they are physically adjacent. Many GSA's and accounting employees cross train in each other’s area. The front office is a revenue producer because it "sells" guest rooms. Therefore the front office takes in cash, checks, credit card processing, and occasionally some direct bill. In order to perform that function, the front office needs cash for change, data capture for credit card processing, accounting forms for guest folios and some sort of check approval procedure. Normally, the accounting office establishes banks for the front office and procedures for taking checks, credit cards, and direct billing.

 

The Maintenance Department

One of the key responsibilities of a general manager is the maintenance and upkeep of the hotel. Owners refer to this as preserving the asset. Many hotel properties suffer from owners who do not put back into the hotel. They take their money and let the property deteriorate along with a declining occupancy and average daily rate. The department that is generally charged with maintaining the asset is Engineering or Maintenance. 90% of the costs of a hotel are fixed. That is to say that once the hotel is built and operating, 90% of the cost of the property has already been spent. Obviously the building itself, heating and cooling systems, plumbing, and electrical are major expenses. Additionally, each guest room has furniture and fixtures that have been purchased. The entire property has computer systems and specialized equipment in each area. The kitchen has ovens, fryers, steamers, etc. The point here is that the major costs of a property are expended before they take in dollar one. Each of these areas needs upkeep. That task falls to the maintenance department. If that were not enough, they usually have the responsibility of external maintenance also: snow removal, landscaping, lighting, decorations, etc. A small department but with major responsibilities.

Major hotel properties have a separate department for security. Most hotels have this important area fall under the guidance of the general manager. Internal security demands should challenge suspicious people. Posting a sign that says "employees only" is not enough. External security necessitates procedures and policies that protect the outside of the property and the property of guests. Lighting, fencing, television, and active patrolling of external areas are all part of a comprehensive security package.

 

Human Resources

Depending on the size of the property, the Human Resources (HR) department can be large with many specialists to a small one with one person. Frequently, the general manager's secretary takes care of the "personnel" matters. There are many laws and regulations related to the hiring, employment, and termination of people that you can find yourself in a lot of trouble, quickly. Hire a professional to take care of these items and keep you and your hotel protected.

Human Resources is the new name for what we used to call "personnel". One of the areas that HR covers is employment. There are a number of areas in employment: advertising, interviewing, selecting, hiring, orientation, and discharge. Any of them can, if mis-handled, can put your operation into legal jeopardy. Training is part of the employment cycle but also is part of the benefits that existing employees should have. Employee relations is one of the HR responsibilities. The HR department hopes to keep morale of staff high through newsletters, social events, and award programs. They may have to intervene between a manager and an employee to keep peaces. Labor relations is the area that is considered to be part of the peace keeping effort. Occasionally, managers only have the needs of their departments in focus and may take a short term approach to employee relations. HR may need to intervene when a long term employee has a personal need that the manager cannot seem to accommodate. HR also deals with compensation programs. Not that they establish wage rates but they generally collect data from a number of sources that works towards keeping the compensation offered competitive with other hotels in the market area. Benefits are also a major part of compensation. Familiar items may be health, dental, vacation, sick days, etc. Don't forget that unemployment compensation, Medicare, and FICA are also benefits to the employee. Employee policies are usually initiated in the HR office. These are generally applicable to all employees of the hotel. When is payday? Where do employees enter the hotel? Meal policy? Sick leave? Jury duty? And finally, the concept of safety issues falls under the realm of HR. The HR director is usually the head of the safety committee and that committee attempts to keep the property as a safe work place through policy and procedure. We may have retail outlets that the hotel operates. We may have recreation operations like skiing, golf, swimming, and fitness areas that require specialized employees, policies, and procedures. Similarly, many hotels in gaming legal areas have casinos. This is a highly specialized operation that requires many personnel to operate efficiently.

 

General Management

The general manager of the property is a multi-talented individual who represents many interests. As a general statement, they are responsible for the standards and profit of a complex business. Additionally they are responsible for protecting their business asset for the owner(s). They represent the hotel to the community and frequently represent the community to the hotel. They wear many hats and at a full service property, they frequently command salaries in excess of $100,000. The general manager is the one responsible for the operation to the owner, management company, franchise company, chamber of commerce, mayor, police chief, keep going...