Ajay Singh – Food & Beverages Director Fidalgo

“Take care of your internal customers and you don’t have to worry about your external customers”, is his mantra.

After completing his Hotel management from Dadar Catering College (IHM), Mumbai, in 2002, Mr. Ajay Singh, Food & Beverages Director, Fidalgo, worked in Dubai for a couple of years. On his return to India he worked with the Taj Krishna in Hyderabad for three years. At this point he decided to upgrade his skill sets and went in for an MBA in Sales and Marketing which he then followed up with SAP training in Sales& Distribution Module. While doing his MBA, he remained in touch with his trade and was a faculty member in various Hotel Management institutes in Varanasi.

With two major interests – Retail and Hospitality plus with the relevant experience and degrees under his belt, he opted for Food & Beverages with focus on retail. He joined Daily Bread as an Area Manager and after his training went to Hyderabad to set up numerous retail outlets for them.

In 2008 he moved from retail and back into the hospitality sector and has been working in Fidalgo Goa since 2010 apart from a year’s break when he went to work with Country Inn and Suites. He joined Fidalgo as assistant F&B Manager and in a short span of 9 years he holds two portfolios- Director F&B and Head of Training & Development.

As luck would have it Mr. Ajay Singh joined the hotel Industry by default. He has always had a passion for food as well as cooking. “In order to be an integral part of this trade and to excel in it one has to have the passion and the willingness to serve”, he says. He still remembers his teacher’s words- “leave your ego at home before entering the hospitality industry”.

As a leader, he feels external motivation does help and he believes that a good working environment where the employee is able to bond with seniors is very important. But at the end of the day self-motivation is the key to success in this industry. When interviewing people what he looks for is stability and the right attitude. He is not too concerned about technical training because being head of Training & Development he takes care of training the candidate as per his requirements. Hygiene is a very important part of their training. Another very important part of training & development is aiming towards ‘guest delight’. The personal touch is very important. Hotel staff should pre- empt a guest’s likes and dislikes and deliver accordingly. Enhancing the guest’s experience is a ‘continuous process’ he says. At a personal level he goes that extra mile to ensure that his guests whether at the restaurant or ordering on the phone have an experience they will remember.

According to him, the IHM curriculum should include certain tenets of management. Students should be trained on various online portals. Revenue generation and management is another subject that should be taught. The course should “go one level above hospitality”, move with the times, keep reinventing itself and correlate theory with reality.

Does he have any regrets? Maybe to the extent that he left the Taj where he was doing very well to pursue his MBA and join the retail Industry. However, it was factors outside his control – like recession- which did not allow him to continue in retail. On the personal front, managing family life is tough in an industry where he needs to be available 24/7. As a family man it hurts him not to be able to spend more time with his family; however for him his passion and dedication towards exceeding guests expectation and creating delight is of paramount importance.