Karine Nazaryan – Hospitality Professional / Director at Vostan Restaurant
You have already a wonderful background and big experience in the hospitality industry, especially managing hotels’ restaurants. Could you please tell us several points about the nuances of hotel’s restaurant manager should strictly follow?
I have a lot of acquaintances asking me what motivated me to pursue a career in the hotel and tourism industry. They would be better off asking me to define the purpose of life or explain astrophysics because there is no clear and certain answer to that question. It all depends on what a person seeks from choosing to work in hotels.
The reasons are just about as vast as the industry and as deep as its roots in history. Historically, people traveled around and just as today the basic needs such as a warm bed and healthy meals had to be met. However, unlike ancient times, the industry has continuously evolved to its highest extents – and with future technologies and resources, promises to innovate more and more with every single client. Whether your corporation needs a 100 person conference room, you decide to go on an exotic honeymoon, or finally take time off with your family at a summer resort, working in hotels requires you – professionally – to ensure that your clients’ wants and needs are met and even exceeded; and unlike past times, they are not limited to just a warm bed or healthy meals. Whoever is involved with this industry needs to understand that keeping up with its current trends is a key success factor.
Another reason is that hospitality requires you to work in a multi-cultural environment. Working in a hotel does not mean that internationalism within the establishment stops at your clients; for the people behind the reception, in the kitchen and at the offices come from all corners of the world and they bring along with them their own language, cultural background, and ideas on how to efficiently work within the industry.
In my 10 years of experience, I had the honor to work with colleagues from Italy, Russia, Africa, France, England, America, Argentina, Brazil. All these people had taught me how to maximize my working capabilities based on their own personal experience within their home-countries; which at the end of the day not only enriched my practical skills – but my knowledge on other countries as well. A key factor in this “job description” is to be able to communicate and work with different people from different backgrounds – as one big team.
The hospitality industry allows you to develop yourself – professionally and as a person. Not only do you improve on the professional skills you already possess, but with time and commitment, you learn others due to the variety of colleagues, clients, and situations that will put you to the test. Various characteristics are required for working in a hotel. These range from soft-skills such as organization, communicating or working in a team; to more technical competencies such as serving, revenue management, accounting and facilities management.
Also, probably the most important matter is that you – literally – take care of people. This is debatable, but my experience tells me it takes empathy and commitment to put another person’s needs and desires ahead of your own – while keeping a smile on your face.
Customers come to hotels for various reasons, but in short, they want an experience. They want hotel employees and representatives to accord their time, care and attention. And just as people differ greatly, so does the care and commitment each hotelier exhibits to his/her clients. Some may settle for meeting the basics, such as checking-in a family or serving beverages at the hotel’s bar, but others will take an extra step and not just meet their client’s demands, but also exceed them.
With today’s fast-growing businesses, more and more focus is channeled towards making a profit, which is the main purpose of business in the first place; however, in hotels the products are not limited to events, meals, rooms or drinks – they extend to service and there is always a way to improve services and our service-industry skills.
Finally, the reason why I love hospitality so much is simple: it’s fun – as in enjoyable. All the dynamics, all the shifting with different responsibilities and the feeling you have when you start training and end up in a managing position, it’s more than satisfactory at the end of the day. And it does not stop with the customer-facing part of the hotel, you have the opportunity to meet and socialize with people representing a wide range of nationalities, in an even wider range of places all around the world.
In conclusion, the hotel industry is a pretty interesting and pleasant domain to get involved in. Like any other job, it has its ups and downs, and that’s the great part of it: there is always a place for innovation and there will always be innovators.
At this moment you are the director of Vostan Restaurant. What difference can you mention between managing the hotel’s restaurant and an individual restaurant in general?
The economy of hotels and restaurants is intimately tied to the tourism industry, to business travel, and to conventions. In many countries, the tourism industry is a major part of the overall economy. The primary function of a restaurant is to provide food and drink to people outside the home. Types of restaurants include restaurants (which are often costly) with dining rooms and extensive serving staffs; smaller, “family-style” restaurants and cafes which often service the local community; “diners”, or restaurants where serving short-order meals at counters is the major feature; fast food restaurants, where people line up at counters to place their orders and where meals are available in a few minutes, often for taking out to eat elsewhere; and cafeterias, where people go through serving lines and make their selections from a variety of already prepared foods, which are usually displayed in cases. Many restaurants have a separate bar or lounge areas, where alcoholic beverages are served, and many larger restaurants have special banquet rooms for groups of people. Street vendors serving food from carts and stalls are common in most countries, often as part of the informal sector of the economy.
The primary function of a hotel is to provide lodging for guests. Types of hotels range from basic overnight facilities, such as inns and motels that cater to business travelers and tourists, to elaborate luxury complexes, such as resorts, spas, and convention hotels. Many hotels offer auxiliary services such as restaurants, bars, laundries, health and fitness clubs, beauty salons, barber shops, business centers, and gift shops.
Restaurants and hotels can be individually or family-owned and operated, owned by partnerships or owned by large corporate entities. Many corporations do not actually own individual restaurants or hotels in the chain but rather grant a franchise of a name and style to local owners.
The restaurant workforce can include chefs and other kitchen staff, waiters and head waiters, table busing staff, bartenders, a cashier, and coatroom personnel. Larger restaurants have staffs which can be highly specialized in their job functions.
The workforce in large hotel restaurants typically will include less workforce than a restaurant can have. Most hotel jobs are “blue collar” and require minimal language and literacy skills. Women and immigrant workers comprise the bulk of the workforce in most hotels in developed countries today. In developing countries, hotels tend to be staffed by local residents. Because hotel occupancy levels tend to be seasonal, there is usually a small group of full-time employees with a sizeable number of part-time and seasonal workers. Salaries tend to be in the middle to low-income range. As a result of these factors, employee turnover is relatively high.