Updated: Mar 22, 2019
The hospitality sector is very much a people business, from the front of house teams that adds values through great service, to the kitchen brigades producing delicious local food and cuisines from around the world and all the support services teams too. As consumers, we all know that it’s the human factor that makes or breaks an experience.
At the forum, we heard there is a growing community of hospitality entrepreneurs and senior professionals in Bahrain, that meet, support each other and drive the industry forward. However, there is a problem in attracting locals to the industry, with the majority of jobs in service being fulfilled by overseas nationals. Adversely, we heard that a key differentiator for Bahrain as a tourism destination is that Bahraini's are welcoming and you can discover the true culture, something that the larger destinations simply don’t offer. To deliver on this promise it’s vital that Bahraini’s embrace the sector and the career opportunities within it.
A Bahrain backed project bringing French international hotel school, Vatel, is a great start, but there is more to be done. With a growing trend towards more casual dining and hospitality, these traditional educators simply aren’t as relevant. There is a need for a supporting structure that will encourage and educate entrepreneurs, who will create new and interesting concepts and initiatives, bringing a sense of vibrancy.
Established businesses can make play an active role in supporting the sector for the future too, by actively recruiting candidates from Bahrain and the GCC and investing more heavily in their training, taking them through to management on specialise programmes.
The forum also positively promoted and encouraged women to enter the sector, being inspired by the great female chefs and entrepreneurs, who appeared on stage. Lots of lively chat provided considerable guidance, with some stand out advice to ‘grow an attitude, not an ego.’
No matter who your team are and how you recruit them, it’s vital to remember that they are your biggest asset. If they get it right, your brand will be amazingly well represented, if you don’t, your customers are likely to be unhappy. Communication is the key to this. Making sure your teams know who you are as a business, how you work, your values and what is expected of them. A happy team means happy guests. It sounds simple, but we all know how hard it is to do this in real terms, ultimately, people are all different and their nuances makes this a challenge. You will get no greater return from your time.
First published in Gulf Weekly, Bahrain