The Rockaway hotel that provided training to recruit new staff

Plus: the role of in-room hotel dining when guests have Uber Eats

Hospitality Daily is a summary of stories for busy people who want to get better each day at providing hospitality.

The Rockaway hotel that provided training to recruit new staff

Opening a hotel is always a challenge, but when the Rockaway Beach Hotel in Queens, New York was opening last fall, they were facing a particularly challenging environment - both from the pandemic and a labor shortage.

Their solution? Attract new people to the industry through a free hospitality training program.

This past spring, the hotel invited anyone living in the area who was interested in hospitality, regardless of experience, to come in for a free 5-6 week training program called The Hospitality Way.

“For the program to be successful, there can’t be any obstacles,” said Jeff Brosi, owner/operator of IGC Hospitality, the 53-room property’s parent company - and they offered support such as child care and snacks for those who wanted it.

“Some people are excellent at hospitality without knowing the fine points of the industry and that’s teachable. In the midst of the labor shortage, we were finding young people who were hungry for hospitality jobs, but they didn’t know how to go about getting them. We said, ‘If you’re hungry for it, we’ll take you there.’”

The program was a success. Of the 19 students, 14 were placed either in one of IGC’s establishments (it owns several restaurants throughout New York City, too) or with other organizations where it has connections.

What’s the role of in-room hotel dining when guests have Uber Eats?

The following is an excerpt from The Fort podcast episode #128 with @SomeHotelGuy - an owner/operator of hotels around the country who has been involved in more than $1 billion in hotel real estate deals over the past 10 years.

Think about a typical full service hotel - say a Hilton in Any City USA. The typical requirement is that the hotel offer room service. It's not always to offer 24 hour room service, but perhaps 6:00 AM to midnight room service. That's really just giving the guests the ability to call down to the front desk and order something off a menu, and then that food is brought up to the guest room.

Historically it's been brought up on a banquet cart on a big tray that gets walked in and the coach gets taken off and you sign your bill. And it's a whole thing. Now it's moved more to like a knock and drop where it comes up in a bag and they knock on your door. They hand it to you. They walk away.

But when you're running a room service operation, that means you have to have kitchen capacity at all times - even when the room service doesn't get a lot of pickup. It gets to be very cost prohibitive. Room service can be a considerable cost strain on a hotel. So if you're in a city that has a massive presence of Uber eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Seamless, whatever it may be, why not just direct your guests to that and eliminate the loss leader?

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