With the new challenges in the industry and the competition in the market isn’t it time we develop a national standards and certification programme? Such a task could be undertaken by an examination Cell formed under the auspices of the FHRAI in collaboration with institutes like the AHMA (American Hotel & Motel Association).
Managers from a variety of foodservice operations should be invited to participate in a focus group supervised by this Cell of the FHRAI to review examination questions. These questions could be prepared by a board of service operators from the industry and institutes. The finished product, a multiple choice exam, will measure the skills and knowledge required for managers to be recognised as “certified foodservice managers”.
Participants could be initially tested on four aspects of foodservice management:
- human resources management and employee relations.
- service management,
- general management,
- quality foodservice.
Surely, many managers are bound to express concern that they have been out of school for a long time and are not accustomed to being tested. However, when they see it as a challenge where the test awards due credit to their ability; and they get the taste of consistently updating their knowledge and its subsequent feeling of confidence, such tests will be better received by the “operators”.
The certification programme should be designed to give credit to individuals in supervisory and management positions at a National and International level, who previously have been given little or no public recognition.
The opportunity to acquire more skills is a common goal among “superstars” of the industry, and such a program would provide them with the requisite platform.
The need for improved hospitality services is consistently growing with more projects on the anvil than ever before, and sad to say, I see deterioration in a lot of the “middle and luxury-class” hotels. Though the competition increases every day, unfortunately, standards of service are not always able to keep up with the pace.
I don’t blame this phenomena entirely on slackness on part of the ‘operators’ , but also on the universal problem in the Indian hotel industry for dearth in professionally trained personnel for Hotels and Foodservice.
Such an examination will not only keep the operators alert to their competence, it will also indirectly affect ‘services’ for the better. Jobs and positions gained through recommendations or ‘sifaarish’ will gradually be massaged-out to a more worthy system of promotions and appointments. Such tests would be a positive motivation for the middle-class hotels who do not afford in-house training programmes, owing to lack of funds or just simply awareness and ‘perceived’ need.
Today, the foodservice industry needs to increase its emphasis on positive, team relationships with staff members in order to face the human resources challenge of the future.
(Sudhakar Hannda is a hospitality and marketing consultant.)