Mr. Harish Chander, Head/Director of the Food and Beverage in Dubai, UAE
Mr. Harish Chander is the Head/Director of the Food and Beverage in Dubai, UAE. He has over a decade of proven track record in managing F&B operations, maximizing profits, service quality, and ensuring guests’ experiences are exceptional. Harish is a highly presentable perfectionist with an eye for detail, who leads by example and believes in instilling a sense of excellence and constant attention to customer service in his teams by, leading, coaching, and mentoring.
Harish has been in the Middle East for many years and has been through a lot of job assignments, different hotels and companies, and different levels of management. He has seen the shine in this industry was very high before but now it is slowly dimming down. He considers the reason for this to be the constant rising competition, there are employees and there are superstars. When we say superstar, they have a goal, a good attitude; they are ambitious, ready to devote extra time, and they are not looking for overtime or extra money. But they are there. They want to fit into any environment, they want to help the company, help the organization goals by going forward.
Harish says that three things can help people to become superstars. First being training; also, one of the very best. Second is Initiative, because one has to be an initiator, everything cannot be told to you, sometimes you can see things happening, within your hotel, your outlets, so when you see, the experience that, you can also say may I be the part of this, can I contribute, may I add-in. And the final one is, being inspired by the people you work with. In an organization, you find varieties of personalities, which keep changing according to the situation, any hotel, any restaurant, any establishment. So, when you are connected with people, those who’ve charged, are taking responsibility, are doing the right thing even when nobody’s looking; when you have these two or three elements in you, you have a chance of rising in this industry.
Mistakes hoteliers make
People have spent a lot many years in hospitality and get stuck in one role. The trick of the trade is that one must be multitasking, one must be knowledgeable about other departments, one must be able to adapt to as many training sessions that you can take. “Let me give an example when I am working in a certain restaurant as a server, there are chances that my neighborhood restaurant needs my help, I can go and work in that restaurant to learn, first of all, I can learn about what cuisine they serve, I will learn the method of service, what method is used for the service, is it a Giraudoux service, plated service or its a casual dining or fine dining. What type of environment it is?”
Every place has different types of guests, different supervisors, managers. These managers are always on the lookout, you make a mistake or do an extraordinary task; these managers will look for you. And once you are in the good books of these managers, they will value you, your work, and provide you with the opportunities to help you excel in your chosen department. He will say, I am getting busy today, how about getting Mr. X today for two hours. Harish strongly believes that, one must be willing to learn, must be willing to do multitasking, doesn’t get stuck in one role, sees what cost controller does, sees what the cashier does, sees what back of the office dishwasher does, sees many other people, and what kind of job do they carry out. This will make you master. So whenever there is an opportunity, you will be called in, because you took an initiative in that area. And possibly you have acquired knowledge, you qualify for the role. And this works in your favour during the promotions, because managers always look for the staff who are excelling, those who can multitask, those who know the skill, those managers might as well choose you.
This is where most people lack in the hospitality industry, employees these days try to stick to their department and do not prefer helping others out with their tasks. People who also try to know things out of their department are the type of people that are needed in the hospitality industry.
When the guests are checking in, they already have a slight idea about the property. They know what price they have paid, and what minimum service is expected. But again when they come in the hotel, right from the time of checking in, they are handed over the key, they are guided to the floor, they are told what is available within the city for them to do or to spend time, it is an overall experience and every employee of the hotel adds to the value to the brand. Once again it comes back to training, ethics, the quality of the hotel stay. All the employees should interact with the guests differently, should keep a safe distance, should speak only when and what is required, should give enough respect to the guests who are walking in, and assist them properly.
The three biggest challenges we face can start with ‘Lack of knowledge’ for example, if a person goes to his supervisor for authorization every time, even for small things, that means he is not trained. When a person is well trained, he will be able to handle all things on his own. Also, the daily briefings, when they are done, into the restaurants or in other departments, managers need to explain about what is happening in the property, if any VIPs are staying in the hotel, where they would go, how many events are happening and all the small things, all the employees need to know. Because when they are knowledgeable, they will be able to interact properly, when they interact properly, they add value to the brand. In the end, the guest is the one who receives lovely and good services.
So, this is where having people who are multi-tasking helps you, the briefing becomes easy and coordination increases.
When we speak about cost management, it is entirely a big book, the presence of a cost controller within the hotel is necessary. Let’s say a company has twelve outlets which means they would have 12 profit centres, indoor and outdoor banquets, meeting rooms, spa, pool shops, there are so many things. So, when the term cost management is mentioned, it becomes important for any manager or supervisor to know about how his outlet is doing, how is the expense, the earning, and the monthly budget. So, the cost-conscious people will be able to manage the budget properly.
Cost management is a very important factor for any manager, he should be knowledgeable enough about it and he must be able to read the figures which are done monthly. These figures should always be shared with the team because without teams we are nothing.
Hygiene is a very high project these days because if any outbreak of virus happens, the hotel can lose its reputation in one day. When it comes to Hygiene, one must always be very cautious. A person can only be cautious if he is trained enough, for this a property must always have training managers, who are knowledgeable and know which trainings are required for a particular role. Whenever you have a loss of reputation your business dies. So, all of us should be very careful of Hygiene, best practices come only through training and learning. But not everything can be taught by the training manager or supervisor, a person has to be interested to learn through YouTube, which gives a good idea about the subject.
“YouTube is a very good educator tool which we should be using. I will advise all my fellow hoteliers and newcomers in this profession, learn from everything, there are pdf books available, there are videos and a lot of material available. You need to know how to search for it, ask your manager and supervisor, try to get new information if you do not get proper information you should search it on all platforms, it will help you rise.”
‘Value for Money’ – whenever the guest comes to the hotel; as Harish, said the guests always have expectations, good behavior, a good value for money, guidance within the property and to be looked after for all the requirements. Once all these things are provided to the guest and people are cordial, happy to interact with him, happy to share information with him it makes his stay very memorable, once people have a memorable stay and they connect, within the lobby or in the public areas, or the housekeeping area, in the restaurant area, they associate with the brand.
After this the guest becomes a loyal customer, even if they go out of their budget and buy the product or service, it gives the hotels an opportunity of selling a high-priced item, or at a higher value. Your toolbox is knowledge, about the city, or about the property, about the food and menu, about social handles, you should be acute entirely.
Also, the golden rule is that what you say is what you deliver.